Chris Jericho is arguably the master of reinvention in the world of professional wrestling. During his near 30 year career, Jericho has done it all. He also has changed his character and image to stay relevant to the point where he just headlined AEW's landmark debut show, Double or Nothing.
Jericho has taken many big risks with his career. The benefit is most of his risks have paid off, not just for him, but the organizations he has worked for and the wrestlers he has worked with. He attributes this to his instincts, which have led him to his current position.
"A lot of it is instinct," said Jericho. "Knowing it was time to step back from WWE. Granted there was a lot going on with Fozzy, but it gave me a chance to step back. The I had the match with Kenny and had so much fun with it, that led to more matches in Japan. With that, I was able to spend more time with the Bucks, Cody and Kenny, get the creative juices flowing, then AEW started happening. It was a lot of things happening. I have been fortunate to evolve and be as groundbreaking as I ever have been at the age of 48. I'm also fortunate to have the backing of guys that feel the same way I do creatively, and the financial backing of a family that feels the same way and a television network that feels the same way. Quite frankly, the entire wrestling community is on the same page."
Headlining AEW first event has another notch in the career belt of Jericho. He is not just happy with his match, but feels AEW offers something different.
"Here I'm at the forefront of it," Jericho stated. "No one expected Cody and Dustin to have this show-stealing match on a show with Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks, Lucha Bros, Chris Jericho. You have the Bucks and Lucha Bros having this amazing match, then you have Kenny Omega and Chris Jericho kicking the crap out of each other. You had all of these great moments, it was like a wrestling buffet. Every match was different. I had people text me that it was the best show they have been to. And, it was because every match was different."
Since Double or Nothing, there has been speculation on how aware WWE is of the buzz the event created. Jericho feels that his former employer is not happy about it.
"They know exactly what is going on, they have the daily social media reports, the analytics, the demographics, I know we had 200 thousand Google searches, that's up there with NFL numbers," exclaimed Jericho. "I'm sure they are watching, and they are not very happy with what happened. You can't tell me a show that had Chris Jericho, Dustin Rhodes, Jim Ross, Bret Hart, Dean Malenko calling the matches backstage, didn't make WWE angry.
"Now, WWE is a juggernaut. They are not going anywhere, they have money to last decades, and decades, and decades. They have a huge talent roster, but this is a scene change. This puts WWE on watch."
In today's world, the buzz can quickly dissipate. However, for AEW, Jericho feels that will not be an issue but the must make the right choices.
"We don't have another show until June. We have one show a month to continue this buzz," said Jericho. "The best way to do this is to use the power of social media, which we do better than anybody. Use Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter. We just have to be smart about what we do to keep the buzz rolling. We have the cool factor, we have all the momentum and it's up to us what we do with that."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Busted Open Radio with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.