AEW Superstar Chris Jericho recently sat down with Wrestling Observer Radio for an in-depth interview. During the discussion, Jericho brought up his recent contract negotiations with WWE, Impact Wrestling, New Japan and his current base promotion, AEW. Jericho mentioned how Impact Wrestling previously presented him with an impressive offer for a potential four match series, one in the range of the "mid seven-figures". Regardless of what others were trying to negotiate, Jericho always believed that Vince McMahon would eventually present a counter offer to him.
"In my mind, from a pure business standpoint, I'm worth as much as Brock Lesnar at this point in time to WWE as far as what I bring to the table," Jericho said. "That was just the watermark I had. So, for me to go back to Vince, I was like, 'I want that type of deal.' Because that's the way it should be in my mind. When I was starting to talk to Tony [Khan], and I was negotiating with New Japan, and even with Impact as well and, like I said, Impact offered me a hell of a deal for a four match series. It was a really good amount of money, like, we're talking mid seven-figures. They have some cash as well. I think people kind of gloss over Impact at this time but when there's something they believe in, they have the money for it.
"And in the back of my mind, I always thought, but in this day & age with the amount of money that WWE has, Vince will come through at the end and match this offer," Jericho continued. "And then I'm going to have to make a decision, because like I said, it wasn't just about the money - it's, well, now I go in to Vince's world and we know how Vince works, and that's fine. If you sign a contract with WWE, you cannot bit-- or complain if things change last minute, if you're given pie-in-the-face routines on RAW. Whatever it may be, that's what Vince does. That's what Vince likes and that's how he operates. So, you go there knowing what you're getting in to."
Ultimately, Vince never issued out a counter offer to Jericho, something he believes is rooted in McMahon's desire to keep overall salary levels where they're at. Jericho explained that the hypothetical counter offer would have lead to a number of other WWE Superstars questioning their pay scale in the company. In his effort to avoid this, Jericho thinks that the situation may come back to bite Vince, because now, Jericho's hope is to form a bridge from all wrestling fans to AEW.
"So, I have to make up my mind on what I want to do. But the thing is, and this is something that - Vince never made a counter offer. Never once. And I spoke to him. It was the day of the Tokyo Dome I spoke to Vince and we had a great conversation. It was a very amicable conversation and he basically said, 'Take the deal and go with God, and congratulations, and good for you.' And once again, I was a little surprised but I also understand the reasons why. I mean, you're talking about a guy...no matter what I've done this past year, how big my name is, or how much reinvention, or how much business I've created, you're still talking about a 48 year old guy, right? And if Vince is going to match this offer that Tony Khan gave me, it's going to upset his entire salary application, and that's going to cost him big money in the long run. Not just on me, but for every single person that goes, 'Hey, well, you paid Jericho this, why can't I get that?' And I just don't think Vince is ready to take that step yet, even though he has the money for it.
"Vince is Vince since 1982, and he's got his ideas, and his rules, and his structures and nobody's bigger than the WWE. But this is the one time that it might come back to bite him in the a-- because, once again, there's a real chance that I can be a bridge to a lot of people that haven't experience, or have wanted to check out, AEW. Except for the fact that I'm there, and when they see it, they're going to see me with these other overnight sensations that have been doing this for ten - fifteen years. Some of the best in the world. And it could hurt. We don't know, but that's something to me that I feel is a very distinct possibility."
Jericho is next set to wrestle Kenny Omega at Double Or Nothing, which takes place on Saturday, May 25 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Wrestling Observer Radio with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.