Chris Jericho is the last of a dying breed of professional wrestlers.
The Ayatollah of Rock-n-Rolla is one of the final active competitors to have wrestled for both promotions of yesteryear, such as WCW and ECW, while also having successful runs in ongoing promotions such as WWE, NJPW, and AEW. With over 30 years in the business now, Jericho has seen backstage environments shift and shape over time, evolving from what they were in the late-’90s.
Speaking on Keeping it 100 with Konnan, Jericho says he has seen the drug use significantly decrease today compared to when he first broke into the business.
“Now, it’s you know, weed and alcohol,” Jericho said. “There’s really no pills, there’s really no drugs.”
The Demo-God spoke more upon the differences between WWE and AEW, specifically citing where the McMahons and Khans differ. Jericho says Tony Khan’s sports background has helped create a strong locker room environment.
“It’s been a really cool environment with AEW because Tony is, you never want to say this, but he’s one of the boys to an extent,” Jericho said. “He’s one of the boys in that he hangs out after the show. He’s very generous.
“There’s food after every show for the entire crew. Half the time, there’s alcohol as well, so it’s almost like there’s an after party after every show, but the reason for that is the Khan family have a sports background. The McMahon family is a wrestling background. In sports, you take care of your athletes and you make sure they’re fed. You make sure they have a place to stay. In WWE, you don’t. You find your own food, you rent your own hotel, you get your own rental car, and have at it.”
Because of aspects like Khan’s generosity, Jericho says he sees a lot of WCW in AEW when it comes to the backstage familial feel.
“The way WCW was, there was that camaraderie because everyone was together,” Jericho said. “And the difference now, like you said, everybody is just cool. Everybody wants to be hanging out. Not saying WWE wasn’t like that, but unless you did a European tour, everybody was in different hotels, and some guys are leaving right after the show, some guys have to drive to the next town, some guys like to stay. In this one, there really isn’t [any cliques]. I mean, there are your cliques, but usually it is a pretty cool crowd, and everyone is just hanging out man.
“I feel like this is the modern day equivalent of driving down the highway, and instead of having 2-3 guys in my car, which I never would if there was driving at this point, I got 15 guys gathered around for stupid stories.”
Speaking on those stories, Jericho says one of the strongest listeners is Tony Khan himself.
“Tony Khan loves the stories of the worldwide tapings,” Jericho said. “The ones we used to do in WCW. Everyone was getting f–ked up, and drunk, and whatever we were on back then. The advent of estacy, for example. And all of that, he’s so obsessed with that because he is like the ultimate wrestling fan. He watched those shows. When I tell him that those shows, 80% of the guys on those shows were either still drunk or super hungover, he just thinks that’s the greatest story in the world, ‘So tell me more.’ Of course, Cody loves all that history, he’s a big historian.”
If you use any of the quotes from this article, please credit Keeping it 100 with Konnan with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.