The verbose AEW star Chris Jericho has declared war on WWE, invoking the title of one of Fozzy’s greatest hits in the process.
There’s a buzz in the air this May with All Elite Wrestling’s first show, Double or Nothing, set to air on B/R Live and other platforms. The PPV will take place on May 25 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. While there’s a lot of optimism surrounding AEW, it’s impossible to tell how successful the nascent promotion will be.
That, of course, hasn’t stopped magnetic legend Chris Jericho from declaring war on his previous promotion, WWE. The sports entertainment juggernaut remains as strong as ever despite sliding television ratings and disgruntled superstars, though those aspects have created an even bigger opening for AEW to make a big impact.
In a recent interview with TV Insider’s Scott Fishman, Jericho not only asked WWE Superstars to thank him and AEW for giving them raises in recent contract negotiations, but he also declared war on WWE.
“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.”
Of course, the questioned posited, “Do you want to start a war?”, is merely rhetorical in nature. Of course, Jericho wants to start a war. That’s just who he is. “Maverick” is the word that comes to mind often when describing Jericho and he’s found like-minded individuals in AEW’s “Elite”.
Words like “war” grab headlines, but the rest of Jericho’s quote is more measured in tone. WWE, like any entity aspiring to be a monopoly, would prefer to avoid competition. This is true. But what matters most in Jericho’s quote is that last line.
For far too long, wrestlers haven’t had enough choices. Nowadays, promotions like NJPW, Impact Wrestling and ROH are among the possibilities. However, AEW is on another level than those in terms of opportunity, especially since they seem to be giving women opportunities at competitive (they say “equal”, I’ll wait and see on that) pay. No, they haven’t had their first show yet and, yes, they will have roadblocks. Working in AEW’s favor is the fact that they have powerful people on their side in the Khan family, Turner and the wrestlers who put together a highly successful show in “All In”.
AEW and Chris Jericho will wisely cause a stir by “starting a war”, but I’m sure that they understand the focus has to be on themselves. Wrestling is in a healthy place and the industry has just received a major upgrade by having another promotion with a major TV deal. As Jericho said, it’s about “choices” and hopefully promotions start to embrace the fact that there are multiple places where people can work. Why must we breed animosity instead of cooperativeness and appreciation? Competition can be healthy and not toxic and hopefully that will be AEW’s outlook.
That said, it is understandable for Jericho and AEW to have a chip on their shoulders, especially with so many skeptical WWE fans.