Chris Jericho's surprise challenge to Kenny Omega sent shockwaves through the wrestling industry. Jericho recently spoke to Busted Open Radio about why he thinks his match with Omega in NJPW is great for the pro-wrestling business.
In his first match outside of the WWE since he signed with the company in 1999, Jericho will face Omega, the IWGP U.S. Champion Kenny Omega, at Wrestle Kingdom 12 on Jan. 4, 2018 at the Tokyo Dome. It's currently a one-shot deal as Jericho, who's currently a free agent, is expected to return to the WWE next year. Jericho said he believes performing for other companies will make his return to the WWE even more monumental.
"I like doing stuff that's never really been done. I think I'm in a very unique position in the WWE where I have a great relationship with the company, one guy [specifically], where normal rules might not apply. But I also do it with respect and with relevance to what they're doing and realize that WWE is still my company, it's still my home, but I'm not handcuffed to WWE. If I want to go to New Japan to work a main event at the Tokyo Dome or put on my own cruise and work in tandem with Ring Of Honor, that's OK, because guess what? At the end of the day, when I go back to the WWE it makes me that much bigger of a star."
Jericho compared what he's doing to Brock Lesnar and wrestling legends of the past, who would routinely challenge the best wrestlers from other promotions. He said he likes that NJPW and ROH are around to provide alternatives for wrestling fans. Even though the WWE is clearly the top wrestling promotion in the industry today, the other companies force the WWE to stay on its toes so it keeps the attention of its fans and doesn't lose them to the other companies.
"I'm not saying it's a Brock Lesnar-type thing, but it is very much a mercenary-type thing. It's an old-school, something that you would see (Hulk) Hogan or (Ric) Flair or (Nick) Bockwinkel or somebody do back in the 80's when they would do a big shot in Japan just because it meant something... I'm not a world champion, but it's a big deal for Jericho to go there and I love that sort of intrigue and I think certain guys in the WWE appreciate that as well in the office because it makes for a better business," Jericho said. "The good thing about New Japan and even Ring Of Honor to an extent is showing that WWE is not the only place in town, and I think the first people that would be happy about that are the guys that are running the WWE because it just makes for a better business, for a healthier business. And not just for the boys but for the fans. It pushes everybody to think more and to be more clever and creative and to work harder."
You can listen to the full audio below:
.@IAmJericho tells @bullyray5150 & @LarryDallasSXM that his match w/ Kenny Omega is a throwback to the 80s when superstars would go overseas for matches & that this match pushes promotions to think more & be more creative which ultimately is good for the pro-wrestling business. pic.twitter.com/M4whWT8MHc— SiriusXM Busted Open (@BustedOpenRadio) November 10, 2017
Busted Open with Dave Lagreca & co-hosts Bully Ray & Larry Dallas can be heard weekdays from 2p-4p Eastern Time only on SiriusXM Rush Channel 93 and is available any time on demand on the SiriusXM App.
Source: Busted Open Radio