Chris Jericho made a splash on November 5th, 2017 when he made a shock appearance in New Japan Pro Wrestling. In a pre-taped vignette, he appeared out of nowhere on screen to challenge then-IWPG United States Champion Kenny Omega to a match at the biggest event of the year – Wrestle Kingdom 12.
The match immediately began to break records and scores of fans began frantically signing up for the NJPW streaming service – New Japan World – so they could watch the two Canadian superstars battling it out for the first time in their careers.
The match was massive. The two were both from the city of Winnipeg in Canada and had a built in history because of it. They were also two big stars who had never touched in ring before, given that Jericho was a legend in the WWE while Jericho plied his trade as one of the top stars in Japan. The match was one nobody ever thought was possible, yet wowed fans and was given the full five star rating from Dave Meltzer.
The match was an even bigger hit for New Japan Pro Wrestling. As soon as the match was announced, tens of thousands of western fans signed up for their streaming service, earning them millions in revenue. The company also reportedly earns $300,000 per month to this day just off the back of this match, an extraordinary amount and well worth the huge fee Jericho demands.
Will it is rumoured that Chris Jericho charges a $700,000 flat fee (which he has debunked) for his appearances, he actually was not paid a salary by NJPW. The former AEW Champion revealed that he was never paid a “flat appearance fee” and instead was paid a portion of the money made during the event. All throughout his many matches in New Japan, he was always paid based on the event which made sure his pay fluctuated and risked being paid less than other top stars.
However, things went very well for the former WWE Champion. Chris Jericho confirmed that he “made more than… most of my Wrestlemania matches”, indicating a huge payday for himself from New Japan management. Given that he is rumoured to have been paid up to 6 or even 7 figures for matches at Wrestlemania, such as his Wrestlemania X8 main event against Triple H or his match against Fandango at Wrestlemania 29, he is likely to have made over a million dollars for his biggest matches in New Japan.
He confirmed this on a recent Twitter post, where Chris Jericho said; “For the record, the money I reportedly made during my run with@njpw1972 from 2018-2020 online currently is completely wrong. I never had a flat per appearance deal, I was paid according to the event. And I made more per event than I did for MOST of my Wrestlemania matches.”
The Ocho has not wrestled for New Japan since 2020, due to the travel restriction and lack of crowd participation due to the COVID pandemic. The world shut down from March 2020 onwards, with Wrestle Kingdom 17 in 2023 being the first of the event to allow fans to cheer for their favourite, and boo the bad guys, since Jericho’s last appearance in 2020.
Chris Jericho’s last match in NJPW was at Wrestle Kingdom 14. During the second night of Wrestle Kingdom on January 5, 2020, Jericho defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi. He was the AEW Champion going into the event, and was prepared to offer Tanahashi a shot at the title if he lost. Sadly he won the bout and it would take another two years before the Ace of the Universe would appear in AEW.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.