With WWE’s monopolization of wrestling in Northern America the element of surprise, that once made watching weekly wrestling so much fun, is virtually gone. AJ Styles entering the Royal Rumble a few years back was a surprise but I think we already knew AJ had left NJPW and was headed to WWE. Debuts are mostly announced in advance and there aren’t ver many meaning superstar returns that could constitute a surprise.
When Chris Jericho showed up in New Japan Pro Wrestling last weekend, that was very much a surprise, for many different reasons.
One, most people assumed he was still under WWE contract.
Two, even if he wasn’t, he’s stated many times he had no desire too work anywhere else.
Three, there isn’t a hotter name in professional wrestling that he could be working with than Kenny Omega.
Omegas matches in New Japan over the last year have given fans who are tired of the same WWE storylines and matches a product to gravitate towards. So much so, New Japan Pro Wrestling and their television partner Axis TV restructured their approach to their north American programing. Originally, the two would air content that was several months old with English commentary dubbed over. Now, the content is very update with sometimes as little as couple days delay.
Jericho negotiated with New Japan Pro Wrestling several months ago, where the two reached a deal to have him work a match against Kenny Omega at their big Wrestle Kingdom 12 pay-per-view event on January 4th, 2018. Jericho has also reached a deal with Ring of Honor to host a “Rock n’ Wrestling” cruise in October of 2018. Already booked for that cruise are Cody Rhodes, Marty Scurll and The Young Bucks. Jericho has said he approach WWE about having NXT on the cruise but he was turned down.
As of right now, Jericho’s deal with NJPW is a one-off deal for the Wrestle Kingdom 12 pay-per-view. While many expect Omega to go over and win the match, it’s possible they could extend the deal with Jericho. If Jericho actually wins though, it would elevate the NJPW title big time. With that being said, people close to the situation expect Jericho to be back in WWE as early as the RAW 25th anniversary special. The idea there is that he’d have just come from making news and then would return as a bigger deal than before.
(Source: Nov 13, 2017 Wrestling Observer)