Top AEW Star and first-ever AEW World Champion Chris Jericho recently appeared on The Kurt Angle Show to talk about what really made him want to go to All Elite Wrestling in the first place after working with the WWE for more than two decades and what for him is the biggest difference between AEW and the WWE, which Chris Jericho revealed is creative control.
This is what Chris Jericho said:
“I think the biggest difference right out of the gate is [AEW] is our company.” “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.”
Chris Jericho also talked about how even before AEW started he had a talk with Tony Khan, Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks and he knew since then that they had a chance and this may actually work. Jericho then talked about how the biggest difference is creative freedom, not creative control, which AEW CEO Tony Khan has given to them and nobody else has done that and Tony Khan gives them the space to be an artist and makes it feel like AEW is their company as well, which he thinks the fans feel too and the AEW CEO just lets artists be artists.
This is what Chris Jericho said:
“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.” “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.”