One of the first big factions in AEW was The Inner Circle that was led by Chris Jericho and featured Jake Hager, Sammy Guevara, Santana, and Ortiz.
They were formed on the 1st ever edition of AEW Dynamite on October 2nd, 2019. At the time, Jericho was already in his reign as the AEW World Champion.
Jericho stated in an interview with Stephanie Chase that he did pitch the idea to disband the faction to AEW President Tony Khan, but Khan dismissed the idea as he felt they could still be aligned while also going their separate ways.
Jericho didn’t mention when he pitched the idea. It should be noted this past May, The Inner Circle worked Stadium Stampede against The Pinnacle (MJF, FTR, Wardlow, and Shawn Spears) where if they lost the bout then they would’ve disbanded.
“Yeah, pretty much. My idea was for us to respectfully disband and go on our own ways, but Tony [Khan] didn’t want to do that. He said, ‘Why would you want to disband? You don’t have to be together all the time, but you’re still The Inner Circle.’ After this year, the whole storyline was based around MJF wanting to join the Inner Circle, Wardlow is in the Inner Circle, The Pinnacle, five-on-five, and that sort of thing.
It was a well-told year-long story with the five of us. It’s good for us to go our own ways and not be in each other’s business every week. It’s good that we’re still aligned. Like I said, for me, I thought it was a good time for us to go our own way, but we can still do that without officially disbanding the band…breaking up the band. I love the fact that we’ve been a faction since day one in AEW and really never had fights amongst us or anything like that. There have been a few minor things, but we never turned on each other. Half the group didn’t turn heel and half the group didn’t turn babyface and fight with each other. We never did that. I think that’s a pretty cool accomplishment, especially in wrestling because factions come and go quickly and it seems like they are put together just so they can break up and feud for two or three weeks.”
Jericho continued by noting that they never wanted to do that, but rather, wanted a long-term thing, which is what they did. They went from heels to babyfaces and will remain good friends who are on the same page. That is something he wants to keep.
You can watch the entire interview by clicking on the player below (quotes can be found at the 3-minute mark):