Chris Jericho shocked the wrestling world on Saturday in Osaka, Japan.
At New Japan Pro Wrestling's second biggest show of the year, Dominion, Jericho faced IWGP Intercontinental Champion Tetsuya Naito for the title. The match has been anticipated since last January, when Jericho attacked Naito at New Years Dash on January 5th, the night after he wrestled Kenny Omega at WrestleKingdom.
For reference, Naito is arguably the most popular wrestling star in Japan and has previously been the IWGP Heavyweight Champion.
The two had a fantastic match as expected on Saturday, but the shock came at the final bell: Chris Jericho is the new IWGP Intercontinental Champion. He becomes the first man in history to have held both the IWGP Intercontinental Championship and the WWE Intercontinental Championship.
Oh, and did we mention Jericho's out of this world new look for this match?
Jericho has bounced around the wrestling world in 2018, working New Japan in early January, returning to WWE for RAW 25 and Greatest Royal Rumble, and now once again headlining with New Japan. Winning the Intercontinental title ensures that this current stint with New Japan isn't going to be as brief as in January. As a title holder now, you've got to imagine he has reached an agreement with the company to work a more regular schedule with several appearances lined up.
Following the match, Jericho commenced a brutal beatdown on Naito with the title belt.
When Naito's Los Ingobernables de Japon partner EVIL made his way down to ringside to help out, Jericho took him on as well.0comments
Following Jericho's title win, Kenny Omega and Kazuchika Okada main evented the show and had a 70 minute long best two out of three falls match. Just like the other three high profile matches the pair had last year, this was a tremendous bout that resulted in Omega winning the heavyweight championship for the very first time.
With Jericho and Omega now holding the company's top two individual titles, it should prove to be an exciting summer for New Japan Pro Wrestling. The focus will now shift toward the United States as NJPW has a massive show scheduled for the Cow Palace in San Francisco early next month.