NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 12: Fans flip as Chris Jericho challenges Kenny Omega

In addition to being a one-time WCW cruiserweight and legendary WWE undisputed champion, Chris Jericho spent an early portion of his career wrestling overseas in Japan. More than 20 years later, Jericho will return to the Land of the Rising Sun to participate in a dream match for modern-day wrestling fans.

Jericho early Sunday morning formally challenged New Japan Pro-Wrestling United States champion Kenny Omega, considered by many to be the best wrestler in the world, to a match at Wrestle Kingdom 12 -- NJPW's equivalent of WWE's WrestleMania -- on Jan. 4, 2018, in what is expected to be a non-title match.

Jericho and Omega -- who both hail from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada (though Jericho was actually born in New York) -- have been building a feud on social media over the last few weeks that culminated in Jericho making an on-screen appearance at NJPW's Power Struggle pay-per-view held in Tokyo.

The WWE legend challenged Omega to a match, arguing that Omega should not be calling himself the "best in the world" because that's a title that has been earned by Jericho -- who refers to himself as the "greatest of all time" -- over the course of his lengthy career.

Though Jericho is not presently under contract with WWE, he has made regular appearances with the company after taking a short break in the mid-2000s. Jericho has appeared in a WWE ring every year since 2007 but has been a part-time performer with the company as of late while he focuses on his entertainment career, which includes serving as the lead singer of rock band Fozzy. 

Despite Jericho's most recent stint with WWE having ended, he made a surprise appearances at SmackDown Live a few months ago to participate in a triple threat WWE U.S. title match. Jericho was also reportedly called to make a guest appearance for WWE's TLC pay-per-view in October, though it is believed that he had a scheduling conflict.

In other words, one should not necessarily look at Jericho's foray into a match with Omega at NJPW as a slap in the face to WWE or an indication that he will not return to the company he has called home for the last 18 years. Rather, it's an opportunity for Jericho and Omega to put on a show and potential five-star match on a massive international stage.

The Wrestle Kingdom 12 card will be main evented by a long-awaited match for NJPW fans as Kazuchika Okada defends his heavyweight championship against G1 champion Tetsuya Naito in the Tokyo Dome. it is quote possible that Jericho-Omega serves as the co-main event for the show.

Should Jericho remain in WWE's plans ahead of WrestleMania in April, he could become just the second wrestler in history to participate in both massive shows in the same calendar year, joining AJ Styles, who did so first last year.

CBS Sports Staff

Adam Silverstein joined CBS Sports in 2014 as college football and golf editor. He also helps lead pro wrestling, boxing and mixed martial arts coverage. Adam still maintains that Tim Tebow could have... Full Bio

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