The John Report: Kenny Omega vs. Chris Jericho at NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 12 Match Review

New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Wrestle Kingdom 12 event took place at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan on January 4th. It aired at about 3am my time here in the Toronto area, so I didn’t see it live. I haven’t had time to watch the whole show yet, but I loaded up the highly anticipated Jericho/Omega match on and I’m going to review that now.

Please keep in mind I haven’t written about New Japan shows much at all even though I watch it fairly regularly, so if I’m wrong on some move names I apologize. I’ll try to do more New Japan reviews this year. Let’s get to it.

The English commentating team are Kevin Kelly and Don Callis.

Chris Jericho entered to the song “Judas” by his band Fozzy. Must have been pretty cool for him to walk out to his own song.

Kenny Omega had a cool entrance with a headdress and a gun in his hands with the Young Bucks by his side.

Jericho gave Omega the middle finger before the match began. Omega got hugs from The Young Bucks, so Jericho attacked from behind and then others went into the ring to break it up.

IWGP United States Championship No Disqualification: Kenny Omega vs. Chris Jericho

They started out as a slugfest. Jericho did an eye gouge after pulling the ref in front of him. Omega got in some chops. Omega tried a hurricanrana, but Jericho caught him in the Walls of Jericho. There was no rope break because it’s no disqualification. Omega sent Jericho to the floor. Omega kicked Jericho over the barricade at ringside in front of the announce table. Omega to the top rope and he jumped off the top, but Jericho moved. Omega went crashing through the announce table due to Jericho moving out of the way. Omega took out announcer Don Callis as well. Jericho slapped on the Walls of Jericho on Omega on the floor. Jericho shoved Referee Red Shoes down. Jericho slapped the ref’s son and put him in the Walls of Jericho. Omega came back with a kick. Omega threw a chair and TV monitor at Jericho. They continued to brawl on the floor. Jericho yelled: “Alpha.” Omega put a table onto Jericho, climbed some structure part of the set and did a double foot stomp. Jericho nailed a suplex on the floor and they went back into the ring.

Analysis: Great heel work by Jericho going after the referee and even his son. Smart spots to do early on to build the intensity of the match. Callis is close friends with Jericho and it was his suggestion to do this match (as told by Jericho in building up this match), so no surprise that he was involved in a spot.

Omega worked over Jericho with forearms. Omega went for a springboard attack, but Jericho nailed a springboard dropkick that he’s done so many times and he hit the knee of Omega with a rough landing for Omega. Jericho set up a table outside the ring. Omega blocked a Powerbomb attempt through the table, so Jericho turned around and hit a Powerbomb on the floor. Jericho grabbed a camera, took some pictures and flashed a middle finger again. That was funny. Jericho sent Omega back in the ring with a back elbow off the top for a two count. Omega sent Jericho into the corner, but Jericho came back with a dropkick off the middle rope for a two count. Omega got in some kicks, but Jericho stopped the comeback with a back elbow and a Lionsault got a two count. The crowd cheered loudly for that. Jericho did his cocky flex pose. Omega came back with a snap hurricanrana followed by a clothesline that sent Jericho over the top to the floor. Omega ran the ropes and hit a perfect somersault dive over the top to take out Jericho outside the ring. Omega nailed a guitar crusher neckbreaker for a two count. Omega with a cradle suplex into the knee. Omega went for the V-Trigger, but tripped him up and there was a two count. Jericho slapped on the Walls of Jericho submission again. Omega crawled under the ring post to try to break free. Omega grabbed a can of cold spray and sprayed it into Jericho’s eyes. Omega sprayed some all over his body and even into his tights!

