Chris Jericho has spoken on the importance of AEW being able to create new stars and claimed the company was “on his back” when it first started.
When AEW began, it was built around the original EVPs, The Young Bucks and Cody Rhodes, as well as the inaugural AEW World Champion, Chris Jericho. Soon after it formed, big names like Kenny Omega and Jon Moxley also joined the fledgling promotion.
Speaking on the True Geordie podcast, Chris Jericho explained how important it was for the company to create brand new stars as quickly as possible.
“You have to be giving and you have to create new stars. I remember when I first started I was like no one is going to take my spot and it’s all about the spot. Nobody is taking Chris Jericho’s spot, because nobody can do what I can do. There is only one Chris Jericho. So to continue to stay relevant and continue to contribute and be a top guy, the definition is to be giving and to create new stars.”
“When we first started AEW, it was solely on my back, I really believe that. When you look at the roster, unless you were a hardcore wrestling fan, no one knew any of those f*cking guys. People were like ‘Jericho is there? Let’s check it out.’ And then you see all of these great guys.”
AEW’s resident Wizard went on to discuss the wrestlers he worked with during the beginnings of AEW, saying he helped them become bigger names in the company as a result.
“I knew right away that I have three to six months to make as many stars as I can. If not as great as I am and as great as I think I am – if I’m the only guy in the show for six months and the only star, then it’s going to die. It is, I can’t do it all, I’m not Michael Jackson or Elvis, I knew we had to make new stars right away. That was why I had to concentrate on reinventing Cody.”
“Think about who Cody was, he wasn’t who he is now. Kenny Omega, Darby Allin, Scorpio Sky, Moxley, he was not the guy he was when he came into the company. All of those guys I worked with when we first started the company.”
“The Inner Circle, the first night that we started the company there were these new guys. Sammy Guevara, I didn’t know who Santana and Ortiz were, Jake Hager wasn’t who he is now, he was a useless character in WWE.”
Chris Jericho also says it was the building of these new stars that helped AEW get to the point where they could sign a lucrative TV deal.
“So we built these stars in three months and that’s when we got a television deal for $160 million for four years. When we started we were an ad-revenue share, that means that if any company buys advertising on our show, we split it from the network.”
“In those three months, we built the company so that the demos were so good, which is the most important thing, that is how we got the TV deal. Solely because of all the work I did to build the new stars. If I didn’t do that then we might not be in business today.”
H/T to Inside The Ropes for the above transcription.