Chris Jericho Talks AEW's First Blood & Guts Match, MJF's Future, AEW vs. Impact

Chris Jericho and The Inner Circle will battle MJF and The Pinnacle in All Elite Wrestling's first-ever Blood & Guts match on next week's special edition of AEW Dynamite. The 10-man match will see the two factions battle inside two rings surrounded by a massive steel cage, hearkening back to the classic WarGames matches in Jim Crockett Promotions and WCW. Jericho sat down with ComicBook this week to discuss the historical significance of the match, as well as the feud with MJF he's had brewing since last September.

"Blood & Guts is a little bit different," Jericho said when comparing it to WarGames. "Even just in the way that it's constructed. You'll see that on Wednesday. I've been in a lot of first matches before. The first Elimination Chamber, the first Money in the Bank, the first Stadium Stampede, so I'm no stranger to that.

"And anytime you get a match that's never happened before from a stipulation standpoint, it's exciting because there's really no rules," he continued. "It's a little bit of a detriment in as far as you can't go back and watch old versions to get ideas from because there haven't been any other versions. So I think all across the board, we've really built it up properly. The angle is very hot. It's the perfect timing to have this type of match."

(Photo: AEW)

It seems like every time you grab a microphone now you start trending. How does it feel finally getting to be a babyface in AEW?

it's been probably, I think, five or six years since I've been the good guy. And I think I've really embraced some of the art forms of a babyface promo that a lot of people don't know. It's great to make jokes and all that sort of thing, but really what has been resonating with people watching on TV and the people in the crowd, and even for myself, is the real intensity and the seriousness of it. And because I haven't been a babyface in so long, I haven't done that in a long time. And so this kind of version of Jericho 2021, with all the experience that I have in cutting promos and kind of, once again, evolving into this more of a serious type of a vibe, which is what needs to be done when you're talking about this whole story, which started in September and really revved up about a month and a half ago when The Inner Circle was attacked, and then we're off TV for a while. And then we got our revenge.

And then after that, it's like, "I don't want us to keep fighting each other over and over again. Let's just bring it more back to the promos." And had Mike Tyson not been available and showed up, we wouldn't have even touched each other. But we had Mike come in and we did the match with Dax and myself, which was great. But the idea was, let's not do a lot of physicality. Let's base it more on promos and psychology.

You talked in this week's promo about how you built up your name by traveling the world and wrestling for other promotions. Should Max eventually try something similar?

Obviously, we have a real diamond here in MJF. But as good as he is, he doesn't have that worldwide experience, which you need to have in some ways. At least when I was coming through the system, you needed to have that international flavor, not just for wrestling style, but like I said, life lessons. And it really matures you to be on the other side of the world by yourself. Things will never be that way for Max because he's such a big star in the States. If he goes to Japan, it'll probably just be for a show or two. I don't really see him entering the Championship Carnival, or the G1 Tournament. But if he did, that probably would be really good for him.

But times have changed and traveling the world isn't really like it was when I was starting out. When I was 25. I really was headlining arenas in Japan and Mexico and Germany. So by the time I got to WCW, even though I wasn't getting the big push, so to speak, I still knew how to get over. Same thing when I first came to WWE. So Max will never have those experiences, and he probably doesn't need them because the business has changed. But there is a lot to be said about having that worldwide experience for all the reasons that I just said, but I don't know if that's ever really going to happen anymore.

One of the other big storylines in AEW right now is Kenny Omega becoming "The Belt Collector." What do you make of all that?

It just shows how open AEW is to working with other companies and we really do want to kick open that forbidden door, as [Hiroshi] Tanahashi coined the phrase and Tony's [Khan] picked up on it. So I think it's great for Kenny. Obviously, it's kind of a cool gimmick for him. The only thing that happens, and I talked with Último Dragón back when he had eight belts, is it's great to have that many titles, but the worst part is that you have to lose them at some point. So, I'm sure Kenny has it all figured out. And I know Don Callis is very involved in that story. So, once again, it gives them something to sink their teeth into, and it makes Kenny a bigger star. It made Rich Swann a bigger star. It made Laredo Kid a bigger star, whoever he's facing for these titles. And when the time comes that he has to lose them, I'm sure we'll figure that out and make it work as well.

