Today’s NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 13 press conference saw the announcement of several matches for the January 4th spectacular, chief among them IWGP Intercontinental Champion Chris Jericho vs. Tetsuya Naito. However, it might not be a done deal just yet.
Jericho had to catch a flight, and was therefore absent from the press conference. A recent Instagram post from Y2J seems to indicate that he has rejected the title defence, although whether this means the match will actually be altered remains uncertain.
Jericho’s Instagram post reads:
‘Hey @njpw1972 …just because you “announce” a match, doesn’t mean I have to accept it. NOT APPROVED.’
The message is accompanied by a Wrestle Kingdom 13 match graphic of the match, with a ‘no’ sign crudely scrawled over Naito’s face.
It seems likely that this is simply a ploy to ramp up the intensity of the feud, and further establish the heel/babyface dynamic between the pair. However, with two months left until Wrestle Kingdom, we could potentially see the introduction of a stipulation or other alteration.
There’s no doubt that Y2J has been 100% heel since coming to New Japan, and his unscrupulous antics continued at last week’s Power Struggle event. There he successfully defended his title against Natio’s stablemate, EVIL, before continuing his attack after the bell. Naito ran out to make the save, establishing himself as the next challenger for Jericho’s Intercontinental Championship.
Y2J has held the title since June, where he defeated Naito at Dominion. However, his match with EVIL has been his only defence since.