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New Japan Pro Wrestling

Chris Jericho Gearing Up For Match With Kenny Omega

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WWE superstar Chris Jericho is primed for his battle with Kenny Omega at ‘WrestleKingdom 12’ and is aiming to end Omega’s NJPW career in the process.

“I’ve never wrestled Kenny Omega before” Jericho said in an interview with New Japan Pro Wrestling.

“I understand how great Kenny Omega is. Everybody’s talking about Kenny Omega and that’s one of the reasons why I wanted to have this match,  because the timing for this match is perfect. It probably couldn’t have happened last year.

It couldn’t have happened last year, it probably won’t happen next year, this is the time for “Alpha vs. Omega.”

“This is the time for Kenny vs. Jericho. And he’s from the same home city as I am; from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and to me, there’s a special connection there. He basically grew up in Japan, so did I, this is my 52nd tour of Japan in January. I think, we’re not just typical foreigners, we’re not just typical guys. We’re almost honorary Japanese.

Jericho also talked about their differing styles in the ring.

“Well, once again, Kenny Omega has a great style, very good New Japan style, but I have New Japan style, I have WAR style, I have Mexico style, I have European style, I have ECW style, I have Smokey Mountain Wrestling style, I have WCW style, and more importantly, I have WWE style.

Six-time World Heavyweight Champion.

Kenny has never been even close to that. It’s a completely different world. Kenny Omega is a planet, Chris Jericho is the whole universe. I’m the Alpha. Alpha vs. Omega, it’s not just a catchphrase, it’s the truth.

“And it’s typical for someone like Kenny to think “Jericho can’t handle my style,” because he’s been so big here in New Japan. But he’s big with Okada, and Naito, and that’s great. Those four guys, five guys, six guys. I’ve been great against 50 guys! Against 100. Hall Of Famers.

Some of the greatest of all time. Kenny Omega can’t even lace my boots up when it comes to that kind of respect, that kind of experience, that kind of knowledge that I have.”

Jericho doesn’t just want to defeat Omega, he wants to end his career in NJPW.

“You don’t see blood on a New Japan ring, you don’t see blood in a WWE ring – the business has changed, it’s not about that anymore. Which I think is what made it so much more shocking when I hit Kenny over the head with the United States Championship and cut him open, bleeding everywhere- I liked it. It made me happy. It gave me energy. Made me feel alive. And it also change the entire concept of what this match is gonna be for me. At first, I thought, “Well, sure, if Kenny can have a seven star match I can have an eight star match, nine star match, the first-ever ten star match: “Alpha vs. Omega.”” Make Okada vs. Omega look like an opening match between a couple of young lions.

“But then, after Fukuoka, and then after the press conference in Tokyo the next day – it’s so violent, and intense, and vicious. This is gonna be a match like you’re not gonna see in New Japan again. It’s gonna be like a match – it’s gonna be a different type of match than any type of match at the Tokyo Dome. End of the match at Wrestle Kingdom 12. And once again, I like that, because to me it’s gonna stand out. You’re going to see the last match of Kenny Omega’s New Japan career happen at Wrestle Kingdom 12, because of me.

“Can you imagine all the New Japan Pro Wrestling fans? The women, crying. The little kids, crying. The longtime 20-year fans, crying when their hero, Kenny Omega’s career is over. Can you imagine how that’s going to make me feel? I’m gonna feel like the f%#&*g king of the world.

Because I am, the best in the world. The greatest of all time. The Alpha. that’s who Chris Jericho is. And all the New Japan people, all the New Japan fans, and any wrestler in the New Japan locker room is going to learn a lesson. And it’s going to be a sad day for Kenny Omega and all of his fans at Wrestle Kingdom 12. I guarantee it.”

New Japan Pro Wrestling

Chris Jericho Pitched WWE vs NJPW SummerSlam Match

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Chris Jericho continues to make waves, and he recently took to his ‘Talk Is Jericho’ podcast to admit that he pitched a potential  NJPW vs. WWE match for this Sunday’s SummerSlam PPV, more specifically, an Intercontinental Champion vs Intercontinental Champion match.

Jericho says that he pitched the idea to “a certain head of a certain wrestling company. I’ve got something for you. I said what do you think about Intercontinental champion vs. Intercontinental champion: Jericho vs. Rollins?”

While Jericho admits that idea got a “decent reponse” he said he never heard back from WWE regarding the idea.

Since then, Dolph Ziggler has captured the Intercontinental title while Jericho has been the IWGP Intercontinental Champion since June 9th after he defeated Tetsuya Naito in a match at Dominion.

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New Japan Pro Wrestling

Hiroshi Tanahashi Winning G1 Climax Makes Sense

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History was made as former IWGP Heavyweight Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated Kota Ibushi to win the 2018 G1 Climax Tournament. The win over the Golden Star earned Tanahashi a “Tokyo Dome IWGP Heavyweight Championship Challenge Rights Certificate.” 

In addition to earning a shot at the IWGP Heavyweight title in the main event of January’s Wrestle Kingdom 13 event, Tanahashi became the third man in history to three G1 tournaments – former world champions Masahiro Chono and Hiroyoshi Tenzan have also accomplished this feat. 