It's just good to see Kenny really breaking through, and still just the tip of the iceberg of what he's capable of, both inside the ring and outside the ring. He's another guy who's really turned into a very good promo guy that you would never have expected at first because you never really saw him do that. And once he started doing them, it's like, "Wow, he's got a knack for it." So it's special to see.

When Kenny and Don Callis first jumped to Impact, a lot of fans let their imagination run wild about how this might lead to a full-on war between AEW and Impact. We haven't really seen that yet, but do you think it would benefit both companies to do something like an invasion?

Our roster is jam packed as it is. And I think our involvement with Impact has been pretty much what it should be. I'm not saying this in an egotistical way, but AEW is at a completely different level than Impact is. So anything that we're doing with them benefits them a lot more than it benefits us, in my opinion. And I think the fact that they've had Kenny Omega there, they've had Private Party there. That's a bonus for them. Chris Jericho will never go to Nashville and work in an empty studio in front of somebody. There's just no reason for me to do that. If those guys came over to invade, who are they going to [bring]?

If we needed to make it big, we could. But right now, our roster is so jam packed, and we're doing such a great job of creating our own stars as it is. You could always do an invasion at some point, but I just don't see why that really benefits AEW right now when we've got so much going on and so many of our own guys who are really breaking through to the next level. I want to keep the focus and spotlight on that

It's been a minute since we've seen you in New Japan. Is that chapter over or is the door still open for you to go back?

There's a couple of matches there that I would love have. [Minoru] Suzuki and Jericho. I think [Will] Ospreay and Jericho. I think Kenny and myself as a tag team against Tana and [Kazuchika] Okada or against [Kota] Ibushi and Okada. That's a Tokyo Dome main event. So all of those matches are in the pipeline. I love Japan. I've been there 60 times since 1991. And when I was there, gosh, a thousand years ago, January 4th, 2020, I guess Tanahashi, I had one of my favorite matches I've ever had. So there's no reason to not go back other than the fact that we literally can't right now, unless you want to spend two weeks in a hotel room. Which I'm not going to do, and [Jon] Moxley is not going to do, and Kenny's not going to do.

So I think when that opens up, that's the type of invasion angle I think would make some big money. Because New Japan is one of the biggest companies in the world with some legit, legendary mainstream stars. And I just love the concept of AEW invading them in Osaka, Dominion in June, and then doing a Tokyo Dome invasion show, and then coming back to do a Madison Square Garden invasion show in our backyard, or Staples Center, something along those lines. So that's an invasion that I really could get off on and get behind for sure

You mentioned Madison Square Garden. Do you think that's an arena AEW needs to run at some point?

I know we talked about it, pre-pandemic, it was in the pipeline, because it's The Garden. It's the cathedral of wrestling in New York City. I think that's one of the reasons why we started with the Prudential Center, and when we sold 15,000 tickets or whatever it was, that's to show The Garden that AEW can draw. Because I think there's a lot of naysayers from the other side. They'll say, "Oh, you can't have AEW in The Garden. WWE's only drawing 6,000 people." Meanwhile, if we had a show at The Garden, we would probably sell it out in 20 minutes, but you have to convince the powers that be that have been [there]. WWE is Madison Square Garden. There's been a relationship there for 50 odd years. So it's going to take some finagling for us to get in there.

But in the meantime, I think there's other arenas that we could do in New York and sell them up quickly so that The Garden would go, "Hey, that's cool." Little known fact, it's hard to make money in The Garden though because it's so expensive with unions and all that sort of thing. So I think the only reason why you play The Garden because it's The Garden. But there's plenty of other places in New York with the Barclays Center, and like we said, the Prudential Center just down the road in Jersey, that we could do as well. I'm just ready to go back to any arena. I don't care which one it is.

AEW Dynamite: Blood & Guts takes place at 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday, May 5 on TNT. Below is the full card for the show so far:

  • Blood & Guts Match: The Inner Circle vs. The Pinnacle
  • Kenny Omega & Michael Nakazawa vs. Jon Moxley & Eddie Kingston
  • Elimination Match: SCU vs. Jurassic Express vs. Varsity Blonnds vs. The Acclaimed
  • Cody Rhodes vs. QT Marshall
  • Britt Baker vs. TBA