On Tuesday, WWE had the SmackDown Live crew doing a show in Jacksonville, Florida while a brand new start-up promotion held a rally nearby. All Elite Wrestling (AEW) welcomed thousands of fans to their official introduction, and one of the biggest surprises was the arrival of former World Heavyweight Champion Chris Jericho. While fans around the world were shocked, did WWE Chairman Vince McMahon have any idea that it was going to happen?
At the start of 2019, Cody Rhodes, Hangman Page, and The Young Bucks introduced AEW to the world, and they are set to hold their first event, Double or Nothing, in May. This brand new wrestling promotion held a rally in Jacksonville earlier this week and revealed their roster, which had some big names on it.
Towards the end of the rally, Chris Jericho came out in front of the crowd and revealed that he was “all in” with All Elite Wrestling. Wrestling fans were shocked, as the very loyal WWE superstar had officially left, opting to continue his career somewhere else.
It didn’t take long for WWE to begin parting ways with Jericho, as they immediately started taking him out of the spotlight. As reported by Inquisitr, he was moved to the alumni page of the official website and removed from the WWE intro before SmackDown even started.
WWE worked very quickly at separating themselves from Y2J, but was it a surprise to everyone in the company?
— Wrestleview.com (@wrestleview) January 8, 2019
A lot of fans believe that Chris Jericho kept his involvement with All Elite Wrestling a surprise from virtually everyone, but that isn’t exactly true. It appears as if the former world champion had a conversation with Vince McMahon before heading to Jacksonville and showing up at the rally.
Jericho was a guest this week on Busted Open Radio, and he revealed some of what was said in the discussion with Vinnie Mac. As transcribed by Ringside News, it was not a straight-up surprise for the man in charge of WWE.
“A lot of that stuff is private but I did have a very amicable conversation with him. He knew what I was doing…it wasn’t a surprise. I didn’t just show up in Jacksonville and that was it. The bottom line is the Khan family isn’t messing around. They want to make a go at this and you know they have a lot of money and they have a lot of capital.”
Even though All Elite Wrestling is just starting out — and faces stiff tough competition around the world — many fans believe they have a good chance at succeeding. Signing Chris Jericho helped to build up their talent roster, and in turn, brings plenty of attention to the start-up promotion. While it may have shocked the world that he was at the rally, Vince McMahon was far from surprised.