First ever AEW World Champion Chris Jericho has spoken about the backstory and creation of the Inner Circle faction he leads in the promotion.
Jericho is joined by Jake Hager, Sammy Guevara, Santana & Ortiz in the group, but as has been documented previously the original ideas were quite different.
Speaking with Chris Van Vliet, Jericho said:
“Tony (Khan) wanted me to come in and be a part of a faction. He wanted it to be a band like ‘Chris Jericho and the Conspirators’ or whatever it would be. I said no. My idea was ‘Fist’, like one, two, three, four, five and that would be the merch. Then I was doing a BTE bit that Matt and Nick [Jackson] asked me to do and said something like ‘the Inner Circle is involved in this’ and I thought ‘Inner Circle is a cool name’. The idea at first was ‘who is going to be in it?’ There was always going to be the idea of a tag team, an up-and-comer and a heater so to speak. The original idea bandied around for a tag team, and it might have even been by me. was Fenix and Pentagon. I thought, ‘I don’t want gimmick guys or masked guys’. Santana and Ortiz came up and I knew them from the first cruise but I don’t know much about them. The Bucks were saying how good they were. I thought, ‘let’s throw those guys in there’. I wanted MJF but I think Cody wanted to do something with him so I said Sammy Guevara. I scouted Sammy Guevara and brought him to the table. I’ve never met him before in my life. I watched him on an NWA pay-per-view. I said, ‘this guy is good. He looks like an asshole.'”
Jericho also gave his thoughts on MJF, saying:
“He is way more advanced than I was at his age. He just turned 24 years old. He’s definitely what you would call an old soul in that I can’t believe how good he is with the experience he has. What blows my mind is how much better is he going to be with experience over the next couple years and what he is going to learn from me and learn from Cody and Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard in his ear. It’s amazing to me just how good he is. There are certain guys you see and say we can do something together. It’s just the natural progression.”
Quotes via WrestlingNews.co