The main event of this week's AEW Dynamite: Winter is Coming special will see AEW World Champion Jon Moxley defend his title against "The Cleaner" Kenny Omega. But while fans speculate over who will walk away with AEW's top prize, there's a mystery third party who might wind up getting involved. And if they do it could be monumental news for both AEW and the wrestling world as a whole.
Back at the start of 2020 Moxley recaptured the IWGP United States Championship at New Japan Pro-Wrestling's Wrestle Kingdom 14. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic (and AEW's rules about its contracted wrestlers competing for other promotions on US soil), he hasn't been able to defend the title since early February. Since August New Japan has been running a weekly American-based show, NJPW Strong, comprised of students from New Japan's Los Angeles dojo and America-based New Japan stars. During its first three episodes, Kenta (fka Hideo Itami from WWE) won the No. 1 contender's spot for Moxley's US title. He has since defended it multiple times, all the while calling out an absent Moxley.
The Japanese star's latest tweet indicated he'll be paying close attention to the Moxley Omega match.
What’s gonna happen on Wednesday.— KENTA aka Lil’K (@KENTAG2S) December 2, 2020
His other recent tweets have teased the idea of him storming AEW in order to get his hands on Moxley. For what it's worth, he already resides in Florida.
How many more times I need to say this.
“Where’s Jon Moxley?”
If he won’t show up any more,— KENTA aka Lil’K (@KENTAG2S) November 21, 2020
just give me #IWGPUS TITLE.
I’m busy on every Wednesday
also I don’t like @Jaguars
What I should do??— KENTA aka Lil’K (@KENTAG2S) November 21, 2020
Kenta threw a bit more gas on the speculation fire with an Instagram story post hours before the show.
There was speculation that Moxley might finally return at Wrestle Kingdom 15 in early January since he still has time to travel to Japan, stay quarantined for the required two weeks, compete at the show and return home without missing too much television time. However, AEW president Tony Khan emphatically stated during a media conference call on Tuesday that Moxley would not be competing at the New Japan event.
Tony: Jon Moxley will not be working Wrestle Kingdom 15 #AEW— Connor Casey (@ConnorCasey_CB) December 1, 2020
While on the subject of Khan, the All Elite Wrestling founder told the Wrestling Observer back in October that Harold Meij's departure as New Japan's president could open the door for a stronger partnership between the two companies. With the exception of a cameo appearance by Hiroshi Tanahashi, the talent exchange between the two promotions has been one-sided in favor of New Japan.
"I'm not sure yet," Khan said at the time. "But my initial gut feeling is it could be good."0comments
There's also the matter of AEW's current storyline between Moxley and Omega. The champ was attacked backstage during the first attempt at a contract signing, and many assume Omega was behind it. Given "The Cleaner's" extensive history and connections in Japan, it would make sense for AEW to write some sort of New Japan "invasion" through Omega.
Do you think we see Kenta appear on Dynamite tonight? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments!