Despite not appearing on the show and working for a rival company, Chris Jericho in classic Chris Jericho style, still managed to be one of the major talking points of WrestleMania weekend.
In fact, the inaugural AEW World Champion didn’t even appear inside a wrestling ring.
Instead, Jericho sat down with Stone Cold Steve Austin on his show Broken Skull Sessions to discuss his life and 30 year career.
Before the show even began, it marked something of a landmark moment on the WWE Network, with Jericho appearing while still being a heavily featured star in a rival company.
During the over two-hour conversation, Jericho went into detail about leaving WWE and appearing in New Japan before heading to the newly created AEW. The leader of The Inner Circle broke down how he believes that his star power was a major benefit to New Japan and how in turn, that helped establish AEW.
“If you think about it, at this point of time – when I left WWE and went to New Japan [Pro Wrestling], and we can go into the specifics later, but when I headlined the Tokyo Dome with Kenny Omega, there was a huge spike in business for New Japan, not just in Tokyo, where I think we sold an extra 15,000 tickets for the Dome but on the buy-rates and subscriptions to New Japan World. It went up like 300% and that was the genesis for Tony Khan to go ‘there is room for another wrestling company in North America. We’ve seen this, it’s Jericho and Omega right’. And the reason for that is Jericho’s the guy that people knew and I can be the bridge to take people from WWE to New Japan to see Jericho ‘and who’s this Omega?’, he’s great and then they see all the other guys who are on the show. Same concept with AEW. Get Jericho on the show, and now people know who he is, let’s watch it – and to an extent Jim Ross as well, we’re the two worldwide names that people came to see and when they see us ‘oh my gosh, there’s this whole crop of amazing talent.”
Prior to joining New Japan, Chris Jericho enjoyed another stellar run in WWE. With the multi-time world champion was featuring in a high profile storyline with Kevin Owens, which led to the pair clashing at WrestleMania. However, the match, which was originally intended to be the main event, was shunted down the card. Something which Jericho has now revealed, played a major role in his WWE departure.
“And this is the big one, when I had this big programme with Kevin Owens in 2016, which in my opinion was one of the best stories, if not the best story for that year. We get to WrestleMania, it changed from Kevin and Jericho to Brock and Goldberg and great, no problem. But when Kevin and Jericho went from the main event – proposed – to the second match on the show I thought to myself ‘this is where I’ll be, in my opinion, for the rest of my time in WWE – the second match guy’ and in my mind I wasn’t a second match guy.
So that’s the kind of reason I went to New Japan and suddenly I’m headlining the Tokyo Dome 3 years in a row, and when the opportunity of AEW came up, I said ‘I wanna continue to do this’. I like being ‘the guy’ which I’d never been really before.”
Chris Jericho eventually joined AEW in January 2019. The veteran quickly established himself as a major player in the company winning the AEW World Title and creating The Inner Circle. The faction are currently gearing up to face The Pinnacle in the first ever Blood and Guts Match.