Chris Jericho spoke to NJPW just after arriving in Japan for his upcoming match against IWGP United States Champion, Kenny Omega, at Wrestle Kingdom 12. Jericho spoke about if this is "WWE vs. NJPW," new challenges, and wanting to get to Japan early. You can see the full interview in the video above. Here are some of the highlights:
Wanting to get to Japan early:
"For the first time ever, I spent my New Year on a plane, over the ocean, on my way to Tokyo, but it's worth it, because I didn't want to come to Japan on January 2nd or 3rd, because January 4th is a very big day. Wrestle Kingdom 12 at the Tokyo Dome, I wanted to get here as soon as I could, so it's a fresh way to start the New Year, here in Tokyo, here in Japan with the mental preparation for Tokyo Dome. The blinders are on; all I'm thinking of is Tokyo Dome. I'm not thinking about a New Year's f------ party. I'm not thinking about good times and having a drink. I'm thinking about Kenny Omega, 'Alpha versus Omega.'"
The excitement of a new challenge:
"Being in the wrestling business for 27 years, it's very rare to find somebody in the world with the stature and the name value of Kenny Omega that I haven't wrestled against. So, it was a new challenge for me, I knew it would be a big, exciting match for the fans, not just in Japan, but worldwide. It's big for New Japan Pro Wrestling, it's big for Kenny Omega – it's the biggest match of his career – and for me, it's an exciting challenge, which is the only reason why I still wrestle in this day and age. I'm still better than I've ever been, I'm still the 'Best in the World,' I'm still 'The Greatest of All-Time,' but I pick and choose my matches now, because I've done it all. So, to do something new and have a match against somebody for the first time, it's very exciting to me."
If this match is "WWE versus NJPW":
"'WWE versus New Japan,' I guess, if you really want to say that, but to me it's 'Chris Jericho versus Kenny Omega.' … I understand Japanese style, I understand what the Japanese fans appreciate, so I guess you could say 'WWE' because I'm known for the WWE for the last 17 years, but if you look at the career of Chris Jericho, it's very Japanese influenced, it's very Mexican influenced, it's very European influenced. So, I think the reason why people consider me to be a 'WWE Guy' is because I haven't worked in another ring, anywhere, for 17 years. Since August of 1999, when I first made my debut with WWE, and that's another reason why this match is so big, it took a lot for me to leave WWE and come to New Japan. It's something I said I would never do, I said 'I would work for Vince McMahon for the rest of my life,' but you never say never."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit New Japan Pro Wrestling with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription. We will have complete coverage of Wrestle Kingdom 12, beginning tonight at 11pm PT / 2am ET!