Chris Jericho has claimed Cody Rhodes wasn’t a top star before AEW became a huge deal in the wrestling industry.
Perhaps the biggest, game-changing wrestling event in the last decade was 2018’s All In pay-per-view. The success of the show inspired the formation of All Elite Wrestling, spearheaded by Tony Khan, The Elite, and Cody Rhodes.
Fans took notice when multi-time WWE Champion Chris Jericho signed onto the promotion on 8 January 2019. Then, on 19 May, AEW partnered with WarnerMedia for an episodic television show called AEW Dynamite.
During an interview on the latest AEW Unrestricted podcast, Chris Jericho claimed The Elite and Rhodes were not household names in the United States before the formation of AEW. While he believed the company would’ve succeeded without him, he still thought it wouldn’t have left quite a significant impact that it did on the industry:
“Keep in mind, no-one really knew Cody at that point. He’d been gone for years; the last time we’d seen him, he was Stardust when he left [WWE.] And as much buzz as Kenny [Omega], and Matt and Nick Jackson had, they were still mostly just regional guys. They were worldwide stars, but when it comes to national TV in the States, they didn’t have any experience with that.
If I’m the bridge to get here, check me out, and then look at all these other guys that we have. Would the company have happened if I wasn’t there? Probably. But I don’t think it would have grown as quickly as it did, or maybe gotten off to such a huge start.”
The Elite is currently suspended following a backstage altercation with former AEW World Champion CM Punk and Ace Steel, while Cody Rhodes has since parted ways with the company and returned to WWE.
AEW may be facing an uphill battle as reports suggest advance tickets for upcoming shows in October and November are significantly down from last year. While the company has brought in new talents such as Saraya and potentially Mexican luchador Bandido, many wrestlers such as Malakai Black and Adam Cole are currently not on television due to injuries and other personal matters.
As for Chris Jericho, he recently won the ROH World Championship and has vowed to destroy the legacy of ROH by defeating former champions of the brand.