Despite dropping a number of hints that seemed to indicate his interest in signing with All Elite Wrestling once his WWE contract expired, Randy Orton re-signed with the latter company earlier this week, as he himself confirmed on social media shortly after news of the deal first emerged. And while it was interesting to consider the possibility of Orton leaving WWE for its fast-rising rival promotion, inaugural AEW World Champion Chris Jericho recently commented on why he feels it would have been too much of a long shot to expect "The Viper" to jump ship.
In an interview with Sportskeeda's Daniel Wood published on Wednesday, Jericho discussed various topics, mostly relating to his ongoing stint in AEW. When asked about Orton's social media teases of a possible move to AEW, the wrestling legend told Wood that he knows "nobody," especially a longtime mainstay like Orton, is going to leave WWE just like that, due to owner Vince McMahon's willingness to "pay millions and millions of dollars" to keep him around. He did note, however, that the only exception to this would be those who had explicitly stated they refuse to re-sign, no matter how much WWE is willing to pay them.
Citing one such exception, Jericho mentioned Jon Moxley (formerly Dean Ambrose), who signed with AEW as a free agent, after various reports had suggested that he was determined to sign elsewhere despite being offered a lot of money to remain with WWE.
Jericho also discussed the rumors that Orton was teasing a jump to AEW on social media in order to leverage a more lucrative deal, saying that he sees nothing wrong with wrestlers employing such strategies. He then stressed that the company won't go out of its way to sign just about any ex-WWE superstar who wants to defect to the competition."[T]hose guys that who are working WWE now, they got huge raises, and if they were on the Indy circuit they wouldn't be making 500 bucks a night," Jericho said.
"The point is that Vince just doesn't want anybody to leave WWE because it looks like an exodus if they do and makes us look even cooler."Considering that Orton's new contract will apparently keep him on McMahon's payroll for the next five years, Jericho suggested that AEW would have been "really interested" in approaching him, had he indicated beforehand that he definitely wants to leave WWE. He added that if AEW did end up signing Orton, the company would have likely needed just one month to make the 39-year-old wrestling veteran more popular than he had been in his last decade working for McMahon.