Chris Jericho Shoots on MJF, Vince McMahon vs. Tony Khan, New AEW Stars and More
This Wednesday, Chris Jericho and The Inner Circle will battle MJF and The Pinnacle in All Elite Wrestling's first-ever Blood and Guts match.
We don't know exactly what this stipulation will include, but we are guaranteed to see a few people shed some crimson during the fight.
As the first AEW world champion and the biggest name signed to a contract when the company launched, Jericho was one of the people leading the charge to make Dynamite what it is today.
B/R had a chance to speak with Le Champion about a number of topics ahead of this week's Dynamite, including his feud with MJF, his upcoming book, Fozzy, Impact Wrestling and much more.
Blood and Guts
Wednesday's Blood and Guts match is set to be unlike anything AEW has done before. We have seen plenty of blood over the past couple of years, but this is going to be on a different level.
"Anytime that you get a chance to do a match that has never happened before, you have a chance to set the tone for future Blood and Guts matches," Jericho said. "The storyline for this match is perfect for something like this because it’s been a very intense blood feud right out of the gate. It's going to be a unique, special night."
The whole situation between The Inner Circle and The Pinnacle all started with MJF and Jericho. The Dynamite Diamond winner claimed he wanted to join the group when he really wanted to destroy it from the inside.
The former AEW world champion has worked closely with MJF during this feud and believes the 25-year old is a special talent.
"When I started in AEW, there were a lot of people on the roster I had never heard of before because I hadn’t been around the independent scene in decades," he said. "So, you get a chance to get to know other characters and their abilities. MJF kept coming up. He is deceptively athletic, he's great in the ring, but his character is above and beyond what most people can do.
"I always keep a list of people I want to work with in the future, and MJF was one of those guys. When you get somebody who has the ability to match a guy like me on the mic, you want to align yourself with him as much as possible because of the promos and stories you can tell just with talking."
Heels and Babyfaces
Following The Pinnacle's attack on The Inner Circle, Jericho, Santana, Ortiz, Jake Hager and Sammy Guevara all turned babyface. Now, we have two groups with different alignments instead of two sets of heels fighting each other.
The Demo God discussed why it is still important to establish which characters are villains and heroes for the sake of a storyline.
"People who say there is no such thing as heels and babyfaces are completely wrong," Jericho said. "This is still a morality play with a good guy and a bad guy. The idea behind The Inner Circle getting attacked by The Pinnacle was to turn all of us from heel to babyface."
We have seen a lot of individuals and tag teams turn over the years, but it's rare for a group of five people to make the switch at the same time.
"I don't think we have ever seen that before with a faction," Jericho said. "Usually, two guys will change or one guy will betray the others. It is important to delineate the difference between heels and babyfaces. It doesn't mean you have to come out smiling all the time and handing candy out to kids. Little, subtle things switch. You want your babyface to be as cool as possible."
During his time with AEW, Jericho has feuded with other top stars like Jon Moxley and The Elite, but he has also spent time in the ring with some of the younger talents who are still trying to make names for themselves.
We asked who Jericho sees as the future of AEW besides MJF.
"I think Darby Allin is on such a roll right now," he said. "He is just beginning to get to his peak. Jungle Boy as well and Sammy Guevara. Those are the younger guys who have the potential to be the cornerstones of the company.
"Scorpio Sky, the Private Party guys, Top Flight. There is room for them to grow, and we're cultivating everybody and giving them time to become a star. Ricky Starks is another one who continues to expand and grow. We don't have anyone on our roster who is there just to be there."
One of the most notable things in the industry these days is the relationship between AEW and Impact Wrestling. While cross-company relationships have existed before, we have rarely seen it on this level.
The Fozzy frontman talked about Kenny Omega winning the Impact title and what he thinks of the partnership between promotions.
"I think it's great for Kenny," Jericho said. "Anything we do with Impact puts more of a spotlight on them than it does on us. I'm not Tony Khan, but I wouldn't want to overinflate this relationship with Impact. I just think it's cool that we have this concept where we can work with anybody whether it's Impact, NJPW, AAA or even doing Broken Skull Sessions with Steve Austin.
"We're not going to do an invasion with WWE, but we're open to having these types of relationships. We're the No. 1 wrestling company as far as cool factor and buzz right now. Other companies want to be involved and we are able to facilitate that. If Omega can be Impact champion, AEW champion and AAA champion, it makes him a bigger draw for AEW."
Working for Tony Khan and Vince McMahon
With a career spanning a few decades, Jericho has worked for some of the biggest promoters in the business at different times. Eric Bischoff, Paul Heyman, Vince McMahon and Tony Khan can all count the veteran as one of their former or current employees.
We asked Jericho what the difference is between working for Khan and working for McMahon.
"I think Tony is very accessible," he said. "He is constantly around the venue and you can talk to him. Vince is much more hidden nowadays. You can still talk to him, but you might have to wait outside his dressing room for a while. There is also an age gap. Vince is in his mid-70s and Tony is in his mid-30s. I am kind of in the middle so I can really relate to both of them.
"Vince has seen it all and done it all, so he has this different attitude. Tony is still very much enjoying the excitement of it all. Vince might not be as bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. I liked working for Vince and I like working for Tony. I think Tony lets you be a little more creative, but if you give him 20 more years, he might think like Vince.
"What I really love about AEW is we're a new company. The first few months were kind of built on my back. I enjoy the fact that we're growing. I can't wait to get back on the road and go to Canada and the UK and all of these other places. It gives me the inspiration to build AEW into the biggest company we can possibly make it."
In addition to being a muti-time world champion in pro wrestling, Jericho has also cultivated a successful music career with his band, Fozzy.
The pandemic has delayed the band's tour a few times, but it looks like they will be back on the road before the end of 2021.
"We [Fozzy] have a tour that has been postponed about four or five times in the past year," Jericho said. "We are going out in September now. We’re on Sony Music, so our new single is going to be out in the next few months. We have just been waiting to tour again.
"I think a lot of bands haven't been releasing as much music lately because you can't tour with it. Once we get a chance to go back out there, it’s going to reinforce how excited people are. I am just happy we are over the worst of this and it's time to start putting our nose to the grindstone."
Jericho is a New York Times best-selling author who has written four books. Now, he is getting ready to release a fifth, but this won't be a biography or how-to book.
Jericho explained what will be in his new publication and how the concept started.
"I think this is the first time ever anybody has had every single match logged," he said. "I started right from my first match ever. October 2, 1990, against Lance Storm. When I got home that night, I got a piece of paper and wrote down the date, how much money I made and how many people were in the crowd. I thought this would be really cool to release this as a book because nobody has ever done it."
While several websites chronicle as many matches as possible, they are almost always incomplete and contain incorrect data. Jericho hopes this book will fix that when it comes to his career.
"People think they remember their matches, but I can tell you exactly how many I have had," he said. "It's a cool historical tome whether you're a Chris Jericho fan or not. With the book, we finished with 2,722 matches and that was as of October 7."