When they announced the card at the beginning of NJPW New Year Dash!! today (check out full results right here), the show was seemingly set to come and go without Chris Jericho’s involvement. That seemed curious but isn’t unprecedented, as not everyone sticks around after Wrestle Kingdom every year, so we kind of collectively got on with our day and enjoyed the show... until after the main event ten-man tag between Chaos and Los Ingobernables de Japon.
We should have known better.
After LIJ won (and laid a bit of an extra beatdown in on the Chaos men, seemingly setting up title challenges for Hiromu Takahashi, EVIL, and SANADA to go after the IWGP Junior Heavyweight, NEVER Openweight, and IWGP Heavyweight Championships respectively), Naito cut the traditional show-closing promo (translations courtesy of the ever-helpful Chris Charlton on Twitter), saying he lost, he makes no excuses, but in 2018 LIJ will continue to evolve and hey, Korakuen gets to sing along with his promo tonight, right?
Well, yes. But then the Y2J problem struck once again! Carrying on in the same tradition as he did with Kenny Omega, Jericho made a wild brawl of it, beating on the Stardust Genius such that referees, young lions, and even Roppongi 3K and their mentor Rocky Romero hit the ring to pull him back. Naito did his Tranquilo roll and taunted Chris, which just further inflamed his Canadian rage.
The crush of referees and crew pulled Jericho out of the ring but he wasn’t done yet, throwing anything and everything that wasn’t bolted down at the Japanese commentary position at Naito, including the table itself, before finally being dragged away.
Personally, after he and Omega delivered so strongly yesterday, I was hoping Jericho would stick around, and a Naito match seems like the obvious bet, so I’m excited. And this, for better or worse, does kind of provide an answer as to why the title remains around Okada’s waist.
Timing wise, Fozzy are touring soon but they actually aren’t playing on most of the dates that New Japan have big shows set for, with only the second New Beginning in Hiroshima show, on January 28, being in direct conflict. Were I a betting man, I’d wager this will happen either at the first New Beginning in Hiroshima (January 27), or more likely at Strong Style Evolved in the US on March 25, as that coincides with an eleven-day gap in Fozzy’s tour schedule.
There you have it, folks
Chris Jericho is sticking around New Japan and he’s got a bone to pick with the Stardust Genius himself. Excited, Cagesiders?