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Chris Jericho: "We're having fun in AEW and it shows" [Exclusive]

AEW star Chris Jericho is the self-proclaimed Demo God!
AEW star Chris Jericho is the self-proclaimed Demo God!
Gary Cassidy

Chris Jericho is undoubtedly the god of reinvention. With his in-ring career spanning 30 years, you'd be forgiven for thinking the AEW star might be in the twilight of his career. But the truth is, his character has never felt fresher.

Now, a huge chunk of that is, of course, to do with the fact that the 49-year-old has had the Midas Touch - or the Judas Effect - for the past two decades, constantly innovating, from character changes to churning out catchphrases. Another part, though, as Jericho himself discusses, is due to the environment he's working in.

In All Elite Wrestling, Chris Jericho is thriving. And his recent, freshly-squeezed rivalry with Orange Cassidy only further cements the legacy of Chris Jericho, as we recently discussed ahead of the monumental Mimosa Mayhem Match at AEW All Out.

Sportskeeda meets Chris Jericho

Ahead of All Elite Wrestling's All Out pay-per-view - which airs exclusively on Fite TV for viewers outside of the United States - we caught up with the man himself to discuss all things AEW, what it's like working with Orange Cassidy, whether he'd like to see MJF as Champion, whether Jon Moxley should have topped the PWI 500, and more!

You can watch the entire interview with Chris Jericho below via our YouTube channel or read on for the full transcript.

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This weekend, you compete in a Mimosa Mayhem Match as Chris Jericho goes one on one with Orange Cassidy at AEW All Out.

We all know Chris Jericho is the god of reinvention, you're the person that can do everything, adapt to anything.

You've been involved in many legendary feuds but this feud with Orange Cassidy has maybe taken a few people by surprise as to how amazing it's been. How much of that has been down to you? How much has been down to Orange Cassidy and just how much have you enjoyed this rivalry?

It's all me.

No, I mean, any time you have a feud... It's coming up to 14 weeks that we've been feuding, which is kind of my specialty. I like the long-term storylines and all the best feuds that I've done, if you look over the years, has been over months, not over weeks and I think the reason why this might have taken a lot of people by surprise was a lot of people didn't really know what Orange was capable of - including Orange.

I've had the opportunity to put him in some positions that he's never really been before, or maybe not a lot, including the debate, showing a lot of violence and fire and intensity. But this all stemmed from the fact that, when I first saw Orange, I didn't like him, I didn't like his gimmick, and then I started understanding it and started realizing, "This is really genius" and the reason why people like him is because he's very unique and original. And that's what the whole concept of "getting over" in wrestling is and once I "pulled my head out of my a**e" as you would say in Scotland, and realized that over is over and it doesn't matter why he's over, he just is.

So now that he is, let me just kind of dissect this guy and figure out what it is that makes people like him so much and what is it that they haven't seen from him. 14 weeks later, we've created a legit, main-event drawing card for AEW, which is one of the missions that I sought out to do when I had the idea to work with Orange in the first place.


Next: Chris Jericho discusses AEW and being the Demo God

Sportskeeda meets Chris Jericho

Our interview with the "Demo God" Chris Jericho continues below...

Chris Jericho has made AEW his home
Chris Jericho has made AEW his home

It seems like AEW's been going for a long time at this point but I think we're only about a year and a bit into live TV. If someone were to ask Chris Jericho, "How's it going at AEW overall, looking from the outside in," what would you say?

Well, I don't think I have to say anything. I think you just have to look at the results that we've got, the ratings that we've been able to keep during the pandemic, and the demos.

I mean, people think it's a joke, and obviously, I'm milking it for all it's worth with the Demo God and everything, but it's a real legit factor in that television networks and advertisers are over-the-top overjoyed with the demos that we've been able to accrue and the numbers we've been able to accrue in these very important groups.

