Watch AEW's Chris Jericho Explain the Moment He Knew He Had to Leave WWE

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 26, 2019

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MARCH 28:  Chris Jericho visits SiriusXM at SiriusXM Studios on March 28, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Chris Jericho said he knew it was time to leave WWE when his terrific storyline with Kevin Owens didn't earn a main event spot at WrestleMania 33.

Jericho's comments came following Double or Nothing, the inaugural All Elite Wrestling (AEW) pay-per-view event held Saturday night.

"My biggest thing is when I had the best angle in 2016, the best story with Kevin Owens and we ended up second on WrestleMania, that's when I knew it's like, 'I gotta get outta here,'" Jericho told reporters. "That should have been the main event or the semi-main event of the show."

Here's a look at the entire press conference, via Chris Van Vliet:

Y2J and Owens engaged in an extended, highly entertaining storyline where they operated as best friends before Owens turned on the wrestling legend during their Festival of Friendship.

Jericho had made multiple WWE returns during breaks from touring with his band Fozzy and other outside projects in recent years, but as his presence became more consistent and the shock factor of his comebacks wore off, his place on the card began to slip.

Yet there's no doubt his feud with Owens, which ran from August 2016 through May 2017, was one of the most complex, engaging angles the company had produced in years. It deserved higher billing at Mania.

That year's Showcase of the Immortals was instead headlined by Brock Lesnar beating Goldberg for the WWE Universal Championship, Naomi winning a six-pack challenge for the SmackDown Women's Championship and Roman Reigns outlasting The Undertaker in a "no holds barred" match.

Jericho, who'd returned to the independent circuit with high-profile stops in New Japan Pro-Wrestling after leaving WWE, said he expects to maintain a crucial role during his stay in AEW.

"Everything that I do in AEW is going to be important," he said after beating Kenny Omega at Double or Nothing. "When I appear on the show, it's going to be for a reason, and it's gonna be something big."

Jericho was attacked by Jon Moxley, who recently left WWE after a successful run as Dean Ambrose, following the match. Putting Y2J, Omega and Moxley, three high-profile free agents who opted to sign with AEW, in the ring to close out the show was a sign a strength from the new company.

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