The story of the missing All Elite Wrestling World Champion belt gets stranger.
Chris Jericho became the promotion’s inaugural champion Saturday, but swiftly lost his belt — literally — somewhere in Tallahassee, Florida. Per a police report, Jericho last remembered having the $30,000 belt at the airport and placed it in his limousine while he went to eat at Longhorn Steakhouse. His limo driver returned to the airport to swap luggage while he dined, realizing the wrong bag had been taken, and when Jericho returned to the car he realized the belt was gone.
It was apparently sitting on Highway 20, swaddled in its velvet bag, and later listed on Craigslist the entire time Jericho was hunting for it, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.
“It’s pretty comical,” said Frank Price, who found the bag with his wife, Katie. “It’s like the start for a great screenplay. This story could have gone in so many other funny directions. There are so many funny twists to it.”
The couple picked up the bag and, somewhat oddly, didn’t open it until they returned home. They discovered it was an All Elite Wrestling championship belt, but believed it to be a replica, so they listed it on the Lost & Found section on Craigslist.
While the Prices had not reportedly seen any media coverage of the missing belt, others did and when Price read the messages Wednesday morning, he said he brought the belt to the police department.
That day, Jericho proudly announced on Twitter that he recovered his AEW belt “HIMSELF, in less than 24 hours” with a video that went more than two minutes.
BREAKING NEWS! @AEWrestling champion #ChrisJericho recovers the #AEW title belt HIMSELF, in less than 24 hours!! Awaits much deserved THANK YOU from the entire AEW fan base & roster... #LeChampion #ALittleBitOfTheBubbly pic.twitter.com/6IsuiuCfIv— Chris Jericho (@IAmJericho) September 5, 2019
Herein lies the other twist and a story that may still continue.
While at the station, Price told the Democrat he “coincidentally” bumped into the owner of the limo company, who gave him a $200 reward since he wouldn’t have to file an insurance claim for the belt. That intrigued investigators, who followed up with Price for a sworn statement as they became suspicious something was going on.
Price said he was “joking that there would be investigators following me around,” though police haven’t said he’s under investigation.
“I think what happened is they just set it on the trunk of the limo and it just fell off,” Price told the Democrat. “The only other possibility is that it was part of a pro-wrestling plot setup. They need all the publicity they can get.”
Jericho kept up the play early Friday morning on Twitter
So this gimmick "spots a velvet bag in middle of the road & opens it when he got home” saying “whoa it’s a huge wrestling belt, check this out!” Then he takes pix wearing it (Creepy) & posts on Craig’s list...waiting 3 days before turning it in. Hmm lets ask him where he works? https://t.co/kaSYPXcwTp— Chris Jericho (@IAmJericho) September 6, 2019
The Democrat did ask him where he works, and it’s as an assistant director of the Florida Natural Areas Inventory at Florida State University.
Jericho will defend his belt — and hopefully he keeps his eyes on it — against Cody Rhodes on Nov. 9 at Full Gear in Baltimore.
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