Although recent comments from Chris Jericho suggested that his stint with New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) was over, reports now suggest that “Y2J” isn’t done with the company after all, and will be appearing in one of its events later on this week.
Jericho’s New Japan return was first reported by PWInsder, whose sources confirmed that the 47-year-old veteran, who is best known for his multiple stints with WWE, will be appearing later this week at the Wrestling Dontaku event in Fukuoka, Japan. The report suggests that Jericho won’t be wrestling, but would instead be shooting an angle that would build up to a match at next month’s Dominion event in Osaka.
PWInsider also predicted that Jericho will likely be kicking off where he left off, and resuming the rivalry he had previously sparked with IWGP Intercontinental Champion Tetsuya Naito. This feud kicked off in January at New Year’s Dash (NJPW’s answer to the Monday Night Raw after WrestleMania), as Jericho jumped Naito in a surprise attack, just one night after he lost a highly acclaimed match against Kenny Omega at Wrestle Kingdom 12.
New Year’s Dash marked Chris Jericho’s last New Japan appearance, as he said in March that he is “done” with the company, as noted by Sportskeeda. Speaking to Aaron Varble of Still Real To Us a month later, he echoed those sentiments, saying his relationship with NJPW is “pretty much finished a this point.”
While Jericho was not booked to appear at WrestleMania 34 due to touring commitments with his band Fozzy, he made a brief return to the WWE last week, appearing at the Greatest Royal Rumble in Saudi Arabia. Originally booked to replace Rusev in a Casket Match against The Undertaker, Jericho instead competed in the show’s main event match, entering as the 50th and final competitor.
Now that it looks like Chris Jericho will continue working for New Japan instead of focusing on other endeavors, PWInsider speculated that his previous comments about being “done” with the company were simply a case of misdirection, where the nine-time WWE Intercontinental Champion tried to build excitement for his eventual return by telling fans that he wasn’t going back to NJPW for the time being. As further noted by the Wrestling Observer, this is a tactic that Jericho has employed in the past, all in the name of maintaining the element of surprise.