Most importantly, our show every week... Every show isn't great, but every show is good, more shows are great but they all make sense 90% of the time which is very rare in wrestling. And everything - at least for my stuff - everything always leads to the next part of the story. There's no wasted moments in a Chris Jericho storyline.

If somebody walks through the background, that's because there's going to be a reason for that later on. We are very proud of the storylines that we've created and the great moments we've created considering I think probably we've had more time as a company during the pandemic with no people in the crowd then we did WITH people in the crowd. And the fact we're still able to create new stars, classic matches, classic moments, compelling storylines - fun! That's the most important thing, we're having fun with this and it shows as well. Now that we have, you know, 10% capacity, 15% capacity of paying fans back in our venue, that's huge.

Last week, we had 500 people in our venue and it felt like Madison Square Garden because that was the first organic reactions we've gotten since the middle of March - and you can't replace that. Whether it's 500 people or 50,000, a live crowd is a live crowd and that has really brought back a lot of the fun and the vibe to do with our show and will continue to do so moving forward. So I think we've done a great job as a new company, and as a new company in the middle of a pandemic - which none of us could have predicted. But none of us can change it so you have to go with it, roll with it, make it great and that's what we've done.


Yeah, and that 500 definitely sounded like 50,000, which we're going to mention in a bit, but the one thing I need to mention. You said there, "No wasted moments in a Chris Jericho feud."

I remember, about a year ago, trying to write an article on the 7 best Chris Jericho catchphrases and I struggled to get it down to 7. So Chris Jericho becoming the "Demo God", where did that come from? Did it just come straight out of the mind of Chris Jericho?

It's funny because we're not in competition, but, of course, you're in competition and there was a few weeks that went by where our competitor was beating us in actual viewers and of course you don't want that but they never beat us in the demo. And to me, I wanted to show that to kind of the naysayers who were saying, "The AEW experiment is over."

It's not over because if one company draws a million viewers and they only do 200,000 in this money-making demo and another company draws 500,000 viewers, but draws 400,000 of those in that demo, we win.

Like I wanted to... As a heel, I'm the one that can point that out and so I just thought, "OK, well. I'm going to start arguing with the demos."

I think it was the week that Sasha Banks' match beat mine. She didn't beat mine. My demo crushed them, my demo still crushed Keith Lee's match with Adam Cole, so I take great pride in that and so I just started saying "demo this, demo that" and, of course, being an old Dungeons and Dragons and heavy metal fan, we all know what demigods are and this was the Demo God so it just kind of rolls off the tongue.

Like any catchphrase, you say it once, you see how it goes over, people respond, people write about it, and then you're off and running. Let's make a t-shirt and cement it.

And sell millions of those t-shirts!

Exactly.


Next: Chris Jericho discusses how long he'll stay with AEW, and whether we'll see Chris Jericho in AEW after his three-year contract ends

Coming up: Chris Jericho discusses having real fans as opposed to virtual fans, and whether Chris Jericho should have been higher on the PWI 500

Sportskeeda meets Chris Jericho

Our interview with the "Demo God" Chris Jericho continues below...

Read on as Chris Jericho discusses how long he'll continue to wrestle, discusses the rumors of a certain "free agent" - and we get Chris Jericho's thoughts on transitioning into a commentary role.

Chris Jericho is still under contract with AEW for around 16 months
Chris Jericho is still under contract with AEW for around 16 months

So we mentioned AEW is a year and a bit on live TV. I believe it was... And correct me if I'm wrong at any point, but I believe it was January last year that Chris Jericho signed a contract for three years with AEW. We're now maybe a year and a half into that, I think.

Yeah, something like that. You're probably better with dates than I am but I remember it was in January. So, yeah, a year and a half in, absolutely.

Do you see yourself staying in AEW beyond that, or wrestling beyond that, or is it something you've not thought about yet?

I never put a time limit on anything that I do wrestling-wise. I mean, I thought, back in 2015, it was time to wrap it up and then I got into the angle with Kevin Owens and things became fun again - which led to me going to Japan, which made it even more fun, which led to me coming to AEW, which is the best time I've had the business in 10 years, 15 years maybe.

