AEW World Champion Chris Jericho spoke with Sports Illustrated before his AEW Full Gear title match against Cody. During the interview, Jericho was asked about the Inner Circle and the NWO, along with if his match against Cody shoulder main event tonight's PPV.
Jericho, along with Jake Hager, Sammy Guevara, Santana, and Ortiz formed AEW's Inner Circle. Jericho was asked about crowds reacting loudly to their segments and if there's any comparisons to WCW's nWo, led by "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan.
"The nWo worked because Hogan was the catalyst, but the original crux of nWo was made of big name, legit stars," Jericho responded. "You had Hall and Nash, who were huge stars in their own right, and Hogan, who, at the time, was the biggest name in the business. The difference with us in The Inner Circle is, it's Jericho and four young guys that haven't yet reached their potential as main event stars. Now they are.
"Hulk definitely played the heel, as I do, but the difference is I can still have great matches, too. Any given night, a Jericho match can be considered the best match of the night. So that's another difference—Hogan was never known as a great performer in the ring; he knew how to get the audience. He was a great worker. Jericho is a great worker and a great wrestler, combined with knowing how to get that heat and get guys over.
"There is some nWo in there, which happens any time you put together a heel faction. Any comparisons between Jericho and Hulk Hogan in the nWo begin and end with knowing how to get heel heat. In the ring, it's a different story. That was one of the things that was great, and not so great, about WCW. The nWo was so huge and made so much money, but whenever it came down to the actual matches in the ring, they were never that great. I think everyone could see that, even Hogan and Piper and the other guys, as well. We can go out there and have great matches, and get the heat—and get guys over.
"It's very beneficial for the company to have The Inner Circle. It's something we discussed, but you never know how it's going to turn out. But from the formation to now, every guy has gone above and beyond to become a bigger star. The look of the Circle is exactly what I wanted. The names are exactly who I wanted, and the attitude is exactly what I wanted. The vision came together perfectly, which doesn't always happen."
On this past Wednesday's Dynamite, Cody announced that if he doesn't beat Jericho for the title, he will never challenge for it again. The reason stemmed from Cody noticing the criticisms of him being in a title match and also management. Jericho spoke on if he feels that match should close out tonight's PPV.
"It doesn't matter to me if we go last," Jericho said. "I learned this with my Hangman Page match [at All Out]. We had a great match, but it was on after the Lucha Bros. and Young Bucks had this crazy ladder match. I can follow any match in the world, I'm not worried about that, but let's give every match its due. When you have a stunt show match and then go on for a classic world title match, maybe that wasn't the right way to do it. Maybe the ladder match should have been on first.
"With Moxley and Kenny doing the lights-out, barbed wire broom, and all this other stuff, I'm not sure if they're going to put us on last or before that match. Either way, it's going to be great, but when you have a match with all those props and weapons, it might be better for us to go on right before it.
"It doesn't matter. It's a double main event. And this is the match people are paying to see, so let's put it on when people have the most focus and before they're burnt out from table bumps and barbed wire brooms. Either way, I'm cool with it, but it's something we'll decide when we get to the venue tomorrow."
Tonight's Full Gear PPV takes place from Baltimore, Maryland and we will have live coverage, beginning at 7 pm ET.