For the past few years, the WWE has been able to go on cruise control since there was no real competition out there for the company. Organizations like Ring of Honor have made some headway in the North American wrestling market, but it’s never reached a level that would make the WWE feel even remotely threatened.
That appears to be changing, though, as there are companies looking to make some pretty serious waves in the market right now. First, there’s the newly announced All Elite Wrestling, which features names like the Young Bucks and Cody Rhodes.
Before AEW exploded onto the scene, though, there was New Japan Pro Wrestling. The Japanese company, along with some help from Ring of Honor, recently sold out an event at Madison Square Garden, which most certainly put NJPW on the WWE’s radar.
There’s one person out there who would know what’s going on with the WWE and New Japan Pro Wrestling, and that’s Chris Jericho. He’s one of the most successful WWE performers of all time, and he’s the current IWGP Intercontinental Champion in New Japan. He certainly has the perspective to understand what WWE is thinking.
On a recent episode of his Talk is Jericho podcast, as transcribed by SE Scoops, Chris Jericho talked about whether the WWE has NJPW on its radar. In his mind, they most certainly do.
“WWE is watching. Anytime you have a company that can come into WWE’s backyard and sell out Madison Square Garden — you can spin it any way you want to; it’s WrestleMania weekend — it doesn’t matter. They did something that WWE has not done in years.”
It’s clear that WWE knows that New Japan is making waves right now. Though it’s not clear whether they actually consider them a threat or not.
However, Jericho pointed out that the WWE actually tried to block New Japan and ROH from having the Madison Square Garden show in the first place.
“They tried to block this show and it didn’t work out. When you’re talking about a company that has nationwide TV on AXS, it’s not NBC or USA, but it’s still funded by a billionaire, Mark Cuban. There is money there. WWE never takes anything like that lightly.”
Between NJPW and AEW, it’s clear that the WWE needs to step up its game, because there could be some serious competition on the horizon.
Interestingly, when it comes to all three brands, Chris Jericho is a name that’s torn between all three. He’s been involved in WWE for years, he’s currently in NJPW, and he’s rumored to be involved with All Elite Wrestling. In the end, it’ll be very interesting to see where Chris Jericho ends up when the dust settles.