Chris Jericho has played a key role in the AEW’s rapid rise to the top of the industry. The Tony Khan-led promotion turned one this past January and is providing stiff competition to WWE, but it’s the former iconic WWE Superstar who is leading the charge with young talents in the ongoing Wednesday Night Wars.
Last year, Jericho became the inaugural AEW World Champion and held the title for 182 days before dropping it to Jon Moxley (formerly WWE’s Dean Ambrose). Throughout his title reign, Jericho consistently put multiple wrestlers over, thus establishing himself as the cornerstone of AEW.
During a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, The Young Bucks labeled veteran Jericho as AEW’s Hulk Hogan and explained that while they don’t have the real Hulkster from WWE, Le Champion is no less than The Immortal.
“I always call [Jericho] our Hulk Hogan. He’s done it all, and there is something about that. Even though he has been in the business for 30 years or so, he still wants to give back and get characters over. You never see that.”
In 1994, Hogan signed with WCW and led the charge against Vince McMahon’s WWE in the Monday Night Wars.
“Most wrestlers want to be over, and they don’t care about anybody else. The prevailing attitude in this business is often, ‘I want you to do good, just not as good as me.’ Jericho wants everyone to be elevated. We made the right call. Look at how he made Darby Allin. Those matches with Jungle Boy and Scorpio Sky were really important, too. And Jericho watches all our matches, too. People don’t realize he’s the guy that pulls us aside and says, ‘This was great, but you could do this better.’ We don’t have enough of those guys in the business.”
While AEW is yet to establish itself as the WWE slayer, fans have widely claimed the upstart promotion to be Mr. McMahon’s biggest nightmare since 2000, and Jericho is literally the all-round legend capable of turning the tables with AEW’s well-decked roster.