Since winning the title, Chris Jericho has intentionally tarnished the ROH Championship and brand. There’s only one way that makes sense for AEW.
Chris Jericho won the ROH World Championship by violating the code of honor, and how he’s handled the title for AEW only makes sense if he’ll eventually put someone else over as the brand’s savior. Fans were excited when Tony Khan purchased Ring Of Honor because they expected him to treat the company with the kind of respect it deserves. In the hands of WWE, ROH would have likely ceased to be, and the worldwide leader in sports entertainment would have simply added classic CM Punk or Bryan Danielson matches to their vast catalog.
However, Khan made a play for ROH and managed to save the company from that fate. Perhaps shoehorning the brand’s titles into AEW’s already belt-happy product wasn’t the best of moves, but it certainly beat the alternative. At least that was the case until Chris Jericho got his hands on the World Championship and subsequently buried Ring Of Honor on national television—presumably, all while Tony Khan is still trying to secure a broadcast or streaming deal for the wayward promotion.
On Wednesday Night Dynamite, AEW’s flagship show, Jericho stated that he was the “most important Ring Of Honor champion in history” before going on to state that “in just one week, more people have seen me this belt than all other Ring Of Honor champions put together, ’cause no one knows about Ring Of Honor.” The segment was intended to generate heat, but burying the World Championship and an ROH brand that Tony Khan is trying to resurrect on live TV seemed like a misstep. It wasn’t an all-time great promo, so it isn’t like it’ll get played back for years to come as a definitive moment for ROH. Yet all of these little moments build up or break down a brand, and AEW has already stretched the audience thin by forcing Ring Of Honor talent and championships onto weekly television.
ROH Needs To Be Saved From Chris Jericho
The storyline seems to be pretty straightforward, then. Jericho said he wants to defeat all the former ROH Champions to prove he’s the best. He’ll lie, cheat and steal every time, building up heat and making fans crave to see him lose. That’s when someone like a Blackpool Combat Club-aligned Daniel Garcia should be introduced into the mix and pin or submit Jericho cleanly at a pay-per-view. That’d be a massive rub for Garcia, who already holds the ROH Pure Championship. Jericho and Bryan Danielson have been fighting over him for weeks, and beating The Ocho would be a massive push for Garcia. It’d build him up as the next great professional wrestler, like the next generation’s Danielson.
The real worry is that all of this has just been to give Jericho a prestigious title that he never held before, though, and his track record with putting over young talent in AEW isn’t great. Hopefully, he sees the value in building someone like the 24-year-old Dragon Slayer instead of quietly burying another wrestler fans want to see go over. Jericho won the MJF feud, didn’t put over Eddie Kingston when he should have, and beat Danielson. He’s also hijacked this program entirely when it was supposed to be Garcia in the spotlight with Danielson. When the time is right, Jericho should put over Garcia, giving AEW a new star. That’s the only way the desecration of ROH makes sense.
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