Former AEW World Champion Chris Jericho was on a recent episode of Rasslin’ with Brandon F. Walker. Walker pointed out how AEW has emphasized how fun wrestling is, and Jericho agreed noting that AEW does not insult their fans.
“That’s exactly what we’re going for, and there’s a couple things to address. One, we also take great pride in the fact that we don’t insult our fans,” Jericho noted. “Every story we tell has some sense to it. Now not everything is perfectly sensical, but it’s always 90% in the ballpark, and especially for my stuff, I don’t like plot holes. I don’t like it when people don’t pick up the little nuances, then we’ll have to go back and beat them over the head with it the next week, but everything that we do is very planned out and thought of to make sure that it makes sense.
“If you see something happen today, six months down the line, it might happen again, but you’ll know where the seeds were planted, and that’s kind of where Stadium Stampede came from because we were supposed to do the big Blood and Guts match, which is the culmination of The Inner Circle vs. The Elite, which started on the very first episode of the show, October 2, 2019.
“So because we couldn’t do that, we had to kind of take a twist and turn. We had a whole month in April where we were basically doing it out of QT Marshall’s training center because we had really no choice. So when we came back to work in May, we knew we had to continue this Elite – Inner Circle story, but it has to have a blow-off, and that’s the Stadium Stampede.”
Unlike WWE, AEW only has four big PPVs a year with the rest of year filled with episodes of Dynamite each week. Jericho stated that this was intentional and explained why this format provides better ways to tell stories.
“That was all Tony Khan’s idea, and he’s right, especially in this day and age, 12 PPVs a year, what does that really do? The revenue, as we all know how things have changed, is all based around television contracts, and PPVs are great, but you want people to also see some of those big things on TV because that’s the $175 million contract that we have,” Jericho explained. “So to do four big shows a year and have 52 huge shows a year, which are AEW Dynamite, was kind of the best business model to have.
“Now also too when you’re going back talking about MJF and Jericho for example, since we started in September, our first kind of stop on the journey was November. Jericho vs. MJF. If MJF wins, he gets to be part of The Inner Circle. He did. Now that takes us all the way through to February for another three months where it’s MJF and Jericho vs. The Bucks for the titles. Then there’s another three months to take us to the next PPV.
“Like a subway station, if we can get from here to here and then we can get from here to there, then you can kind of put the rest in perspective along the way, but it makes it a lot easier to have one of those destinations every 3 months rather than every month. Then a lot of times, you’re just stuffing things in there just because you have a show to fill, and that’s not the best way to tell a story.”
Jericho has made sporadic appearances on AEW commentary. He talked about a possible shift to commentary post-retirement as well as teasing a full-time role in the near future.
“I love it, and once again, this all came from necessity when we had 29% of our roster, Tony Khan knows that figure to the T, available for the tapings that we did that took up our month of April,” Jericho recalled. “And I just said, ‘Well, I’ll show up there and just do commentary. That way we don’t have to worry about storylines. We don’t have anybody here anyways,’ and so [Tony] Schiavone and I did it. We did 25 matches in a day, and we had a great time. And I think all of us kind of realized that we stumbled on to something pretty special.
“So I’ve never been the type of guy that wants to go behind the scenes after wrestling. I’m behind the scenes enough as it is as far as ideas and storylines and advice. I’ll always do it, but commentary could be a way to stay on the show when the wrestling days are done. It’s been 30 years. I still feel great. I still have the potential to have the best match on the show or one of them, and I think it happens all the time. Not every week but look at the guys we have on the show. So as long as I feel I can still work up to the level that I’ve set for myself, I’ll continue to wrestle, but it’s great to know that there’s still that commentary side of things that we can do.
“And there’s actually another show that’s going to be starting very soon where I’m going to be one of the regular commentators, and that’s exciting. Once again, the more things you can do well in the entertainment business, the more valuable you are, and this is just another kind of feather in the Chris Jericho cap that I can utilize whenever they need me to utilize it.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Rasslin’ with Brandon F. Walker with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.