MR. TITO: What’s Wrong with Chris Jericho and is AEW Changing Him for the Worse?

Look, I want to preface this column by stating that I believe Chris Jericho is an exceptionally talented pro wrestler and he has been blessed with great longevity and creativity to keep him relevant in the wrestling scene within the past 3 decades and growing. Personally, I want to THANK Jericho for the many years of highly entertaining matches and moments.

Some of my all-time favorite moments for Jericho include:

(1) – Anything WCW, whether it was mocking Dean Malenko’s 1,000 holds, Ralphus, highly entertaining microphone work, and great matches. I love that he stood up to Bill Goldberg when many others wouldn’t.

(2) Anything ECW… I didn’t watch it as it happened, but Jericho did equally great work there. He’s defending the TV title in what I consider arguably the best ECW match ever with him defending the title against Shane Douglas, 2 Cold Scorpio, and Pitbull #2.

(3) WWE debut. Come on, that Y2J countdown and then Jericho debuting during the Rock’s promo? Pure magic. Possibly the best debut ever for any company.

(4) Anything Jericho vs. Triple H during 2000. Jericho pulled the BEST out of Triple H during that year and man, that RAW title win that was reversed was crazy.

(5) Anything with Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit, from their feuds to their tagging up. Yes, I’m well aware of Benoit’s awful antics later, but when he was alive and an upstanding citizen, the matches Jericho and Benoit had were ridiculous. Then, their tag match with Austin/HHH on RAW was one of the best tag matches ever.

(6) Any Stephanie McMahon interaction. He SAVAGED her on the microphone and got away with it. Always highly entertaining.

(7) Wrestlemania 19 vs. Shawn Michaels. Best match of the night on an incredibly great Wrestlemania. Furthermore, I’m convinced that match prompted Shawn Michaels to want to do this full-time again.

(8) Great work with John Cena during 2005. Jericho was going to briefly step away from the wrestling business and he did so in great fashion through his feud with Cena at SummerSlam 2005. Then, he follows that up on RAW by putting over Cena once again in his last match with WWE.

(9) Amazing return during 2007, he got us again!

(10) Late 2000s feud with Shawn Michaels. Honestly, I stepped away from watching wrestling religiously after I briefly retired as Mr. Tito from 2006 to 2009. I heard great things about HBK vs. Jericho and once the WWE Network was around, I binged through TV shows and PPVs regarding this feud. Holy cow… That feud was off the charts in terms of storylines and then the delivery of matches that followed. Jericho was one of the best heels that I’ve ever seen.

(11) Jeri-Show. Loved his chemistry with the Big Show as a tag team and it helped boost the relevancy of the Big Show who needed stability at this time. The tag matches were always great, but the promos were top notch from Chris and really brought out Big Show’s personality.

(12) Many later returns of the 2010s to WWE, whether it was returning after a brief break or a Rumble surprise return, they were always magical.

(13) Put over Fandango cleanly at Wrestlemania 29. While Fandango didn’t pan out, say what you will about Chris Jericho. He did everything he could to put over Fandango at this event and reportedly didn’t flinch when asked to do this favor. While I’m on this, Jericho NEVER had a problem putting over other wrestlers. Always nice and courteous while business oriented.

(14) YOU JUST MADE THE LIST! Who else, on this planet Earth, could get over with a pen and a clipboard as Jericho did? This was yet another re-invention of Chris and it made things highly entertaining with a particular friendship and then feud.

(15) Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens… All I need to say. In my view, it was the best storyline and light that Kevin Owens was ever presented and Jericho was spectacular working with Kevin. Then, the break-up… “Why is my name on here”… The excitement of Jericho opening that package to see a new list and then the heartbreak of Owens turning on him… You cannot feel that emotion in most film or sports mediums.

