Chris Jericho Almost Returned To WWE Before Joining All Elite Wrestling

Chris Jericho

Tuesday’s All Elite Wrestling rally concluded with an appearance by Chris Jericho.

Jericho announced that he’s “all in with All Elite Wrestling.” He said he wasn’t there for the money — he’s there because he believes in doing something different and new. He hyped up AEW, saying that they’re going to change the whole universe.

It’s quite possible that Jericho would have returned to WWE for a regular role had he declined AEW’s contract offer since he was negotiating with WWE as recently as late December, according to Dave Meltzer in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.

Jericho signed a three-year contract with AEW. While the deal is for him to exclusively wrestle for AEW, he negotiated a few exemptions.

The deal will allow Jericho to continue working with New Japan Pro-Wrestling after losing the IWGP Intercontinental Championship to Tetsuya Naito at Wrestle Kingdom 13 last Friday. The match was brutal for Jericho as he sustained a few abrasions and lost some of his hair.

Jericho will also be allowed to holds wrestling-themed cruises following the success of his first one — Chris Jericho’s Rock ‘N’Wrestling Rager at Sea — last October. On the cruise, he partnered with The Young Bucks in a loss to Kenny Omega, Cody Rhodes and Marty Scurll.

“While Jericho publicly said that he’s got money, and now he’s here to have fun, the reality is that he was offered a significantly better contract by AEW than what he had ever earned with WWE and still left him free for very lucrative big show New Japan paydays,” Meltzer wrote.

While Jericho hasn’t appeared for WWE since last April at the Greatest Royal Rumble, he was still listed as a current Superstar on as recently as Tuesday. Following the announcement, WWE removed Jericho from the SmackDown LIVE roster to the Alumni section. He’s now in between Cherry and Chris Masters.

The “WWE Forever” signature video that airs before every WWE television broadcast was quickly altered following Jericho’s signing. An eagle-eyed fan noticed that Jericho was removed from the WWE signature that aired before this week’s episode of SmackDown LIVE. Cesaro is now shown in his place.

According to Cageside Seats, it was definitely altered from last week’s show (currently available on Hulu).