Why Jericho Is The Right Choice

Corbin Macklin

Credit: NYPost.com

I'm not even going to build to my point: if you think Jericho is wrong to be the first champion because he's old, you are the definition of a smart mark. That is, the entire term "smart mark" is irony. Marks are obviously not smart enough to say no. I think Cody Rhodes has proven that he is actually the best wrestler in AEW right now. But he wouldn't be the best first champion because he does not have the same name value as Chris Jericho. Someone might say "But don't you complain WWE uses old guys in its main event spots?" Yes. I do. This is different.

WWE has many decades of history. WWE as a brand, is synonymous with wrestling in people's minds. AEW is a brand new promotion. A ton of talent will still want to go to WWE because it is the established power. It's like how star players always end up going to the Yankees or the Lakers. I am a wrestling fan. I had never heard of Hangman Page before he won the battle royal to get this title shot. If I had never heard of him, most wrestling fans also had never heard of him. If wrestling fans have never heard of him, who is he to non wrestling fans? Jericho having so much experience, working in Canada, Mexico, Japan and for ECW, WCW and WWE means that fans have an expectation of what he is still capable of at his advanced age. Maybe with all of that exposure, people who aren't fans may recognize him as a star. Contrary to what many fans think, you cannot just "give someone a push" and poof, a star is born. It takes time. In time, Cody and Kenny Omega and Jon Moxley will be the names carrying the territory. Just starting out, Jericho gives the upstart federation some cachet.

Let's say AEW is successful and thrives 10 years from now. I hope by then, people give up on speculating if CM Punk will come back to wrestle for them. I hope AEW doesn't become home to all the old men that WWE doesn't want to overpay and overpush. Because, the last thing AEW needs is to be seen as a resthaven for WWE talent. Even as much of the talent now are former WWE guys. That can't be helped when WWE has been running unopposed as a major promotion in this country. I'd love to see AEW do what ECW did in bringing in names like Jericho, Rey Mysterio and others. ECW pretty much scouted out what would become WCW's cruiserweight division. They have money so they should be able to retain the talent they scout.

I think it's interesting that AEW will have a Wednesday Night War with NXT. I always say "NXT is WWE sponsored indie wrestling" and many fans consider that brand cooler and superior to WWE itself. I have also never thought NXT was actual developmental when every Takeover is built around mostly stars who have had long careers in the indies and other promotions. I am going to be very interested to see how this all shakes out. I know it's only a matter of time before some of the biggest names in WWE are appearing on NXT to try to siphon viewers. I keep saying: the best timeline for us as wrestling fans is the one where AEW is successful because another major promotion means more stars have a platform and maybe we get to see them try different things to stand out.