Chris Jericho’s in-ring career in AEW is on-the-line this coming weekend.
Ahead of his high-stakes showdown against MJF at the AEW All Out 2021 pay-per-view, “Le Champion” spoke with Sports Illustrated for an in-depth interview.
Featured below are some of the highlights from the interview.
On the match stipulation at All Out: “I’m very serious when I say that, if I lose, it will be my last match in AEW. We honor our stipulations here, most specifically with Cody [Rhodes] not having a world title shot since he lost to me [at Full Gear in 2019]. And just to be clear, this isn’t a retirement match. I’m not going to pull a KISS or a Terry Funk and keep coming back. If I lose, I’ll never wrestle again in an AEW ring. If I lose, my in-ring career in AEW will be over. If I lose, I’ll never wrestle in an AEW ring again. That’s exactly what I said, and I mean it.”
On their previous match a few weeks ago: “I thought it was a really important detail that I tap out to MJF. In pro wrestling, a clean submission for a babyface is something that never happens. It’s a sign of weakness if you tap out, even though we see it all the time in UFC. Sometimes, submission losses are even worse because you’re making this decision to tap. In WWE, babyfaces don’t tap out. If they do, they’re lower-level babyfaces. Star babyfaces don’t give up; they pass out. That all started a long time ago [at WrestleMania 13] when Bret Hart had Steve Austin in the Sharpshooter and he passed out. So it was different with me and MJF. This was not me passing out, it was a legit tapping out and a facial expression afterward. It’s an important part of the story. Not every show can be Return of The Jedi. There needs to be some Empire Strikes Back in there, too. I remember Empire Strikes Back, seeing Han Solo go into the carbonite and Luke getting his hand chopped off. Then I had to wait three years, all pissed off. But it’s all part of it. So I thought, in our match, what we did added a different layer—not only did MJF win, he made me tap. That paints an even more desperate picture for me entering this rematch at All Out.”
On potentially going back on the stipulation in the future: “We don’t go back on our stipulations in AEW, which makes this match mean even more. If I lose, I’ll never wrestle again in AEW. I don’t think people expected me to tap out in the fifth ‘Labor or Jericho,’ and people may not expect me to lose this weekend. Win or lose, I’m very proud of the work we’ve done, and I’m looking forward to killing it on Sunday.”
Check out the complete interview at SI.com.
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