Speculation about a potential working relationship between NJPW and AEW has increased dramatically in recent weeks. And while there is no official relationship as yet, it is looking more and more likely.
Last week on the Chris Jericho 30th anniversary special episode of Dynamite, Hiroshi Tanahashi appeared in a video package congratulating Jericho on his achievement with the NJPW logo in the background. This made Tanahashi the first NJPW contracted wrestler to appear on AEW Dynamite. There were also plenty of New Japan references sprinkled throughout the episode. Something that was immediately jumped upon by fans online.
Since Harold Meij’s departure from NJPW it is believed that a relationship between the two companies is now much more realistic. Speaking on the latest episode of Monday Night Live Sean Ross Sapp confirmed that a NJPW talent that he had spoken to, said that Meij’s departure “Will not hurt things.” And that there wasn’t much belief in Meij after his handling of the departures of top talent to AEW.
Further into the conversation Sapp highlights that AEW contracts are structured so that wrestlers such as Chris Jericho and Jon Moxley, among others can appear in NJPW. Something AEW obviously don’t have to do. And that the obstacle standing in the way of the opposite being true is no longer there. “That forbidden door, is only a one way door, as long as Harold Meij, at least, was in control.”
In regard to now building a relationship, Sapp revealed that someone he has spoken to in NJPW said;
“I don’t know why we wouldn’t do it. It’s more money for New Japan, it’s more money for AEW, and for the wrestlers. It helps everyone. It hurts no one. Except maybe Ring Of Honour.”
While Sapp concludes that he expects NJPW to be open to working with a lot more people going forwards.
It remains to be seen whether fans will get to see the likes of Kazuchika Okada, Minoru Suzuki and Will Ospreay on AEW television, but right now it looks more likely than ever.