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Chris Jericho On Whether He Can Top The Content He’s Created In AEW, What Sparked His Imagination With Orange Cassidy and more

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AEW superstar and Inner Circle leader Chris Jericho recently spoke to Sports Illustrated to hype this weekend’s ALL OUT pay per view, where the Demo God will be taking on Orange Cassidy in a Mimosa Mayhem matchup. Highlights from the interview can be found below.

Other matches that he is looking forward to at ALL OUT:

There are a great handful of matches that are going to be really good. But to me, I can’t really pay attention or care too much about anyone else’s matches, and that goes for any pay-per-view I’ve ever been on. I’ll watch them and enjoy them after my match is done. There are going to be a lot of highlights, whether that be Moxley’s angle with MJF, or Matt [Hardy] and Sammy [Guevara] or the way Kenny [Omega] and Hangman [Page] are going to continue their story. But I’ll be focused. To me, Mimosa Mayhem is more important than most matches I’ve had, because this is the first time there’s ever been one. I’ve been in a lot of firsts. I was in the first Money in the Bank, I was in the first Elimination Chamber, I was in the first Ambrose Asylum match. You can’t go back and watch previous Mimosa Mayhem matches for reference, because there aren’t any, so you have to keep that in mind. I have to be very creative about how we do this match, because it’s the first one. It has to be memorable, it has to be good and it has to be unique. That’s what this was created to be.

What he saw in Orange Cassidy that sparked his imagination:

When I first came to AEW, I was not a fan of Orange Cassidy. I just didn’t get it. When I actually spent some time with him, watching his matches and seeing how he connected with the audience, I realized that he’s over. That’s the secret of wrestling: getting over. He’s over because he’s doing something no one’s ever done before. That’s when I pulled my head out of my a– and realized what he’s doing is great. People really respond to him because he’s the type of character we’ve never seen before, so I knew I wanted to do something with him. This is a guy that hasn’t been in a main-event program before. I thought, let’s put him in one and see a side of Orange Cassidy, a violent side, that we’ve never seen before. Let’s see the Orange Cassidy that cuts a great promo and see how he does in an extended program. I believe we started this the week after Stadium Stampede, so it’s close to 14 weeks for this program. Any time you can do three and a half months in a program with somebody, that shows how special and how good the story is. It was something I had a hunch about, and I was right. We created some really good TV, and this is going to be a great pay-per-view blow-off match for this program.

His biggest goal working with Cassidy:

I think I have a real eye for picking out guys that people want to see—new stars—but it’s not like I’m some sort of genius who waves my magic wand to decide who’s going to be a star. It’s more about having a hunch and seeing some of these people that can get there on their own. So it’s more about the proverbial rub, and a rub isn’t just being in a match with somebody or having one night with Chris Jericho. This is about a legit program over a couple months where you’re painted in a certain light, and the spotlight is on you to show you’re at a different level. A lot of Orange’s detractors say that he’s lazy or stupid, or that his stuff doesn’t make any sense. But this has been very believable, and it’s also a great gimmick. People of all ages can dress up like him. Orange Cassidy brings a lot to the table, and my goal is to show him in a different light and launch this guy into becoming a main-event guy, which we need to keep doing in AEW, and it’s what we’ve been doing all along. Some guys were closer to it, like Cody. He was not a legit main-event money-drawing, TV-drawing performer when we started AEW. Same with Hangman, same with Kenny, same with the Bucks, same with Darby. They’ve all shown they’re ready to go to that next level, and we’ve helped all of them get there. Orange is one of those guys.

Whether he thinks he can top the work he’s already done in AEW:

That’s the reason why I’m here. It’s always about reinventing and evolving and creativity. Most of the stuff you’ve seen me do in the past year came from my mind, Tony’s mind and Cody’s mind, all working together. I like to write weeks at a time. I just wrote the next 10 weeks of TV that starts on September 9, right after All Out is done. I write down some ideas, show them to Tony, he approves and off we go. Of course, that always morphs and changes over the course of those 10 weeks. That’s something we didn’t have in WWE. They wanted me to draw a picture, but I didn’t know what it was a picture of. In AEW, we always know what the picture is supposed to look like at the end, and we fill in the details as we go. That’s what good wrestling and good wrestling booking is all about. Also, look at the roster. Who is the next Orange Cassidy? Maybe it’s somebody I won’t work with for a whole 14 weeks, but instead give them a spotlight for two or three weeks. My spotlight is engraved in gold at this point. I don’t need more of a spotlight. But I sure do like giving other guys a spotlight and seeing what they can do with it. Some will stick, some won’t, but that’s always been my goal and attitude. You can’t do Kenny vs. Jericho or Cody vs. Jericho or Moxley vs. Jericho three years in a row. The more colors we have on our palette to paint our stories, the better it is.

Who else he wants to work with on the roster:

Those are great picks, and I worked with them in very short stories, but the reason was to start planting those seeds that these are top guys. And I wasn’t downplaying Jericho vs. Cody, because there is still a long way we can go with that. We could have done another match and spent another eight weeks together. Same with Kenny. We’ve had two matches, and there is a big rubber match in there somewhere. Hangman Page, there are a lot of places we can go with that. MJF-Jericho is very interesting to me, whether as a heel or babyface. There are a lot of different places to go. And AEW is smart. Look at when Matt Hardy came in. You don’t program Matt Hardy–Jericho right away. It’s Matt vs. Sammy, Jericho vs. Cassidy. I like that. It doesn’t mean Matt and I can’t intersect, and we have, but there are a lot of different areas we can go. That’s exciting for me. Sonny Kiss. Jack Evans. I love those matchups. And the tag team, Sammy and Jericho—Le Sex Gods—we can do more there. I like tagging with [Jake] Hager, that’s a good combination, too. There are a lot of great places to go, and there is no rush. I’m not going anywhere, and I think most of these guys are locked in for four years, so it may be a year down the line before Jericho–Jungle Boy takes place, but it will take place.

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