Chris Jericho has revealed who was the brains behind the idea to have undefeated MMA fighter Jake Hager step into the cage on AEW Dynamite against The Pinnacle’s Wardlow.
The feud between Chris Jericho’s Inner Circle and MJF’s Pinnacle shows no sign of abating despite the wars between the groups in recent weeks. Trouble started for Jericho when he offered the cretinous MJF a way into his Inner Circle group at Full Gear in 2020. All MJF had to do was defeat Jericho in a one-on-one match and he and Wardlow would become fully-fledged members of that group. MJF was able to defeat Le Champion meaning Inner Circle’s members swelled to seven but all was not rosy in the group that now appeared to have two leaders.
Sammy Guevara, formerly Jericho’s most trusted confidante and tag team partner in ‘Le Sex Gods’ felt marginalised by MJF and was vocal about his distrust of the man who once fooled Cody Rhodes into thinking he was his friend. Cracks soon formed and Guevara found himself on the outs with the group.
After a few weeks away to think things over, Guevara returned with proof of how MJF was trying to sabotage Inner Circle from within. Unfortunately for Jericho, Guevara, Hager, Santana, and Ortiz, the weaselly MJF was one step ahead and announced he never intended to take over Inner Circle because all the while he was creating his own faction. Enter The Pinnacle.
With MJF now backed with Wardlow as well as FTR, Shawn Spears, and the incomparable mind of Tully Blanchard, he now seemed unstoppable. But Inner Circle refused to lie down and die leading to the brutal Blood And Guts match between the teams in early May. The Pinnacle won the night after Guevara surrendered to stop MJF from throwing Jericho from the top of the cage to the floor below. Despite having won the match, MJF tossed Jericho down to the stage anyway.
With a win in The Pinnacle’s column, the groups found themselves sharing a stadium rather than two rings in the main event of Double Or Nothing as Stadium Stampede returned. This time Sammy Guevara was able to redeem himself winning the match after nailing Shawn Spears with a 630 splash.
With tensions still boiling over between the groups, what was gang warfare split into individual battles between competitors. And two men that had been eager to get their hands on one another again were Jake Hager and Wardlow. The two enforcers of each group had met once before in the wrestling ring with Wardlow coming out on top. For their next meeting, Jake Hager challenged Wardlow to meet him in an MMA cage where Hager remains undefeated.
Now speaking to Bryan Alvarez and Dave Meltzer on Wrestling Observer Radio, Chris Jericho has revealed whose idea it was for the MMA match to take place within the confines of AEW.
Chris Jericho stated:
“That was a suggestion by Wardlow months ago. We had it scheduled two separate times and things just changed. One time, somebody was hurt or couldn’t make it. The other time, it didn’t fit the angle where we had it slotted. The funny thing is, we had to do that match before we went back on the road because obviously you have to build that cage and we wanted an actual MMA cage and wanted it as close to an MMA fight as possible because Jake is an MMA fighter.”
“We had the cornermen, Aubrey had the black ref jersey, the way Justin Roberts announced it. We really put a lot of time into making it different from anything else you had seen, but it had to be taped because of [the cage]. It was the last taped show we had available and we could create and change the story to put it in there.”
In the end, the fight didn’t turn out too well for Wardlow with Jake Hager choking him out for the victory and to continue his unblemished MMA record.
Things are far from over between The Pinnacle and Inner Circle, Hager will team with Santana and Ortiz to face FTR and Wardlow on the 7th of July at AEW Road Rager in Miami.