Speculation surrounding a possible working relationship between AEW and NJPW has been widespread this week, following this past episode of AEW Dynamite.
Several references to New Japan Pro Wrestling were made during the episode including mentions of NJPW head booker Gedo during the main event, photos from Lance Archer and Jon Moxley’s Wrestle Kingdom 14 match being shown, and – most notably of all – Hiroshi Tanahashi making a cameo appearance.
During one of several video compilations congratulating Chris Jericho on his 30th anniversary in wrestling, the eight-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion offered his own congratulations and hinted at a potential rematch between the two, referencing Tanahashi’s unsuccessful challenge for the AEW World Championship at Wrestle Kingdom 14 last January:
“Hai Jericho-san, long time.
Congratulations, 30 years in this business! I fought you this year in Tokyo Dome, it’s a good experience for me – thank you. But, I lost so I want to fight you one more time. No…ten more time!
Thank you very much Jericho-san and finally: Jericho-san, aishite imasu!” (sic)
Dave Meltzer revealed on this week’s Wrestling Observer Radio (subscription required) that Tanahashi’s video was set-up by Jericho himself. The former AEW World Champion wanted people to appear who would surprise fans, with Ultimo Dragon popping up for the same reason.
The speculation comes following the recent resignation of NJPW President Harold Meji who is reportedly disliked by many of the company’s non-Japanese stars due to his negative reaction to the departure of Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks, ‘Hangman’ Adam Page & Cody when they left in January 2019 to form All Elite Wrestling.
Keep up-to-date with the latest AEW and NJPW news right here at Inside The Ropes.
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