AEW is getting closer and closer to one year of Dynamite, and that means we are getting even closer to one year of The Inner Circle. That's right it is insane to think that Chris Jericho's heel stable debuted officially on the second ever episode of AEW's weekly show and ever since then the group has wreaked havoc on many of the good guys that AEW has had to offer, but mostly The Elite and their various associates.
With the Elite seemingly out of commission, it is time to ask the question "is it time for the Inner Circle to come to an end?". In my opinion it might be time to break up Jericho and his buddies and do something new. And while it feels like AEW might be letting the group fizzle out, I think it is best for, as Kenny Omega would say, a clean break. So here is my fantasy booking for how to end The Inner Circle.
I think the easiest way to break this down is to show how I think each member of the stable's story should play out.
Santana & Ortiz
Every single time these guys are on my television screen I have to ask myself why Santana & Ortiz are not close to sniffing the AEW Tag-Team Championships. The answer is a mystery to me, and that is not a good thing. My booking for these two going into an Inner Circle breakup revolves around this very question.
Santana & Ortiz need to confront Jericho and Hager, who are currently chasing the belts, and ask them why they are going for the titles when the Inner Circle already has a tag-team. This should lead to Jericho admitting that he has never taken Santana or Ortiz seriously and that he only brought them into the Inner Circle cause they were too dumb to think for themselves. This should be enough to start a feud between the two tag teams and give us a program between the two officially killing off any chance for Santana and Ortiz to ever team up with Hager and Jericho for the foreseeable future.
This really does not feel that far-fetched, in fact, I have been saying on twitter that if I was Santana or Ortiz that I would be pissed that AEW was passing my team up to build up a team of Chris Jericho and Jake Hager. AEW could use this real-life issue to fuel the in-ring action and I think you'd find yourself with an excellent story.
Chris Jericho certainly has the most to lose when it comes to the end of the Inner Circle. After feuding with Santana and Ortiz, Jericho will deal with the fact that his Inner Circle mates all have promising futures ahead of them while his best days in the ring are behind him. After a disappointing attempt at tag-team gold with Jake Hager, Jericho will find himself getting passed by the younger talent in AEW. He'll attempt to reunite with Sammy Guevara who (for reasons discussed later in this article) will turn Jericho down and let the "demo god" know that he isn't the man he used to be.
This would hopefully lead to a Jericho redemption arch maybe involving other older AEW talents such as DDP, or Billy Gunn. I think that could end up being a very solid final run for Jericho who would be able to evolve his character one more time.
Hager wouldn't have much to do in this story, and honestly, that fits how he has been treated in The Inner Circle. He would attempt to get the tag-team titles with Jericho, feud with Santana & Ortiz, and make a mean face at the camera every now and then.
Post-Inner Cirlce, Hager could have a run at Brian Cage's FTW title, or maybe team up with a promising new AEW signee. The sky could be the limit for Hager, it just depends on what they can come up with for him.
Sammy has, in my opinion, the most interesting part to play in the downfall of The Inner Circle. While I believe it will be Santana and Ortiz who get the ball rolling on the end of the stable. I think that Sammy should be the first to officially leave.
When the two tag-teams are feuding, both teams should ask Sammy to side with them to help kick the other two out of the Inner Circle. Despite being torn, Sammy will remind his former teammates that when he was broken by Matt Hardy at All Out that none of them came to his aid, and that he has been on his own ever since he came back to AEW from his suspension. With Sammy on his own, I think that the sky really is the limit for this guy, and AEW can really do everything they want with him.
Sammy's solo success would help fuel Chris Jericho's decline and I'd love to see Jericho and Guevara take on each other in a huge match either on a pay per view or in the main event of a special episode of Dynamite. Unlike Jericho who has the most to lose in the end of the Inner Circle, Sammy has the most to gain.
What do you think? Is it time for the members of the Inner Circle to move on? Let me know by tweeting at me @robbydeshazer!
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