As the adage goes, “Hell hath no fury like a wrestler scorned.” And Chris Jericho is living proof of it, as he sets his sights on settling scores with an old friend, now foe, in the Land of the Rising Sun. Recent weeks have seen whirlwind activity in the wrestling world, with alliances broken and fresh rivalries formed, all centered around one name: Don Callis.
AEW Dynamite’s “Grand Slam” was supposed to be just another wrestling event, but it transformed into an evening of betrayal that sent shockwaves throughout the wrestling community. When Sammy Guevara, a longtime friend and ally of Jericho, switched sides to join Don Callis’ burgeoning faction, it marked the beginning of an intense vendetta. Jericho, never one to back down from a challenge, was swift in his response. The immediate battle will take place at WrestleDream, where Jericho teams up with Kenny Omega and Kota Ibushi to challenge Callis’ formidable trio: Guevara, Will Ospreay, and Konosuke Takeshita.
However, the beef with Takeshita has taken on a life of its own. Fresh off a victory at DDT Pro-Wrestling, Takeshita was blindsided by a video message from Jericho. Not just any message, but a direct challenge for a match scheduled for November 12 at the legendary Ryogoku Sumo Hall, an integral part of Ultimate Party 2023. The Japanese wrestling arena is familiar territory for Jericho, courtesy of his exploits with New Japan Pro-Wrestling over the years. Still, this showdown with Takeshita will be a debut for Jericho under the DDT banner, heightening the anticipation.
Diving deeper into the intricacies of Jericho’s recent history reveals a plot of manipulation and deceit. Callis, often referred to as the heel mastermind, had been pursuing Jericho, attempting to lure “The Ocho” away from the Jericho Appreciation Society to his clan. After much contemplation and feeling the weight of abandonment from the J.A.S. over his indecision, Jericho seemed poised to align with Callis. But in a Shakespearean twist, plans went awry, and instead of an alliance, Jericho found himself squarely in Callis’ family’s line of fire. This antagonism culminated in a significant loss for Jericho, with Ospreay besting him at AEW All In held at London’s Wembley Stadium.
The Callis-Jericho narrative has transcended borders, drawing in top names from various promotions and spilling into global wrestling events. As Jericho prepares for his bout at WrestleDream, his recent face turn in AEW adds another dimension to this rivalry. Being a babyface for the first time in four years allows Jericho to engage with new opponents and form different alliances, exemplified by his teaming up with Kenny Omega & Kota Ibushi against Takeshita, Ospreay, and Guevara.
It’s important to reiterate the weight of Jericho’s words from his video challenge. He touted his impressive three-decade legacy in Japan, dropping legendary names like Onita, Tenryu, Inoki-san, Chono, Okada, and Naito. His message was clear: while Takeshita may be one of the best in the world today, Jericho remains one of the all-time greats. His parting shot at Takeshita, labeling him a “bakayaro” or “stupid idiot,” underscores the personal nature of their feud.
As we approach the duels, Takeshita’s retort to Jericho’s challenge deserves mention. He not only accepted Jericho’s challenge but vowed to “destroy everything about him.” Such fierce words promise a match of high stakes and unparalleled drama.
With the wrestling world’s eyes set on the forthcoming bouts, especially the six-man tag team match announced by AEW CEO & GM Tony Khan on AEW Collision, there’s a palpable tension in the air. Fans await with bated breath to see whether Jericho can exact his revenge or if Callis’ expanding family will further solidify their dominance.