Chris Jericho appeared on “Wrestling With Freddie” this week to talk about trying to help get as many people over as he could at the start of AEW, and whether or not wrestling has been beneficial to the creation of Fozzy.
Chris Jericho explaining why he has tried to get over as many people as possible when AEW started:
This is not a WWE bash,” Chris began. “I worked there for almost 20 years and I loved working for WWE, but one thing they still have an issue with, and you can see it if you watch the show is building new stars. They really have a problem with that and I don’t know why.”
“Once again, it doesn’t matter what they do. From day one in AEW, when we showed up on October 2nd, and even before that when we showed up for the first couple PPVs, we had no television deal. Then when we finally got one on TNT, it was an ad revenue share. What that means for people that don’t know is you make the money based on the advertising. If you have 50 advertisers, you get a share. If you have one advertiser, you get a share. It was not a big monster deal,” Jericho explained.
“I realized early on kind of being the face of the company and the one guy the national audience knew besides Jim Ross, but the one guy that’s in the ring, and they knew Cody maybe but not really. Kenny and The Bucks were more independent or popular in other countries. I needed to make new stars as quickly as I could, Cody being one of them. Kenny Omega being another one.”
“You look at my first few programs. Match three in AEW was against Darby Allin. Jungle Boy was right around that time. Then Jon Moxley who had to be rehabbed when he came from WWE because Mox was not Mox when he first showed up. He was still Dean Ambrose, the goofy guy who wasn’t funny doing all the stupid sh*t they made him do. We had to make him into a star right off that bat.”
“All of those guys, if you look at the first six months pre-lockdown in AEW, I worked with all of them. So very quickly, we had 6, 8, or 10 guys shouldering the load. Four months after our first date, October 2nd, or three months, we went from an ad revshare to a contract I believe $160 million for 4 years because of the demos and ratings we got right out of the gate.”
“Fozzy I think at the start was probably more hindered by the fact that I was a wrestler rather than helped,” Jericho shared.
“I think we had to work twice as hard to get people’s respect because there are so many bands in Hollywood from different actors and such. That’s fine. I think everybody should do what they want to do, but I don’t think people took it as seriously at first solely because I was the singer. What really kind of opened the door was the fact that we never quit, we never stopped, and we worked twice as hard.”
Jericho followed up with, “For us, the real difference was when we started getting played on rock radio. I never realized how important rock radio is to bands even in 2022. I never realized until we started getting played on rock radio how it took things through the roof. Finally, when Judas came up, that became the elusive hit single. I got videos on Twitter last night. One was from a London Stadium soccer game, and then the same day, the Carolina Hurricanes playing it during their play breaks too. Both of these things were happening at the same time, so now Judas has gone from a Fozzy song to more of a universal sports arena song. Half was because of rock radio and timing and the fact that we just kept continuing to build and write good songs and work with the right people.”
The remainder of the episode goes on to discuss the young talent in AEW, and about how Chris Jericho has remained a force in wrestling after more than 30 years in the business.