New Japan Pro Wrestling has released backstage comments from Chris Jericho shortly after winning the IWGP Intercontinental Championship at this weekend’s NJPW Dominion event at Osaka-Jo Hall.
The 47-year-old rock star had high praise for the former champion, Tetsuya Naito, calling him “an excellent performer and professional wrestler” despite the fact that he brutalized the Los Ingobernables leader on multiple occasions before the two even met face-to-face in the ring.
“Two men just beat the s— out of each other. It was one of the toughest matches I’ve ever had in my entire career. Tetsuya Naito is an excellent performer and professional wrestler, and that was one of the hardest matches I’ve ever had in my life.”
Jericho, most famously known for his tenure and numerous championship reigns with WWE, has now captured gold in New Japan for the very first time, 21 years after first making his debut with the promotion.
“As you can see this – the blood of Chris Jericho and Tetsuya Naito is on the Intercontinental Championship. Ten times the Intercontinental Champion; nine times in WWE, and now in New Japan. The only performer in professional wrestler history to be the Intercontinental Champion in the WWE and New Japan Pro Wrestling.”
Over the years it’s become impossible to predict where and when Y2J will show up, but in 2018 he’s really taken his shock value to a whole new level. For example, earlier this year he stated that he was done with NJPW altogether following a one-off brawl with Kenny Omega at Wrestle Kingdom 12. But now, it’s impossible to tell how long he’ll stick around, but now that he’s champion we’re all but guaranteed at least one more match.
“…Chris Jericho is here to stay. It wasn’t just for the Tokyo Dome, and it wasn’t just for tonight, because now I am the champion. I don’t know when I can wrestle again, but Naito kicked the s— out of me. My head is f—ing killing me. My hand is killing me, and I’m seeing stars.”
“I am the best of all time. I am the greatest of all time. I am the Alpha, Chris Jericho, and you never know what to expect. You never know what I’m going to wear, you never know what I’m going to do, and you never know what titles I’m gonna win.”
Jericho’s most recently opponent, the former champion Tetsuya Naito, has become infamous for his mistreatment of the IWGP Intercontinental Championship. During his previous reign El Ingobernable literally destroyed the belt over several months of throwing it around arenas, stomping it into the ground – by the time he dropped the belt it was broken into multiple pieces. Y2J insists that will not be the case while he is champion.
“Tonight, I am the IWGP Intercontinental Champion and I take that very seriously. I know Naito didn’t want this championship; he didn’t wear it, he didn’t bring it to the ring. This stays with me until the moment that I lose it. I’m going to eat with this title, I’m going to sleep with this title, I’m going to s— with this title. I’m going to go buy a first class ticket on the flight to Tampa tomorrow, so this title can sit next to me on the plane, because it’s that important to me.”
“After 26 years of coming to Japan, and almost 60 tours, I am finally an IWGP champion and that means everything to me. I take great pity on anybody that wants to take this from me. I take pity on anyone that wants to face Chris Jericho here in New Japan Pro Wrestling, because you never know what I’m going to do. Drink it in man – it’s the new Intercontinental Champion, and you can choke on it.”