In the second part of our interview with Chris Jericho talked about his ongoing feud with the ungovernable Tetsuya Naito, his history with the Tokyo Dome and his super-star status. Things heat-up dramatically as Jericho makes his feelings known.
Interviewer: Anyway, Naito said that a re-match is going to happen in the near future, but he also doesn’t give you any credit. He says you’re a ‘self-proclaimed superstar’.
Chris Jericho: A what?
IN: A ‘self-proclaimed superstar’
CJ: I don’t know how that’s even possible when you’re dealing with a guy that won more championships that anyone else in the business. Over 40, including 10 intercontinental championships and 6 world titles. How many times has Naito been a world champion? Honestly has he been a world champion with the IWGP? Has he?
CJ: No, has he been a world champion?
IN: Yes, he won the IWGP Heavyweight champion once.
CJ: OK, one time?
IN: He also won the G1 climax twice.
CJ: OK but did he win the world title?
IN: Yes, he did.
CJ: I’ve been world champion six times. I don’t proclaim myself to be a superstar, the world does. I don’t proclaim myself to be the G.O.A.T. (the greatest of all time), the world does. I don’t claim to be the best in the world, the world does. The numbers don’t lie, the results don’t lie. Here I am, coming into Osaka after just creating my own cruise, wrestling with the Alpha Club with the Young Bucks against Kenny, Cody and Marty Scurll, having a 5 star-classic match. Two days later, I’m on a plane to Tokyo to do business meetings. Then, I took the bullet train to Osaka and showed-up at the EDION arena – no sleep, jet-lagged, tired, but I still kicked the s**t out of EVIL. Then, to get attacked by Naito afterwards? Waiting until I’ve been in a 22-minute war? A brutal war? That shows you that Naito is a coward! I don’t say that I’m a superstar, I am. A super-duper star! The biggest star! But I do say that Naito’s a coward for attacking me at the end of the match. If he wants to attack me at the beginning of the match, we’ll see what happens. I’ll kick his ass and beat him again too, just like I did in June.
CJ: I want to say something else about Naito as well, I’m not denying his abilities, he’s a tremendous wrestler, he’s got a great character. He’s full of confidence, full of arrogance, he sells merchandise. He’s the total package. The only thing he doesn’t have is what I have – worldwide experience. He seems to think that it’s a bad thing that I have worldwide experience, he seems to make jokes that I have all of these different championships and titles. I still think he’s jealous because last time, Kenny Omega vs Chris Jericho was a better match than Okada vs Naito. It sold more tickets. NJPW World in the USA went-up 60%, not because of Naito, but because of Chris Jericho. So, I understand the jealousy, I understand the fact that he wishes he could be me and that’s OK. I think that he confuses the two. He confuses the fact that Jericho is a bigger name, a better performer more critically acclaimed, more trophies, more titles, more T-shirts, more dolls, more action figures, more video games, more bubblegum cards. You name it! Chris Jericho bowling balls, Chris Jericho eyeglasses, Chris Jericho ice cream bars. All of those things are real, it’s true.
CJ: I think that fact bothers Naito to the point where his anger takes him completely off his game and that’s why I beat him in June and that’s why he wants a rematch. He knows I get under his skin. I’ve already fought him, 1-0, it’s done, no more re-matches. You’ve learned your lesson now Naito, now go back and work with TAKA Michinoku.
IN: We think that you are going to be joining the Tokyo Dome show next year. We don’t know at this point who will be facing you, Naito or someone else. Anyway, it’s going to be your second opportunity to be in the Tokyo Dome arena…
IN: Ah yes, third [laughs nervously]
CJ: Don’t forget Super Liger!
IN: Fans all around the world are going to be paying attention to what you will be doing in the Tokyo Dome, so what would you like to do in your sec… next Tokyo Dome show?
CJ: Well last time, Kenny and I stole the show at the Tokyo Dome, we had the best match, much like Shawn Michaels and I at WrestleMania XIX. When you have an event as big as Wrestle Kingdom or WrestleMania, when you can have the best match of the show, the best bout, it’s a very special moment. It takes that match from a normal match to a legendary match, one you can never forget. That’s always the goal, to live-up to the tremendous performance last time at Wrestle Kingdom 12. Sometimes it doesn’t work that way. You always try, but to me the most important thing is to continue to be the IWGP intercontinental champion, get another big win, get another great performance and continue onto my ultimate goal of being the IWGP World champion. Whether that’s versus Kenny Omega, whether that’s versus Tana, Okada, whoever. The intercontinental championship is very important, I held it 9 times in the WWE, but the most important is the world championship. I had to win the intercontinental championship and become a great IC champion in WWE to take the next step in order to become a world champion. It’s the same thing with IWGP. I’m very honored to be the IC champion – the second most important championship in the company. But, it’s time to have another great performance in the Tokyo Dome and then set my sights on the IWGP world championship.