Jericho Says His NJPW Run Saved His Love of Wrestling

Oct 12, 2020 - by Steve Gerweck

In a recent edition of Busted Open Radio, Chris Jericho discussed his decision to leave WWE, how NPJW reignited his love of wrestling, why he may be retired without AEW, and much more. You can read his comments below.

Chris Jericho on his decision to leave WWE and NJPW reinventing his career: “I was just working house shows in 2015. I did 60 live events and I wasn’t interested in being on TV. I decided to do a three-month contract in 2016 to do something at WrestleMania – it was supposed to be with [Dean] Ambrose and they changed it to AJ Styles. Then I hooked up with Kevin Owens, and I was like ‘Man, this is really fun.’ It kind of reinvigorated my love and creativity. And then midway through 2017, we had the best story on RAW by far – I’m not being a jerk about that, you can go back and watch how entertaining that story was – and all that garnered us was second match on the card at WrestleMania. Second match – that’s a jobber match. First or last – those or the two, and maybe semi-main event. We were on second after having the best story of the year. I said ‘I’m done, I’m not doing this again.’ I split to do Fozzy when Judas took off and I wasn’t interested in going back to wrestling until Don [Callis] put the idea of what do you think about working with Kenny Omega? When I went to New Japan, it was like this whole new world of creativity opened up where I was like ‘This is what wrestling is supposed to be.’ There are no scripts…….it was real. That was where it all started coming back to me again doing those New Japan shows which led into AEW.”

On why he may be out of wrestling without AEW: “If there was no AEW, I might not be wrestling right now because I didn’t want to do deal with the shit anymore. That’s not a bad thing, that’s just the way it is there – either you deal with it or you don’t, and I was over it. Now in AEW, it’s me getting to be me. If you say that the last three years have been my best, I’ll tell you the last year has probably been one of the most fun I’ve ever had because there are no restrictions. How creative can you be? Can we do a match revolving around mimosa because Orange Cassidy has orange juice and I’m the champagne guy? How can we do this? Let’s put it together. There were no restrictions, no hassle, no nothing – I drew the worst picture ever of what I wanted to do and sent it to Tony Khan. Five minutes later, he’s like ‘Let’s do it.’ That’s what we do here……everybody on AEW’s roster gets a chance to make it. You’re signed here with the intentions of being a main event player – I don’t care if you’re 22 or 52, everybody gets a shot. That makes such a huge difference to the roster and to the fans’ perception and all of us.”

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