Chris Jericho doesn’t want AEW to be WCW or TNA
You see AEW stars like Cody and the Young Bucks out front. They seem to be working so hard. As a guy with a huge work ethic yourself, what can you tell me about how much effort these guys are putting in to make AEW work?
Well, you’re starting something from scratch. That’s never happened before. The WWE has been around since the 30s and 40s. WCW was around since around the same time, whether it’s the NWA. We’re starting from scratch. So you’ve got a lot of guys from the travel agents to the guys building the ring, to the production guys… everybody is basically doing this for the first time or for the first time in this company. So there’s a lot of work to go on. For me, when I was presented with the opportunity to be kind of in an executive role, I didn’t want it. I wanted to be a performer. I have too much stuff going on as well.
We were talking about Fozzy, we just had a record that had three Top 10 hits on it. We have a lot of momentum and a lot of expectations and what we need to do for our next records a well. I’m one of the top guys in the AEW. Yes,
I’m in the main event of the very first show. I’m going to crush that show and all the shows I’m involved with, but I also got a very successful podcast, I’ve got a rock and roll band that’s gone three levels up in the last year and a half, that has nothing but more levels to go. We’ve got a record to write and record, we have a tour in September that we booked around the Iron Maiden show that we’re doing at the stadium in L.A. So there’s a lot of stuff going on with Jericho outside of the actual wrestling business.
It would not be fair for me to be an executive in AEW when you can’t give 100 percent because you have to give 100 percent when you’re doing something like that behind the scenes. That’s why I think we’ve got a very young executive team, which is great, because it’s the first time ever that you’ve seen that. I think it’s going to reflect on who’s watching the show, the demographics and the ratings that we do.
Is there anyone who is a free agent that you’d really love to see become part of the Elite?
I don’t, because like I said, if you look at the roster that we have it’s made up of a lot of great performers. You’ve get a guy like Kenny Omega, who’s one of the best wrestlers in the world. A huge star, but not on a national basis in the States. People are going to see this guy and go, ‘Who is this guy? He’s amazing!’ He’s going to be like a 15-year overnight sensation. The same thing with the Young Bucks and a lot of the guys that are on the roster. I think our roster is stacked and I have matches in my mind for the next two years.
I don’t think we’re interested in getting a lot of so-called free agents. If you leave the WWE, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re going to take you in AEW. We don’t want this to be TNA or WCW, where they were just taking everybody. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but there’s too much talent out there with potential huge name value. That’s what we want.
We’ve got Chris Jericho. We’ve got Jim Ross.
We’ve got Cody who had a lot of WWE experience and I’m sure there will be one or two other guys out there who will come through. Other than that, we’re building our own stars because that’s how you make it in show business. Like the cruise, you build your own stars. It’s something that no one can see anywhere else and they’re going to tune in to check out your show.
You’re saying that you have the foresight to see two years ahead. Is Omega a guy that you’d like to keep working after Double or Nothing?
Oh, absolutely. If you’re talking about Jericho vs. Omega at the Tokyo Dome last year, was one of the matches of the year. Great chemistry, the first time we ever met each other in the ring, so obviously you want to do more. When it came time to do Double or Nothing, what’s the main event? Well, the biggest main event we could think of is Jericho vs. Omega. A rematch of this match that everybody had talked about that did huge business… everybody wants to see it.
The fact that we sold 12,000 tickets in four minutes will tell you that. Some people will go, ‘Well why would you give out that match so quickly?’ Well, to me, you never assume there’s going to be a second show. This first show, we had to come out of the gate and totally kill it and let people know what we’re all about, and the best way to do that is give your biggest and best match right off the bat.
We have a lot to live up to from the Tokyo Dome match, but I’m completely confident to be in there with Kenny and I think it’s going to be another great match at the end of another great show. It really sets the tone for AEW from here on and I think it’s gonna be a match that we’re gonna do probably quite a few times over the next few years. And why wouldn’t you? When you have great chemistry with somebody, you want to do as many matches as you can with them, if placed in the right position.
With AEW, your contract is for three years. What does that mean for Fozzy?
It’s business as usual for Fozzy, because my contract is not a completely full-time contract. We’re going to pick and choose the dates that we want to do, but they’re all going to be important dates, but in the meantime there’s still plenty of time to tour with Fozzy and continue to build the band. That’s another thing that’s very important to me, another reason why I signed with AEW, because I need a little bit of a looser schedule