Following New Japan Pro Wrestling’s recent Dominion event, Chris Jericho spoke with Taylor Allen of the Winnipeg Free Press about two ‘Winnipeggers’ (he and Kenny Omega) leaving that show with NJPW’s two top championships.
Jericho is proud to be at the forefront of NJPW’s global expansion and feels the company is starting to gain ground on WWE.
“[New Japan] is a company that’s slowly but surely increasing its worldwide popularity and basically breathing down the neck of the WWE. It’s a Japanese wrestling company, the top stars are Japanese, but there we were, two foreigners, headlining and main eventing the Tokyo Dome. It would be like two Japanese football teams in the Super Bowl. The fact it’s two guys from Winnipeg is a really huge deal.”
WWE is such a well-oiled machine that it would be nearly impossible to knock them off the pedestal as the top wrestling promotion in the world. Several promotions have made the mistake of trying to compete with WWE by emulating them, but history shows that companies must take a different approach to compete. As successful as WWE is, their distinct product is not the only way to present pro wrestling. Jericho sees opportunity there and believes New Japan can continue growing by accentuating strengths that WWE does not have.
“Obviously, you’ll never beat WWE, but to carve out a niche for yourself within the market, you have to do something different, and New Japan is a completely different animal. Yes, it’s still pro wrestling, but it’s a completely different style and much more reformed, more hard-hitting and, in a lot of ways, more fun, depending on what you’re looking for.”
27 years into his wrestling career, Jericho, now 47, is still at the top of his game. He continues to reinvent himself and captivate fans around the world with his can’t-miss performances. He plans to return to WWE at some point, but for now, he’s invested in New Japan’s success.
Visit Winnipeg Free Press to read the full interview, which also includes quotes from IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega.