As he reflects on his career in pro wrestling, Chris Jericho believes that signing with AEW was the biggest risk he ever took in the business.
It was in 2018 when Chris Jericho heard about a startup pro wrestling company that was going to be funded by Tony Khan, who is the son of billionaire Shahid Khan.
As he has mentioned many times since then, Jericho had heard of different promotions starting up at the same time, but in this case, All Elite Wrestling had the right people coming at the start and other things to get it going.
Chris Jericho became the first-ever AEW World Champion at All Out on August 31, 2019. On the first episode of Dynamite in October, Jericho formed the Inner Circle group and was clearly positioned as the biggest star in the company.
Since then, Jericho has wrestled all of the big names in AEW, added the ROH World Title to his resume and has continued to compete at a high level as he approaches his 53rd birthday next month. Jericho has been a pro wrestler for over 30 years with no signs of slowing down.
In an interview with the Allison Hagendorf Show, Jericho explained that he decided to get away from his WWE life that he had known for 20 years and try something different with AEW. Jericho was asked about the biggest risk he took in his pro wrestling career.
“Probably leaving WWE to go with AEW. We didn’t even have TV at the time. Just my boss, Tony Khan, had a lot of passion, and he had the money for it, and we had a roster of guys that I felt could do something.”
“When I got involved, we were able to get on TBS and kind of went from there. So I just think it was one of those things where I thought, ‘I’ve done all I can do in WWE, and I can stay here, but I don’t want to just stay here. I don’t want to just be a guy. Let’s try and change history. Let’s make wrestling a better industry.’”
It was actually TNT, not TBS, that first aired AEW Dynamite in October 2019. The show moved to TBS in January 2022. Both channels are owned by Warner Brothers Discovery.
Chris Jericho believes AEW has accomplished its goal
As he continued, the former WWE, AEW & ROH World Champion spoke about how All Elite Wrestling has done what it set out to do by building a strong company with AEW.
“And we’ve done that because now there’s a viable second company that people can work at and fans can watch. But it was a real risk, man, because WWE had such a monopoly for so many years. For us to come in there and get such a great demo and a great fanbase out of the gate is something I don’t think anybody really expected.”
“They thought we’d be dead and gone in six months.”
Jericho last wrestled on AEW Dynamite on October 10th when he was destroyed by Powerhouse Hobbs, who beat Jericho in about five minutes.