A huge match was announced by New Japan Pro Wrestling today via the company’s social media and Youtube channel.
In a video that followed Kazuchika Okada’s IWGP Heavyweight Title defense against SANADA, a video aired featuring former WWE Champion Chris Jericho. In the video, Jericho had a unique look similar to his other New Japan appearances in the last few years where he had facepaint on to make himself look different.
Jericho said this: “I am Chris Jericho and I am the painmaker. And on June 9th at Dominion in Osaka, I will challenge for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship and I’m gonna win. I’m gonna win…I’m gonna win!” Then he let out a bit of a scream and that was it.
The “painmaker” nickname is yet another name for Jericho to use. He has had a lot of nicknames in his career. Since Okada is the “rainmaker” that’s where the painmaker name comes from.
NJPW Dominion will take place at the Osaka-jo Hall on June 9th in Osaka, Japan.
Jericho’s last NJPW match was at Wrestle Kingdom 13 on January 4 when he dropped the IWGP Intercontinental Title to Tetsuya Naito. I rated the match ****1/2 out of five in my review and it was a reminder of how great the 48-year-old Jericho still is. Dominion is one of NJPW’s biggest shows of the year with Wrestle Kingdom as the biggest show that would be equivalent to WrestleMania although, in terms of match quality, Wrestle Kingdom is better.
Jericho signed with All Elite Wrestling on January 8th in a deal that allows him to continue working for New Japan Wrestling for big matches, which is how this deal came about. Jericho will face Kenny Omega at All Elite Wrestling’s debut PPV event Double or Nothing in three weeks on May 25th in Las Vegas.
Regarding Jericho and Omega, they appeared at a Southern Honor Wrestling indy show in Canton, GA last night. Jericho attacked some dudes first, but Omega was there to make the save. Jericho is a heel, in case you can’t tell.
TJR Thoughts: I’m glad that Jericho is keeping busy. He is one of my favorite wrestlers ever (top five probably) and his involvement in AEW makes me really excited about it. I also enjoy his appearances in NJPW because they have led to awesome matches. The fact that he can perform at such a high level at 48 years old (he’s 49 in November) is pretty awesome.
Jericho vs. Okada is a fresh match too. I think Okada might be the best wrestler going today, so I enjoy his matches a lot. I don’t expect Okada to lose the title, but it should be an awesome match.