“In the red corner, oiled up and wearing a revealing singlet…”

Jack Swagger stood in the ring, arms clasped behind his back.

The crowd chanted:

“WE THE PEOPLE!”

As a WWE wrestler, he’d heard this a thousand times.

Getting “over” as a wrestler can be hard, so, having the crowd chant your gimmick is a big deal. It means that they’ve bought into you and your character.

The crowd chanted again…

“WE THE PEOPLE!”

You’d think he’d would be happy. He wasn’t.

There were two big problems for Swagger – this wasn’t the WWE and he was no longer Jack Swagger.

It was AEW – a new wrestling promotion – and he was now Jake Hager, the massive enforcer for the “Inner Circle” wrestling stable.

The Inner Circle were stood in the ring, trying to establish themselves with the crowd.

When you have a new villain character and gimmick to get “over”, the last thing you need is a throwback chant to your old WWE days…

“WE THE PEOPLE!”

Something had to be done. If someone didn’t squash this now, it would take hold and be impossible to shift. It would follow him around like “you suck” does to Kurt Angle and “what?” to anyone delivering a less than stellar promo.

“WE THE PEOPLE!”

The crowd were getting louder…

And then it happened.

Chris Jericho interrupted his own promo:

“OK, hold on…”

If you don’t know who Jericho is, it doesn’t matter. A veteran of the sport, he was the man chosen to be the first-ever World Champion of AEW as the promotion started to establish itself.

He’d heard the chant starting to build and knew from experience where this was headed.

He had to do something.

He stopped his promo, stepped to the ropes and looked at the crowd – blasting through the fourth wall on his way – and, with only 17 words, showed the world WHY he was the top guy…

“We the people sucks, and it’s dead and buried. It was a stupid idea from bad creative.”

The crowd roars.

The “WE THE PEOPLE!” chant stops and a new one starts in its place…

“AEW! AEW! AEW! AEW!”

In two brilliant sentences, Jericho quashed the chant.

In two brilliant sentences, he united him and the fans – TOGETHER – as “AEW guys” (“stupid idea from bad creative” – basically saying, “we’re better than them“)…

…all without sacrificing his role as the top bad guy in the company.

(He used negative words like “sucks“, “dead and buried“, “stupid” and “bad” that allow him to be aggressive, like a bad guy should be and not break character).

He delivered the perfect line AND stayed in character.

It was a masterclass in persuasive communication.

I must have watched it about five times when I first saw it.

It cemented why AEW put the belt on Jericho.

A lesser wrestler would’ve ignored the chants or, worse still, said something that would have made the fans chant even louder.

Jericho knew what to do, did it, and got right back to work.

I’ll save you the trouble of doing a YouTube search. Here’s the link.

Take care,

John

P.S. It’s been several weeks since this happened and the “WE THE PEOPLE!” chant is still dead and buried.