Chris Jericho is certainly the stuff of legend in the pro wrestling industry. If it wasn’t just his tenure in WWE, and all the milestones he accomplished while wrestling for that company, then it was also his time wrestling in Canada, Germany, Mexico, Japan and later in Smoky Mountain Wrestling, ECW and WCW that made him the icon he is today.
Perhaps there aren’t very many pro wrestlers left on any roster that have accomplished as much as he has and have been around for just as long. He is certainly one of the greatest of all time and although that particular list is a massive one, he surely lands at the top tier of that list.
It was after quite the tenure in WWE that he decided to part ways with WWE in 2017, and after a series of successful matches with Kenny Omega and other stars from NJPW showed, he was back in that promotion making big news with an updated character and lots of eyes on what he was doing.
After a very disappointing final run in WWE, where he felt he was badly used and treated after all he had done, it was refreshing for him to be back on that NJPW platform where he could be creative and shine with a new character direction, and the future looked promising for him indeed…especially since all that had gone down with the infamous Kevin Owens angle in WWE…
“Originally, that was going to be the main event for the world title. Kevin Owens was the champion and I was going to beat him in the main event of WrestleMania as a babyface…Instead of having Jericho and Owens as the main event, Vince decided to put Bill Goldberg and Brock Lesnar on the main card. Vince said that it’s going to be me versus Kevin Owens for the world title at WrestleMania and you are going to win the title, f*** yeah! Next week, he doesn’t tell me, but I hear that it’s changed to Brock Lesnar versus Bill Goldberg for the title. And not only did they take us out of the main event – and, once again, just because I was told I have no right to it and things change all the time, I’m a big boy, I can handle it. But to take us from the main event slot and then move us to the second match on the card on a card that has 12 matches on it? I was like, that’s a f***ing insult.”via Chris Jericho /Wikipedia
It was in 2018 at the All In show put on by Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks that he appeared next (although he would make sporadic appearances for NJPW onward), and things took an interesting turn in 2019 when rumors were circulating that Chris Jericho would be signing with another promotion altogether, and a brand new one to boot.
AEW would launch in 2019 and it was Jericho’s participation in a press conference that would get the whole world talking. Not only was a new promotion on the horizon, but it had a lot of money to back it up and now had a huge star that had been in WWE and dominated there as well. He would go on to become the inaugural AEW World Champion.
2019 isn’t all that long ago, and since its inception, AEW has already come so far. They have even beaten WWE in the ratings at times along the way, which says a lot.
Of course there are those out there that don’t consider this to be the new pro wrestling war reminiscent of the Monday Night Wars of the Attitude Era in the late nineties, but it smells like gun powder to me and AEW is certainly gaining momentum.
This was hoped for and many feel it was inevitable. In 2001, Vince McMahon purchased WCW and by doing that he did a disservice to the pro wrestling industry, because apart from the smaller promotions, the only big stage left was WWE and that not only hurt the fans but the talent as well.
The inception of AEW put a stop to that more than ROH or Impact ever did, although both promotions are held in high regard and deserve that respect. AEW provided a place for wrestlers to shine and on that alternate bigger stage that had been missed for nearly 2 decades.
So yeah…do they have a long way to go still? Sure, but just look at what they’ve accomplished so far. They are certainly in the conversation as being one of the greatest promotions in the industry and Jericho feels that this is already the case for sure. But only imagine what the case will be in a few years time.
This is pretty much what he went into while speaking with popculture.com, he stating that in matches, energy and the product delivered to the fans, AEW is there already. Here’s some of what he said:
“Well, in my opinion, what is the top wrestling promotion? …To me, I think we already are, as far as in-ring product and entertaining shows, storylines, characters, et cetera. If you’re looking at like will AEW overtake WWE as the wrestling brand in North America? I don’t know.
But that’s not something that we ever really think about or worry about. All we’re worried about is continuing to grow our fan base, which we are, grow and continue to improve and create amazing stories, which we do.
So ask me in a couple (of) years, if we’re going to be the most dominant promotion. I know we’ll be making a hell of a lot more money than we are right now, which will enable us to continue to put on the best wrestling product in the world today, which is what we’re already doing.”via popculture.com /wrestlingnews.co (Transcription)
So yeah, there are those that don’t consider this a war, and they’re entitled to that opinion. But pay attention to the WWE product if you will. Look closely at how they’re using their wrestlers all of a sudden…their key talents. Since AEW started gaining steam with a lot of key matches, have you noticed how Seth Rollins, AJ Styles and Kevin Owens have been having a lot more matches on TV as of late?
Perhaps some of the only top talents that can deliver the type of matches equal to what Danielson, Punk, Adam Page, Darby Allin, The Young Bucks, Dante Martin, Jungle Boy, Daniel Garcia, Kenny Omega and so many others have been delivering over at AEW?
WWE is certainly paying attention, and they’re smart for doing so, but to go back to what Jericho is saying here, AEW is doing their thing one match, one show, one week at a time and they’re getting that much-needed attention that will give them the edge in the months and years to come. Meanwhile…WWE would do good to pay attention and WWE fans should too, and they shouldn’t underestimate AEW in the long run.