Chris Jericho will face Hiroshi Tanahashi at Wrestle Kingdom 14 on January 5. The self-proclaimed Painmaker will take on The Ace of New Japan Pro Wrestling in what many fans are calling a dream match.
But now that dream match has an added stipulation. Jericho has revealed on social media that if Tanahashi wins at Wrestle Kingdom, then he will get a shot at Chris’s AEW World Championship.
Jericho is the inaugural AEW World Champion and his run in Tony Khan’s company has been independent of his time spent in New Japan. His two worlds had yet to collide until now, as it seems that AEW and New Japan may indeed be prepared to do business together.
This was unheard of at one time, as there has reportedly been some bad blood between both companies. This stemmed from AEW’s initial formation, which saw the exodus of top stars from New Japan, including Cody Rhodes, The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega. It seemed that NJPW would be unwilling to cooperate with AEW as a result.
Of course, there’s no guarantee that Tanahashi will in fact defeat Jericho at Wrestle Kingdom. The event is New Japan’s biggest show of the year and for the first time, it will be held over the course of two days. Jericho and Tana will square off on day two of WK14 in the semi-main event.
This match is just the latest addition to Jericho’s impressive stint in New Japan Pro Wrestling. The AEW champ has faced New Japan’s biggest stars, including Tetsuya Naito and the current IWGP Heavyweight champion, Kazuchika Okada. Jericho is not only the world champion, he’s also the top heel in AEW and is the leader of The Inner Circle, a heel faction consisting of Jake Hager, Sammy Guevara and Santana and Ortiz, now known as Proud & Powerful.