Wrestle Kingdom 12: Jericho's selling of the match is the real genius in play
Nobody in the wrestling world re-invents themselves like Chris Jericho, well, apart from maybe Paul Heyman, as his return to New Japan is to happen on January 4th, 2018.
Chris Jericho is pulling all the stops to make sure that his match against Kenny Omega, is a hotly anticipated contest. To do so, Jericho has played every card in the book. A smart move to pull out at the start of the rivalry was to turn it into a heated affair.
With his attack on Omega before the event, the encounter turned into a blood feud and now turned the match into a no disqualification affair. While this helps in preventing the match becoming a mat classic, that Jericho just can't deliver at this age, it also adds something different to the New Japan context, that Jericho has been quick to point out at every turn - blood.
The claret spilt at the hands of Jericho's attack on Omega was a shock for New Japan fans. While they might have seen such ferociousness in a deathmatch, it's a rare occasion for the company to have this occur. Most importantly, since going PG in the latter part of the last decade, WWE has rarely, if ever, allowed the kind of blood spill we saw here occur in their rings.
Yet, it's not just that; Chris Jericho has also tried to sell the match using multiple tactics. He's called out a frustrated Tetsuya Naito, by branding Wrestle Kingdom as a dual main event. This has fed into Naito's own arc of wanting redemption for the Wrestle Kingdom main event he lost years ago.
This year, Naito will end the night in the final match, but Jericho's insistence that he and Omega will share the main event name tag alongside Naito and Okada has created an intriguing stir. Not only is it in many cases true, but the main event jaw-jacking between the two parties promises the chance of intriguing contests down the line between Jericho and others in New Japan.
He might say this is a one and done thing, but don't count out Jericho from surprising us with his mad genius business sense and putting on a highlight reel of bouts for his second innings at New Japan.
Speaking of those many cases, New Japan's excursion into the American market has led to the creation of this match and its heavy promotion Stateside. It is in many ways the match that will accumulate new and fresh eyeballs to the New Japan product.
As NJPW looks to take the fight to the WWE, the use of one of its loyal veterans will grab the attention of casual fans who know nothing beyond the entertainment juggernaut. It will be a great victory if the buys grow tenfold and Jericho will get a lot of praise for it. Even by claiming that Vince McMahon is happy with the deal, Jericho has positioned it as an interesting prospect for the future.
Could Jericho be the inside spy for McMahon? He won't go to business for himself, but Jericho could seek this match time to finally convince Omega that its time to jump ship and return home to the Big 'E.
Vince McMahon's salivating at the prospect of an eventual rematch on his home ground.
Finally, by billing this contest as the equivalent of McGregor vs. Mayweather, Jericho has added a touch of blockbuster to an intense showdown.
Okada vs. Naito will be the real Main Event, but Wrestle Kingdom 12's selling point is an intense clash between two Winnipeg natives, who are aware of how to play the game and the fans.
It began with an engaging Twitter spat; it ends with a grand showdown. Don't miss Alpha vs. Omega at Wrestle Kingdom 12!