In one recent episode, “The Inner Circle Spills the Inner Secrets of the Stadium Stampede,” Jericho invited the boys onto his show to talk about All Elite Wrestling (AEW), how they met, and why they became such a tight-knit group. Here are just a few of the coolest facts about the Inner Circle.
Chris Jericho AEW Top 10 Moments photos and video online GIF
10The Inner Circle Is Jericho’s First Faction
As soon as Chris Jericho signed with AEW, he was told that he was going to be the leader of his own faction. While he was forming the group, he knew he wanted a tag team, an up-and-coming young wrestler, and a big, tall, enforcer-type. He originally looked into adding the Lucha Brothers but decided their gimmick had too much of its own personality.
Except for Jericho and Jake Hager, the gang had never worked together before forming the Inner Circle. Now, Jericho said, the experience is like being in a band together and they never want the line up to change.
9Jericho Inspired Santana & Ortiz To Become A Tag Team
On the podcast, Santana and Ortiz revealed that they were inspired to become a tag team after reading Chris Jericho’s book, A Lion’s Tale. Ortiz read it first and recommended the book to Santana. Together they realized Jericho’s career was the blueprint they needed to follow to obtain the success for themselves as well.
Formerly part of the Latin American Exchange (LAX) with Impact Wrestling, Santana and Ortiz were offered deals with several wrestling promotions, including WWE and AEW. Once they heard that they would be a part of Jericho’s faction, they said the decision was easy to sign with AEW. “Plus the tag team division is stacked,” Ortiz said. “We want to wrestle the best in the world, and we want to become the best in the world.”
8Jericho Recruited Sammy Guevara To AEW
Jericho was at a National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) show to watch Cody Rhodes versus Nick Aldis but ended up taking notice of Sammy Guevara as well. After Guevara’s match, Jericho knew he wanted to get him signed onto AEW’s roster.
Originally Jericho thought about using MJF as his young, up-and-coming talent, but was told that MJF was already slated to do his own thing. When Guevara heard from Nick Jackson that he was earmarked for the Inner Circle, he thought Jackson was messing with him. It was only shortly before the first episode of Dynamite that his status in the faction was confirmed.
7Jericho And Jake Hager Reconnected At The Gym
Jericho and Jake Hager, at the time known as Jack Swagger, worked together at WWE but eventually lost touch. It was only when they were both training at Dave Batista’s mixed martial arts (MMA) gym that they started talking again. Even though Hager was focused on Bellator, Jericho asked him if he was thinking about coming back to wrestling.
Before the two reconnected, Tony Khan wanted to use Anthony Ogogo, a British boxer, for the Inner Circle, but by that time Jericho knew that Hager was his guy. Jericho pitched the idea to Khan and Hager was able to strike a deal that allows him to work with both AEW and Bellator.
6Santana & Ortiz Went Missing On The First Night Of Dynamite
As everyone prepared to go live for the first-ever Dynamite in Washington D.C., Santana and Ortiz were nowhere to be found. After a while, Jericho thought his tag team was double-crossing him.
Turned out the pair were intercepted in the locker room and pulled away to take promotional pictures. Once it came time to start the show, Santana and Ortiz realized they were about as far away from the ring as possible, on the other side of the arena.
5Ortiz Felt Like A “Kid In A Candy Store” While Planning The Stadium Stampede
The Stadium Stampede was a match like no other and the guys from the Inner Circle had a blast choreographing the event. Rather than a single person writing the script, the Inner Circle teamed up with The Elite and got creative with their use of the Jacksonville Stadium.
Once everyone realized the Jacksonville Stadium had private pool cabanas, they knew they had to incorporate them into the show. According to Jericho, someone transported 100 gallons of water from the Lake of Reincarnation, unbeknownst to the Inner Circle. This explains how Matt Hardy was able to shift personalities as Santana and Ortiz continued to dunk him in the pool.
4Sammy Guevara Offered To Jump Off A Building
Once the Stadium Stampede was announced, Sammy Guevara started dreaming big. He saw an opportunity and immediately texted Tony Khan with an offer to jump off the building. Khan responded with a heart. According to Jericho, this is typical. “That’s a big Tony Khan text response: heart. You send a big long text and you get a heart.”
Unfortunately for Guevara, the crew decided that the show would be better if Sammy took a bump instead of getting the high spot of his dreams. For fans who watched the show, they know the rest was history when Guevara was subjected to an epic One-Winged Angel.
3The Inner Circle Picked The Numbers On Their Stadium Stampede Jerseys
In the spirit of the Stadium Stampede, Jericho knew he wanted the Inner Circle to come out wearing football uniforms. Jericho worked with QT Marshall to finalize the design and the gang got to pick their own numbers.
Jericho picked 27 since that was his father’s number in the National Hockey League (NHL). Sammy Guevara picked 93 for the year he was born. Santana and Ortiz explained that 51 and 50 was a throwback to their LAX days. Jake Hager picked 72 because that was his high school number. “I also thought it was pretty cool that 72 was the opposite of 27,” Hager said.
2Mike Tyson And His Crew Kept The Inner Circle On Their Toes
“You bring Mike Tyson because you don’t know what’s going to happen,” Jericho said. According to Jericho, the mob scene featuring Tyson with UFC fighters Rashad Evans, Vitor Belfort, and Henry Cejudo in tow, was like herding a pack of wild animals.
While several of the UFC guys were hoping for a real fight, Jericho paired them up with AEW wrestlers as best as he could. Despite some initial uncertainty, the spot went off without a hitch. “The scene was lunacy,” Jericho confirmed.
1Jake Hager Wrote That Poem All By Himself
Following their devastating loss at the Stadium Stampede, The Inner Circle held a pep rally, with Vickie Guerrero acting as head cheerleader. As the gang presented their gifts to each other, Jake Hager delivered a heartfelt poem to his fellow Inner Circle members. “O Inner Circle, you are the faction of my dreams, the perfect mix of sex and violence, the best of both extremes. You build me up like only close friends can, and if anyone ever crosses you, I will choke them with my bare hands.”
According to Hager, he was allowed to craft the poem himself without the help of the show’s writers. The heartfelt moment is a reflection of just how tight-knit the group has become both inside and outside of the ring.
Chris Jericho AEW Top 10 Moments photos and video online GIF