During an interview with Chris Van Vliet, Chris Jericho talked about the initial ideas for the Inner Circle faction:
“[Tony Khan] wanted it to be a band. Like, Chris Jericho and The Conspirators or whatever it would be. I was like ‘Nah.’ My idea was fist. Like 1,2,3,4,5 and it’d be a fist. That’d be the merch. I was doing a BTE bit that Matt and Nick asked me to do and I was like, ‘My inner circle needs to be involved.’ They were like, ‘Inner Circle, that’s a cool name.’ Yeah that’s a really cool name.”
“The idea at first was ‘who’s going to be in it?’ And I remember… let me think. It was always going to be a tag team, an up and comer, and a heater. One idea that was being passed around, maybe by me, was Pentagon and Fenix. Then I thought, ‘I don’t want gimmick guys – masked guys.’ Then Santana and Ortiz came up. I know them from the cruise. I didn’t really know much about them but the Bucks were saying how good they were.
Then I wanted MJF. But I think Cody [Rhodes] wanted to do something with him. So I went with Sammy Guevara. I scouted Sammy. I brought him to the table. I saw him at the AEW ppv and thought this guy was good. I saw him miscast as a babyface because this guy is an asshole.
As a heater, there was this guy named Anthony Ogogo. He’s a boxer. They were suggesting him but I don’t want that. I had that in WWE where my heaters were smaller than me or the same size as me. I want a big guy. I was at kickboxing training, at the same gym as Hager, and I asked him if he wanted to come back. He said, ‘I’d love to.’ And I pitched him to Tony. I wanted him as my heater in WWE but they just miscast him. They didn’t know what to do what a good looking 6’6 guy who can talk in the right instances. It’s like, ‘what the f***?’ But it’s fine.”