(16) Feud with Kenny Omega for New Japan. After Jericho left the WWE, he tried something new by joining New Japan Pro Wrestling for its Wrestle Kingdom event during early 2018. Their match was killer, but Jericho’s promos and hype before the match made it even better. New Japan’s streaming service added like 30,000 new subscribers before this event, alone. Jericho vs. Omega won many “Match of the Year” awards for 2018.

(17) Joined AEW at the start. Jericho joining the promotion was very important, as he was a big name acquisition and he established credibility instantly.

(18) Served AEW well as its first ever AEW World Champion. Again, it’s about credibility and Jericho winning the title placed eyeballs on the promotion. Then, he defended the AEW Title well as its champion.

(19) Overall solid work with AEW, from promos to matches. I’ve never had a single problem with his AEW work.

(20) I love his Podcasts, particularly when he ventures into non-wrestling topics. Always a great listen when cutting grass of traveling. He was one of the originals to try this medium and has helped pave the road for many other wrestlers/personalities to follow.

Have I made myself clear yet? I’m a big fan and have been for a long, long time. As a columnist since October 1998, I’ve covered this guy within the past 25 years which has encompassed most of his career.

The most negative thing I ever said about Jericho, to which he responded on Twitter calling me out, was when I alluded to how older wrestlers can stay relevant at an older age because of their personality and promo cutting skills even if the in-ring abilities start to decline. I was making an allusion to other sports, like NFL, MLB, NBA, or UFC where athletes seem to hit a wall in their 30s or early 40s but wrestlers can extend their careers because the match is just a portion of the wrestling equation. Jericho made sure to point out his buddy Dave Meltzer’s recent star ratings of his New Japan matches after I made that comment.

Other writers have attacked Jericho on a more personal level, such as his thicker physique in AEW… I defended him on that and challenged how good of shape the writers attacking Jericho were themselves. I have even written about how Jericho should get more involved in AEW’s creative process. Documentation is all there through many posted columns.

Did you get all of that?

So before I allude to recent Chris Jericho events, let’s make sure that the above information has been read… If you have skipped over it, like I know a few of you will, then please re-read the above portion again.

In my opinion, ANY pro wrestler who jumps on Social Media to attack fans or get into feuds is a man-child and is exposing the business. Wrestlers are on-screen characters and should appear “larger than life” to their fans. At arenas, fans have barriers for a reason… They are NOT part of the show, as they are just attendees. They obviously aren’t getting in the ring to wrestle or daring to hop on a mic to speak to a crowd of thousands. Thus, if fans aren’t allowed to act like wrestlers at television events, why on earth are wrestlers making them their EQUALS on Social Media? And why are they getting out-of-character on Social Media when they have a character to protect?

Wrestlers should stay OFF of Social Media and just use their accounts to help promote their events and activities. Their job is to stay ABOVE it all, and to protect their wrestling character. Yes, I’m well aware that it’s 2023 and everybody knows that wrestling is scripted, but what wrestling fans don’t know won’t hurt them and will make them curious to see more. You don’t see Magicians revealing their tricks before or after their shows, do you? Because if they did, the appeal to see that magician live would decline. Why attend one of their shows when you know how the trick is performed? Same applies with wrestlers.

For Jericho, we see his 50+ year old self sniping at wrestling fans or content creators who are even remotely critical of his work or AEW. Then, he’ll attack someone like Jim Cornette who airs 2 podcasts per week while also having a social media presence. Instead of just letting Corny look like the immature fool, Jericho takes the troll bait often and gets it all over himself.

Recently, he responded on Twitter regarding who signed Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA)following the backstage brawl between CM Punk, Ace Steele, the Young Bucks, and Kenny Omega (and a few stooges, too). Jericho made the claim that he never signed regarding this incident, to which this sparked an online conversation between the lawyer used by CM Punk and Ace Steele to close out their AEW situation:

@WebIsJericho (advertised as Chris Jericho’s rock & wrestling news website) 12/24/23 @ 4:32pm ET: CM Punk & Ace Steel’s Lawyer Reveals Only Person Involved In Brawl Out Without An NDA

@IAmJericho 12/24/23 @ 7:19pm ET: I didn’t sign one….

