Don Callis explained his role in helping the Chris Jericho-Kenny Omega match come together for New Japan Pro Wrestling's WrestleKingdom 12 on January 4 in the Tokyo Dome.
Callis discussed his part in the negotiations on the latest episode of his podcast, Killing The Town, which he co-hosts with Lance Storm. Previous reports already had credited Callis for being involved with the match coming together.
Callis, who is part of the English-language commentary team for New Japan broadcasts on NJPW World, said it all started coming together in June.
"I was in Tokyo, and as I do with Omega because, both from a work and a shoot perspective, I have his best interests at heart so I try to come up with ideas for him. Not that he needs help, because he's very creative. I kind of thought, man, what are we going to do at the Dome? I kind of felt like he's kind of done it all now. Another [Kazuchika] Okada match would be fine but it's like, they've had three--I think they'd had two at that point--I just thought what could we do that would be big? Because I didn't see anything on the roster for him. And then I thought wow would it be so cool if you could have Omega vs Chris Jericho?"
Callis saw multiple reasons for the match to have appeal--including that "no one would believe that Chris would actually do anything outside of New York [WWE]. I thought, wow, this would be cool but it's impossible. Like I don't think it could ever happen. I'm like, well, you know what? I'm going to test it out because I think it's a great idea."
Callis called Jericho and pitched the idea. To his surprise, Jericho liked the idea.
"I was sheepish when I pitched it to Chris because I thought he was going to laugh at me and call me some kind of mark," Callis said.
Callis then called Omega with the idea and noted that Omega "of course loved it", noting Jericho had been a model of sorts to Omega in recent years for being able to handle his career and call his own shots to a significant degree. From there, Callis said, Jericho and his representation began negotiations with NJPW to finalize the agreement.
It should be noted that, based on this timeline, this all happened well before the recent Twitter beef between Omega and Jericho.
Callis noted that the thought of seeing Jericho battle Omega inside the Tokyo Dome still feels rather surreal.
"I didn't even, in thinking about it, think it could happen," he said. "That is one of the things that's really cool about it. ... this is a great wrestling match that people didn't even dare to dream about because they didn't think it was possible and now they're getting it."