Chris Jericho is the reigning, inaugural and only AEW World Champion in the promotion’s history and is coming upon his one year anniversary with the company. He also spent nearly 20 years in WWE so no one would be a better person to ask to compare AEW to WWE.
Konnan did just that on his Keepin it 100 podcast where he asked about the differences in working for AEW and WWE.
“The biggest difference is the creative freedom, I think. I’m not saying that as a burial of the WWE system. It is the way it is,” stated Jericho. “WWE has a lot of writers with approvals and a lot of government you have to go through to get something done. You can have the greatest idea in the world, but once it goes through the approval process that 100 percent idea may go down to 75 percent or 65 percent, always have to have a slant put it on it seems.
“With AEW, that is not the case. A good idea is a good idea and most of the stuff that you have seen me do it from my brain or collaboration from Tony Khan, Cody Rhodes, Nick Jackson, whoever it may be, but it’s not like they are working against it, they are working for it. There may be times when there are disagreements, and obviously, Tony Khan is the boss so whatever he says goes, but there are very few disagreements. If he knows you have an idea that you are passionate about, he, most of the time, goes with it because he is a very open-thinking type of guy so it’s a lot more freedom in allowing artists to be artists. After 30 years of doing this I kind of know what to do in being allowed to do that.”
Jericho also said that he already knows what he’s going to be doing in AEW through the end of February. That kind of long-term planning was something that was missing from Jericho’s tenure in WWE.
“That’s another thing I am talking about with long-term planning and storylines and angles, even if you can get your promos written properly and do good promos, those angles and storylines never really get called out in WWE,” said Jericho. “They might have a certain idea, but it changes so much. Even Chris Jericho isn’t really involved in it, I mean, I would be, but this is me being involved with every step of the way so that’s another thing that I love about it. I don’t have to worry about what I am doing every single week and some weeks I would say that it sucks and then I would have to go see Vince McMahon and change it to something better, but there’s a lot of mental stress and wasting time and energy. But now it’s not the case, which makes it a lot easier to go to work and have more fun.”
Jericho was then asked how Roman Reigns’ character would be different were he in AEW and Jericho stressed that Reigns would be more realistic in terms of the way he’s booked and his promos.
“I watched Survivor Series, it was really good, but there was this promo with The Miz and Daniel Bryan and Miz saying for the sake of our children and our families you have to stop The Fiend. Nobody talks like that. You can still put the guy over big time, but what is he going to do, break into your house? Steal your kids? It’s just not believable. It’s cartoonish in a bad way,” said Jericho.
“If you have a guy like Roman Reigns in AEW he’d be so over because Roman Reigns is a legit really cool dude. He’s a great guy, super cool. He’s the kind of guy you want to hang out with, but they never portray that on the show. They always give him these promos to read. The real Roman Reigns never shines through. It’s the same with Seth Rollins. They have their own, unique personalities so don’t write stuff for them, just have them bring up that they have a title match, what it means to them and just go out there and do it and it would allow them to get over as a result.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Keepin it 100 w/Konnan with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.