It continued like this. The two brawled in and out of the ring, with Omega escaping another Walls of Jericho attempt by grabbing first aid spray from under the ring and blasting it into Jericho’s eyes. Though blinded, Jericho got the upper hand by dodging a charge and shoving Omega into a chair that he’d set up in the corner seven minutes earlier. (This was one of two “Chekhov” spots in the match; later, Jericho went through a table he’d set up 17 minutes earlier. Chekhov’s chair and Chekhov’s table in the same match!)

The two went back and forth like this, with a bunch of clever set-ups to change the momentum. Omega is great. He’s a master of making moves look awesome. He has the only running knee in wrestling that doesn’t look like shit. Even his double-foot stomp on Jericho was tremendous.


Meanwhile, Jericho taught a masterclass in heel mannerisms. He beat up the young trainees at ringside. He stole a photographer’s camera. He sat down in a chair and took a break, which drew big laughs. The crowd laughed a few times, actually: It was a match that went pretty seamlessly between comedy and seriousness, between brawling and extended submission spots.

It was a great match to showcase the versatility and talent of Omega and the continued brilliance of Jericho, but it was also a pretty great advertisement. If this was the match that introduced a lot of wrestling fans to New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s annual January show, it was a pretty good start.