It looks like Chris Jericho will be sticking around New Japan Pro Wrestling for more than just a single match, after his rivalry with Kenny Omega came to head in a brutal No Disqualification match at Wrestle Kingdom 12.
In the closing moments of Friday’s NJPW New Year Dash, an annual show similar to WWE’s popular “Raw After WrestleMania” episode, Jericho made a surprise appearance following the main event to attack Tetsuya Naito. The two were eventually pulled apart by a swarm of wrestlers, trainees and officials, but not before it became clear that the two wrestling mega stars would clash again in the near future.
Oh!My God!! @IAmJericho surprises @s_d_naito and the Korakuen crowd at New Year’s Dash! The legend seems to have had enough of Naito’s attitude! Watch Now（English Commentary）▶︎https://t.co/fEh4jA7fML#njpw #njpwworld #njdash pic.twitter.com/b3KeNBcEL0
— njpwworld (@njpwworld) January 5, 2018
Looking ahead at the schedule for 2018, it’s unclear when a bout between Jericho and Naito would take place. Here’s a list of upcoming events on the New Japan schedule:
- The New Beginning in Sapporo; January 27-28
- The New Beginning in Osaka; February 10
- Untitled Anniversary Event; March 6
- New Japan Cup Final; March 21
- Strong Style Evolved in USA; March 25
- Sakura Genesis; April 1
Jericho’s band Fozzy has a big European tour that extends from January 28th to February 13th, so that seems to rule out the annual New Beginning tour as a destination for their match. It’s potentially worth pointing out that Fozzy doesn’t have shows on 2/10 but it would be incredibly unlikely for him to fly from Switzerland to Japan to Spain in a matter of 48 hours, and Jericho is generally good about only devoting himself to one master at a time.
The anniversary event on 3/6 isn’t a major show and it’s unlikely the New Japan Cup will be headlined by anything other than the tournament finals as the winner gets a shot at the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
The most likely scenario is that Jericho vs. Naito headlines the Strong Style Evolved show in California on 3/25, one week before WrestleMania. Fozzy will be in the middle of a domestic tour but has a convenient 11-day break carved out right in the middle that would give Y2J enough time to prepare for the match and be back on the road by 3/27. We’ll keep you posted when more information becomes available.