This is going to be different from my normal content. I’ve been trying to write a new episode of The Steamy Files for about 2 weeks now but I am stuck with writer’s block. I wanted to address a specific subject but it didn’t feel right for the voice I use in that series.
After thinking about it for some time, I’ve decided to introduce a new series. The Steamy Files is where I will try to look at things through a fair lens and give a more detailed and structured opinion based on certain facts. This is not that. This is Steamy’s Rants. This will be more free-form and much more subjective. I’m not going to sugarcoat my takes or hold myself back, this is me unleashed, no holds barred, anything goes. If you choose to continue reading, do so at your own risk. The Steamy Files will return soon.
I want to talk about the Chris Jericho situation that’s been making the rounds online in the last few weeks. I don’t feel like going back and re-explaining everything that led up to this but in broad strokes: Jericho got in a Twitter feud with some people from Cornette’s entourage that were, for some reason, still talking about CM Punk and his departure from AEW. The Corney gallery raised accusations that AEW had made a lot of people sign nondisclosure agreements and even that AEW’s employee handbook contained an NDA clause as well.
First off, AEW wrestlers are not employees. They are independent contractors, same as WWE superstars. I know it’s a trivial observation at this point but it does need to be said. I know Corny’s sidekick posted what is supposed to be a copy of an AEW handbook on Twitter but honestly, it’s so generic that it could have easily been faked and it most likely was. Corny’s sidekick has always had beef with Jericho, going as far back as when Jericho was still in WWE. I remember Lance Storm having to come to Jericho’s defense against the sidekick because he was making fun of Jericho’s chest. Storm explained that Jericho has a torn pectoral muscle that resulted in nerve damage and that’s why one side is a bit more caved in.
Then some basement dweller named Nate Horse Manure (I know that’s not his name but I’m not uttering his name and giving him any credence) made a cryptic comment on a podcast:
“I mean, Harvey Weinstein won a lot of Oscars, Harvey Weinstein produced a lot of very popular films. Harvey Weinstein is now in jail… I’m not saying that is happening to Chris, but the narrative can quickly turn if you’re hiding a lot of skeletons in your closet.”
The IWC being the toxic place that it is, and Jericho who is the literal devil due to having the gall to wrestle for AEW, the worst thing to ever happen to wrestling and the 9th dimension of hell, someone else on Twitter dug up a 4-year-old Reddit post and mindless drones latched onto this narrative.
When I say drone, I’m not talking about WWE fans. I know the term E drone is popular, but that’s not what I’m using it for. A drone to me is someone who mindlessly follows any rumor, any dirt or stupid gossip that they hear and latch onto it. Like a pilotless plane, they go in the direction they’re pointed at, they accept whatever command their operators give them. No critical thinking, no logical reasoning, they just believe whatever fits the narrative they have in their heads. That narrative, of course, is that AEW is bad and must be destroyed at all costs.
The “accusations” are that sometime in 2019, a female wrestler by the name of Kylie Rae (who only wrestled one match in AEW at the inaugural DON) was approached by Jericho and he invited her to come to his hotel room. I’ve heard versions which say that he told her it was for a party with multiple people but that when she got there, they were all alone but that last part isn’t consistent. That’s it. It’s alleged that as a result, Kylie was released from AEW and made to sign an NDA to agree not to talk about whatever happened with Jericho.
Horse Manure didn’t post this himself by the way. Some anonymous account dug up this screenshot and insinuated that this is what this piece of possum excrement was referring to. The post went viral on Twitter after Kylie Rae responded with a heart emoji. Now some may try to defend Horse Manure saying he never talked about sexual misconduct allegations. My answer to that is “get real”; he knew exactly what he was saying. You don’t bring up the name Harvey Weinstein to talk about anything but his sex crimes. He knew to say just enough to not directly make any accusations and open himself up to a defamation lawsuit.
If you dig into the story, you’ll notice several issues. First of all, the original post attached to this rumor contained three theories as to why KR left AEW. The first theory alleged that Brandi Rhodes got her fired as KR was getting too chummy and flirty with Cody for her liking. The second is the Jericho story and the third is that KR refused to work with Nyla Rose since Nyla is a transwoman.
Do you want to know what kind of attention the Jericho theory drew back then? Almost none. It wasn’t widely reported, it wasn’t discussed ad nauseam on Twitter, wrestling forums and whatnot. It came and it went without much fanfare, people didn’t immediately jump to conclusions and say that any of these must be true. In fact, the Brandi rumor got much more traction and Brandi herself had to come out and deny it. In a November 2019 statement on her Instagram, KR said the following:
“I don’t know how to start this and I can’t speak on other’s behalves. I can only speak for myself and what’s in my heart. I don’t know many rumors and honestly try to stay away from everything, obviously 😅.
But here: nobody made me leave. AEW took my career to new levels and I’m beyond grateful for every opportunity and experience that has come along the way and wish nothing but the best. It’s a great group of people who truly love wrestling and just want everyone to succeed.
I’ve always tried to be a good person but I make many mistakes along the way. I needed to get my mind, body, and soul right with God. I wish I had the answers but the truth I don’t. We all go through obstacles in life and we may want all the answers but we don’t need them.
It’s God’s plan and he has shown me what’s truly important in life and to find a blessing in every moment because in the blink of an eye, everything can be gone. So instead of bashing, let’s just love one another and appreciate what we have, or something like that lol sorry I’m awkward.”
Does that sound like someone who was forced out to you? Someone who was so frightened by the actions of her coworker that she felt unsafe and had to leave? Not to me. But you see, this doesn’t matter, because in 2024 it’s fetch to bash AEW. If you praise anything AEW on this site, you’ll get downvoted and called a mark. If you talk negatively, you’ll get loads of praise and upvoted, be told you’re telling it like it is and that this is the truth.
Sometimes I think the IWC can’t get any worse, yet I am proven wrong time and time again. At World’s End, instead of celebrating the end of Continental Classic, talking about the changing of the guards with Samoa Joe as the new AEW World Champion or the reveal of Adam Cole as the devil along with Roderick Strong, Wardlow, Mike Bennett and Matt Taven as the Undisputed Kingdom, people wanted to know about NDAs.
Then came the media scrum. The goal of these scrums by the way is to discuss the PPV and put the spotlight on the talent that just competed in the ring. As my good friend TKW pointed out, there are no real journalists in professional wrestling. Tony Khan could just as easily enroll RJ City and Renée Paquette to do a post-event show with Tony and some of the talent. Scripted questions, in-character interviews, all in a controlled environment that achieves the same goal. Instead, this billionaire takes the time to give the fans some access and let them ask questions to the talent or to him directly. Again, these are not journalists. They are podcasters, YouTubers, newsletter writers and basically Internet personalities that produce wrestling related content.
There sits Julia Hart, who is becoming a star in the AEW women’s division at the young age of 22 and instead of putting the focus on her and asking questions about what’s next for her, some ass clown decides this is the time to bring up gossip and asks a question about what AEW is doing both present and past to ensure the safety of the women’s wrestlers and to prevent sexual harassment, framing his question around “discussions” within the fandom online. Here is what TK responded verbatim:
“It’s a great question, Kevin, and I think it applies to everybody in our company, women and men, and it’s something we’re very serious about, and we’ve had a policy in place, and certainly, I think any time there is anything like that, we would make sure we do everything to prevent it. AEW has the best safety record, I believe, of any pro wrestling company in the world. I believe we have the most safe environment. I think we have the best safety record of any pro wrestling company, and I would hold the record of AEW on safety against any wrestling company in the world. I think AEW is the safest place for pro wrestling. ‘If any of our wrestlers ever have a concern, they always have an open line to talk to me, and you know, I believe anybody would sit here and tell you they can always talk to me at any time if they are concerned about anything.”
That should have been the end of it. This wasn’t related to anything that happened on-screen, and didn’t involve Julia Hart. Tony Khan was wearing a goofy hat and sunglasses at this moment, which I’m sure wasn’t an accident in regards to the timing of the question, but this should have been the answer and case closed, but of course not, because someone else wanted to get famous.
Pill Scum (again not his real name), a “sports reporter” for a local paper who hosts a small wrestling podcast with fewer than 600 subscribers on YouTube, and whose biggest video has 16,000 views as of 10 months ago, decides to try and make a name for himself. While the previous ass hat tried to be respectful and his question was broad enough to be somewhat justified, this “journalist” asks directly about Chris Jericho and if he has ever been investigated for misconduct. After all, his loyal listeners who left him all of 13 reviews on Apple Podcasts have to know the truth. The man needs a Blue Chew sponsorship. If you don’t have one, are you even a real wrestling podcaster? Never mind this isn’t for the newspaper he writes for as there is no article on the website about this “incident.”
Tony doesn’t have a hat or glasses on at this point by the way, but he basically repeats what he said. But what was the response from the IWC? Did people rightfully call out this question as inappropriate for this setting? Did people ignore an obviously loaded question and praise TK for keeping his cool and answering as politely as possible without giving any fuel to this raging inferno? Of course not. He’s Tony Khan, he’s the worst person in the history of mankind, his tweets are blasphemous and so he must be stoned for his sins of daring to offer a pro wrestling program that is different from God-tier WWE and the glorious prophet Triple H.
People blast Tony for not saying ‘No’ and how that’s all he had to say and they would have dropped it. The thing is, he answered you. Do you expect Tony to go into detail on every single rumor? I heard the Dippin’ Dots vendor steals from handicapped orphans and splits the money with TK. The orphans are under an NDA, of course, so that’s why we never heard about it. Should someone ask a question about that at the Revolution media scrum? And if TK doesn’t deny it, should we start accusing him of hiding the truth and start chanting “Dippin’ Dots” at AEW shows? Better yet, let’s reply to every TK Tweet (which are the most important pieces of media in the world, despite him being a literal demon) asking him to tell the truth about Dippin’ Dots?
The truth is, for a lot of people, the only acceptable answer would have been “Yes, it’s true, Chris Jericho is a sex pervert and we are firing him and launching him straight into the sun. Furthermore, I am officially closing down AEW and will go straight to Stamford to join Triple H’s new kiss my ass club. All hail the one true god, Triple H, first of his name.”
The fact of the matter is very simple, this isn’t a story. Horse Manure laid out a hint, someone took the ball and now everyone and their mothers (at least those who are not under NDAs by Chris) are up in arms and asking for an investigation. Investigate what exactly? What is alleged in the Kylie Rae story? The story never outright says that she went up to his room and that, if she did, anything specific happened. Maybe she went up there to play a few rounds of Boggle? Jericho is the 1985 Alberta Boggle provincial champion after all.
To be clear, I am not diminishing survivors and victims of sexual assault. Sexual assault and sexual harassment are disgusting and there is no place for it in our society. However, while this story implies wrongdoing, it never actually comes out and states that something nefarious took place. Look for example at the types of stories that were shared during both the MeToo and SpeakingOut movements. Those are stories from actual victims that describe exactly what allegedly happened to them. They are detailed, they are personal and they are emotionally raw.
This is important to repeat, there are no details provided. Do you want to know why? Libel. Libel is basically the equivalent of defamation but in written form. In the United States, free speech is protected by the 1st amendment, but libel/defamation occurs when you knowingly lie to damage a person’s reputation. In order to be found liable (which is the civil equivalent of guilty in the criminal system), the evidence needs to show that the person who made the statement more likely than not acted with “actual malice,” which in layman’s terms means that this person knew what they were saying was false or grossly disregarded the truth. Hence, if you were to directly accuse Chris Jericho of sexual assault with a detailed allegation, you would open yourself up for a lawsuit.
Now some people are saying, “Why can’t Jericho just deny the allegations?” What good does that ever do? Have you ever heard of a case where someone denied allegations and then everyone believed them and moved on? I haven’t. Most of the time this just makes people dig in more, they assume that if they deny it, then they must be hiding something. This isn’t a far-fetched assumption given how many times we’ve seen people deny doing something only for it to be proven true later on.
These are not serious “accusations.” There is no statement from the victim, there are no details of the alleged incident, only a vague rumor that was started in 2019. Commenting on specifics will do nothing but bring even further attention to this trash gossip, that wouldn’t be fit to be published in the most sensational tabloid that you would find buried under the porno mags of your local convenience store manned by a chain-smoking clerk who looks to be in his sixties and can’t be bothered to say anything but to tell you what your total is before sending you out on your merry way.
It’s not even a question of innocent until proven guilty. No grand jury in the world would indict based on this flimsy shit, so there wouldn’t even be enough for a trial to begin with. If Chris Jericho or Tony Khan started addressing every vague rumor or giving any credence to these moronic conspiracy theories of widespread nondisclosure agreements that came as a result of bad faith actors with a personal bone to pick, they’d never stop. When audio of Sammy Guevara talking about wanting to “rape” Sasha Banks (recorded prior to his signing with AEW) surfaced what did TK do? Did he sweep it under the rug? No, he suspended Sammy, sent him to sensitivity training and Sammy posted a public apology. Mercedes herself confirmed that Sammy even contacted her privately to apologize for his insensitive remarks. If Tony is willing to do that for just comments, why in the world would he participate in covering up actual crimes?
This is the man who suspended his own executive vice-presidents for months after they got into a brawl with CM Punk at All Out 2022. He stripped them of their newly won Trios titles just days after the incident and they were not even mentioned on TV until their suspension ended. When something actually happens, Tony Khan has not tried to hide that there was an incident and actions were taken without going into specific details. Do you know the impact a scandal like covering up sexual misconduct would have on his other business ventures? It’s not just AEW that would suffer. The fact of the matter is, TK handled the question respectfully, calmly and reiterated that he takes the safety of talent very seriously. That’s all he needed to say.
Instead, people want to jump on this narrative and use some whataboutisms to justify why this story needs to be investigated. As for Kylie Rae, I don’t know why she replied what she did. Did she see a picture of Shotzi and a blue check and think it was a tweet from Shotzi? Did she respond to the wrong post in her timeline? Was she trying to get publicity without going over the line? I don’t know. Only she knows why she posted what she did and she hasn’t said a word since. There was a livestream recently she did with another guy and they talked about AEW and how everyone there was so nice to them and how they wonder how Kylie is doing given how open she has been about her mental health struggles, but never mentioned the tweet.
Now if Kylie wants to come out and make a statement, I will be glad to read it and I am absolutely open-minded enough to believe her if such an encounter occurred. Until then, to the fans who are giving this oxygen, to the blog and podcast writers who are repeating this and reporting on this as facts, go suck a rock.
You are the reason being a wrestling fan is so hard. Our beloved business already gets a dirty look from the outside world, yet you want to jump on trashy rumors to excuse your tribalism? Using one of the most heinous crimes out there, minimizing the pain and suffering of victims to get yourself over to the IWC or just to bash a company whose product you don’t enjoy is sick. Haven’t we learned yet the power of fake news? Haven’t we seen the effects of cognitive dissonance? Of people believing something because it fits into their narrative? There’s an old saying that where there’s smoke, there’s fire. There’s no smoke here. There are wet wood chips on the ground and people throwing matches hoping to start a fire. I stand with the victims of sexual predators; I believe that women should be allowed to live in this world without being constantly harassed or fear for their safety. I also believe that it’s important to use your brain and be logical. This isn’t a silly rumor about who refused to lose to whom, which free agent will debut where, this is a very serious topic. It’s not up to Chris Jericho, Tony Khan or AEW to shoot down every vague rumor that’s put up by no-name jabronis for clout, it’s up to those who spread rumors like these to prove that what they’re saying is true or at the very least, provide a detailed account of what they are “reporting” on.
If you choose to blindly follow these grifters, want to believe nonsense about NDAs to cover up crimes then you’re being an idiot. I know that’s harsh but at this point, what else can be said? I’m not going to hold your hand and validate your feelings. It’s up to you to be better, do some research, get some evidence and then you can publish your findings. Otherwise, do us all a favor and please shut the hell up.