@StephenPNew (Lawyer for Jim Cornette, CM Punk, and Ace Steele) 12/24/23 @ 8:13pm ET: It’s in your employee handbook unless you have a special one. We can figure it out

@IAmJericho 12/25/23 @ 4:22am ET: Hey @StephenPNew – I don’t adhere to an employee handbook and have NEVER had one in 4 years of working for @aew. Ive also never signed an NDA in my life ….ever. So stop trying to be a bully and making egotistical fantasy brags for your clients, and start doing some research before you make blanket statements about your buddies. Because I saw EVERYTHING that night…including how Lucy (and her husband and best buddy) acted and what really went down…and since I was in the room and watching her and everybody else the whole time..I know exactly what really happened. And considering you weren’t there and I was …maybe you should shut your mark ass up. Because what really went down was disgusting. ….

@StephenPNew 12/25/23 @ 11:57am ET: Thank you Chris. We will just attach this Tweet as Exhibit A. Merry Christmas

Then, of course, Jim Cornette got involved and Tweeted this response to Jericho’s longer response to Stephen P New:

@TheJimCornette 12/25/23 @ 7:20am ET: God, Chris, it’s Xmas–slap Tony’s d*** out of your mouth, you’ve got his Dad’s money the next 10 years & the Buckaroos will still let you play with the cool kids. You don’t have to tell the truth, just QUIT LYING, Punk is sorry he made a difference in AEW business & you haven’t.

First and foremost, who is up at 4:22 am on 12/25/23 during Christmas to write this on Social Media? I understand that most partents are up late to get presents ready and usually to have a little fun together, but 4am? Geesh, that’s late, especially when most kids want to get up bright and early to open gifts.

Secondly, WHY is Chris Jericho even speaking or alluding to a sensitive legal matter? If participants in an employment incident are required to sign NDAs, then why even speak on it? Given the non-wrestling duties you may have and proximity to Tony Khan, anything that you say can be used against you. And you were the one who informed Tony that the backstage brawl from All Out 2022 happened and you’re on video doing so.

BUT, as far as we know, was Jericho a witness to this incident? I don’t recall hearing any reports of him being involved or a witness to it, other than likely the aftermath of the brawl. It was Punk, Ace Steele, Ace’s wife, Young Bucks, Kenny Omega, 2 wrestlers stooges of the Elite, and personnel from Talent Relations and AEW’s legal department. I don’t recall Jericho being around that brawl at all. If there was a lawsuit and Jericho was requested to testify, this Tweet could be contradicted with evidence and anything Jericho would say, under oath, on the witness stand.

However, if you want to talk about “not signing NDA”, then publish what you know of the event. Why not? If you have the courage to talk down to a lawyer, then why not reveal the entire incident for the world to see? Who threw the first punch, since you claim to be there? Did the Bucks/Omega barge into the locker room or were they let in politely? Was Ace Steele’s wife in danger? What about Punk’s dog? Who won the fights? Who tried to break it up? Did Kenny really get bit by Ace? LET’S HEAR DETAILS since you have now publicly admitted being a witness without a NDA. After all, CM Punk joined WWE to prove how bad the AEW situation became. Why not try to make him look bad by revealing the “disgusting” details?

Do you see the can of worms that you’ve opened, Chris? Now, you’ve confirmed yourself as a witness and everyone involved in the backstage brawl had to sign NDAs… But if you didn’t, that’s a legal issue for AEW because they forgot or didn’t have you sign one. Big legal mistake.

And all you had to do is NOT TWEET late at night during Christmas…

But this is the kind of activity that we’re seeing from a 53 year-old wrestling veteran, and we’ve seen it for a while online through various Social Media battles. What’s the point? Why lower yourself to anyone’s trolling standards? Why legitimize a troll, Chris?

