The “Demo God” Chris Jericho returned to his weekly Saturday Night Special this weekend. During the discussion, the AEW star opened up about the origins of The Inner Circle, explaining that different names were considered for the group before they made a final decision.
“That was me [that came up with Inner Circle],” Jericho noted. “My original idea for it was ‘The Fist’ because there’s five of us [like there are five fingers]. 1-2-3-4-5: The Fist,” Jericho explained. “And then I said something about the Inner Circle on a Being The Elite thing that I did, and Matt and Nick were like, ‘Inner Circle is a great name.’ I went, ‘Yeah, maybe it is.’ I think Tony had another name too… He had an idea as well, he wanted it to be like a band. Like, Chris Jericho and the Conspirators or whatever the hell it was. Inner Circle seemed to fit, and it’s definitely one of the greatest factions of all time. I love being a part of it.”
With a stable backing up this “Demo God” persona, Jericho feels comfortable with where his character has arrived in AEW. He looked back at past characters of his, in particular his Y2J character, and Chris revealed that he dislikes when people still refer to him as his past persona.
“Of course I [like Y2J]. Could I ever go back to it? No,” Chris said. “And when people still refer to me as Y2J, I’m like, ‘Dude, that was ten years ago’. And that was one of the things with why I always insisted on morphing, and updating, and evolving as a character. If you call me Y2J now, it’s an almost an insult to me because that was such a long time ago.
“That would be like an actor, like if you were Brad Pitt. If you liked Brad Pitt in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, the last Quentin Tarantino movie, [Brad was] Stuntman Cliff, and he was doing a live show and people were yelling out, ‘Thelma and Louise! Thelma and Louise!'” Jericho explained. “It’s like, ‘Dude, that was f–king twenty years ago. I’ve done so many things since then that when you say Thelma and Louise, it’s almost an insult. Stick with the new things.’ So, I loved Y2J at the time. I do not appreciate being called Y2J now.”
Something Jericho misses about WWE is his past interactions with the CEO, Vince McMahon. He says that this place in AEW feels more like a collaborative working effort as opposed to “working for” a boss, like he was with Vince.
“Honestly, [I miss] my interactions with Vince. I really, really enjoyed working for Vince McMahon because he challenged me,” Jericho stated. “He challenged me as a professional, he challenged me as my ideas. It wasn’t easy, and at the end of the day, it’s Vince’s ice cream shop, as Pat Patterson would say, and we’re living in it. I never had a problem with it. I mean, obviously you have problems with your boss when he’s 25 years older and whatever it is, but I was always a little intimidated by Vince but he always challenged me.
“And when I got to a certain point in the Shawn Michaels feud in 2008/2009, he trusted my judgement,” Chris continued. “9 times out of 10 he would go with what I wanted to do. 1 time he wouldn’t and that would piss me off, like, give me the f–king courtesy of at least trying this. But yeah, WWE, they work the way they work.
“My opinion, for what I appreciate, AEW is so much more beneficial and so much more in tune with how I think,” he added. “I love working with Tony Khan. And like I said, working with Tony Khan, I worked for Vince McMahon and there’s a difference. But I liked being challenged by him, and as much as people bag on him and bury him, he’s a very smart guy. And he’s very, very careful with the words he chooses. I’m not sure I’ll ever go back to WWE; I really enjoy working for the Khan family.”
On a recent episode of his podcast, legendary superstar Bret Hart claimed that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was bullied by Triple H and Shawn Michaels during his time in WWE. Jericho addressed this report, saying that there is definitely truth to it. Apparently Rocky and HBK were even set to work a program at one point but Dwayne turned it down because of his past with two men.
“As far as I know, that’s true, from what The Rock told me. It’s the reason why The Rock and Shawn Michaels never worked a match,” Chris explained. “I think, also too, Shawn might of insulted The Rock when he was a kid in Hawaii or something like that.
“I believe that when Shawn came back, there was one match where it was Triple H versus The Rock in Louisville, KY, and Shawn was the special guest referee and they were angling to try and do an angle/storyline between Rock and Shawn. I don’t think Rock wanted to do it, and I remember that because I worked with Benoit that night in Louisville.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Saturday Night Special with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.