Them fightin’ words! This week in an interview with TV Insider, the first undisputed Champion in WWE history, Chris Jericho was asked about All Elite Wrestling’s new television deal with TurnerMedia and its impact on WWE. Jericho didn’t hold back.
“I’m not surprised. I will say this…everyone in WWE owes Chris Jericho a thank you because the moment I signed with AEW, it became legit. That’s when everyone started getting these huge raises to not go. It was very similar to what happened to Bobby Hull in the early 1970s when he signed with the WHA (World Hockey Association) for a million dollars. Every other player got a huge raise to not jump with him. My dad [Ted Irvine] went from a $35,000 to a $100,000 a year because they didn’t want him going to the WHA. It’s the same thing for Vince [McMahon] is doing with WWE.”
Whether he was in character or not, there’s no denying the legitimacy Jericho brought to the upstart promotion by agreeing to a multi-year deal with All Elite Wrestling. It was a major coup at a time when sports entertainment needed a swift kick in the ass the most.
Jericho went on to address the inevitable comparisons between the Monday Night Wars of the late 1990’s and the current situation heating up between AEW and World Wrestling Entertainment.
“This is a war. Even if you don’t want it to be, it just is. There hasn’t been any competition for WWE on a national basis for 20 years or more. I think this is something they didn’t really want, but it’s great for the fans and great for the guys. I think in the long run it’s going to make a difference because it gives people a choice. And it’s always good to have a choice.”
Like in any industry, competition is usually good for the workers and the end product.
Chris Jericho recently appeared on Busted Open Radio with Bully Ray and also didn’t hold back about some of the contempt he felt for WWE and they way they booked him in recent years.
It’s unclear what has sparked Jericho’s recent statements, what is clear is that he’s ready to go head-to-head with the company that helped make him a start for 20 years.
Competition is good for business and good for fans – so is controversy, and its clear Chris Jericho is ready to create some in All Elite Wrestling. Bring it on Y2J!!!