AEW world champion Chris Jericho took some time to speak with Mature Audiences Mayhem about the impressive roster that the company is promoting as they approach their debut episode on TNT. Jericho specifically mentioned MJF when on the subject of entertaining heels, noting how his personality will one day make for a popular babyface character.
“When you’re a great heel, chances are you are entertaining. Unless you’re a psycho heel, which is very hard to play,” Jericho said. “People kind of know that you are fake unless you can be ultra-violent, like Bruiser Brody. Me in Japan now, I have adapted a Bruiser Brody attitude and just beat the s–t out of these guys. And Bruiser was 6’6, I’m not. But in Japan now, I am one of the bigger guys on the show, so that gets people to think that, once again, this guy is off of his rocker. And whether these guys are performing this high intense, amazing routine, this other guy is just kicking people in the face, punching them in his head. That guy’s crazy, he’s off of his rocker.
“And in this country, MJF is so entertaining,” Jericho continued. “Put him on weekly TV for three months, maybe six, he will be the most popular babyface of the company because he’s a great heel, he’s hilarious. He is so f–king good at what he does, soon enough, the tides will turn. That’s just how it goes unless you’re someone like The Miz. When they tried to make someone like The Miz a babyface, it just doesn’t work because he’s very annoying in real life, and MJF is kind of too but maybe he’ll be able to walk that line.”
Jericho thinks that AEW’s approach to non-scripted promo work will be one thing that sets it apart from all other pro wrestling on TV. He looked back on the unforgettable catch phrases that have organically bloomed on their own, without writers involved.
“I think people are excited because it’s something different. I know this – there’s no scripted promos,” Jericho stated. “There are no writers because that is what wrestling is. That is where it came from! ‘Austin 3:16’ was written by Steve Austin, ‘Y2J’ was written by Chris Jericho, ‘Never Ever Againe’ was written by Chris Jericho. All that stuff came from my head because I am the one who has to deliver it.
“I watch WWE – and listen, I love WWE. I worked there for 19 years. But you can see when people are saying s–t that they don’t buy, and you have to say it because it’s what Vince McMahon wants. And if you don’t say what he wants, you are going to hear about it. And if you don’t do it the next time, you probably won’t get promos anymore.”
Jericho wants AEW to establish itself as it’s own identity, different from WWE, ROH, and other popular promotions. He mentioned how numerous stars in AEW outright rejected offers from WWE to begin this new company together.
“Most of these people aren’t actors. The best characters are your own personalities turned up to a degree,” Jericho said. “So like I said, in AEW, we don’t have that. And I think people will be refreshed, and I think you are going to either sink or you’re going to swim. We are going to have a general guideline of course, but the old school way of doing things in WWE is not what we do in AEW.
“We have to do things different; we have to be ourselves. We can’t worry about WWE, or ROH, or Impact, or anything else. We have to worry about us. What is on our roster? We don’t care if everyone in WWE is signed on for another 4 years. [That] doesn’t matter, we have guys on our own and guys that are coming to us like an MJF, like a Cody Rhodes, like Kenny Omega, or Hangman Page, all these guys that had the opportunity to go to WWE but decided not to because that’s what they wanted.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Mature Audiences Mayhem with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.