Not an April Fools gag: Chris Jericho will be the next guest on Broken Skull Sessions, the podcast hosted by Stone Cold Steve Austin on WWE airwaves, marking the most major crossover between WWE and AEW to date. The episode will debut on April 11th on the WWE Network and Peacock, the second day of WrestleMania, a position of prominence that will ensure maximum viewership. The WWE Network Twitter account made things official on Friday after teasing it the day before.
The obvious first question here is whether Jericho and Austin will discuss AEW, and the answer has to be yes. There's no way both guys would agree to doing an interview that would feel so phony by avoiding the topic of what Jericho is doing right now and the important role he played in the foundation of AEW. The better question would be "how far" will they go discussing the topic, and if we had to guess, we'd say they'll address the elephant in the room early on, but save most AEW talk for the end of the interview, as these Broken Skull Sessions interviews tend to cover a career retrospective path and Jericho has a lot of other career to cover.
And perhaps the most interesting question is what went on behind the scenes to make this happen. What were key players like Vince McMahon, Tony Khan, Austin, and Jericho thinking while setting this up? What do both WWE and AEW hope to gain from it? And could this be the start of even more cross-promotion between the two companies, in the same spirit that AEW has been working with promotions like Impact and NJPW?
Such a thing might seem impossible, but one of AEW's top stars appearing on a WWE-produced podcast airing on the same day as WrestleMania would also have seemed impossible two days ago. WWE has worked with other promotions in the past. Recently, they've worked with Impact Wrestling over TNA footage for documentaries, since so many of the company's current stars came from TNA. And back during the Monday Night Wars, WWE worked with ECW on things like talent exchanges, cross-promotion, and even funding.
Back then, WWE considered WCW the greater common enemy, while today AEW is WWE's biggest rival. But that kind of thinking may be outdated. In a global media landscape where pro wrestling competes not only with other sports, but with other forms of entertainment like video games, movies, and television shows, there's certainly room for several wrestling companies, and the greater common enemy might be external to the wrestling business. At the same time, realistic competition between two American wrestling companies creates a level of excitement to the wrestling business that was lacking for two decades before AEW emerged on the scene, and that's a tide that could theoretically raise all boats.
Of course, when dealing with WWE, and Vince McMahon's ego, you're just as likely to get your giant boat wedged in the Suez Canal, so we shouldn't get ahead of ourselves just yet. Either way, Chris Jericho on Broken Skull Sessions will be a must-watch on Peacock and the WWE Network (for international viewers) on April 11th.