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As we noted yesterday, via PWInsider.com, Chris Jericho facing Kenny Omega at Wrestle Kingdom 12 in January is something Jericho cleared with WWE. However, Jericho is, in fact, a free agent, is not under contract with WWE, and did not get the company’s permission from a contractual standpoint.
Furthermore, Kenny Omega recently did an interview with Tokyo Sports, during which he claimed Jericho is still with WWE, and did receive Vince McMahon’s permission to face him in New Japan.
According to The Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Omega’s comments were partially true, in that Jericho remains on close, loyal terms with WWE, and likely did clear his NJPW appearance with WWE officials, but not because he is still under contract with the company. Jericho’s WWE deal expired back at WrestleMania 33, after which Jericho signed a one month extension and dropped the U.S. Title to Kevin Owens in May. The WWE Japan shows and the single one-off Smackdown appearance Jericho subsequently made were on a per-appearance basis.
With regards to original WWE creative plans for Jericho, he was supposed to head into WrestleMania 33 as the WWE Universal Champion, and then lose the title to Kevin Owens at the big event. Plans of course changed, and Goldberg vs Brock Lesnar for the Universal Title ended up taking place, so Jericho vs Owens was made for the U.S. Title instead. Due to the success of the Owens vs Jericho angle, Y2J stuck around for an additional month after WrestleMania, and extended his WWE deal through May.
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The Observer adds that the deal for Jericho to face Omega at Wrestle Kingdom 12 is for one match, however that could change depending on how the match goes, and there’s always the possibility a rematch or two against Omega could happen. The feeling, however, is that Jericho will be returning to WWE sometime in 2018. One source noted to The Observer that Jericho’s WWE return could come as early as the Raw 25th anniversary shows, but that is unconfirmed as of this writing. In any case, WWE is completely fine with Jericho facing Omega, and officials have no issue with him appearing for NJPW.
On a related note, Jericho is currently working with ROH for his Rock ‘N Wrestling cruise, taking place in October 2018, and Jericho had originally tried to work with WWE and get NXT talent to perform on the cruise, but WWE turned down the idea.