Chris Jericho Doesn’t Want to Be AEW’s Only Star

“Building new stars will make this promotion successful,” Jericho says.
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Chris Jericho is adding a new collectible for wrestling fans this holiday season.

Jericho’s “Little Bit of the Bubbly” sparkling wine is now on sale, providing a chance to give loved ones a wine bottle adorned with the face of All Elite Wrestling’s reigning champion.

“Now we can say ‘A little bit of the bubbly!’ with a little bit of the bubbly,” said Jericho. “How ridiculously cool is that? It tastes good, you can catch a little buzz off of it, you can spray some across the room—you can all feel a little bit like Chris Jericho and the Inner Circle.”

The wine is the product of a collaboration between AEW and Nocking Point Winery, which was founded by Arrow star Stephen Amell. Jericho’s “Little bit of the bubbly” catchphrase, which was a throwaway line he recalled from Dumb and Dumber and used during his All Out title celebration, immediately went viral. Much to the delight of wrestling audiences, Jericho has continued to work the phrase into his vocabulary, capitalizing with “Little Bit of the Bubbly” t-shirts and now the wine.

You never know what’s going to stick and resonate with people, so when something hits, you’ve got to go with it,” said Jericho, who now prepares for his next marquee matchup, wrestling Hiroshi Tanahashi at New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Wrestle Kingdom 14 event on Jan. 5. “This all started after my title victory when I was backstage yelling at random people, and I had a bottle of champagne to celebrate in my dressing room. I just said, ‘A little bit of the bubbly!’ and suddenly, everyone’s making memes for it and it went viral. So we made a t-shirt for Pro Wrestling Tees, and that became their highest selling shirt for sales for its first day. Wrestling fans are all saying ‘A little bit of the bubbly!’, so let’s make some bubbly.”

Jericho admits he is not a wine expert—preferring the Saskatchewan spinning nerve hold to pinot grigios and chardonnays—though he is excited to bring an element of pro wrestling into the world of wine.

“There is a cool factor here with ‘A Little Bit of the Bubbly,’” said Jericho. “And let’s be honest—unless it’s pure crap, they all pretty much taste the same. This is a good tasting wine and the packaging is amazing.

“Iron Maiden has Trooper Beer, and I bought a case of it when it came out because the label is so cool. It’s not the best beer I’ve ever had, it’s not the worst either, but it’s good—and it’s cool to have some. That’s what we’re doing with the bubbly. It’s tasty, but more importantly, it’s the cool factor and the presentation.”

Jericho is also the face of AEW. He was a featured part of this past week’s Dynamite, as the show opened with “Chris Jericho’s Thanksgiving Thank You Celebrashon for Le Champion.”

“I had the idea months ago after I won the title,” said Jericho. “As soon as I saw that we were doing a Thanksgiving show, I knew it would fit perfectly because, ever since I won the title, I’ve been bitching about getting my thanks, so that almost wrote itself. I knew I wanted a lengthy segment with lots of twists, but sometimes those things don’t work out the way you want. This one did. Overall, in execution, it was a huge success.”

The celebration had parts of the Mick Foley/Dwayne Johnson “This is Your Life” segment and the Jericho/Kevin Owens “Festival of Friendship,” and highlighted the members of Jericho’s Inner Circle, particularly Sammy Guevara, Santana, and Ortiz. It also offered an alternative from the more scripted world of WWE.

“I created 90% of that, and that’s why it reeked so much of Jericho,” said Jericho. “There wasn’t a lot of actual writing. The actual script was mostly bullet points. The script was, ‘Marching band starts playing; Soul Train Jones introduces Jericho; Jericho comes to the ring and cuts a short promo, then gives out coupons; Jericho has a toast of the bubbly with Soul Train like gentlemen; Jericho calls down Inner Circle, who give gifts to Jericho.’

“It’s not a strict process with writers putting every word on paper. I wrote something down for Soul Train, and you can see him reading it, because he was having trouble remembering his lines, and I wrote some lines for my dad. But everyone else, it was just, let’s just do what we do. That’s why AEW works.”

In addition to opening with Jericho, the show closed with a title defense against Scorpio Sky.

The program with Jericho successfully elevated Sky’s place on the card. Even if the match from this past Wednesday was not perfect, Jericho thought it accomplished the goal of introducing Sky to a wider audience.

“Sky is a guy we’ve built up really well, and I was happy with it,” said Jericho. “In retrospect, I would’ve liked to have seen some video packages throughout the show really building up how big it was for Sky to have this championship match. We could have given him a little promo time in that respect, but those are things we noticed afterward.

“That being said, I thought the match was great. Guys like MJF, Darby Allin and Scorpio Sky have been in main event matches. We’ve made those guys into stars very quickly. It’s only been nine weeks of TV, so imagine where we’ll be after nine months?

The future of AEW is centered around creating new stars, which is not lost on Jericho.

“One of my mission statements in AEW is to build new talent,” said Jericho. “People complain, ‘We don’t have any idea who this people are!’ It’s only been nine weeks, and we’re focusing on one person every couple of weeks. Building new stars will make this promotion successful. This past week gave Sammy Guevara some spotlight, as well as Ortiz, Santana, and SCU.”

The show ended with a stare down between Jericho and Jon Moxley, who will be the next featured opponent, likely on pay-per-view in March, for Jericho’s AEW title.

Moxley and Kenny Omega were provided with the freedom necessary to create a very unique presentation of pro wrestling in their “Lights Out” main event at Full Gear in November. This will also be the case with Moxley and Jericho, who feuded in WWE but will seek to deliver an entirely different story in AEW.

“That feud in WWE was really damn good, but we’re both so different now,” said Jericho. “It won’t be the same. Moxley was never this confident or this good in WWE. As Moxley said in our ‘Talk is Jericho’ podcast interview, he didn’t know who he was in WWE. He was constantly at odds with the creative and at odds with himself. This is a completely new guy. Dean Ambrose was only a portion of his career. To me, Moxley is the real guy. And there is a new-look Chris Jericho with all this creative freedom in AEW, so it’s going to be very intense and it’s going to be a lot of fun.

“I know a lot of people have already said, ‘This is happening too quickly.’ Everybody needs to sit back, relax, and watch the story unfold. Trust me, we are not rushing anything. I wouldn’t allow it.”

Those who doubted whether Jericho was too old or perhaps no longer as connected as he once was with the wrestling audience have been proven wrong during his run as AEW champ. Jericho has been making it fun to be a wrestling fan for more than two decades, and he has brought that same element of excitement to AEW. The “bubbly” catchphrase and ensuing sponsorship is just another example of his uncanny ability to engage his fans.

“The people who’ve followed my career know I don’t do anything half-ass,” said Jericho. “You never know what to expect, which makes it even more special when these serendipitous moments pop up. I feel a real responsibility to continue to create cool moments for the people that follow me, and that’s exactly what we’re doing with ‘A Little Bit of the Bubbly.’”

Justin Barrasso can be reached at JBarrasso@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.