Chris Jericho was the biggest name to join the inaugural AEW roster when the promotion first launched in 2019. The longtime WWE star took a chance on All Elite Wrestling as the company had yet to hold a single event or even get a television deal, but it paid off big.
Jericho is widely credited for being the person that showed other top stars such as Jon Moxley that AEW is a real alternative for wrestlers in the business.
The former AEW World Heavyweight Champion spoke on a recent edition of his Talk is Jericho podcast about the growth of the promotion as well as convincing Moxley, FTR (Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler), Matt Hardy and the late Brodie Lee about the idea of making the jump from WWE to AEW.
“I love all of the guys that have come in lately. CM Punk, Bryan Danielson, Adam Cole, all these guys. We’re the ones though who made it safe for those guys to come here. I remember getting on the phone with Jon Moxley and Matt Hardy and Brodie Lee, God bless him, FTR and saying, ‘You guys need to come here’ and still kind of like, ‘We’re not sure’ or, ‘Should we do it?’ ‘Guys, I’m telling ya, just take the step. I’m telling you that you’ve got wings. All you gotta do is take the step off the building and you take that scary step and you suddenly shoot up.’ We don’t have to convince anybody anymore because now it’s the safe place and the cool place to come.”
Jericho stated that he takes pride in that. He brought up how AEW President Tony Khan wanted CM Punk in the promotion when it first launched, but Punk wanted to see how things played out. He said they don’t ever have to try to convince someone to join now because now people know this is the place to be.
He said it was a gamble for him to join AEW and if it had failed then he would have to go back to WWE or NJPW or just not worry about wrestling in the States anymore. He knew if AEW had made it then his legacy would be even more bigger as he helped start a new company that changed the wrestling business in less than two years.
Jericho, Sammy Guevara, Santana, Ortiz and Jake Hager Scorpio Sky, Ethan Page, Dan Lambert, Junior dos Santos and Andrei Arlovski in a Minneapolis Street Fight at Full Gear this Saturday night.
H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcription