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Jericho says AEW needs ‘heartthrobs’, not CM Punk

AEW’s Chris Jericho joined Collider Live! earlier this week for a conversation about, well, AEW.

There’s a few interesting topics touched upon in the above five minute clip they released on YouTube, including All Elite targeting smaller (3,000 - 5,000 seat) venues for their live television dates, the challenge of getting acts that are popular with diehard wrestling fans (The Young Bucks, Lucha Bros, Kenny Omega) over with a mainstream audience, and the women he’d like to see AEW sign (Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Tessa Blanchard... duh).

The one quote grabbing attention has to do with a certain Chicago-based free agent, but it’s more interesting for what Jericho says after the obvious answer about CM Punk. It sounds like the coming wrestling war will largely be fought over teens & young adults, particularly women. Y2J dives into how All Elite will be fighting that war... with young, hot dudes:

“I haven’t been asked about CM Punk [by the Executive Vice Presidents]. Do we need him? No. Would it be a huge pop to get him? Yes. I don’t know, man. I don’t know what his attitude or mindset is, but I think our roster is jam packed right now.

So, we’re not looking to headhunt WWE. We never were. That’s one of the things that’s funny about the guys getting all this - the double salaries and all that stuff. We didn’t want to be WCW in ‘98 or IMPACT/TNA in 2011 where you’re just bringing in old WWE guys. We don’t want that. We have enough guys that no one’s ever seen before. And that’s what we want to do.

We have a lot of young guys like Jungle Boy, MJF, both of those guys are 23 years old. That appeals to a different demographic. My daughters are 12, don’t like wrestling - but they like Jungle Boy. They love Riverdale, they love Luke Perry, they like Jack Perry. They like the fact that there’s a young guy, good looking guy, but they’re almost in the same age group - or at least they can have a crush on a 23-year-old kid.

WWE doesn’t have 23-year-old kids. They put them in NXT and five years later, when they’re 27 or 28, they come up. We wanted to focus on the younger demographic which I think is missing in wrestling. The teenage heartthrobs that they used to have in every wrestling territory up until the last ten years in WWE.”

Two of the most buzzed about acts from AEW’s three shows to date have been the 23 year olds Jericho mentions, but the hype for Maxwell Jacob Friedman and A Boy & His Dinosaur has come from the regular wrestling base. Will they be key to crossing over to teens who don’t currently watch wrestling when All Elite is on TNT?


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