Chris Jericho Compares Leaving WWE For AEW To When He Left WCW For WWE In 1999

Chris Jericho surprised many in the wrestling world when he showed up at the AEW rally last Tuesday and revealed he was "All in with All Elite." Jericho had previously stated that he would not work for a US-based promotion outside of WWE, although he bent that rule when he appeared at All In in Chicago on Sept. 1. Jericho spent the majority of 2018 touring with Fozzy and when he did make wrestling appearances, it was in Japan for NJPW or part of his self-promoted Rock N Wrestling Rager at Sea Cruise.

Jericho signing with AEW -- which he confirmed as being an exclusive three-year deal that still allows him to work for NJPW -- was seen as a big shift in the wrestling business as he is one of the top names in the sport and has been a featured player on WWE television for nearly two decades.

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On the latest episode of his Talk is Jericho podcast, he detailed his mindset when it came to making the tough decision on jumping from WWE to AEW. 

"Tony Khan came in with this offer, which was the biggest offer I've had in my career. I thought, 'If you're going to get this offer, you know you're going to have some real focus.' When Tony puts his money where his mouth is, I really had to think," said Jericho. "It's hard because I worked for WWE for 19 years and love WWE. But I put myself in 1999 Chris Jericho's shoes when I was thinking of leaving WCW and thought, 'How much further can I go in WCW under these rules and conditions?' I realized I couldn't go much further. I wasn't earmarked to be a top guy. When WWE came in and put their money where their mouth is...not just the money, the ideas, the attitude and excitement. It wasn't hard for me to step away from WCW and go to WWE."

Jericho continued, "I put myself in those shoes. Could I walk away from WWE and go to AEW? After some introspection, the answer was yes. AEW was showing me respect and having expectations for me. I have to do great work and go the extra mile to make it work. In WWE, it doesn't matter what I do. It's still WWE. In AEW, it does matter what I do. I have to use my experience to help build this company. And that's exciting. I didn't do this for the money -- the money is great, don't get me wrong -- but I did this for the chance to do something different and be challenged. That's why I still wrestle."

Jericho has previously stated that talks with WWE prior to his signing with AEW were "amicable." He's also said that he would not have signed with AEW if there wasn't a good television deal on the table. As of now, no TV deal has been announced. 

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