Chris Jericho has discussed the importance of AEW’s ability to create new stars and says the company was on his back for the first few months of its existence.
AEW was the result of a perfect storm of a groundswell of support for the likes of The Young Bucks and Cody Rhodes, the availability of huge wrestling names such as Jim Ross and Chris Jericho, and the all-important backing of billionaire owner Tony Khan.
Speaking on the True Geordie podcast, Chris Jericho discussed the importance of creating brand new stars as quickly as possible in AEW and says the company was on his back at the beginning:
“You have to be giving and you have to create new stars. I remember when I first started I was like no one is going to take my spot and it’s all about the spot. Nobody is taking Chris Jericho’s spot, because nobody can do what I can do. There is only one Chris Jericho. So to continue to stay relevant and continue to contribute and be a top guy, the definition is to be giving and to create new stars.”
“When we first started AEW, it was solely on my back, I really believe that. When you look at the roster, unless you were a hardcore wrestling fan, no one knew any of those f*cking guys. People were like ‘Jericho is there? Let’s check it out.’ And then you see all of these great guys.”
Chris Jericho then rattled off several names he says he worked with that became bigger names in the company as a result:
“I knew right away that I have 3 to 6 months to make as many stars as I can. If not as great as I am and as great as I think I am – if I’m the only guy in the show for 6 months and the only star, then it’s going to die. It is, I can’t do it all, I’m not Michael Jackson or Elvis, I knew we had to make new stars right away. That was why I had to concentrate on reinventing Cody.”
“Think about who Cody was, he wasn’t who he is now. Kenny Omega, Darby Allin, Scorpio Sky, Moxley, he was not the guy he was when he came into the company. All of those guys I worked with when we first started the company.”
“The Inner Circle, the first night that we started the company there were these new guys. Sammy Guevara, I didn’t know who Santana and Ortiz were, Jake Hager wasn’t who he is now, he was a useless character in WWE.”
The Wizard finished by saying that as a result of the work he did to help make new stars, AEW were able to sign their massive new TV deal:
“So we built these stars in 3 months and that’s when we got a television deal for $160 million for 4 years. When we started we were an ad-revenue share, that means that if any company buys advertising on our show, we split it from the network.”
“In those 3 months, we built the company so that the demos were so good, which is the most important thing, that is how we got the TV deal. Solely because of all the work I did to build the new stars. If I didn’t do that then we might not be in business today.”
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