NJPW Wanted Bret Hart On Commentary For Kenny Omega vs Chris Jericho

Hamish Woodward

Wrestle Kingdom 12 saw one of the biggest matches in history, as former WWE Champion Chris Jericho wrestled Kenny Omega in a match that nobody ever thought they’d see.

However, NJPW almost made the match bigger by signing another Canadian legend to do commentary, as Bret Hart was allegedly considered to be a part of the Tokyo Dome show.

Bret Hart wrestled in NJPW a number of times in 1982 and 1984, as well as a single bout with Tiger Mask in 1990. Despite this, it was his Canadian connection with Kenny Omega and Chris Jericho that drew Bret Hart to Japan.

Chris Jericho teamed with Bret Hart at Summerslam 2010, against The Nexus.

The match between Chris Jericho and Kenny Omega was a marquee match for Wrestle Kingdom 12, drawing thousands of American fans to watch the show that had never seen Japanese wrestling before.

It was also Jericho’s first match outside the WWE since 2019, marking a hugely historic moment in pro-wrestling history.

However, the addition of Bret “The Hitman” Hart would have made the match even bigger – if that was even possible.

Bret Hart wrestled Tiger Mask in his last NJPW match, in 1990.

NJPW commentator Kevin Kelly revealed that NJPW had floated the idea of bringing Bret Hart to Japan to commentate on the clash between Kenny Omega and Chris Jericho at Wrestle Kingdom 12.

Speaking on the Wrestle Inn podcast, the AEW Collision commentator revealed that the company wanted him to reach out to Bret Hart, but could not do so because he did not have his phone number.

“Before Don Callis, [NJPW] had floated — it was going to be Kenny and Jericho (wrestling) — they floated the idea of Bret Hart. I said, ‘Reach out to him.’ Before they did, because they didn’t have his number, Kenny suggested Don. That’s how Don Callis came to be, but one of the first names floated was Bret Hart. They were thinking, ‘Oh, Canadian!’ That would have been interesting and a lot of fun,”

Luckily for New Japan, Kenny Omega had another suggestion. He instead called Don Callis, who helped train Kenny Omega as a young wrestler, to join on commentary.

Like Omega and Jericho, Callis was from the town of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, so had a personal connection with both men.

Even though he was not as big a star as Bret Hart, Callis had history of working on commentary, and could get physical if the match called for it (he later became Kenny Omega’s manager in AEW in 2021).

Bret Hart never got the call to appear for NJPW, although he has made one appearance for AEW. He revealed the AEW Championship belt at AEW Double or Nothing 2019, but his WWE legends contract has prevented any further appearances on the show.

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