Jericho welcomes his friend and NJPW Color Commentator, Don Callis to the show.
Callis recalls dealing with a 17-year old kid in Canada many years ago called Kenny Omega. He saw something in Omega even at that young age and he did everything he could to help him back then, even though Omega was somewhat of a “stupid kid”. Callis worked hard to get him booked at a few local shows and for one reason or another, Omega no-showed an event.
Years went by and they didn’t speak much, and then when Callis signed up for a Twitter account he received a message from Omega. Omega thanked Callis for the help from years prior and eventually told him that he might be able to get him a gig as the Color Commentator for NJPW. After a few weeks there was some confusion, and Lance Storm (Callis’ friend and podcast co-host) was actually offered the role by mistake.
The air eventually cleared and Callis began working as NJPW’s Color Commentator. He then began thinking of ways to help out Omega in return for getting him this gig, and he eventually started to brainstorm fresh ideas for Omega at Wrestle Kingdom 12. He came up with the idea of Omega vs. Jericho, two Winnipeg boys settling their differences in the Tokyo Dome, but he wasn’t sure that Jericho would be interested.
Callis called Jericho and told him his idea, and Jericho was immediately intrigued. Jericho’s very busy with WWE appearances, Fozzy shows and various other projects, but he thought this could be very cool. Callis then went to Omega and told him about the idea, and Omega was equally excited about it. NJPW booker, Gedo, was also determined to have Jericho work for NJPW at some point, so all this came together very quickly.
Jericho informs that at this point in his career he’s only going to pursue things that interest him, and this match versus Omega interested him from the start. He can go back to WWE for WrestleMania, but he knows he won’t be in the main event.
Instead, he’ll be slotted in the middle of the card somewhere, and if he’s not facing Lesnar or Strowman, he’ll be competing against someone he’s worked with a thousand times before already. For this reason, facing a new competitor like Omega at the top of the card at Wrestle Kingdom 12 is probably the most exciting thing he can think about doing at this moment.
Jericho thinks that this match makes him a bigger star in the wrestling business, and this helps WWE and McMahon in the long run. However, he was still nervous about bringing this up with McMahon and he wanted the deal to be locked in stone before finally calling McMahon.
After working to make this match happen for a couple of months, NJPW sent Jericho his first offer and it was so low that Jericho almost shut down the entire thing. It was an insulting offer, and they had some serious work to do to repair the situation. Eventually they managed to get the deal done and then he just had to call McMahon.
Jericho informs that his call with McMahon was not long, and after explaining the situation to McMahon he said, “You have to do it”. McMahon thought it would be great for Jericho, and great for him and WWE as well. McMahon told Jericho that everyone knows he’s a WWE guy and he’ll be flying the WWE flag in Japan.
After finally speaking with McMahon about it and getting his approval, Jericho began to plan out the entire angle. He got his friend to sent out the initial tweet which sparked the entire Twitter war, after Jericho replied to it saying that Omega wasn’t even the best wrestler from Winnipeg, let alone the World. From there the angle heated up and now they’re just hours away from settling things in the ring.
Callis informs that he’s a huge fan of Tanahashi, who has great timing and is a wonderful storyteller in the ring. Callis believes that Tanahashi could have went to McMahon 5 years ago and been the top guy in WWE because he truly understands and appreciates the North American style. He says that Tanahashi might be the best worker of the last 10 years.
Callis also informs that Naito is a great performer, who might be somewhat upset about the ‘double main event’ booking of this show. Callis points out that after winning the G1 Tournament a couple of years ago, NJPW took away his Championship challenger spot at that year’s Wrestle Kingdom event.
Now a few years later, Naito finally gets his spot in the main event of WrestleKingdom, only to see Chris Jericho come in and steal some of the spotlight. Jericho says his job is to sell tickets and if someone gets a little butt hurt over that, so be it.
That sums up today’s episode of Talk is Jericho. You can listen to the show yourself anytime here, and I’ll catch ya next week for another recap!