All Elite Wrestling's relationship with New Japan Pro-Wrestling, the top wrestling promotion in Japan, has become noticeably stronger over the past couple of years. After 2021 saw numerous New Japan stars appear on AEW programming, the two companies had their first official crossover event earlier this summer with the Forbidden Door pay-per-view. The show was viewed as both a financial and critical success and there was confirmation that a second Forbidden Door show was being discussed. But in the meantime, it looks like AEW will play a role in New Japan's biggest annual event, Wrestle Kingdom, in January 2023.
Dave Meltzer reported on the latest Wrestling Observer Radio, "I don't know how many, but I have, in fact, been told of certain plans for AEW wrestlers on Wrestle Kingdom.....There are plans for certain AEW guys to be at the Tokyo Dome show." This comes following Wheeler Yuta's involvement in this year's Best of the Super Juniors Tournament and Lance Archer's participation in the G1 Climax.
Wrestle Kingdom plays a special role in AEW's history as the hype surrounding Kenny Omega vs. Chris Jericho at Wrestle Kingdom 12 (Jericho was still technically with the WWE at the time) was one of the factors that convinced Tony Khan to launch AEW as a promotion. Since then, Chris Jericho and Jon Moxley have both competed at Wrestle Kingdom shows.
The news also comes one day after The Young Bucks dropped a massive hint that Kenny Omega will finally be returning from injury on this week's AEW Dynamite. "The Cleaner" has been out of action since dropping the AEW World Championship to Hangman Page at Full Gear last November. During his hiatus, Omega has been trading shots with New Japan star Will Ospreay.
"A guy like Will, who is great at moves and has a list of 20 very forgettable five-star matches. [laughs] I'm going a little too hard on Will. Will is great. I don't want to say anything bad about Will. Here's the thing, if we're being completely honest with each other, I do believe that with the current rating system, and how things are viewed, I believe that Will has earned every last one of those five-star performances that he has had," Omega told Fightful earlier this year. "I'm digging myself into a hole here, Will is there and Will is great. I'm glad to see him in a marquee match against Orange Cassidy. I'm just saying that I think New Japan made the right choice by going with Jay White. He was the star of the two, is all I'm saying."
Which AEW stars do you think will be at Wrestle Kingdom 17? Could Omega vs. Ospreay be on the card? Tell us your thoughts down in the comments!