AEW World Champion Chris Jericho is once again making his presence known in New Japan Pro Wrestling, as he will be facing Hiroshi Tanahashi on Night 2 of Wrestle Kingdom 14 in Tokyo, Japan. Last year, Jericho lost his IWGP Intercontinental Championship against Tetsuya Naito, and at Wrestle Kingdom 12 in 2018, Jericho competed for the first time outside of WWE in 19 years, losing to Kenny Omega.
Jericho will walk into Wrestle Kingdom in full force as the Painmaker, as opposed to “Le Champion.” Compared to the smug and brash leader of the Inner Circle, the Painmaker is a more dark character that Jericho formed, which includes face paint. He created the darker gimmick while feuding with Kazuchika Okada which led to a match for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. Unfortunately, for Jericho, he was unable to defeat Okada.
'On June 9 at #njdominion in Osaka, I will challenge for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. And I'm gonna win.'
Chris Jericho sent a shocking message to Kazuchika Okada during Dontaku in Fukuoka. What will happen when #RainmeetsPain in Osaka? #njpwhttps://t.co/dcVVBO1gic pic.twitter.com/6P7qcFPc30
— NJPW Global (@njpwglobal) May 8, 2019
Speaking with Sports Illustrated, Jericho explained how the Painmaker gimmick would not be approved by WWE if it were to be pitched.
“There would never be a ‘Painmaker’ in the WWE because I’m sure they wouldn’t allow it,” said Jericho. “There are a lot of approvals needed and that’s the way Vince runs his show and it’s great, but to be completely on my own was an awakening, and that happened in Japan.”
Another message from Chris Jericho!
— NJPW Global (@njpwglobal) December 8, 2019
With the advent of All Elite Wrestling in the beginning of 2019, Jericho has certainly shown his allegiance to building the upstart company. After nearly 20 years of being devoted to WWE, Jericho feels that his character was getting old in the company, and wanted the liberty to entertain his own ideas in order to create more mileage in his career.
In fact, Jericho stated that he would still be doing The List if he were in WWE, and it would “feel so old.” He also stated that DX saying “suck it” in 2019 “looks like a relic from the past,” and he never wanted to do that.
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