Reigning world champion Chris Jericho had the opportunity to represent All Elite Wrestling on a major platform this weekend, defeating Hiroshi Tanahashi in the semi-main event match of Wrestle Kingdom 14 at the Tokyo Dome.
For Tanahashi, the fabled “Ace” of New Japan Pro-Wrestling, the bout was his chance to earn a future shot at the AEW world title – a storyline that the promotion played up surprisingly hard in the build up to their annual event. The loss, however, means that the so-called “Forbidden Door” will for the time being remain shut.
Jericho spoke to members of the media moments after his marquee Tokyo Dome match, and seemed to almost plead for AEW and New Japan management to put aside their differences and firm up a working relationship.
Currently, both Y2J and Jon Moxley are able to make appearances in Japan due to language in their contracts that allows them to take New Japan bookings, so long as it does not interference with their domestic obligations.
During his post-match speech, Jericho actually stated that he would be happy to give Tanahashi a future title shot, despite the “Ace” coming up short in their match. That invitation was also extended to several top stars, specifically naming Kazuchika Okada, Tetsuya Naito, Minoru Suzuki, Kota Ibushi and Will Ospreay.
“So now the forbidden door is closed, but I don’t think it needs to be closed. Usually you hear me up on this stage screaming and yelling, and causing a scene, but I’m not going to do that tonight. I had the chance over the last two years to wrestle the four amazing talents that I wanted to wrestle when I came back to New Japan in 2017 – Kenny Omega, Tetsuya Naito, Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi. All four are tremendous, and I would like to wrestle all of them again.”
“Obviously Kenny and I are in AEW, but there’s no reason why we can’t continue to work together with New Japan. Put aside all the hurt feelings, the egos, the issues and politics, and concentrate on great wrestling matches and big business. I haven’t been doing this at the highest of levels for 29 years, as what some people say the ‘greatest of all time’, because I’m a stupid businessman. I can see the amount of money that we can make together with AEW and New Japan, both here in Japan and in the United States, and Canada, and England, Australia and all around the world.”
“Even though I beat Tanahashi tonight, I’d be more than willing to wrestle him again any time. I’d be more than willing to give him an AEW title shot; and Okada, and Naito, and Suzuki, and Ibushi, and Ospreay. But I don’t own New Japan. I’m not the President of New Japan. I don’t own AEW, but I’m going to do everything that I can to create a bridge to do more amazing matches, and more big-business wrestling shows.”
“I don’t know when I’m coming back to Japan, but I do know that I’m going to be the AEW Champion for a long time. The ball is in the decision-makers’ hands, but as far as Chris Jericho goes, Le Champion, I am more than open, and very hopeful that we can do business together.”