Tetsuya Naito is scheduled to face Chris Jericho at NJPW’s Wrestle Kingdom 13 in a rematch for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship, but if Y2J has his way, that match will never happen.
Chris Jericho has been thoroughly entertaining as a dark, sadistic character in his NJPW run, and he retained the IWGP Intercontinental Championship at “Power Struggle” on Nov. 3, defeating EVIL in a wildly entertaining match that featured one of the best code-breakers of Jericho’s career. The match was widely rated as at least four stars by wrestling reviewers, including our Weston Gibbon, but Jericho’s impending match with Tetsuya Naito could be even better.
At NJPW’s Dominion show on June 9, Jericho defeated Naito for the Intercontinental Championship, completing a goal he seemingly set at at New Year Dash!! in January after Wrestle Kingdom. Jericho had targeted Naito with several attacks before ultimately taking the title from “The Stardust Genius”, finally grabbing a title in NJPW after unsuccessfully challenging Kenny Omega for the IWGP United States Championship at Wrestle Kingdom 12.
Although Jericho yelled that Naito would never get his rematch in a post-match interview following his victory over EVIL, NJPW made Naito vs.Jericho official yesterday. The match is scheduled to take place at Wrestle Kingdom 13.
That is, of course, if Jericho doesn’t get his way. Jericho took to Instagram to complain about NJPW’s decision. He says that he will not accept this rematch at Wrestle Kingdom 13, and it will be interesting to see what sort of shenanigans he pulls to avoid this contest.
It seems like Jericho is legitimately afraid of Naito, whom he once bloodied, because he knows that the leader of LIJ will eventually have his number. Naito failed to defeat Kazuchika Okada on the big stage last year in an IWGP Heavyweight Championship match, but everything is set up for him to show fearlessness against the demented Y2J, avenging his loss to the “Alpha” of pro wrestling at WK13.
I’m very much here for everything about this feud, and even though Naito defeating Jericho is the foregone conclusion here, it’s all about the journey. And my goodness, we’re in for a ride, especially since Jericho has held nothing back in his run with NJPW, as evidenced by his match against EVIL at Power Struggle.