By Rory Bryant
Wrestling legend Chris Jericho is ready to throw his hat into a whole new ring.
In January, the former WWE star signed the largest contract of his career with the brand new promotion company, All Elite Wrestling. For the entertainer who called himself the Man of 1,004 Holds, it represents a brand new role: entrepreneur.
“It was just the right move for me knowing that I would be doing something that I had never done before, which was starting a company from scratch,” Jericho said during an interview with Cheddar.
But that doesn’t mean Jericho won’t make it back to the mat.
Even though he hasn’t wrestled competitively since 2018, Jericho left no doubts about making his long-awaited return to the sport that made him a household name.
His AEW debut is set for May 25th at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena, selling out in just four minutes. And that’s not all wrestling fans can look forward to from the new venture; the league will begin weekly television programming this fall.
But Jericho does not view his new employer as a direct competitor to his more-established former home -- instead describing it as “an alternative.”
“It’s something that I think people and wrestling fans have been waiting for because it’s been a long time with just the WWE,” he said.
The fighting landscape is more crowded than ever with ESPN picking up the rights to the UFC, and mixed martial arts stars crossing over into professional wrestling. Jericho said he has no plans to make the leap into that field, but it hasn’t stopped him from practicing as he prepares for his AEW debut.
“It’s so cool to do a different type of training and when I’m in there I feel like I’m going to fight Conor McGregor,” he joked.
The wrestling world is a very different place than the one Jericho left when he last competed in 2018. UFC Hall of Famer Ronda Rousey just headlined WrestleMania’s first ever all-women’s main event in early April.
Jericho told Cheddar he’s impressed with the progress.
“I think the fact that you had the first-ever women’s main event in the league is just basically the way things are now for the sport of wrestling as they should be,” he said.
“If you go back 10 years ago,” Jericho continued, “women were wrestling in bra and panties matches and water gun fights, which is fine too, but this brings a much more serious slant to it as well.”