So I won't go anywhere. I have no intention of leaving AEW and I have no intention of not wrestling - but even if I don't wrestle ever again, I'll just be a commentator after that - which is something that I never really thought about until I had to do it where we filmed four weeks of TV in one day and I just said, "Well, just put me on commentary. That way we don't have to worry about angles," because I really had no storyline to talk about at the time, "so let me just do commentary." Suddenly, that became a thing. So yeah, there's no reason for me to go anywhere.

I'm very happy in AEW. I'm very creatively stimulated here and I enjoy coming to work every time, every week, every month, whenever it may be, and to me, the fact I'm having as much fun as I'm having and doing the work that I'm doing now after almost 30 years in the business is a testament to the longevity that I have and also to the great environment that AEW is providing for me.


So, Chris Jericho won't be a "free agent" anytime soon, but I need to ask you about someone that, this week, has apparently become a free agent. Brock Lesnar. A lot of rumors that Brock Lesnar might go to AEW. Do you have any thoughts on that at all?

The only reason why the rumor's there is somebody said "free agent". I don't think he's really a free agent at all. I think it would take so much money to pry him away from Vince McMahon on Brock's end and then for Vince to approve that...

I mean, Vince has two billion dollars in the bank. What are you going to spend on Brock Lesnar that Vince isn't going to match? And Vince and Brock have a strange love affair, to begin with.

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So would Brock fit in at AEW? Would he pay back his salary that you would pay him to be in AEW? Who's to say, but I think UFC, AEW... I think it's just another one of the dances that Vince and Brock like to have where Brock's contract expires, Vince lets it expire, and then they stay away from each other until the next Saudi Arabia show or the next show that has people in the crowd, or WrestleMania, whatever it may be. So I don't think Brock is really a free agent in the sense of the word, I just think he's like currently not under contract right now.

The amount of money it would take him to tear him away from from the world of WWE would, A, be astronomical, B, Vince will never allow it to happen and, C, I don't know if you could make that investment back, or if it would even be worth it for AEW at this point in time or UFC, or any company other than WWE.

Yeah, but you've got to admire the negotiating tactics, I guess, in some way.

Absolutely. He's a very, very smart guy and Vince is a very smart guy as well, so I think they appreciate the duel that they have with each other.


Next:

  • Chris Jericho discusses having real fans as opposed to virtual fans
  • Chris Jericho gives his thoughts on MJF
  • Chris Jericho discusses the WWE ThunderDome

Coming up:

  • Chris Jericho reveals whether he should have been higher on the PWI 500 and whether Jon Moxley was a worthy chart-topper
  • Chris Jericho discusses having fans back at AEW shows
  • Chris Jericho reveals how he tried to recruit Jon Moxley to AEW 18 months ago

Sportskeeda meets Chris Jericho

Our interview with the "Demo God" Chris Jericho continues below...

Chris Jericho says he's having more fun than ever in AEW
Chris Jericho says he's having more fun than ever in AEW

So, we mentioned it a few times. Fans. AEW had fans back in last week. Real fans, people actually sitting in seats. 500 sounded like 50,000 because of how loud they were. Obviously, WWE has brought in the ThunderDome.

Do you have any thoughts on the ThunderDome - and maybe Kenny Omega's "appearance" in the ThunderDome last week?

I think it's a great idea, it looks great and they desperately needed it.

Whenever you give wrestling fans a rope, they're gonna hang themselves, so... I don't think Kenny was really there or you know all these people that they have. Just go and have fun, enjoy the show.

It's like something out of Black Mirror or The Running Man. it's very strange. It does look great but, once again, you cannot replace a live crowd. I would much rather have 500 real fans than 1,000 TV screen fans, and I bet you the WWE agree with that. But, having said that, I think it looks great and good for them.

