Chris Jericho Explains Why Leaving WWE To Join AEW Was A Huge Risk

During an appearance on the "The Allison Hagendorf Show," current AEW star and WWE legend Chris Jericho was asked about the greatest risk he has ever taken in his life.

"Probably leaving WWE to go with AEW," Jericho said. "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.'

"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's most recent match for WWE occurred at WWE Greatest Royal Rumble 2018 in Saudi Arabia, where he entered that night's 50-man Royal Rumble match. He went on to sign for AEW in January 2019. Jericho did appear on the June 27, 2022, episode of "WWE Raw," paying tribute to John Cena's 20-year run with WWE via video message. 

Since joining Tony Khan's promotion, Jericho has captured the AEW World Championship and feuded with various wrestlers, including Jon Moxley and MJF. Jericho extended his contract with AEW last year. That latest deal, which runs through December 2025, saw "The Ocho" gain roles as a producer and creative consultant.

If you use any quotes from this article, please credit "The Allison Hagendorf Show" with a H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.