Inaugural AEW World Champion and fireball-throwing wizard Chris Jericho recently revealed Tony Khan’s original plans for The Inner Circle.
The heel faction was a vital part of both Chris Jericho’s initial run on top in AEW and his lengthy feud with MJF. The group consisted of Jericho, Sammy Guevara, Jake Hager, Santana and Ortiz.
Tony Khan initially had a very different name in mind for the group, one that could’ve altered the faction’s overall attitude and style.
During a recent Talk is Jericho podcast interview with Anthony Bowens, ‘Y2J’ revealed that Bowens and Max Caster, collectively known as The Acclaimed, would have had a different team name had plans gone ahead:
“I think I’ve told you the story before. I think at one point, Tony wanted to call The Inner Circle Chris Jericho and The Acclaimed.
I think he wanted to be like Tom, the example uses Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and I was like, I like the idea of a name of a team name. But I know he loved The Acclaimed and that’s what when I saw you guys like ah, there’s The Acclaimed.”
Ultimately, Tony Khan and Chris Jericho settled on The Inner Circle, a title that suited the egotistical heel persona Jericho was portraying at the time.
For Tony Khan, his fondness for The Acclaimed moniker finally bore fruit when he paired Bowens and Caster together. The humorous duo, bolstered by Caster’s merciless entrance raps, have successfully gotten over with AEW crowds despite losses on Dynamite and Rampage.
In 2022, Chris Jericho has come full circle in his AEW run, reverting to his initial sports entertainment-focused heel persona. After a tweener and eventual babyface turn during his long-running feud with MJF, Jericho has essentially rebooted The Inner Circle as The Jericho Appreciation Society.
His new group with 2.0, Daniel Garcia and Jake Hager has drawn plentiful heat from the AEW faithful since beginning their feud with Eddie Kingston, Santana, Ortiz and The Blackpool Combat Club.
Whether Jericho continues throwing fireballs due to his wizardry following the recent Blood and Guts epic remains to be seen.