Chris Jericho has discussed AEW’s ability to make new stars, something that he says WWE can only blame themselves for failing to do.
Jericho was a guest on Busted Open Radio where he talked at length about AEW’s mission to create new main event stars. When the promotion started Jericho was perhaps the best-known wrestler the company had in as he had decades of appearing on WCW and more notably WWE television.
“Our goal from the start was to make new stars. Because that’s what wrestling’s all about. It always has been. If you look at last week’s show, where we had Jungle Boy vs. Darby Allin in the main event, we had Shida vs. Tay Conti in a main event. Those are two kinds of fence post matches on our show and they both did a great number.”
“We’ve made Darby Allin into a legit main event draw. I mean last night he’s in the main event with Ten for God’s sake and it will probably do a good number. I give us a full Barry Horowitz pat on the back for that because we set out to do it and we did it. It’s not hard to do; pick the right guy and just stick with them. We paired Darby with Sting, so he got that rub. And now Sting is almost, I’m not going to say lackey, but he’s almost Darby’s second at this point. And that’s probably exactly what he should be.”
Jericho then touched upon his own faction and their opponents at the upcoming Blood and Guts match. He named members of both Inner Circle and The Pinnacle to illustrate his point:
“If you look at what we’ve done with Jericho, MJF, Sammy Guevara, Santana and Ortiz, Wardlow, that’s another aspect. We are building these guys and girls because it just can’t be Jericho vs. Cody, vs. Kenny over and over again. Nor would we want it to be.”
As far as one match Jericho has never had in his career, the first AEW Champion discussed a potential showdown with The Icon, Sting:
“Someone asked me last night ‘hey Jericho vs. Sting has never happened. What a dream match.’ Yeah, it’s a dream match, it’s something we might do. It’s not something a priority for me because I think people would see that a different way than you would see Darby vs. Sting or Jericho vs. Darby. That’s what excites me because we need to build these guys. And when you see the ratings we’re getting because of it, oh my gosh, it’s working. And there’s a whole sh*tload of guys and girls in the pipeline that we could talk about that are there and ready to go.”
Chris Jericho then discussed his work with one star AEW has built, Jungle Boy:
“I wanted to work with him last year and then I’m like ‘I don’t want to do it in front of no people. Let’s wait a couple of months.’ Little did we know it would be a year later. It’s time to pull the trigger on Jungle Boy, and when we put him in the main event and he draws this great number you see ‘man, people like this kid.’
“It’s something that we’re very cognizant of and we’re very serious about it. And we’re not afraid to pull the trigger, to put these guys on in big spots to see if they draw a rating. And bingo, nine times out of ten they do, which is great to see.”
Jericho then touched on WWE, saying that if they don’t create stars for the future, they have only themselves to blame:
“When Vince goes to the investors [during the conference call] and says ‘the Raw ratings are down because we haven’t created any new stars, that’s completely on you guys! We [AEW] knew from the start we had to make stars. A lot of the guys on our show, Bucks, and Kenny included, Hangman Page; I said it on the Broken Skull Sessions, they weren’t known on a national level. On a national network television level. We’ve built them up, and then suddenly all these kinds of the second wave of guys and girls are getting in there.”
Chris Jericho finishes by lauding the fact that AEW has a strong pool of competitors that can headline any show they put on:
“Now AEW is dangerous because we have twelve people that you can put in the main event at any point in time. Next month it’ll be fourteen people you can do that. And to me, that’s just smart booking. It’s what any professional sports team does. If you’re talking about the Rangers, you’re talking about the Knicks, you’re talking about the Giants, you want to build next year’s All-Star team starting now. And that’s what we did.”
“It’s really working. When you see those ratings coming through, I do take great pride in it. Because I feel, once again, because I was with AEW when it started and I was kind of the first face of the company. When there’s more faces now, that just shows we’re doing things right.”
Chris Jericho and his Inner Circle face The Pinnacle on the May 5th edition of Dynamite. AEW has announced several other matches that will take place on the same night.