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So, back to All Out. We mentioned Orange Cassidy but I want to ask you about someone else. You mentioned earlier Chris Jericho has been probably one of the biggest heels in AEW. Another is someone who may become World Champion this weekend - MJF.

What are Chris Jericho's thoughts on MJF? Would you like to see him hold the title?

I think MJF is great. He is wise beyond his years, he's experienced beyond his experience, so to speak, in the ring and he's a great heel, he's a great talker.

He's still learning a little bit about his character, how far he can go either way with the goofiness of it but, whether he's the Champion this week or not, either way, he's worthy of that spot. And he's in the main event of our pay-per-view that people are going to pay to see so it doesn't matter if he wins or not, so hopefully he wins.

If he doesn't, it's just another step to making him a top draw for AEW. He's done so much of it on his own and now being put in that position of being in the main event and possibly winning the Championship, that does nothing but good for him, for Moxley, and for our company.


Next: Chris Jericho discusses Jon Moxley's run in AEW so far

Sportskeeda meets Chris Jericho

Our interview with the "Demo God" Chris Jericho continues below...

Chris Jericho was number three on this year's PWI 500
Chris Jericho was number three on this year's PWI 500

On that note, Jon Moxley was recently named at the very top of the PWI 500. You were pretty close to the top as well. (Chris Jericho came in at number three)

Do you agree with Jon Moxley at number one?

I mean, I don't disagree with it.

I mean, I should be number one on every list ever published from now till the end of time but if it's not going to be me, I think it should be the guy who has made the biggest transition from WWE to AEW and also taking AEW directly on his back.

Again, he won the title about two weeks before a freaking pandemic shut everything down. So he's done a great job with that situation that he was put in.

I think I would put him at number one.

There's a couple other guys you could put in there but Mox has given his heart and soul to AEW, and he's a completely different performer than he ever was under any other name in any other company. And this is the guy that I think he always envisioned he could be and that I envisioned he could be when I started recruiting him to come to AEW a year and a half ago.


And I've got one final question. Chris Jericho, you've done absolutely everything. You know, musician, wrestler, entrepreneur, podcast host, actor. Absolutely everything. I'm not sure, but I don't think you've ever been a journalist so I want to turn the tables on you for something.

This week, I'm going to be on a conference call with Tony Khan. I'm going to be lazy and ask you - what should I ask Tony Khan? What would Chris Jericho be asking?

Well, first of all, I am a journalist. I have a degree in journalism and I wrote for the Winnipeg Free Press.

I completely forgot about the Winnipeg Free Press.

Listen, man. You're an interviewer. Okay, so you have to think of what it's for, I can't do your job for you. What I would ask Tony Khan is different from what you might want to ask him so...

I interviewed Tony Khan for Talk Is Jericho as well. So you have to figure out what interests you the most about him and listen to the conversation. Sometimes the questions that you might have get thrown away because what you're talking about is far more interesting but you have to be good enough of a journalist to understand that.

Don't be the guy that just has a list of questions. Listen to the answer, because you're too busy looking at question three, "What did you have for breakfast today? and he's giving you the cure for cancer, but you're not paying attention and cut him off and go to the next question. That's bad journalism!

I was really hoping you were gonna just tell me to ask him, "Can you give Chris Jericho a pay rise?" But that might be my question anyway.

Give me a what? Give Chris Jericho a what?

A pay rise.

Oh, a pay raise! It sounded like a pie rise. I was like, "What the hell are you talking about?"

That as well. That could be a good stipulation. We'll wait and see after the Mimosa Mayhem Match at AEW All Out this Saturday on Fite TV.

Thank you so much, Chris, it's been an absolute pleasure.

Cheers, brother. Appreciate it, man. Thank you!


A huge thank you to Chris Jericho for taking the time, and to Fite TV and All Elite Wrestling for facilitating the interview.

You can catch AEW All Out this Saturday on Fite TV if you reside outside the US, and on BR Live if you're in the US.

Edited by Zaid Khan

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