Chris Jericho is arguably the biggest star in AEW, and many wrestling fans were surprised when AEW was actually able to find the right dollar figure and/or contract terms that convinced him to move away from WWE.
Now that Brock Lesnar is reportedly a free agent, can AEW pull off the impossible again, and find a way to come to terms with Lesnar? Is the promotion even interested in signing Brock Lesnar to a deal?
Chris Jericho chimed in on this topic during an interview with Gary Cassidy of Sportskeeda. The Demo God explained that even if Brock Lesnar is not under contract, he’s still not a free agent:
“I don’t think he’s really a free agent at all. I think it would take so much money to pry him away from Vince McMahon on Brock’s end and then for Vince to approve that...
I mean, Vince has two billion dollars in the bank. What are you going to spend on Brock Lesnar that Vince isn’t going to match? And Vince and Brock have a strange love affair, to begin with.
So would Brock fit in at AEW? Would he pay back his salary that you would pay him to be in AEW? Who’s to say, but I think UFC, AEW... I think it’s just another one of the dances that Vince and Brock like to have where Brock’s contract expires, Vince lets it expire, and then they stay away from each other until the next Saudi Arabia show or the next show that has people in the crowd, or WrestleMania, whatever it may be. So I don’t think Brock is really a free agent in the sense of the word, I just think he’s like currently not under contract right now.
The amount of money it would take him to tear him away from from the world of WWE would, A, be astronomical, B, Vince will never allow it to happen and, C, I don’t know if you could make that investment back, or if it would even be worth it for AEW at this point in time or UFC, or any company other than WWE.”
Semantics aside, I think Chris Jericho’s assessment of Lesnar’s relationship with WWE is spot on. WWE never centered their entire promotion around Chris Jericho the way they do with Lesnar, so cracks were at least present for Jericho to one day slip out of WWE’s grip.
But that’s not the case with Lesnar. Vince McMahon appears to value him more than any other wrestler in the world (Jericho humorously describes it as a “strange love affair”), and I can’t see a scenario where Vince fails to come up with whatever dollar figured is needed to make Lesnar happy. Lesnar has been back in the WWE fold for nearly 8.5 years now, and he remains the strongest booked star in the promotion. He gets paid huge money to work limited dates, and WWE is on track to have one of their most profitable years ever. There’s just no way that Vince McMahon will allow Brock to wrestle anywhere else.
Jericho doesn’t directly state it, but he’s also on the right track when he dances around the idea that Lesnar’s financial demands don’t make any sense for AEW. Lesnar was a huge draw in the world of MMA, but it’s not clear at all what his drawing power is right now in pro wrestling. WWE is overflowing in so much money that it probably doesn’t even matter to them if Brock is a poor return on investment. AEW won’t approach contract negotiations with that same mindset, and it would likely lead to a situation where they come nowhere close to offering Lesnar the incredibly lucrative deal he can get from WWE.
Finally, Lesnar is a poor fit for AEW because just about all of their pay-per-view matches go at least ten minutes, and that’s a foreign concept for Brock Lesnar over the last several years. He’s going to need massive overtime pay for that kind of work.
Do you agree with Jericho that Lesnar isn’t really a free agent?