All Elite Wrestling has already started to change things. Despite the company still being more than a week away from its first pay-per-view event, it has already announced an upcoming deal with WarnerMedia for a weekly live wrestling show on TNT this fall. The company's higher-ups continued their message during this week's announcements that they want to be the alternative to WWE rather than a direct competitor like WCW or TNA Impact, hence why all signs point to the show not airing on the same night as Monday Night Raw or SmackDown Live (though the scheduled day of the week has yet to be confirmed).
But over on WWE's side there have been numerous reports of the company dealing out massive contract extensions to wrestlers up and down the card. Chris Jericho, who has wrestled for and against Vince McMahon throughout his career, told TV Insider this week that those offers send a clear sign — like it or not, WWE is already at war with AEW.
"I'm not surprised. I will say this...everyone in WWE owes Chris Jericho a thank you because the moment I signed with AEW, it became legit," Jericho said. "That's when everyone started getting these huge raises to not go. It was very similar to what happened to Bobby Hull in the early 1970s when he signed with the WHA (World Hockey Association) for a million dollars. Every other player got a huge raise to not jump with him. My dad [Ted Irvine] went from a $35,000 to a $100,000 a year because they didn't want him going to the WHA. It's the same thing for Vince [McMahon] is doing with WWE.
"You're hearing about prelim guys getting $400,000, $500,000 a year deals," he added. "Everyone deserves the money they make, but they never would have gotten that before and wouldn't get it somewhere else. They can be ones who will never draw a dime. It doesn't matter. Vince doesn't want anyone coming to AEW. Doesn't want there to be a mass exodus whether you are an opening match jobber or a main event Roman Reigns. He doesn't want anybody to go."
Jericho continued: "This is a war. Even if you don't want it to be, it just is. There hasn't been any competition for WWE on a national basis for 20 years or more. I think this is something they didn't really want, but it's great for the fans and great for the guys. I think in the long run it's going to make a difference because it gives people a choice. And it's always good to have a choice."
The former world champion will face Kenny Omega in the headlining match for AEW's Double or Nothing event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 25.