AEW’s Chris Jericho responds to Triple H’s ‘imaginary war’ talk

Chris Jericho isn’t shocked NXT boss Triple H known as the promotion’s year-plus scores battle with All Elite Wrestling on Wednesday nights an “imaginary war” — and the previous AEW world champion went as far to say WWE’s model misplaced on two fronts.

“That’s typical WWE,” mentioned Jericho, who will lead The Inner Circle towards The Pinnacle at AEW Blood and Guts 8 p.m. Wednesday on TNT. “It’s typical rhetoric. Because I believe that they congratulated us the first week and said, if you remember, ‘it’s a marathon, not a sprint.’ We won the marathon, right? So now it’s an imaginary war. Well then why were they saying it’s a marathon, not a sprint a year and a half ago when our first rating came out?”

AEW gained the marathon of what was dubbed the “Wednesday Night Wars” by garnering higher scores than NXT on 63 of the 75 nights the 2 manufacturers competed head to head for 2 hours in primetime. They additionally tied twice. Jericho, who dubbed himself the “Demo God” early on within the battle, noticed his crew forward in the important thing 18-to-49 demographic 74 of the 75 weeks the reveals ran up towards one another. While NXT had been streaming as a one-hour present Wednesdays on WWE Network, the corporate moved it to USA Network on that evening in October 2019. According to Jericho, that was WWE’s try to strive to restrict AEW’s endurance with TNT, which in January 2020 prolonged the corporate’s deal to 2023. NXT went to Tuesday nights earlier this month.

“It will be there for the rest of time, it was an ‘imaginary war,’ and if it wasn’t a war why did they take Wednesday night the exact same time that we had?” Jericho mentioned. “It was there to take away our ratings and for us not to get re-signed. Three months after that started we were re-signed to a hundreds-of millions-of-dollars extension. They failed.”

NBC Universal’s determination to shut down its NBCSN channel by the top of this 12 months means extra NASCAR and English Premier League protection would transfer over to Wednesday nights on USA Network, however NXT was moved lengthy earlier than that. The swap additionally provides WWE the chance to enhance its possibilities for a extra profitable media rights deal for NXT down the street, if the present continues to thrive on Tuesday nights and provides them an opportunity for a form of lead-in from “Monday Night Raw,” which can be on USA. NXT ran for the final time towards AEW on April 7.

“The promotional opportunity for us is much better on a Tuesday,” Triple H mentioned on the “Cheap Heat” podcast with Peter Rosenberg after NXT’s transfer. “And additionally then not having to have a story the place it’s simply always about an imaginary conflict, or this imaginary battle. And folks can say what they need, however the reality of the matter is you compete towards every little thing. If you’re making a tv product or content material, that’s the world we reside in, is content material not tv, not web. It’s every little thing.

“So you’re constantly competing for eyeballs and time against everything under the sun, including sleep and time to do other things, and video games, and TikTok and everything else that’s out there. So, having your own space sort of where you don’t have to then have an added imaginary battle…is kinda nice.”

Both reveals have seen an uptick in scores over the previous three weeks with AEW posting 1.29 million, 1.104 million and 889,000, which got here up towards President Joe Biden’s handle to Congress final week. NXT netted scores of 805,000, 841,000 and 744,000 in the course of the three-week span.

“We’ve done a great job of putting on amazing television throughout this pandemic,” Jericho mentioned. “We never took our eyes off the storytelling, which is what it’s all about. And we never lost our cool factor either, which I think NXT and WWE lost a lot of.”

Jericho feels NXT harm itself by not shifting off Wednesday earlier when its efforts to flip the scores tide wasn’t working. NXT ran reveals themed off of outdated WCW pay-per-views akin to Great American Bash and Halloween Havoc and likewise had most important roster WWE stars seem on various events. AEW did be part of within the nostalgia try, operating a two-night Bash on the Beach present in January 2020 primarily based round Jericho’s cruise.

“They started kind of cutting off your nose to spite your face and just kept holding on and holding on and hurting their own brand and hotshoting everything to get ratings and they just weren’t getting it,” Jericho mentioned. “So whatever reason they left, good for them, they’re a great company.”

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