It’s a prospect that’s been talked about since the inception of All Elite Wrestling– could we see a working relationship between AEW and New Japan Pro Wrestling? Up until now, the only crossing between the two worlds has come from Jon Moxley, who brokered a deal with NJPW independent of his AEW signing in 2019. In fact, Moxley’s first non-WWE match, following his departure from Vince’s federation, actually happened in NJPW, against Juice Robinson. But apart from the Mox deal- and a very short clip from Hiroshi Tanahashi, congratulating Chris Jericho on 30 years in pro wrestling, that’s it.
That is, until now. New Japan and many of its top stars have been name-dropped in recent weeks on AEW commentary, and the ongoing storyline with Impact Wrestling shows that Tony Khan is willing to acknowledge a wrestling world outside his own promotion. Following the main event of this week’s Beach Break special on AEW Dynamite- which saw Kenny Omega & The Good Brothers defeat Jon Moxley, Pac & Rey Fenix– Mox was attacked by a masked and hooded man.
The assailant revealed himself to be KENTA! The first NJPW star- besides Moxley himself- to step into an AEW ring, Kenta would take out Mox with the Go To Sleep in a shocking scene to close the show.
Moxley is the current IWGP US Champion, appearing on Wrestle Kingdom with a pre-taped promo and making an in-person appearance to assault Kenta at a recent NJPW Strong event. This AEW appearance by Kenta is another step in building the feud, which culminates in a big Moxley vs. Kenta title match at NJPW New Beginning USA, on Feb 26, 2021.
This marks the first time that “the forbidden gate” has been opened and NJPW wrestlers and storylines have a presence on AEW programming. This is undoubtedly an exciting prospect for wrestling fans as imaginations run wild over all the possibilities that a AEW/NJPW crossover could bring. I hear the current IWGP Heavyweight Champion has something of a history with the AEW World Champion, for starters…