Chris Jericho has detailed his career in his new book 30 Years Of Smashes, Matches & Hits: The Complete List Of Jericho, and has named the surprising opponent he compares to The Undertaker.
The book chronicles Jericho’s thirty years in the wrestling business as he lists every match he has taken part in from his days on the independent scene to Smoky Mountain Wrestling, ECW, WCW, WWE, and beyond. Having wrestled all over the world Jericho has had no shortage of top-level opponents. One of those opponents that Jericho rates extremely highly is a relevantly recent one for AEW’s Demo-God.
Speaking to Busted Open Radio, Chris Jericho explained his fondness for stepping in the ring with his WrestleKingdom 14 opponent, New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Ace, Hiroshi Tanahashi.
“The Tanahashi match is one of my top favorite matches in the honorable matches section. That one kind of came out of nowhere. Tana’s been working almost as long as I have, I think he’s been working twenty-five years. And I’ve always heard of Tanahashi, but I never really knew anything about him. And when I went to New Japan, I only did six matches there, but three of them were headlining the Tokyo Dome. 18 was versus Kenny, 19 was versus Naito and 20 was versus Tanahashi. And each one, like, I think my Tanahashi match was even better than the Kenny match, which is the one that everybody talks about because I knew about Kenny. Kenny and I were obviously both from Winnipeg and there was a connection there. Plus we’re both Canadian. But with Tana, I really didn’t know.”
Meeting inside the Tokyo Dome while Chris Jericho was still AEW Champion, the match lasted a little over 22 minutes before Jericho was able to put Tanahashi away via submission.
Jericho rates the match highly as he does his opponent, comparing him to one of the WWE’s all-time legendary competitors:
“When you get in the ring with him (Tanahashi), wow. He is so good, I’m smiling just thinking about it. What it actually reminded me of was the first time I ever worked with Undertaker, who I did not work with until I had been in the WWE for about ten, twelve years. We just never were on the same show and never really crossed paths. And to be in there with a guy like that was just unbelievable, like ‘oh my gosh it’s all true. It’s true! Everything you hear about The Undertaker is true! He’s really that good.’”
“And that was the same way I felt about Tanahashi. We just had so much fun being in there together and it was such a blast. He’s so smooth. People think that the Japanese style is dumping each other on each other’s heads and all that stuff, it’s not the case at all. It was really just a great match and like I said, it helped sell out the Tokyo Dome that year. When we did the two nights in Tokyo, it was the second night. My last match in New Japan, maybe ever. Who knows if we’ll ever go back. But if that’s the last one, what a way to go out.”