And I could get deeper into the Jericho rabbit hole here, folks… I could get into the many online battles, many political revelations, and other patterns of behavior that someone shouldn’t do as they get older. If I was a celebrity in any way, shape, or form, the LAST place I’d want my wife to be on January 6th, 2021 would be anywhere near the protests that happened in Washington, DC… And I wouldn’t want my mother-in-law to be near it, either.

Again, there seems to be a pattern of behavior here… Usually as you get older, there’s a growing filter that would make you think twice about showing immaturity online or allowing loved ones to get near a political insurrection…

BUT, maybe Chris Jericho is just following the example of Tony Khan, who attacks people online too as the AEW President/CEO. We have already Tony Khan’s online immaturity before, as he recently called former WCW/TNA wrestler Disco Inferno as an “irrelevant parasite”. Hey Chris, you knew Disco from your WCW run and wrestled him several times from what I can see.

So, what does Chris Jericho think of Disco Inferno? Well, we’ll let this Twitter exchange spell it out for you:

@JasinManback – 12/7/19 @ 6:19pm: People will pay to see @MiaYim. No one has ever paid a dime to see @TheRealDisco…….ever! He’s a joke and embarrassment to wrestling. Thats why you never held a title for anyone. Ever. How you ever got a job with any promotion is beyond comprehension.

@IAmJericho – 12/8/19 @ 1:02pm: Totally not true jerkoff. @TheRealDisco
was great at what he did and I LOVED working with him. So shut your ass and eff off.

Wait a second, Jericho is PRAISING Disco Inferno? “Great at what he did and I LOVED working with him”… That sound contrary to what Jericho’s boss, Tony Khan, said about Disco Inferno recently as an “irrelevant parasite”. Why, if you’re going to correct a lawyer about signed NDAs, shouldn’t you correct your President/CEO about his ignorant opinions of Disco Inferno whom you called “great at what he did” and “loved working with him”? Oh, that’s right, Tony signs your paychecks…

This Chris Jericho that you saw defending Disco Inferno during December 2019 was fresh off of joining AEW, years of great tours with New Japan, and being AEW’s proud 1st champion.

Chris Jericho has been much more vocal online ever since, however… Maybe this is a bi-product of being in a environment that is becoming increasingly toxic with time? Most people liked AEW as a start-up, the stuff it tried during COVID 2020, and then 2021… But the wheels started coming off soon, as Cody left during early 2022 and then the All Out 2022 scandal. 2023 continued that momentum.

Maybe, just maybe… Chris Jericho is just a victim of his working environment?

While Jericho was working in the WWE, when was the last time he yelled at fans online or took offense to anything that was said? The guy was super-professional in the WWE and represented them well both inside and outside of the ring.

As Virtue will repeatedly tell you, CM Punk is the same way… While he was legitimately frustrated in the WWE, Punk remained buttoned up while there… But once he joined AEW and then the backstage trolling over Colt Cabana began, things became worse quickly. Did CM Punk get into any backstage fights in WWE? Nope, he did twice in AEW when other wrestlers came at him. Did Punk ever trash the WWE on media events as he did following AEW’s All Out 2022? Nope… Punk just quit the WWE during January 2014 and said nothing about the promotion until November 2014 long after the WWE terminated his contract (which they did on his wedding day).

Isn’t that funny? Working environment is toxic and it breeds bad behavior… CM Punk is instantly buttoned up in WWE while Chris Jericho is falling for troll games online with AEW.

I’d stay off the social media accounts, Chris. You’re WAY BETTER than this and you’re a wrestling legend to most wrestling fans, including Jim Cornette and Brian Last who have appreciated your accomplishments in the past.

You are loyal to AEW to a fault, but Tony Khan is not creating an environment for you to succeed personally. Just watch and learn as many AEW wrestlers begin to flock to the WWE once their AEW contracts begin to expire.

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