Chris Jericho is one of the biggest names in All Elite Wrestling that has also had controversial moments, including a time when TNT threatened to pull AEW Dynamite off the air.
Jericho signed with AEW in January 2019 when the company officially was announced. He became the first AEW World Champion and on the first Dynamite, he introduced the world to his new stable called The Inner Circle. From day one, Jericho was seen as a leader in AEW that went from being the top heel feuding with the likes of Cody Rhodes, Jon Moxley and Orange Cassidy to a babyface that was in a long-term rivalry with MJF. No matter what his role, when AEW is on and Jericho’s music hits, you know the fans are going to sing along with “Judas” from start to finish.
AEW Dynamite and AEW Rampage are currently broadcast on TNT in the United States. TNT has been very pleased with AEW’s rating success in the company’s first two years of existence.
In an interview with Stephanie Chase, Jericho talked about why AEW and TNT’s partnership has been so successful thus far:
“I think TNT is rolling with it because the ratings have been so great and the demos have been so high. Obviously, there’s certain things we’ve been reprimanded for, there’s a few I can tell you. But I think we’re not stupid. If something goes on that the parent company doesn’t like, then we don’t do it anymore.”
“I think that’s one of the reasons AEW is as successful as we are because we’re not afraid to take a few chances. We’re not worried about taking some chances and not worried about getting slapped on the wrist if we do something we shouldn’t do, we just won’t do it again. But it hasn’t been that many times.”
The 50-year-old Jericho also recalled a moment that caused TNT executives to get upset with AEW. Jericho wasn’t told this directly by the network, but he was told that TNT threatened to take Dynamite off the air if Jericho did these mistakes again:
“For me, there’s two times that I can recall where they said ‘Don’t ever do that again’ and I was like ‘Okay, won’t happen again.’ One of them actually was when we beat up Dustin Rhodes when I was feuding with Cody way back in the beginning. We beat him up in the parking lot and then as we left, I lit up a cigar. And [TNT] did not like that. No smoking allowed on the show.”
“They were super, super angry about it. No smoking allowed. I was like, ‘Really?’ Of all the things to be mad about. But they were adamant that they did not want any smoking on the show. And [they said] ‘If you do this again…’ I don’t know if this was actually ever used, but the way this was told to me was [TNT said] ‘We’ll pull the show if you guys do this again.’ I was like ‘Alright, I don’t need to be smoking’. I just did it because I thought it was an a**hole thing to do. Apparently, so did they.”
Jericho is currently feuding with Dan Lambert of America’s Top Team. On this past Friday’s edition of Rampage, Jericho and Jake Hager lost a tag team match to Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky. As the feud continues, we can safely predict Jericho probably smoking a cigar on AEW TV again.