Chris Jericho facing IWGP U.S. Champion Kenny Omega at Wrestle Kingdom 12 on January 4th, 2018 at the Tokyo Dome was an idea that Jericho came up, according to Dave Meltzer on the latest edition of Wrestling Observer Radio.
Meltzer reports that Jericho got the idea while watching the build-up to the Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather fight this past summer. Jericho wanted to come up with something big that people thought they would never see.
Jericho decided to work a match with Kenny Omega and approached mutual friend, Don Callis, who works as the English color commentator for New Japan Pro Wrestling events on New Japan Pro Wrestling World. Callis approached Omega with the idea, and then they took it to NJPW head booker, Gedo.
Jericho reportedly met and negotiated with NJPW in their New York office for several weeks and came to a deal. Meltzer noted that for now it is a one-shot deal.
Jericho and Omega had been verbally feuding on social media over the past couple of weeks and it was clear that they were building to something, given the mutual respect that they’ve shown for each other in the past. Omega was on Jericho’s podcast, Talk Is Jericho, earlier this year and said that he had visioned his “Cleaner” character as being something similar to Jericho’s.
“When I was given the Kenny Omega, ‘The Cleaner’ gimmick I’m using now, that’s the thing What is ‘The Cleaner’, right? It was supposed to be, because of The Bullet Club, the bullets and guns, ‘The Cleaner’ was supposed to be sort of like an assassin gimmick, the guy that cleans up the murder cite or whatever it is after there’s a hit put on someone,” Omega told Jericho. “The idea they gave me, I was supposed to be like the dude from The Professional. They wanted me to be very silent, very cold. The way I had pictured it, because New Japan takes a lot of influence from WWE, the way they book things, the way they model their characters, it sort of felt like they wanted me to be like ‘Ringmaster’ Steve Austin where he had mouth pieces around him at all times, where he was more or less silent, and a very cold, calculated individual.
“I always pictured myself more like [Jericho], where, yes, I can wrestle, but also I can speak for myself. I have this original style that I want to show to the world. I don’t want to be kind of this beat down, bruise you up kind of dude and have Karl Anderson cut all my promos for me. I don’t want to have to do that.”
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