Chris Jericho has discussed how he played a pivotal role in AEW signing Action Andretti, but also urged the company to leave him at home until the right time.
After losing his ROH World Championship at Final Battle 2022, Chris Jericho wanted a straightforward match to get himself back on track. Enter Action Andretti – despite being treated like a jobber, Andretti was able to pick up the shock win over ‘The Ocho’.
In a discussion on WTF With Marc Maron, Chris Jericho has discussed how he had suggested to AEW that they sign Andretti back in October 2022, and wanted to make sure he played a key role in how he was introduced to the world.
I saw this kid back in October. Good looking kid, pretty agile, and I said, ‘Let’s do an interview with him.’ He was a good talker. I said, ‘Let’s hire him, but keep him at home, I have an idea.’ Action Andretti. Two or three weeks ago, I lost my title, and now I’m going to have a tune-up match against some jobber and I’m going to get back on track. This kid comes out, we have a match, and I’m treating him like a jobber, a squash match.
Throwing him around, he gets no offense, people are chanting, ‘Let’s go jobber.’ They’re behind it and laughing along. Hit him with my finisher. One, two, he kicks out. People are like, ‘Oh shit.’ Then the buzz starts going. ‘What’s going to happen now?’ We’ve never seen this guy on TV, ever. Then, we continue forward and suddenly, he gets me again. He hits me with this and that. Boom, boom, boom, hit me with a move. One, two, three. He wins. Crowd goes fucking crazy.
He’s running around, slapping hands, people are going nuts. It’s one of the greatest moments we’ve had in AEW history because no one knew this guy, and by the end, we made a new star. It doesn’t hurt me to lose, and we made this guy. It’s about making stars and making people react. No one would’ve guessed he was going to win.
An interesting quirk came when Action Andretti’s on-screen graphic came up as Chris Jericho, giving the impression he was an afterthought. This seemingly wasn’t planned, and was something which Jericho described as “a happy accident”.
Tony Schiavone recently gave praise to Jericho for his match with Andretti, calling it an example of Jericho being a great leader.
With thanks to Fightful for the transcription.