While you were sleeping, a dream match was announced for this January's New Japan Pro Wrestling WrestleKingdom 12 show.
Kenny Omega had just finished defending his IWGP U.S. title against Trent Barreta at Power Struggle when a surprise appearance flashed on the screen from none other than Chris Jericho. Despite weeks of trolling each other on Twitter, seeing Jericho appear on NJPW programming was unexpected and shocking to say the least.
Jericho has been going after Omega for quite some time on now on Twitter, teasing a match.
Hate to be fired and forced to go to the “majors”.You guys come off about as cool as Gedo’s haircut & red pajamas.Stay out of our business.— Kenny Omega (@KennyOmegamanX) November 4, 2017
However, with Jericho involved with WWE and Omega at New Japan, a match seemed unlikely. Recently they had teased that a bout could appear on Jericho's cruise event, but that was merely a tease for something bigger. The two of them will be facing off at the biggest New Japan show of the year, WrestleKingdom 12, on January 4 at the Tokyo Dome. They're billing the bout as "Alpha vs. Omega."
This obviously raises a lot of questions. Jericho has continued to be involved with WWE and one would assume he is under contract there, but if he is he obviously has a stipulation that makes his deal non-exclusive. Pop Culture reported back in January that Jericho had signed a new WWE contract that kept him around through WrestleMania 33, so perhaps he's been working on a show by show basis with them ever since.
That or WWE has approved this match, which seems unlikely with NJPW's well publicized goals of going global in the next couple of years. The involvement of a worldwide superstar and face from WWE like Chris Jericho is certainly going to help out when it comes to global expansion.
This will be the first time that Jericho has worked for New Japan since early 1997 when, under a working agreement with WCW, Jericho traveled to Japan to wrestle. He started that run working under a mask as Super Liger, but he eventually ditched the mask and wrestled as himself before returning to WCW.
Today's announcement by New Japan is a game changer, make no mistake about it. Getting one of WWE's biggest stars to wrestle the man who is arguably their biggest star (Omega) at the biggest show of the year in the Tokyo Dome sets the bar pretty high. This move is sure to make waves across the wrestling world for the next two months and beyond.