The finals between Tanahashi and Ibushi capped off what was an exciting tournament. Their match had drama, action and tension that left fans on the edge of their seats. One of the biggest heart-racing moments prior to the match had to have been the appearance of Katsuyori Shibata cornering Tanahashi while Omega was in Ibushi’s corner. This was a year after the 2017 G1 finals where  Shibata, who had been injured months prior announced to the crowd that he “was alive.”

With another G1 tournament victory under his belt, Tanahashi is set to compete in his 10th Jan. 4 Tokyo Dome show.

While some fans might have prefered Omega defend the IWGP Heavyweight title against Ibushi at WK, it would sense for The Best Bout Machine to face the Ace of New Japan at the company’s biggest show of the year.

One reason comes down to Tanahashi’s status as an established superstar for New Japan. Ibushi is on the verge of becoming a superstar in NJPW, but Tanahashi is on another level in terms of popularity and credibility with the fans, and has been for years. Ibushi has been a heavyweight for a few years, and he’s had some great moments like challenging Shinsuke Nakamura for the Intercontinental title at Wrestle Kingdom 10 and winning the 2015 New Japan Cup. When he turned to NJPW under his real name, he has not done a lot on his own – most of his success in the last year has been tied to Omega, including the reunion of the Golden Lovers and their five-star match with the Young Bucks. His Wrestle Kingdom 12 win over Cody could be seen as just a catalyst to launch the American Nightmare’s feud with Omega.

That’s not to say Ibushi won’t ever taste the IWGP Heavyweight title, his time will come. Next year could be an amazing one for Ibushi, and losing to Tanahashi also gives him motivation going forward.

While Ibushi has spent a few years as a heavyweight, NJPW’s Heavyweight division has been Tanahashi’s stomping ground for over 10 years. He is an established veteran the company can rely on to deliver a big performance at the Tokyo Dome.

Tanahashi has been in almost every Jan. 4 Tokyo Dome Show, with the exception of the 2003 event. Japanese fans will come to see him compete and possibly win his eighth IWGP Heavyweight title. While fans from other countries flock to Japan for the Wrestle Kingdom event, it’s primarily the Japanese fanbase who are going to buy the tickets and fill the seats at the Dome.

Tanahashi challenging for the IWGP Heavyweight title on Jan. 4 also works from a booking standpoint for Omega. If NJPW wants to build him as a long-term champion, it would make sense to have him defeat established stars like Tanahashi. Omega has only had one title defense since he defeated Kazuchika Okada to win the title in June, and that was against Cody at the G1 Special in San Francisco. If NJPW sticks to the same format as last year’s post-G1 events, Omega will defend the title against Tomohiro Ishii and/or Toru Yano, but those will be successful defenses.

If history repeats itself at the Tokyo Dome, it’s likely Omega will retain the title against Tanahashi.

In 2012, NJPW began the situation of the G1 Tournament winner receiving an IWGP Heavyweight title shot. Since NJPW made the rule, not one of the tournament winners have successfully captured the IWGP Heavyweight title. Omega has won the certificate once while Okada, Tanahashi and Tetsuya Naito have two each, but all of them failed to capture the IWGP Heavyweight title on Jan. 4. The last time the IWGP Heavyweight title changed hands at a Jan. 4 Tokyo Dome show was at Wrestle Kingdom V when Tanahashi defeated Satoshi Kojima to win the belt.

On one hand, history may be on Tanahashi’s side, yet he is also one of the company’s most decorated stars. NJPW could very well have Tanahashi brake the streak and take home his eighth IWGP Heavyweight title.  

There were other developments from the G1 Finals such as the Guerillas of Destiny and recent Bullet Club member Taiji Ishimori defeating the Young Bucks and Marty Scurll for the NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Team titles. The Tonga Brothers and Ishimori comprise the stable’s OG or Bullet Club Elite subfaction.

In other Bullet Club news, Cody challenged Juice Robinson for the IWGP United States title.

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New Japan Pro Wrestling

Kenny Omega Talks About Possibly Becoming NJPW Grand Slam Champion

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Kenny Omega is set to take on NEVER Openweight Champion, Hirooki Goto in the G1 Climax 28 tournament in a rematch that has been 2 years in the making, with Omega claiming victory of G1 Climax 26.

“Hey Goto,” Omega said. “It’s easy to say that your belt means nothing compared to mine. That you are nothing compared to me. But guess what? That isn’t true because your NEVER belt, as s****y as it may be, it’s the only single’s belt I’ve never won.”

“Trust me, I’m a fair man. I believe in revenge. My career has been fundamentally been built upon revenge,” Omega continued. “So, I’m going to give you a fair chance. G1 26 Finals, I beat you, do you remember? I do. I made history and then I went on to have one of the greatest matches of all time against Okada and I lost. And he gave me revenge and then I couldn’t beat him and then he gave me revenge and then I did.

What kind of champion would I be if I didn’t give you that same chance? You better come prepared because the next chance at the G1 could mean everything. And it could cost everything for you Goto because I might just come for your title after. What are you going to do then? What’s everyone going to do once I become the first-ever Grand Slam Champion of New Japan. Wouldn’t that be interesting? Wouldn’t that be something?”

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