Chris Jericho Shares Thoughts On Vince McMahon's WWE Retirement And Whether It Could Affect AEW

Chris Jericho in the ring in AEW
(Image credit: AEW)

The pro wrestling world was dealt the blow of a mental Judas Effect in the days ahead of SummerSlam 2022, as the WWE's longtime head honcho Vince McMahon announced he was retiring from his CEO position. The decision came as the 76-year-old is being investigated over allegedy paying hush money to settle past misconduct complaints from female former employees, though the retirement isn't directly connected. Chris Jericho, who worked under Vince McMahon for nearly two decades, spoke with CinemaBlend about his post-WWE successes with the AEW, but weighed in on McMahon stepping down after so many years.

Jericho, who recently appeared as a guest star in Impractical Jokers, sat down with CinemaBlend at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, where he shared why he thinks Vince McMahon is probably a good idea generally speaking. In his words:

The thing is, for me, I haven’t worked in the WWE since 2017. And I did work there almost 20 years. I always loved working with Vince. Learned a lot from him. And, you know, he had a great run. And then stepping back is, you know, probably for the best for him, even from a physical standpoint, because he runs himself so ragged from the workload that he has.

After taking over his father’s promotion in 1982, Vince McMahon essentially did everything possible to maintain as much control and popularity as he could within the professional wrestling industry, with more than a few bridges being burned along the way. The fact that he spent a good chunk of those years in the ring himself as an in-story villain certainly added physical stress on top of everything else, so it’s fairly surprising that he remained the public face of the company for as long as he did. (Not so surprising when his ego is put into consideration, but still.)

As much as Chris Jericho may have learned from Vince McMahon during his years in the WWE, he and others within the AEW also learned lessons for what not to do as a way to make their organization stand apart. Not that they’re paying that much attention to the current goings-on anyway. Here’s how Jericho put it:

I think one of the best things that we’ve done as a company with AEW is obviously we know WWE exists, and obviously we know that they’re out there and they see us as 1,000% competition. But we don’t really worry about what’s going on in their world. We’re much more concerned with our own shows, sharing the best shows we can, and improving everything we can, telling the best stories we can. So to me, they’re kind of a ship on their own, and we are much more diligent about AEW generally. I mean, like I said, I care, but not really worry.

With Vince McMahon now stepping down completely — daughter Stephanie McMahon was serving as acting CEO as the WWE’s Board investigation was in the early days — it potentially sets up a shift in how the company handles things in the future. We already know the creatives will be going harder on more mature content going forward, but having someone outside the McMahon family in the driver’s seat would be bonkers, assuming that person would have any legitimate control. Is it just going to be Triple H when he’s back in full? It’s not out of the question. 

For what it’s worth, Chris Jericho doesn’t see any major ways Vince McMahon’s retirement is going to affect things over at AEW, but he isn’t saying anything is impossible as far as potential crossovers. In his words:

So is it going to affect us anyway? We’ll see… I don’t know if there will ever be, you know, a WWE vs AEW crossover pay per view. But stranger things have happened. So, we’ll see.

While nobody should ramp up expectations for the day when the WWE and AEW cross paths in the ring for Peacock subscribers (or HBO Max subscribers), it certainly seems like as good a time as any to start making noise about it online to convince the eventual Powers That Be that we’d like to see that happen one day. Assuming the card is great. Or even just pretty good. 

AEW Rampage airs Friday nights on TNT at 10:00 p.m. ET, with Dynamite airing Wednesday nights on TBS at 8:00 p.m. ET.  

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.