Chris Jericho Discusses The Biggest Difference Between AEW And WWE

As a guest on the latest episode of The Kurt Angle Show, AEW superstar Chris Jericho joined to talk about the biggest differences between AEW and WWE.

After spending decades in the WWE as one of the company's top stars, Jericho left in 2018 and wrestled matches in NJPW against the likes of Kenny Omega, Tetsuya Naito, and Kazuchika Okada.


Jericho spoke about his time in NJPW and how quickly he learned the differences between the way WWE does things compared to other wrestling companies.

"I think the biggest difference right out of the gate is [AEW] is our company," Jericho said, regarding the biggest difference between AEW and WWE. "That's what really appealed to me to go there in the first place. I went to New Japan between WWE and AEW and the first match I had was with Kenny Omega in the Tokyo Dome and I remember when we did the beatdown angle for it, Kenny got color and I was like, because we can't do color in WWE, this needs this type of intensity.

"When you get blood it's not a blood bath, it's the intensity that it adds to the performances of the players in the ring and the people watching. Then when we had the match, very similar to the Shawn [Michaels WrestleMania match], I had the whole ending, Kenny had the beginning. I thought who do we have to tell this to, who do we have to talk to? And Kenny said what are you talking about? I said 'Well who's the agent?' Kenny said 'There's no agents here. This is the match, this is what we're doing. Gedo is the booker, we tell Gedo the finish and then we do it.'


"I was like, are you kidding me? Really? Creative control. More importantly, they trusted me to be an artist and let the artists be artists. You've got Kenny Omega who is the top guy in New Japan, you've got Chris Jericho who's coming in, business went through the roof when the match was announced. So that kind of made me fall in love with wrestling again, the creative element of it. It was like flying live without a net, not everything is connected, you don't have to tell the cameraman, nobody knows what you're going to do. No one knows what you're going to say."

The company started out with Chris Jericho as its inaugural champion and since then, AEW has made massive leaps and bounds, announcing the major signings of talent such as Bryan Danielson and CM Punk. Speaking about the start of AEW, Jericho revealed the main reason he knew AEW was going to work from the start and why AEW let's "artists be artists."

"When AEW first came up as a concept, I was like I've heard this a million times before, this is never going to work," Jericho said. "Then I talked to Tony Khan and realized like we have a chance here. I talked to Kenny and The Bucks because I got really close to Kenny and The Bucks and Cody working in New Japan. I was there for 2 years before AEW started and I thought this might work.


"Low and behold, it got off the ground really quickly and we were a part of it. It was my company because I knew if this works, this adds to Chris Jericho's legacy. If it doesn't, then I figure out what I'm going to do but I really want to take a chance. The biggest difference is creative freedom, not creative control, nobody has that.

"Tony Khan has never given that to anybody, but the creative freedom to be a pro. Tony gives you the space to be an artist and it feels like it's our company and I think the fans feel that too. We're in this together and my analogy is that I started listening to Metallica in 1984 when no one knew who they were and I stuck with them until they became the biggest band in the world, till they became the new Rolling Stones.

"I'll always feel a special closeness to them and a loyalty to Metallica because we started it together. I think our fans in AEW feel the same way, they're not just watching a show, they're a part of a show and they believe in it. As more people come to watch, there's a different vibe. We let artists be artists."

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The Kurt Angle Show with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.