After negotiations concluded for Kenny Omega to face Chris Jericho at Wrestle Kingdom 12, the announcement of the match at Power Struggle came as a complete surprise ... even to most of the New Japan locker room.
Not quite everyone, though. Appearing on Jericho's Talk Is Jericho podcast, Omega said that he kept the news almost totally under wraps before the video at Power Struggle that saw Jericho appear and challenge Omega. Aside from announcer Don Callis, who helped get the match booked, Omega directly told just two others.
"I can't say no one knew because Don [Callis] knew," Omega said, referring to the man he helped get an announcing job with New Japan. "I did clue in the [Young] Bucks, and that's it. I don't even know if Kevin [Kelly] knew, to be honest."
Omega went on to describe the reaction in the locker room once he made his way to the back following the Jericho video.
"It was like, 'That was so cool, we had no idea!' Even the guys we were working with, they sort of momentarily became fans again," said Omega, who likened it to how he feels during the G1 Climax and Best of the Super Juniors tournaments NJPW holds each year. "That's the most fun time for me to be in the locker room because I can watch all these tournament matches and I don't want to know the finishes, I don't want to know who's going up. Like, I just kind of watch it and just kind of watch it play out and it's fun to not know sometimes."
Omega and Jericho kept the surprises coming, most notably when Jericho attacked and bloodied Omega during the World Tag League finals held in Fukuoka.
“I knew there had to be a physical altercation," Jericho said, reiterating prior comments that he wanted to do something beyond mere video appearances to help hype the match. "Just announcing it is great, but if Brock [Lesnar] announces a match, for example, you don't see it much but there will be some sort of buildup to it."
Jericho described the attack as a "very cool moment:", a sentiment that Omega echoed.
"That sort of brought me back to the golden age, before I got into the business," Omega said. "They would do that stuff all the time: the video decoy … the ECW thing or even in the Attitude Era. A guy'd be standing on the ramp as a decoy but then from behind here comes someone else. We just don't do that here, and I think—now that was also elevated by the fact no one thought they would see you in the flesh before the actual Dome. Why would you come to Fukuoka, you know? That was kind of the thing, too. Maybe if you did come down, it'd be Tokyo, for ease of travel? You came all the way out to Fukuoka, it was like, what the heck?"
Check out Omega's full appearance on Talk Is Jericho.