Chris Jericho welcomed his Inner Circle stablemates on to his Talk Is Jericho podcast this week to talk about the origins of AEW’s main event heel group.
Interestingly, it seems the originally pitched members were completely different from the group that ended up being put together. In fact, one proposed member hasn’t wrestled a single professional wrestling match, even now.
It seems the idea to have Jericho as a faction leader, inspired as it is, was planned early on. Jericho said:
“The moment that I came to AEW, the idea was for me to have a faction,” Jericho revealed. “Tony Khan really wanted that and thought it was a good idea, and I never had a faction before. I’ve had tag team partners but being the leader of a faction kind of stood out to me. I thought it was a good idea, so then we had to figure out who are we going to get involved in this and throw around different ideas and come up with his whole amazing group that we have.”
It seems that the structure of the group was set in stone quite early on with Jericho wanting a young up and comer, a tag team and a ‘big guy’ to make up his posse.
In terms of the young guy, it’s hard to imagine anyone other than Sammy Guevara in the spot but he wasn’t Jericho’s first choice. Unsurprisingly, his original pick was MJF. He continues of Guevara:
“It’s funny. I saw you on a NWA show. I watched Cody vs. Nick Aldis. I was watching, and I saw you on it. I text Tony going, ‘this Sammy Guevara guy. We should bring him in.’ So it was kind of right from the start that I kind of had an eye on you. I can’t remember who the first choice of different guys were, but I remember, at one point, I was like, ‘I’d like to have MJF.’ He’s like, ‘well, he’s gonna do his own thing.’ Well, Sammy is kind of the same idea. I wanted a young, up-and-coming and charismatic guy.”
Turning his attention to tag teams, this alternative reality Inner Circle saw the incredible Mexican siblings Pentagon Jr. and Fenix considered rather than Santana & Ortiz but quickly dismissed:
“Then I wanted a tag team, and one of the ideas that was suggested was Pentagon and Fenix. And I said, ‘it’s too gimmicky. I don’t want gimmicks.’ Then right after that it was, what about LAX, at the time, Santana and Ortiz, and we had met briefly. You were on the first cruise, but I didn’t really know you guys, didn’t really know that much about you.”
Jericho, however, saves the biggest curveball until last. While discussing alternatives for Bellator MMA fighter, Jake Hager, it sounds like AEW owner Tony Khan originally pitched for a different combat sports athlete to join the group. Only rather than a former All-American MMA fighter with an extensive background, Khan suggested a British boxer with zero matches under his belt:
“One of the ideas was they wanted a guy called Anthony Ogogo,” Jericho revealed. “They were saying, ‘what do you think about this Anthony Ogogo guy?’ I said, ‘well, he’s never wrestled. How tall is he?’ He was like 5’11”. I said, ‘I need a big guy, and I got the guy.”
Anthony Ogogo? OK then…..We’ve all fantasy booked stable before but that seems a little ‘out there’
It sounds like giving the stable a bit more thought was the best thing for all concerned in the end.
Thank’s to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.