Chris Jericho has revealed an interesting reason why TNT was not happy with how Sting debuted for AEW. The Icon debuted for Tony Khan's promotion on the Winter is Coming special episode of AEW Dynamite on December 2, 2020.
While the wrestling world was overwhelmed with emotion after Sting arrived in AEW, TNT executives believed they could have cracked a higher rating had the debut been announced earlier.
Speaking on his Talk Is Jericho podcast, Chris Jericho disclosed that TNT asked AEW not to feature surprise debuts going forward. He added that the executives said they didn't want any surprises because they wanted ratings instead. - (H/T Fightful)
"When Sting was a surprise, [TNT] was like 'Don't do that again.' That's why Paul Wight was announced on social media because TNT said, 'We don't want surprises, we want to take advantage of the ratings.' "
Chris Jericho further revealed that a request from TNT led AEW to announce Paul Wight's AEW debut. He added that the decision to tease but not give away Christian Cage's debut at AEW Revolution 2021, was also a result of TNT's request.
"We had a big surprise, a big announcement, and we used the big announcement to announce the next big surprise. I think that's one of the reasons too, to spread it out a little."
It's an understandable decision by AEW, as announcing Sting's debut in advance would have ensured that the ratings could have been close to the coveted million mark. In reality, the show drew 913,000 viewers, as Sting's debut generated a lot of buzz that wasn't reflected in the immediate viewership.
Chris Jericho is currently embroiled in a faction war with The Pinnacle
Chris Jericho and his stable, The Inner Circle are currently in the midst of a faction war with The Pinnacle, led by MJF. The feud is a result of MJF betraying The Inner Circle to form his own stable.
After they were absent for two weeks, Chris Jericho and The Inner Circle returned to AEW Dynamite this past Wednesday. There, they performed an instantly memorable locker room ambush on The Pinnacle.
The rivalry is expected to culminate with a Bloods and Guts match between the two factions later this year.
What do you think about Jericho's comments? Should AEW avoid using surprise debuts? Sound off in the comments below.