Whether it's the use of blood, cursing at the crowd or rampaging on reporters, Chris Jericho is relishing the creative freedom he has had working in New Japan Pro Wrestling.
Jericho had a highly hyped no DQ match against Kenny Omega at Wrestle Kingdom, and the build-up to the match included two uncharacteristic storytelling devices for the promotion, with Jericho bloodying Omega in an attack at the World Tag League finals and the two engaging in a table-flipping brawl at a Wrestle Kingdom press conference. Jericho discussed his run to date in NJPW during an appearance on a recent episode of The Steve Austin Show.
Noting that he is quite a bit larger than most of the New Japan wrestlers, Jericho said he wanted to be "like Bruiser Brody and Stan [Hansen]. I want to scare these guys. There were no rules! I was swearing. In the [Wrestle Kingdom] match I grabbed a camera and took a picture of me flipping the bird to the crowd. Took pictures of it. I came across as this lunatic who would do anything and didn't care, ripping up reporters' books and yelling at them, throwing tables, I threw a garbage can full of cigarette butts and water on one of the reporters from Tokyo Sports."
Jericho acknowledged that some of his decisions to build the match went against what few rules were handed down by the promotion.
"I don't give a shit what the rules of Japan were," he said. "We went to a press conference at a really nice hotel and they're like, 'Don't throw anything.' F--- off. If the table costs a thousand dollars, I'll pay for it. But you're going to sell tickets because of it."
Austin observed how free Jericho looked while wrestling the match against Omega, a feeling Jericho verified, describing his work to date in New Japan as both gratifying and liberating:
"After 17 years of having to have stuff approved by Vince [McMahon] or agents or whatever, I didn't have to have anything approved. I could do anything I wanted. And what a cool feeling that was."
Jericho has expressed an interest to keep working in New Japan on a part-time schedule similar to what Brock Lesnar has in WWE.