Recently, with the web focused on one negative story about the company after another, AEW inked one of their biggest, most reliable stars to a contract extension. In the process, Tony Khan empowered Jon Moxley to take on a larger role backstage.
In addition to keeping an important player in the fold, the move also signaled two things. One, AEW was taking more steps to address a culture that contributed to the dysfunction driving much of the bad press they’ve received this year. Two, it pushed back on the narrative that everyone working for TK — and especially the ones who’d been at WWE in the past — secretly wanted to go back and work for Triple H.
Smart strategy all around, so it makes sense Khan’s employed it again with another of his trusted stars.
Chris Jericho’s added responsibilities include creative and producing in addition to the coaching and mentorship roles spelled out in Mox’s extension. Here’s AEW’s press release:
CHRIS JERICHO SIGNS EXTENSION WITH AEW THROUGH 2025, INCREASING ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
October 18, 2022 –Tony Khan announced that Chris Jericho, the Ring of Honor World Champion and leader of the Jericho Appreciation Society, has signed a contract extension through December 2025, keeping sports entertainment alive and well in AEW for the foreseeable future. Jericho will also increase his responsibilities within AEW, serving as a producer and creative advisor in addition to continuing as a mentor to young talent.
Jericho, in his eighth world championship reign, continues to reinvent himself and evolve as his illustrious career enters its 32nd year. This year has been a career year for Jericho, who, on top of capturing the Ring of Honor World Championship recently at “AEW: Dynamite Grand Slam,” has undergone an incredible physical transformation over the past few months and is in peak wrestling form.
Tonight, Jericho defends the ROH World Championship against Dalton Castle on a special Tuesday edition of “AEW: Dynamite,” in Cincinnati, live on TBS at 8 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. CT. Castle, who currently holds the ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Championship alongside The Boys, was the 28th ROH World Champion, holding the championship across much of 2017 and 2018.
“Chris Jericho long ago cemented his legacy as one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time, and we’re fortunate to have his skills, charisma, knowledge and insights in AEW for years to come,” said Tony Khan, CEO, GM and Head of Creative of AEW. “Chris has discovered a fountain of youth this year, and he’s having some of the very best matches of his legendary career against some of the top names in wrestling. In expanding his responsibilities, he’ll continue to serve as a valuable leader with our roster having the opportunity to utilize one of most creative minds in the history of wrestling.”
“I’ve been with AEW since literally day one, and in the midst of enjoying what is being called a career year for me in 2022 – after 32 years in the pro wrestling business – I am excited and proud to announce the extension of my relationship with AEW and the Khan family,” said Chris Jericho. “Working closely with Tony Khan every day is a rewarding and stimulating experience from both a creative and a professional standpoint, which has reignited my love for pro wrestling. I don’t think I would still be wrestling at this level or be as passionate about the business if AEW didn’t exist.
“As a result, I feel a great responsibility to keep AEW the best it can be both inside and out of the ring. Over the next three years, I’m looking forward to not only continuing my work in the ring, but to also focus on my ever-increasing responsibilities outside the ring, including producing, advising and assisting Tony with creative ideas, and providing leadership, encouragement and guidance for our fantastic roster. AEW is a great team – a team that I’m proud to say I’ll be a part of for a very long time.”
AEW gave Variety the scoop before sending out the presser, and the entertainment industry journal interviewed Jericho about his decision to re-up:
“I guess the simple answer is ‘Why not?’”
“Things have been going so well in the company, and I really do feel that this is my company. It’s tattooed on my heart, so to speak. I’ve been here since day one, and there’s really no reason not to be here continuing forward.
“When AEW first started, I think basically it was Chris Jericho and a group of very talented people that might not have been as well known. Within three months that changed and now within three years, we’ve got at least a dozen, maybe two dozen, of our own homegrown stars that came into their own on AEW television.”
The Ring of Honor World champion also spoke enthusiastically about his role at AEW:
“I think evolving and always reinventing myself is what keeps me going. And now I have this freedom to be creative, to just do anything that I think is going to work. I’ve never really had that before. I don’t have to worry about anybody else opinions. Obviously, Tony Khan weighs in from time to time, but it’s really just an open canvas to just paint whatever pictures that I want to paint and that makes it so much more fun.”
Garnering goodwill with announcements is one thing. Now we’ll see if they result in more stable operations for AEW.