In a revelatory conversation on the Allison Hagendorf Show, wrestling icon Chris Jericho opened up about what he views as the most daring move in his illustrious three-decade career—his high-stakes transition from WWE to All Elite Wrestling (AEW).
Jericho, who turns 53 next month, has been an indomitable force in the pro wrestling arena, showing no indications of winding down anytime soon. Back in 2018, Jericho first heard rumblings of a nascent wrestling enterprise spearheaded by Tony Khan, the scion of billionaire Shahid Khan.
Though there were several fledgling promotions surfacing around the same time, AEW struck a chord with Jericho, notably due to its auspicious blend of talent and financial backing.
Embracing this new venture proved to be a landmark decision.
Jericho was crowned the inaugural AEW World Champion at the All Out event on August 31, 2019. Later, in the debut episode of AEW Dynamite aired in October of the same year, he introduced the Inner Circle faction and swiftly established himself as the company's marquee talent.
"It was a leap of faith," Jericho admitted in the interview. "We didn't even have a TV deal then. What we did have was Tony Khan's unbridled enthusiasm and deep pockets, coupled with a roster teeming with potential. I felt that we could genuinely make an impact." Jericho's intuition wasn't misplaced.
Originally aired on TNT, AEW Dynamite made a high-profile shift to TBS in January 2022, both networks being subsidiaries of Warner Brothers Discovery. While he had already built an impressive career spanning over 20 years in WWE, Jericho expressed his aspirations for more.
"I had reached a point where I felt I had accomplished all that I could in WWE. The prospect of just being another cog in the wheel didn't appeal to me. With AEW, we're not just creating an alternative; we're striving to better the entire industry." The wrestling legend's gamble has not only redefined his own career but has also enriched the pro wrestling landscape, offering fans and wrestlers alike a viable alternative to the long-standing WWE monopoly. His story serves as a testament to the transformative power of risk and ambition.