The stage is set, and the Chris Jericho vs. Kenny Omega match will occur the Wrestle Kingdom 12 event inside the Tokyo Dome on January 4. Here is a quick snapshot of how it all came about. Jericho told the Wrestling Observer that he influenced Don Callis to return to the wrestling scene by way of joining Lance Storm to create the “Killing the Town” podcast as an addition to The Jericho Network on PodcastOne. Callis obliged, which revitalized his interest in pro wrestling in general. Callis would then land a spot as the color commentator for the English announcing of New Japan Pro Wrestling, which was formerly done by Steve Corino before he became a trainer at the WWE Performance Center.
During a conversation, Callis mentioned to Jericho about having a match with Kenny Omega. While Callis laughed, Jericho did not, but instead pondered over the idea, since Omega is such as top international star and Jericho always looks for innovative things to do with his pro wrestling career. The idea started to materialize more when New Japan executives flew to America just to meet with Jericho about the match. Then, Jericho started to see how serious they were to make this match official, and talks started to get stronger. Moreover, Jericho started to pitch ideas of how to make the angle shocking and effective, leading to their match.
On November 5 at the Power Struggle event, Omega had just defeated Beretta to retain the IWGP United States Championship. All of a sudden, the lights go off, and Jericho pops up on the jumbo screen to cut a scathing promo and challenge Omega at Wrestle Kingdom 12.
While this angle is undoubtedly one of the most buzzworthy topics in all of professional wrestling, former ECW Champion Taz had one area of criticism about Jericho’s involvement at the recent World Tag League final, where he surprised Omega by appearing at the event and attacking him. He felt that the commentators, Kevin Kelly and Don Callis, did not sell the moment strong enough. Having years of commentating experience for both WWE and Impact Wrestling, Taz stated that “playing dumb” adds a level of kayfabe to an angle, which keeps the fans more intrigued.
“I love Kev. I think he’s a really good, underrated play-by-play man… When I first started as an announcer in the WWE, Kevin Kelly was in the WWE, and Kevin helped me out my first couple of days with the gig. He’s just a good guy, a real pro’s pro. I think he’s a great fit there with the New Japan stuff. But, I don’t know if he was directed this way or not, he and [Don Callis] started screaming, ‘It’s Jericho. Oh my God, it’s Jericho!’ I can understand them getting hung up on the emotion, they’re there in the building. I get it. I just disagree with the way this was handled. If it was something that was done from someone in their holding area, whatever they call their Gorilla Position.
“I don’t agree with that move, because, and I’m saying that respectfully because I love Kevin, but…I just don’t agree with it because I can’t see who it is. Yelling ‘It’s Chris Jericho,’ well the announcers, the number one rule for the announcers, at least from what I was taught for many years by some pretty high-end guys, you gotta look at your monitor. And what the monitors sees, the fan at home sees, or vice versa… You have to play dumb, and do the job, until you can see him [in the monitor].”
Taz added that the commentator has to act surprised and say things like, ‘What? Is that…?’ to add suspense to a debut or return. He also feels that the announcers should not have known at all, and he has been told by Vince McMahon before not to look at the ring and stay glued on the monitor, in order to get an authentic reaction from a surprise in the ring.
If any portion of these quotes are used, be sure to H/T TMZ via WrestlingINC for the transcription.
Source: The Taz Show