Earlier this month, Chris Jericho shocked wrestling fans all over the world by announcing that he will face Kenny Omega for the IWGP U.S. Championship at Wrestle Kingdom 12 at the Tokyo Dome. And while this may seem, at least on paper, to be a match for a mid-card title on New Japan Pro Wrestling’s answer to WrestleMania, Jericho sees the match as being bigger in Japan than it could ever be in the WWE as part of a hypothetical WrestleMania card.
In a recent appearance on Busted Open Radio, Jericho focused mainly on his upcoming match against Omega at Wrestle Kingdom 12. He opened up about what inspired the idea of one of WWE’s most tenured wrestlers facing off against a fellow Canadian who has become bigger in Japan than anywhere else in the world. According to Jericho, it was the social media buildup to the Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor boxing match this August that served as his biggest inspiration, as Mayweather vs. McGregor also involved both competitors throwing shade at each other on social media before the match was ultimately made.
With the Kenny Omega match now official, Jericho also told Busted Open Radio (quotes h/t Wrestling Inc.) that their battle for the IWGP U.S. Championship has the potential to become the biggest and best match in wrestling history, simply because it was a match nobody had expected to be made.
“Now, there's a whole contingency of people who have no idea that New Japan exists or who Kenny Omega is, that's fine,” said Jericho. “I'm talking to the people that care about this, and if you're a casual wrestling fan or know anything about any other company besides WWE, it is intriguing."
Jericho also stressed that there are several reasons why his match against Omega will be a bigger deal in Japan than it would if it was held at WrestleMania. These include the fact that both men spent good parts of their career in Japan, with Jericho spending some of his formative wrestling years in the country and well before establishing himself in WCW and WWE. Additionally, Omega’s massive popularity in Japan could make the match a potential once-in-a-lifetime affair; Jericho explained that the mystique just wouldn't be there if the match was held at WrestleMania and not in front of Omega's staunchest and longest-running NJPW fans at Wrestle Kingdom.
Right now, there's no way to tell if Omega vs. Jericho at Wrestle Kingdom 12 will be a six-star affair like Omega's IWGP World Championship match against reigning title-holder Kazuchika Okada at Wrestle Kingdom 11. But we get where "Y2J" is coming from – as someone with almost three decades' worth of wrestling experience, Jericho is known to casual and hardcore fans the world over. Many casual WWE fans, on the other hand, might not be too familiar with Omega and his NJPW exploits. But even with the Twitter feud taken into account, few could have foreseen the match being made official, and it's sure to pique the interest of wrestling fans all over the world when it finally takes place.