As you may have guessed from last night’s episode of AEW Dynamite, AEW and NJPW have some type of working relationship as KENTA showed up at the end of the episode to attack Jon Moxley. He will also team with Kenny Omega on next week’s episode in a Lights Out match with Moxley and Lance Archer.
In the latest edition of Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer confirmed this and stated that the pandemic “likely sped things up” towards building that relationship. The only way to get Jon Moxley on programming taped in the United States was to make a deal, as AEW previously wouldn’t allow him to wrestle televised shows in the US.
NJPW reportedly wanted to meet with Tony Khan, which didn’t happen at first, as they sent Chris Harrington at one point. The Young Bucks were also interested in making the deal. New Japan likely didn’t know how successful AEW would be at the time and turned them down initially. Then they needed Moxley back as he was IWGP US Heavyweight Champion, which needed Khan’s approval. Had the pandemic not happened, Moxley would have just been able to go to Japan.
Meltzer noted that the departure of Harold Meij also likely led to them working together. He added that AEW is “pretty much working with anybody.” When asked if there will be anything else other than KENTA, Meltzer said yes, then said, “I know people who can’t wait to go back to Japan, let’s put it that way.” Of course, the pandemic is going to prevent a lot of that for the foreseeable future. The pandemic puts a lot of things in the air, and as he noted, “everything is open but nothing is open.”