Chris Jericho was the biggest name at All Elite Wrestling when the company began three years ago. Since then, he and the rest of the AEW team have been working to build up new stars at the network and make it succeed — and succeed, it has. AEW has an avid, growing fanbase hooked on the company’s network of wrestlers, which includes legends like CM Punk and Britt Baker and new champions like Jade Cargill.
Jericho broke down how AEW came to be and how they’re capitalizing on their reputation as the “cool wrestling company” to Damian Holbrook in the TV Insider and TV Guide Magazine studio, sponsored by Hollywood unBranded, at San Diego Comic-Con 2022.
“We started three years ago on the hunch that wrestling fans would be looking for an alternative. And right out of the gate, we were proven correct by the demos that we did, the ratings that we did, all of the television nomenclature that we can use,” Jericho said. “Three months in, we realized we had a hit on our hands. It took a lot to get it up and running, and it took a lot of courage to do it. Because if I go to AEW and it succeeds, then it’s another feather in Chris Jericho’s cap, but if it doesn’t succeed, then it’s almost like an ‘uh oh,’ like a black mark.”
He continued, “everybody wants to come work with AEW now, because we are the cool wrestling company. When you have the ‘cool factor’ — as you know in anything that’s on TV, when it’s perceived as cool and when it is cool — that’s when everybody flocks to come be a part of it and watch it and be interested in it.”
Getting popular and maintaining popularity, however, are two different ball games. Jericho said wrestling requires constant casting and training to succeed, much like variety TV shows.
“Wrestling is a lot like Saturday Night Live in that there’s cast members that come, they get to the top of the ladder, and then they move on to something else, and you have to build up new guys,” he said. “That’s the secret of the business, is building new stars and creating new names. That’s what we’ve done really, really well.”
“When we first started, I was the biggest name that your garden variety wrestling fan would know. ‘Oh, Chris Jericho! What’s he doing here?’” the WWE alum continued. “So I knew I had a very short window of time to build as many young stars as I could so that people would be more interested in the overall show. As sexy as I am, it can’t just all be on me.”
Learn more about Jericho’s new AEW rivals and more in the full video interview, above.
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