Before his match against Tetsuya Naito at NJPW Dominion (full results here) the new IWGP Intercontinental Champion Chris Jericho spoke with Busted Open about his opponent.
Jericho referred to Naito as a huge babyface star and likened him to The Rock and John Cena during certain years of their respective careers.
"Naito is a legit huge babyface star, think The Rock in 2001 or think John Cena in 2010," Jericho said. "A legit superstar that everybody loves and when I attacked him about a month ago, children and women were literally crying. Now we get back to - what I love about wrestling - is a great babyface and a great heel. That's the difference between me and Kenny [Omega], just a fight between two guys. This is more of an old school 'good guy versus bad guy,' 'hometown hero versus evil foreigner,' which gives me the license to be a little crazier."
EXCLUSIVE: @IAmJericho joined @davidlagreca1 & @bullyray5150 LIVE from Osaka, Japan this morning ahead of #njdominion and he compared @s_d_naito to being as big a babyface in Japan as @TheRock & @JohnCena & Vince McMahon's reaction to him working in NJPW again. pic.twitter.com/HSNIfcK2es— SiriusXM Busted Open (@BustedOpenRadio) June 8, 2018
Bouncing between promotions, Jericho's last WWE appearance was in April in the Greatest Royal Rumble match where he entered at number 50, eventually being eliminated by Braun Strowman. Jericho was asked if Vince McMahon is still okay with him working for NJPW. With his recent title win, it's obvious that relationship is going to continue, which he said may get him a call down the road.
"Well, when I told him about the first NJPW match, he was up for it," Jericho said. "Then when I told him I was going to do more, nothing really negative, still very supportive, but I think now it's a bit of a slight - not an issue - but it's another company out there and I know for a fact he takes every company very seriously. Chris Jericho is a part of WWE ... and what's going on with New Japan right now with all of the subscriptions increasing with NJPW World and all of that. I still think everything's cool, but I feel if my involvement with New Japan continues I might get a call one of these days. [Laughs] Until then, I still enjoy doing this because it is different."
After winning the title at Dominion, Jericho continued to beat up Naito, at one point using his belt on the former champ. This brought out fellow Los Ingobernables de Japon member, EVIL, to chase him off and potentially set up Jericho's next match.
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Busted Open' with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.