AEW superstar and former world champion Chris Jericho recently spoke to TalkSport to hype tomorrow’s ALL OUT pay per view. Check out highlights below.
On what he first thought of Orange Cassidy and his gimmick:
I hated him. I did not like him. I did not respect him. I thought it was stupid. And then, watching him every week in AEW when we started and hearing the crowd’s reaction to him… listen, if there is one thing that I’ve learned it’s that over is over and you can’t explain it. The concept of wrestling is to get over and the best way to do that is to do something different and that’s what Orange is doing. Once I started understanding that and pulled my head out of my ass, I was like you know what, this guy is pretty good. He’s really smart to be able to pull this off, like the world’s laziest wrestler. So instead of falling down a rabbit hole of some people who can’t see the genius of what he is doing, I went the other way. We can really make something of this guy. Let’s put him in a spotlight with Jericho. And what I didn’t expect was that we’d be doing that for 14 weeks. I’m really proud of that and I love longterm storytelling. Every week has been something new and something exciting and to me that’s the real secret of wrestling and the real genius, the real fun of wrestling when you can have that long storyline. And to do it with him, someone who has something different and people respond to and put him in this spotlight where he’s a legit main event star for AEW, that was the whole idea.
How his feud with Jon Moxley was different than their one in WWE:
Well, that wasn’t even the same guy. Dean Ambrose doesn’t even exist anymore. To me, that’s almost some job guy from the past. Jon Moxley is not that guy. Yeah, I had a pretty good feud with Dean Ambrose, but that wasn’t even close [to what I did with Moxley]. It wasn’t the same guy, not the same situation. When Jon really came to AEW is when he really became Moxley. He became what he had the potential to be, which I way I recruited him to AEW, why I brought him in to begin with. I think the story that we did started in mid-december and culminated at the end of February. Again, two and a half months. The story Cody and I had, started on our very first Dynamite and went into late November. So I pride myself on long stories that have a great payoff. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. As the heel, most of the time you lose and that’s OK, but with Mox I really enjoyed it.
On WWE having writers and him having to create a lot in AEW:
In WWE, you get complacent that people are going to book stories for you. All my best stuff, I always had major input in with WWE. Whether that be Shawn Michaels in 2008, Rey Mysterio in 2009 or Kevin Owens in 2016, all of those storylines were months and months and months. Obviously I have input, but so do the writers and you’re working together. In AEW, there is no writers. It’s up to me and I embraced that from the moment I signed. I’ve planned out big chunks.‘Ok, who’s available for me to work with?’ – because everyone has got their own storylines and things that are going on – and ‘what can I do with this?’ Like with Orange Cassidy it was like, is anyone else working with Orange Cassidy? The answer is no. So like I said, let me find something I can sink my teeth into to make Orange as big of a name as Moxley is, as big of a name as Cody is and to an extent we’ve done that and we’ve basically done it in front of no people.
On the creative freedom he has with Tony Khan:
One thing about Tony is he is very driven, very passionate and he knows what he wants. He’s not a pushover in any way, shape or form. I think that’s a misconception for a lot of people. ‘Oh, Tony Khan is a money mark and he doesn’t know anything’ – he does know. He knows more about wrestling that I do in terms of the dates and history and all that sort of stuff. I love working for Tony Khan because it’s fresh and new. I loved working for Vince McMahon too, but he’s been doing it for 45 years, he’s set in his ways and he’s been very successful. Tony is still figuring out how he wants to do things and we’re doing it together. We’re learning on the fly. I mean we did a live TV show with 75 percent of the roster who had never been on live TV before. ‘Who’s going to produce the shows?!’ Err, Tony? ‘Who’s going to write the shows?!’ All of us? ‘Ok, well, who’s going to direct the shows?’ Keith Mitchell, who’s been doing it for 30 years. We’ve got a great group of people who are all doing this for the right reasons because they love this business and this brave, brand new world we’re creating. Tony, to me, isn’t my boss. Obviously the buck stops with him. I appreciate that and enjoy it – you have to have a boss. I worked in companies where there was no boss – that never works. Tony Khan is the boss – I’m saying it right here. It’s not the Young Bucks, it’s not Coy, it’s not Kenny [Omega] – Tony calls the shots, he has the final say.
If he thinks it’s time for MJF to win the AEW title:
The time is always now, for me. if Moxley wins, that’s the way to go. If MJF wins, that’s the way to go. All that matters is building stars and that’s two stars we’re building – Moxley as well. Who would have thought two years ago that Dean Ambrose, wearing a goofy f****** mask before we had to wear masks because of the virus, is now going to be a completely different guy. New name, new character, new attitude, new fanbase and that he’s going to be our main event player, our champion? Nobody would have guessed that. Nobody. And then MJF, who I believe if 24 years old, when I was that age I was working flea markets in Calgary in front of 50 people just trying to make a name for myself. He’s already made a name for himself at a main event level. The fact that MJF is in the main event already makes him a champion because this show is going to do a great buyrate and listen, we’re all contributing but I’m smart enough to know from being in the business long enough that the main event is the money draw. If we draw 100k views or 150k views, that’s because people wanted to see the main event. If it’s 20k views, that’s because people didn’t want to see it. Obviously the other matches are a big part of that, there’s a great list of warmup acts at All Out, but the main event, the headline is MJF and Moxley and the fact we’ve put him in that position means we have a lot of belief in him and we’re expecting him to draw money – and I think he will. At 23 years old!