The recent news of Harold Meij's departure as president of New Japan Pro Wrestling gave All Elite Wrestling fans a spark of hope that a partnership between the two promotions might be a possibility in the near future. That fire was stoked even further on this week's Dynamite when Hiroshi Tanahashi, one of New Japan's biggest stars, appeared on the show to congratulate Chris Jericho on the 30th anniversary of his pro wrestling debut. The show took things a step further in their video promos, as Jon Moxley and Lance Archer both addressed their Texas Death Match from Wrestle Kingdom 14 back in January at the Tokyo Dome while promoting their upcoming world championship match next week.
But, according to Wrestling Observer's Dave Meltzer, eager fans might want to pump the breaks at least for now. He stated on Twitter that Tanahashi's appearance was more about Jericho being a big fan of his rather than the two companies working together.
Not necessarily, that was Jericho's doing. He loves Tanahashi. Ultimo Dragon was on as well. https://t.co/SDgsNULf2r— Dave Meltzer (@davemeltzerWON) October 8, 2020
He then said on Wrestling Observer Radio that, if the relationship between the two promotions really has improved, then fans should keep an eye on what Jon Moxley does with the IWGP United States Championship. Mox won the title back from Archer in January but hasn't been able to defend it in months due to travel restrictions in the United States. His current deal also doesn't allow him to work New Japan events held in the US, at least for now.
"When the pandemic clears up the fact is [Moxley] can go to Japan anyway he can do that independent of his deal because they're two independent deals," Meltzer explained. "But, if he works in the United States then Tony Khan would have to give his blessing to work in the United States. And for him to do that for a New Japan show would either mean they're working together or they're close to working together and it would be a good faith move."
AEW president Tony Khan commented on the situation between AEW and New Japan in the Observer shortly after Meij's announcement.
"I'm not sure yet," Khan said. "But my initial gut feeling is it could be good."
Here's what AEW has lined up for next week's Dynamite, which will serve as the show's one-year anniversary special:
- AEW World Championship: Jon Moxley vs. Lance Archer
- AEW TNT Championship: Cody Rhodes vs. Orange Cassidy
- AEW World Tag Team Championships: FTR vs. The Best Friends
- Miro & Kip Sabian vs. TBA
- MJF's "Career-Defining Announcement"