During his latest Saturday Night Special podcast, AEW star Chris Jericho revealed that his match against Kenny Omega at NJPW’s Wrestle Kingdom 12 in January of 2018 went a long way in sowing the seeds for AEW, which was established exactly a year later.
According to Jericho, Tony Khan, the President and CEO of AEW, felt confident in starting a new wrestling promotion after noticing the kind of global interest that Jericho-Omega generated and the business that NJPW did.
“That made Tony Khan go, ‘Holy smokes, I think I can start my own wrestling company’ because my match with Omega at Tokyo Dome did such good business worldwide,” said Jericho.
The official announcement of AEW’s creation came at midnight Pacific Time on January 1, 2019, during an episode of Being The Elite. Also announced in the episode was Double or Nothing, AEW’s inaugural pay-per-view event which was a sequel to All In, the biggest indie wrestling show in history which was organized by Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks.
During the podcast, Jericho also mentioned how helping establish AEW is the proudest accomplishment of his illustrious career.
“Right now [is the proudest moment of my career]. To have AEW built up, and the stuff we’ve done in just a year, just makes me feel incredibly proud,” he said.
Jericho also revealed that, if not for AEW, he would have retired from pro wrestling.
“There was a certain time in 2015 [in WWE] when I just did house shows. I was not on TV. And then the feud with Kevin Owens really reinvigorated me, and then the match with Kenny in Japan made me go, ‘Oh my god, this is wrestling.’ I would have probably quit wrestling if not for AEW, and now I have no plans to stop,” said Jericho, the first-ever AEW World Champion.
AEW will be celebrating Jericho’s 30th anniversary as a pro wrestler in a special episode of Dynamite on October 7.
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Chris Jericho’s Saturday Night Special with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.