Jericho shoved the ref into Omega and sent Omega face first into the steel chair that was against the turnbuckle. Jericho grabbed a towel to wipe his eyes. Jericho sent Omega face first into the chair two more times. Jericho sent Omega face first into the chair again. Omega was selling it like he was in a lot of pain and the announcers were going crazy about it. Jericho did a pose sitting across the top rope. Omega was bleeding from the forehead. Jericho dropped Omega with a back elbow again. Punches to the head by Jericho to the bloody head of Omega. Knee to the face by Omega connected. Omega nailed his Snapdragon suplex and Omega hit it a second time. Omega nailed a roundhouse kick to the back of Jericho. Another Snapdragon by Omega. When Omega charged at Jericho again, Jericho threw a chair at Omega’s head and the chair broke. It’s a very thin chair, but still an impressive attack that sounded great. Omega was a bloody mess. Jericho worked on the back of Omega with several chair shots. Jericho hit Omega in the back with the broken chair a few more times. Jericho got another chair. Jericho went up top, so Omega hit a dropkick to the chair to Jericho’s face. Jericho was hanging onto the turnbuckle, so Omega hit a running V-Trigger knee to the face that sent Jericho through the table that Jericho set up earlier in the match. Great spot that drew a huge reaction. Jericho was out on the floor. Callis said if we were scoring this on points it’s 70-30 for Jericho and damage is 90-10 for Jericho. Good job by Callis telling the story that Jericho was in control for most of it.

They went back into the ring with Omega in control with a stiff knee to the chest. Another knee to the chest by Omega. V-Trigger knee to the face by Omega that connected very well. Omega hooked the arms of Jericho and hit a sitout Powerbomb for a two count. Good nearfall. Omega nailed the running V-Trigger knee to the face again. Omega went for the One Winged Angel, but Jericho countered out of it and slapped on the Walls of Jericho. The crowd was going wild for this. Great drama here. Jericho was bleeding from the mouth. Omega tried to crawl to the ropes, so Jericho slapped on the Liontamer version of his Walls of Jericho. Omega crawled his way to the ropes. Jericho collapsed when Omega got the ropes, so it wasn’t a rope break and more like Jericho letting go. Jericho shoved the ref again. Jericho tried a Codebreaker, but Omega blocked it. Omega nailed Jericho with the V-Trigger two more times and Jericho was staggered. Omega hit the One Winged Angel slam and Jericho for two as Jericho grabbed the bottom rope. That was a great nearfall that drew a huge reaction. Omega went up top, Jericho went after him, but Omega slipped out and sent Jericho face first into the steel buckle part of the turnbuckle. Omega with a knee to the face again. Omega with a rolling senton. Jericho avoided a corner attack and Jericho hit a Codebreaker. Slow cover by Jericho allowed Omega some time to get his right shoulder up to kick out at two. Jericho worked over Omega with a chair again. When Jericho went for a Lionsault, Omega popped up with a chair to the back. Omega put Jericho on his shoulders and hit the One Winged Angel again on the steel chair that was in the ring. Ouch. Omega covered for the one…two…three. The match went 34:36.

Winner by pinfall: Kenny Omega

Analysis: ***** That was outstanding. Five stars. They had a lot of pressure going in and they delivered a five-star match. I know others might add on to the five-star scale, but when I review matches that’s as high as it goes. I loved the violent nature of the match with Jericho utilizing weapons to weaken Omega. This wasn’t a WWE style long match where they slap on headlocks to slow down and things like that. This was a violent fight from the moment the bell rang. It was great how intense they were the moment the bell rang. I have always said that Jericho is one of the best heels ever and he reminded us of that with this showing because he was violent and cheap throughout the match the way a good heel should be. Jericho utilizing the steel chair multiple times to bloody Omega built up sympathy for Omega. Omega showed great babyface fire in coming back for more. If you want to nitpick certain things maybe you can point out some minor flaws in the match where they may have missed a step in the match, but I really don’t think there’s much to criticize here. The build to the match featured blood after a cheap attack from Jericho, so it was fitting that blood was part of the story in the match as well. I’m not surprised by the Omega win. Makes sense for him to keep the title since he’s under a NJPW deal and for now, this was Jericho’s only match with NJPW. I can see that changing, though. Jericho must have loved being in this match and we loved watching him.

Analysis x2: Omega is one of the best workers in the world. I’d put him at the very top with Okada and AJ Styles in some order because all three are outstanding. I expected Omega to deliver. He always does on the big stage. I haven’t watched Omega for that many years, but the guy doesn’t disappoint in matches like this. Jericho was tremendous here at 47 years old. I hope there’s another one that Jericho wins and then they can do a third match to put an end to it. As a Canadian wrestling fan, it’s so cool to see two guys from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada putting on a match of the year candidate at one of the biggest wrestling shows of the year. Great job, boys. I loved this match.

The announcers put over the performance of both guys. Callis said that Omega is the best in the world and Kelly said the critics of Omega can go to hell.

Omega celebrated with the US Title as the winner of the match.

Well said.