On the first episode of AEW Dynamite on October 2, 2019, The Inner Circle immediately established itself as a dominant force in AEW. On that night, Jake Hager, Sammy Guevara, Santana, & Ortiz stood beside Chris Jericho as the fivesome laid waste to The Elite.
Since that episode, the group has been featured every week on Dynamite, taking care of business when they need to but also showing some humor in the group, especially during the quarantine days.
Getting together for a special episode of Talk Is Jericho, the group gave their origin story and some of the original ideas that were pitched.
"The moment I came to AEW, the idea was for me to have a faction. I've never had a faction, being the leader of a faction. We had to figure out who we were going to get involved," said Chris Jericho.
Sammy Guevara said, "It was All Out weekend (I found out about the group). Nick Jackson was like, 'You're going to be in this group.' I thought he was ribbing me. 'You're going to be in a big faction with Jericho.' I heard talk, but it's wrestling, so you don't know anything until it happens. Finally, that day, it was 'Okay, here is what's happening at the end of the show' on the first episode of Dynamite."
Guevara had a premiere episode of Dynamite to remember, wrestling in the first-ever Dynamite match against Cody and then closing the show by standing tall with The Inner Circle.
Jericho said, "I saw you on the NWA show and I texted Tony and said, 'Sammy Guevara, we should bring him in.' At one point, I wanted MJF, but they said he was going to do his own thing. Sammy is the same idea. I wanted a young, upcoming, charismatic guy. Then, I wanted a tag team. One idea suggested was Pentagon & Fenix. It was too gimmicky. After that, it was 'what about LAX?' We had met briefly, but I didn't really know you guys."
Proud N Powerful would debut at All Out by attacking The Lucha Bros and The Young Bucks after leaving IMPACT Wrestling.
Santana said, "We started talking with Cody & the Bucks and noticed we had chemistry. They threw at us what the huge idea was and being part of the group. Ortiz and I bonded and became a tag team after reading A Lion's Tale [Chris Jericho's autobiography]. Ortiz read it first, we were working together, and he got me to read it. It was the blueprint and what we felt we needed to follow to get to where we needed to get to. When they pitched the idea, we were blown away."
Ortis added, "We want to wrestle everywhere before we signed with any company. It made the decision real easy for us to come to AEW."
Jericho picked the origin story back up to say, " I just envisioned a tag team and you guys just fit. You looked like thugs and that fit the look I was thinking. The final ingredient was Jake. We worked in WWE, but as you do, we lost touch, but we were both training with Josh Rafferty as you were getting ready for Bellator and I asked you, 'Do you still wrestle?'"
Hager said, "My journey to AEW started when I was, not one foot out of pro wrestling, but my bigger focus was on MMA. I felt AEW was coming around and I wanted to tease it in interviews."
Hager would drop mentions of the "elite" while doing media for Bellator before saying that joining The Inner Circle changed his life.
"They wanted Anthony Ogogo, a boxer, and I said, 'He's never wrestled.' He's like 5'11'' and I needed a big guy. I approached Tony Khan and he's beyond a fan, he's very bullish. I said, 'What do you think of [Swagger]?' He said, 'I've always loved Jack Swagger, I always thought he was great.' I said, 'I think I can get him. He's the guy.' And you worked it out to where you can still fight in Bellator. But in the meantime, your career has skyrocketed," Jericho said of Hager.
Ogogo signed with AEW in October but has yet to debut.
Jericho finished by saying he liked the aesthetic of the group and that they've grown closer over the past eight months as they've worked together each week.
Elsewhere during the podcast, Guevara discussed his memorable night at AEW Double or Nothing and the Stadium Stampede. You can find his full comments by clicking here.
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