In an appearance on Busted Open Radio, AEW star Chris Jericho talked about the Blood and Guts match between his faction, Inner Circle, and their rivals, MJF’s the Pinnacle, this week on AEW Dynamite. Jericho shared his philosophy with hosts Dave LeGreca and Bully Ray on how to build the match up.
“It’s one of those things, where you only have a certain amount of time to build such a big match,” Jericho said. “You have to figure out ‘okay we have three or four weeks to do this.’ How do you do it best? And there’s some suggestions like, okay, maybe Sammy vs. Spears, whoever wins, that team gets the advantage. I was like ‘I don’t want us to even touch each other before Blood and Guts.’ Suddenly Mike Tyson becomes available so we kind of take a little bit of a detour there. But I still didn’t want us to really be touching or fighting. It started out with a giant beatdown of the Pinnacle on the Inner Circle. And then it continued with the return, four weeks later, of the Inner Circle surprising the Pinnacle in the dressing room, returning the beat down. Then it’s like ‘let’s go to the promo segment.’
“And it’s not just MJF and Jericho because it’s something I know from my guys. Santana is a great promo, Ortiz is a great promo. Sammy is stumbling in to figure out how to be a great promo with his intensity. And Jake Hager is no slouch either. You might not know him as a promo guy, but he has something to him. Compare that to the FTR guys and Spears; he did a great promo last night. I had no idea what he was going to get. And even Wardlow the week before. You have to give these guys a chance, because it can’t just always be on Jericho and MJF when you have two five man factions. At least for me I won’t do that. I don’t want it to be Jericho and his band of merry men. It’s a five point star, where everyone’s expected to hold up their weight and they’re all wanting to do that.
“I think this is a great case of building this match up, so much, that you’d pay money to see it on a pay-per-view. We’ve sold more tickets for this match and this show for next week for any other we’ve done post pandemic. I think the rating is going to reflect that as well. People are really excited for this match. Because we’ve made it intense and we’ve made it real in the three to four weeks we’ve had to build it up.”
Jericho was later asked whether he felt any pressure to deliver with a match as big as Blood and Guts. According to Jericho, there was more pressure on his part to make the match finally happen.
“I think, more than anything, this match was signed, sealed and delivered for March 25 of last year. Elite vs. Inner Circle,” Jericho said. “It’s what we had planned. And then suddenly the pandemic happens and then everything changes. So I think more than anything, this match has been in the pipeline for so long, it’s kind of been this, I don’t know, this kind of shadow in the corner that’s been staring us all down. Because once we kind of let the cat out of the bag, ‘when are we going to do it?’, there’s a big decision not to do last year in front of an empty venue. And then we came up with Stadium Stampede and suddenly we moved on to other things.
“I’m a big proponent that the match has to fit the story, not a story just to have a match. For example, Hell in a Cell. ‘Oh we’ve got Hell in a Cell pay per view coming up next month. Let’s put together a three week story and put them in the cell. Then we’ll have a tag team in the cell, we’ll have a women cell, we’ll have a midget cell.’ It’s like, you’re just prostituting this gimmick. For Blood and Guts the story needs to be there first. And for the first time since last March we have this story between these two factions that, right out of the gate, there’s a lot of intensity and a lot of interest. So let’s put it in the Blood and Guts.
“So there is a lot to live up to, because a lot of people are saying ‘oh you’re doing it too early.’ We disagree. Why does the Blood and Guts have to happen four months down the line when it really demands to happen now? And trust me; we have a long way to go. There’s a lot of twist and turns in the pipeline between the Inner Circle and the Pinnacle. And I think Blood and Guts, if we do it the way I think we’re going to do it, it’s just going to kick it off at the highest of levels to where people are just going to want to see more and more and more and more.”
Jericho also said, while the match wouldn’t be over the top, it would feature heavy doses of violence.
“If you’re talking about violence, because we’re talking Blood and Guts, absolutely. Of course it’s going to be a violent match. But I don’t think you’re going to see guys sawing their heads off with lightbulb tubes just because it’s called Blood and Guts.
“There’s a story there. There’s psychology there. And Bully (Ray) knows more than anything, it’s always the story and psychology that matters, in any type of match you have, rather than the actual gimmick or stipulation of the match itself.”
Later Jericho was asked about the NHL coming to Turner Sports and how that may affect AEW. Overall Jericho isn’t too concerned, and in fact believes the NHL deal will help AEW more than hurt it.
“I don’t really worry about that,” Jericho said. “We’ve gone head to head with NBA games before and beat them. So I don’t really see the NHL as being a real competition for AEW, just like I didn’t see NXT as being real competition for AEW. There’s nothing we can do about who’s going to be put on the air across the table from us so to speak. We’re just going to continue to keep doing what we’re doing. And listen, if TNT and TBS becomes the sports station, that’s great. Because we’re doing great numbers.
“The Demo God thing isn’t something I made up, it’s a truth. Our demos are always high. So that just puts us more in the spotlight. If we got to an NHL game and do some commentating or sit in the crowd and wave, and suddenly Sydney Crosby shows up at an AEW show because that’s what they want to do.
“It just makes us more of a mainstream entity. So it’s great. It’s great that TNT got the NHL package. So it probably is going to enhance our show rather than take away from it, because we won’t allow it to do it any other way.”