Every once in a while, there are events, or matches that changes the landscape of professional wrestling. January 18th,1971 Ivan Koloff ends Bruno Sammartino’s record 2,803 day wwf/wwe title reign. March 31st,1985 Vince Mcmahon risks everything he has to put on the greatest professional wrestling spectacle ever, the very first wrestlemania. July 7th,1996 Hulk Hogan shocks the world and turns his back on the fans and WCW with the leg drop heard round the world at Bash at the Beach on Randy Savage, forming the NWO and igniting the monday night wars. November 9th,1997 Shawn Michaels wins the wwf/wwe championship in a match infamously reffered to as the montreal screwjob, creating the evil Mr. Mcmahon character and starting the most lucrative era in wwe/wwf called attitude Era. March 26th,2001 Vince Mcmahon Purchases his biggest competitor WCW ending the monday night wars, and changing the face of professional wrestling forever. Now we approach an event that could change sports entertainment for the first time since that warm march night in panama city nearly 17 years ago.
On January 4th, 2018 Wrestling legend Chris Jericho is set to take on New Japan Pro Wrestling star and U.S champion Kenny Omega. This has all the markings of a seismic shift in the sports entertainment landscape cause when you hear of a match this big of this magntiude it has been in a WWE ring for past 17 years. There has been no real competition for Vinces company in almost 2 decades. Yet this big match, this dream match is not in a WWE ring. It is a NJPW match. It is taking place at the promotions biggest event of the year Wrestle Kingdom 12 inside the 55,000 seat Tokyo Dome. This could be pro wrestlings or as the Japaneese call it puroresu, biggest match of the year, only 4 days into the year, and for the first time since 2001, it will not be in a wwe ring and for the first time since the 80s inside a ring that the pro wrestling empire hasnt bought the rights too.
Now Theres an automatic build in to this fight. Kenny Omega Since January 4th,2017 has three 6 star matches according to www.profightdb.com which is almost unheard of. Last summer he also became the first North American to win NJPW coveted G-1 tournament which gives you a shot at the IWGP heavyweight title in January at Wrestle kingdom. Chris Jericho is a legend in the buisness who is a 6 time world heavyweight champion, and 9 time intercontinental champion, also he is the first ever undisputed world heavyweight champion. So just reading those accolades you can see why this is such a hyped match.
This match brings all sorts of attention to New Japan which is the second biggest promotion in the world, but is nowhere near the popularity of WWE. NJPW also has a buisness and working relationship with the second biggest wrestling promotion in the U.S Ring of Honor. The 2 promotions run interpromotional ppvs and shows, such as Global Wars, and honor rising, and also swap talents back n forth. Kenny is the leader of the controversial and much credited faction “Bullet Club” which has members signed to both promotions. In 2018 Chris Jericho is holding a wrestling show cruise With ROH. So this match not only impacts NJPW, but also ROH. The pre match build up is great for the companys, Jericho being in it could bring a lot of brand new eyes to the 2 companys, both because of Y2J career in WCW and WWE and because of his popular rock band FOZZY. However in my opinion even though there are other great matches on the card such as Naito vs Okada for the IWGP championship, How these 2 perform will ultimately be the defining factor in if this is a landscape changing moment or not.
With so many rumors floating around, this match alone can shift some attention from the main stream wwe fans, onto some of the independent circuit. The build up will draw the attention, but in order to round out the great card, for the eyeballs to stay on NJPW, Omega and Jericho have to finish the deal by putting on a great match , that they are both capable of doing. In all reality there is a possibility the future of independents having any main stream access may rely on this match. It is the biggest match worldwide in my opinion maybe in last 2 decades outside of wwe.
I would say the biggest landscape change from this match is it may be the start of a rise in the indie scene. And for wwe fans that could mean good things for your preferred promotion. If there is a challenge then, that will up the work from WWE. I think the monday night wars proved that. It should raise the quality of he product all around in the monopolized company, which should mean a better product for you the viewer. It will also raise the work of such promotions like ROH giving everyone a second option to watch more often then wwe.
So as you can see from everything Ive laid out, this one match could single handedly change the face of how we see the future of professional wrestling. The eyes of the world have already been drawn to this match, now it is up to these two amazing performers to close the deal