New Japan's Tetsuya Naito Rejected WWE Deal After Chris Jericho Match

New Japan Pro Wrestling star Tetsuya Naito revealed in a recent interview with Tokyo Sports that WWE tried to scoop him up earlier this year.

The Japanese wrestler said WWE offered him a contract after his IWGP Intercontinental Championship match with Chris Jericho at the Dominion event in June, but he quickly shot it down.

"I didn't even give it thought," Naito said in Japanese. "This New Japan ring is already the world's number one stage. The fans know this. That's why I think we should focus on our home crowd before looking international."

Earlier in the week New Japan announced Naito would be facing Jericho in a rematch at WrestleKingdom 13, the promotion's equivalent of WrestleMania, on Jan. 4, 2019. Jericho responded on Twitter by saying he did not "approve" of the rematch.

"Hey (New Japan), just because you 'announce' a match, doesn't mean I have to accept it. NOT APPROVED," Jericho tweeted.

The former WWE Undisputed Champion initially debuted for New Japan on Nov. 5, 2017 to set up a match with Kenny Omega at WrestleKingdom 12. Jericho wound up losing to Omega in January, but set up a feud the following day with Naito by attacking him during the New Year's Dash event. He beat Naito for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship at Dominion, then successfully defended it against Naito's stablemate Evil at Power Struggle event in Osaka, Japan on Saturday.

Despite his involvement in New Japan, Jericho has continued to make sporadic appearances on WWE television over the past year, making a backstage cameo at RAW 25 and participating in the 50-man rumble match at the Greatest Royal Rumble in April.

Jericho stated in multiple interviews that Vince McMahon approved of Jericho's decision to wrestle for New Japan.


"You know how smart I am throughout my career, and you know the relationship I have with Vince, and I would never jeopardize that, or give him any nasty surprises," Jericho said in November 2017. "So, I'll leave it at that."

"I think in the back of his mind, no matter how much wrestling fans sometimes like to lionize Vince... think that he's this big, evil, manipulative guy, I think he appreciates when the business is healthy he knows that it's better for his business as well," he continued. "So for Chris Jericho to go to New Japan, everybody knows that I'm a WWE guy. It's just the way it is, I have been for 17 years. Bu this is a once in a lifetime dream match per se with a lot of money at stake. And for me to not to pursue that I thought would've been a crime and I think Vince is the same way."