WWE Drops Chris Jericho From Intro After AEW Signing
Chris Jericho just made WWE's list.
Less than one day after announcing its initial roster, All Elite Wrestling is creating some major waves in the world of professional wrestling, even causing some interesting changes within WWE. As GameSpot previously reported, former WWE superstar Chris Jericho signed with AEW, essentially making the new company his United States wrestling home.
Almost immediately, WWE responded by moving the four-time World Champion's biography to the alumni section of its website. The most notable change came a couple hours later, though, when Smackdown Live went on the air. At the beginning of the broadcast, the WWE signature video package played, but Jericho's face was mysteriously absent.
Jericho has appeared in numerous signature videos over the years and was still present when the short introductory clip that proclaims WWE is "then, now, and forever" the night before on Raw. However, as of the January 8 episode of Smackdown, he's been replaced by The Bar members Sheamus and Cesaro. The change was first noted by a Twitter user.
The move makes sense on WWE's part, as this is the first time since his debut for the company in 1996 that he's signed to a group that could be seen as competition in the United States market. Thus far, his only real non-WWE wrestling appearances have been for New Japan Pro Wrestling and as part of his own Rock and Wrestling Rager at Sea cruise.
Now that he's, in his own words, signed to AEW "for the long haul," WWE distancing themselves from him and instead promoting an act they have under contract is logical. However, it just goes to show how interesting professional wrestling is becoming.
Cody Rhodes and the Young Bucks, who launched AEW with Jacksonville Jaguars owners Tony Khan and Shahid Khan, have repeatedly said they want to change the world of professional wrestling. While overtaking WWE and becoming the biggest pro wrestling company on the planet might be impossible, with names like Jericho on the roster and the promise of an equal scale of pay for male and female performers, they're certainly giving it their all.
What remains to be seen is how the product will be presented. While the first major show--Double of Nothing on May 25--has been announced, AEW has yet to mention whether they have any sort of deal in place to distribute regular programming. Of course, the company could always go the same route Cody and the Bucks have used in the past. Their All In pay-per-view was available via streaming, with a pre-show that aired on WGN America.