Chris Jericho made his presence known at AEW's Fight for the Fallen on Saturday night, jumping Adam Page while under a mask midway through the show and cutting a scathing promo on the Jacksonville crowd later in the night.
The former WWE Champion spoke with the media after the show, and revealed a surprising fact about that promo — it was his first unscripted promo in nearly two decades.
"Tonight, I said this to Dean Malenko, is the first time in 20 years that I've ever done a promo with no script, no approval of what I'm going to say and really no idea of what I'm going to say," Jericho said. "Just knowing I have a point and some directions that I may or may not want to go. When Hangman [Page] got busted open that changed the entire design of the promo, and it was very liberating. 'How good are you, Chris Jericho? Can you go out there live without a net and no pre-prepared memorized script and captivate an audience?' And I think it worked out very well. Of course I can do it, but we never, ever get that chance to do it in the WWE."
WWE's scripted promos have been a particular talking point amongst disgruntled wrestlers and wrestling fans in recent months. Jericho explained that the freedom that comes with letting wrestlers speak without a script has been one of the reasons wrestlers are getting excited about working with AEW.
"It's the other side of the coin. If you want creative freedom, we can give you that in AEW," Jericho said.1comments
Jericho will take on Page for the chance to become the first AEW World Champion at the company's next pay-per-view event, All Out, on Aug. 31. Jericho stated numerous times in promo that he feels he has to beat Page, or else he's unsure what will be left for his wrestling career. He was one of the first stars to sign with the company back in January and later added that he is effectively banned from his old stomping grounds, the WWE.
"I've talked with him [McMahon] a couple of times, but I'm kind of public enemy number one there now," Jericho said in April. "I've been kind of removed from the annals of history. I asked the other day if I could have a couple of their guys on my podcast to promote Mania and I was told, 'No, it's not appropriate because you're in AEW.' I am banned from WWE."