The big news from this week in wrestling was the announcement of All Elite Wrestling led by Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson). The company is being financed by Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan and his son Tony Khan, who is a huge wrestling fan that grew up watching the Attitude Era. At the AEW rally on Tuesday in Jacksonville, they also introduced WWE legend and current NJPW star Chris Jericho as another wrestler signed to a AEW deal. We’ve got everything you need to know from the AEW rally here in case you missed it.
The topic of Jericho’s contract with AEW came up during Wrestling Observer Radio (available via subscription at wrestlingobserver.com) with Dave Meltzer this morning. Meltzer has known Jericho for many years, they’ve done several podcasts together and I think that means Meltzer is a very good source for this info. Here’s what Meltzer revealed about Jericho’s deal with AEW.
– Jericho was a free agent and he wanted to see what was out there. Jericho negotiated with WWE about going back there and he was talking to them until the last minute and he was negotiating with AEW too.
– Jericho signed with AEW because they gave him a better deal and Jericho said it was the best deal of his career.
– The Jericho deal with AEW is a three-year contract. Jericho will turn 49 years old in November.
– Jericho is allowed to continue work for New Japan Pro Wrestling. He wrestled a few matches for them in the last year and was the IWGP Intercontinental Champion.
– Jericho will be allowed to do his cruise again in 2019 like he did in late 2018. Cody and The Young Bucks were a part of that, so that’s no surprise.
– It was noted by Meltzer that they have signed guys to different kinds of contracts because they are trying to be friendly. For example, Joey Janela can work some indies including shows that he promotes while other guys have AEW exclusive deals.
– There’s no word on if AEW will be working with NJPW going forward, but Meltzer thinks it’s very possible because a lot of the AEW have ties to NJPW and would love to work shows there too.
Here’s the video of Jericho signing the contract with AEW with Tony Khan on hand.
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) January 9, 2019
There’s no official word on how WWE feels about Jericho signing with AEW instead of going back to them, but they moved him to the alumni section (in alphabetical order) of WWE.com after he was on the current roster section.
Jericho was also removed from the WWE opening video game during their shows.
Wrestling fans notice everything.
TJR Thoughts: The Jericho addition is a huge addition for AEW because he’s a future WWE Hall of Famer with a lot of star power that has had a lot of success crossing over to New Japan Pro Wrestling. Jericho is also a really smart guy that has re-invented himself as a character numerous times in WCW, WWE and New Japan. I think if he works for AEW as part of a creative team that would be a huge plus for them too.
The fact that AEW was willing to offer Jericho a better deal than WWE shows that the Khan family are willing to spend a lot of money to make AEW a success.
I think WWE fans will miss Jericho on their programming for at least the next three years, but I’m excited to see what AEW can do. It’s good for the wrestling business to have competition and have more places for wrestlers to work while making good money.