On his Talk is Jericho podcast, Chris Jericho, newly of All Elite Wrestling, reveals that he almost joined another company before that offer came in. Apparently Impact Wrestling, seeing that Jericho has become willing to work outside the WWE, made him an excellent offer that he very nearly took. Here’s the story in Jericho’s words, courtesy of Wrestle Zone:
I’ve been really impressed by IMPACT over the past year. I thought Don Callis and Scott D’Amore have really turned things around in that company. I really, really enjoy it, and I even thought long and hard about doing some shows there. I even had a meeting with Scott and Don in Toronto with Ed Nordholm; the offer they made was a great offer. That’s something funny, when I hear ‘all of these companies are vying for talent, free agents—WWE, AEW, New Japan, Ring Of Honor, MLW—dude, what about IMPACT? They’ve got money. They were going to spend some money on Chris Jericho. We had some great matches planned—Jericho versus Sami Callihan, Johnny Impact, Brian Cage—Rich Swann. I’d love to work with Rich Swann.
So, I honestly did talk to IMPACT and really, really thought about going there, and then Tony Khan came in with this offer, that’s the biggest offer I’ve ever been offered in my career. Then you have to stop and think—if you’re going to get this offer, you’re going to have some real focus. As big as the [Young Bucks] and Cody [Rhodes] are, Hangman Page, all of the guys that were ‘earmarked’ to go to All Elite, even if Kenny went there—he hasn’t yet—what if he did? There’s a lot of different ways this can go, and when Tony puts the money where the mouth is, now I really have to think, “do I really want to make this jump?”
Obviously he decided it was a jump worth making, which is Impact’s loss (they’re clearly used to that) and AEW’s gain. And as for WWE’s reaction to Jericho’s departure, he’s not fretting about that at all. In fact, he points out, it’s to be expected.
Why wouldn’t I be? I’m WWE Alumni, I’m proud to be WWE alumni, but why would I still be on the WWE active roster of SmackDown? I’m not there any more. This is a three-year exclusive deal—with the exception of New Japan, which I still intend to work with, we don’t have anything set in stone, but we’re working on it—other than that, I’m not working anywhere else. I can’t contractually, nor would I want to. It’s AEW all the way.
The other thing people were saying is about being taken out of the ‘Then. Now. Forever.’ video at the beginning of SmackDown and RAW—once again, why wouldn’t I be? Why would you promote somebody on your show that’s working for another show? That’s obvious, that’s business. I’d be surprised if I was still in the video, it’s the same reason Vince took me out of the match in Saudi Arabia.
Chris Jericho has been around the business for a long time, and he clearly knows that these things aren’t really personal. Or at least he chooses not to take them that way.