By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
CBS Sports interview with Chris Jericho
Host: Shakiel Mahjouri
Story available via ET Canada
Video footage available at SHAK Wrestling YouTube Page
Chris Jericho credits Winnipeg as the “genesis of AEW’: “It’s amazing because the genesis of AEW happened basically because of Winnipeg… Three Winnipeggers put on this match that did huge business worldwide from streaming and pay-per-view and actually in Japan itself as well. So that was kind of the year Tony Khan realized that there was a market for an alternative in pro wrestling and that’s what really kind of kick-started him to want to start AEW. So it’s very apropos that we come to Winnipeg.
“There’s something about Winnipeggers, like when the Jets play in the playoffs it’s the loudest building in the entire league – louder than Chicago, louder than New York. I think the pro wrestling world is in for a treat when they see our first show in Winnipeg. Plus, showcasing Kenny Omega and showcasing Chris Jericho in our first AEW appearances in our hometown, it’s going to be one of those magical nights in pro wrestling that happens only when all the stars line up. And on Wednesday, the stars have lined up for sure.”
Chris Jericho on the last time he was on a pro-wrestling show in Winnipeg: “The last time I was on TV from Winnipeg was Raw 2004 and I was in a musical chairs match of all things, which I won. So for me to be in a title match, this is also Kenny’s first arena show in Winnipeg, and it’s my first arena show match in Winnipeg. The only time there’s ever been television from Winnipeg was, like I said, the musical chairs match.”
The “risk” Chris Jericho took signing with AEW: “It was a little bit of a risk to come here. I could have stayed in WWE and been comfortable for the rest of my career. And if I had done that, I don’t know if I’d still be wrestling today because I was very just mentally like, ‘Eh, whatever.’ AEW kind of reignited the passion and reignited my creativity. It took things to the next level all across the board. I think 2022 was a career year for me as a result.”
Where AEW needs to improve: “We’ve gotten so big in three and a half years. So there are a lot of growing pains as we expected there would be. I don’t think anyone thought that we’d be doing the numbers that we’re doing, both in the arenas and ratings-wise… So obviously we’re working on our infrastructure, working on all that sort of thing behind the scenes on building the corporate side of AEW. Everybody’s learning how to be on live TV still. It really is just that everyone was thrown into the deep end and had to react accordingly. I’ve been very proud of everybody that’s been able to do that. We’ve had some bumps on the road, but that’s expected in pro wrestling. We’ve become a major television entity in a very short period of time.”
Where AEW excels: “There’s no other wrestling company in the world that puts on a show like AEW as far as being an all-around smorgasbord, if you will, of pro wrestling styles. If you look at our last pay-per-view, Revolution, which I think is one of the best we’ve ever done… You start off with Jericho and Ricky Starks in a pro wrestling match, what a concept. Then you got a Final Burial match with Christian and Jungle Boy, which is off the charts. You have an amazing six-man match with The Elite and House of Black. Then you have a Texas Death Match with Jon Moxley and Adam Page. And then you have the 60-minute Iron Man classic with MJF and Bryan Danielson.
“Those are five distinctly different matches and all of them were amazing. You won’t find that on any other wrestling show in any of the companies. It’s what we do best. So I think we just continue to do AEW and improve upon that. I think our production has got so much better over the last month or so. We’ve got a new director named Mike Mansury, who’s just really made a big difference as far as replays and the way things are shot. All that stuff makes you appear more gigantic and all those little things matter in the ring and outside the ring.”
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