Chris Jericho has been very vocal during the week celebrating his 30 years in the wrestling business, but it seems he may not have reached the landmark without AEW.
In a recent edition of Busted Open Radio, ‘The Demo God’ discussed how the creative freedom he has now is what makes the biggest difference.
If there was no AEW, I might not be wrestling right now because I didn’t want to do deal with the shit anymore. That’s not a bad thing, that’s just the way it is there – either you deal with it or you don’t, and I was over it. Now in AEW, it’s me getting to be me. If you say that the last three years have been my best, I’ll tell you the last year has probably been one of the most fun I’ve ever had because there are no restrictions.
How creative can you be? Can we do a match revolving around mimosa because Orange Cassidy has orange juice and I’m the champagne guy? How can we do this? Let’s put it together. There were no restrictions, no hassle, no nothing – I drew the worst picture ever of what I wanted to do and sent it to Tony Khan. Five minutes later, he’s like ‘Let’s do it.’ That’s what we do here. Everybody on AEW’s roster gets a chance to make it. You’re signed here with the intentions of being a main event player – I don’t care if you’re 22 or 52, everybody gets a shot. That makes such a huge difference to the roster and to the fans’ perception and all of us.
Jericho also talked about how it felt to make the move to New Japan Pro Wrestling following his time with WWE.
At the time ‘Le Champion’ had been an enjoyable feud with Kevin Owens, which culminated in a match at WrestleMania 33 – with the match’s position on the card not pleasing Jericho.
I hooked up with Kevin Owens, and I was like ‘Man, this is really fun.’ It kind of reinvigorated my love and creativity. And then midway through 2017, we had the best story on RAW by far – I’m not being a jerk about that, you can go back and watch how entertaining that story was – and all that garnered us was second match on the card at WrestleMania. Second match – that’s a jobber match. First or last – those or the two, and maybe semi-main event. We were on second after having the best story of the year. I said ‘I’m done, I’m not doing this again.’
I split to do Fozzy when Judas took off and I wasn’t interested in going back to wrestling until Don [Callis] put the idea of what do you think about working with Kenny Omega? When I went to New Japan, it was like this whole new world of creativity opened up where I was like ‘This is what wrestling is supposed to be.’ There are no scripts – it was real. That was where it all started coming back to me again doing those New Japan shows which led into AEW.
With thanks to 411 Mania for the transcription.