Chris Jericho is keeping everyone on their toes these days - even more than he usually does.
The IWGP Intercontinental Champ is gearing up to work with Impact and Ring of Honor (ROH) on his upcoming cruise, Jericho’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling Rager at Sea. He’ll obviously wrestle at least one more time for New Japan, as it would be extremely out of character for an old pro like Y2J to not drop the strap he holds for the promotion.
Fans have long thought it would be out of character for Jericho to wrestle for another company in North America other than Vince McMahon’s WWE. Teaming with another fed that was on television in the United States seemed absolutely out of the question.
“When someone says, ‘Would you ever go to IMPACT? Would you ever go to Ring Of Honor? Would you ever go here there or wherever?’
Yeah sure, why not? If its creatively satisfying, if it’s something that I can really sink my teeth into, something that I can really enjoy, then why wouldn’t I give it a try?
At this point, I’ve done everything I could ever do in wrestling. I have a loyalty to WWE but not a death wish with them or anything like that where by hook or by crook I have to be with the WWE. I think part of the fun of what’s going on right now in the business is there’s a real resurgence with independent wrestling and independent companies and it really gives the WWE a real kick in the ass when people go other places.”
Jericho makes it clear he hasn’t spoken to another company in North America about signing any kind of deal. But it also sounds like he’s interested in using the position his hard work and the current market affords him to better the business for those coming up behind him:
“So I haven’t spoken to anybody at TNA and I’m not saying I would ever go there but I’m not saying I wouldn’t, and I’m not saying I wouldn’t go to WWE or I wouldn’t go to New Japan or go wherever. To me, it’s all about helping to change the business in a lot of ways and if there’s a way to do it by being a little bit of a ‘revolutionary’, then why not? Let’s go for it, man. This is show business, it’s entertainment, it’s the wild west. There’s no rules and nobody says that you have to work in the WWE or you don’t have to work there.
Independent wrestling at this point in time is bigger than it’s ever been. And that’s a good place for me to be in, for James Ellsworth to be in or Kenny Omega, everybody else that’s kind of an ‘independent guy.’ Now’s the time to be independent because you really can go make a real good living and make a difference outside of the WWE bubble which hasn’t been something that you could do for years since the highlight of WCW back in ’98-’99.
So it’s an exciting time for everybody involved.”
The question then is, will we see Y2J in ROH or on Impact?
His long-time friend Don Callis helped set him up at New Japan, and is now one of the main people running Impact. That’s led to a lot of speculation we could see Jericho attempting to help Callis revitalize the brand in either an on-screen or backstage role (hell, hit Twitter or some message boards, and you’ll find fans convinced he already is helping his buddy and Scott D’Amore book the Thursday night show, even though there hasn’t been any credible reporting saying that’s the case).
ROH seems like as much of a long-shot, but their partnership with New Japan is intriguing. Could it lead to a mega-pop when “Judas” plays at G1 Supercard in Madison Square Garden next spring?
We shall see. I wouldn’t count on it, but it seems more likely than ever before.
As the man himself says, “it’s an exciting time for everybody involved”.
H/T Wrestling Inc for podcast transcription.