New Japan Pro Wrestling's journey to the United States is set to feature a monumental tag match. It was announced on Wednesday evening that AEW's Eddie Kingston will team with Kazuchika Okada to take on a duo from Bullet Club, Juice Robinson and IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Jay White. This clash is set to go down in the main event of NJPW Rumble on 44th Street in New York City later this month. White has made enemies with both men standing opposite him, as he has routinely taunted Okada ahead of their NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 17 bout in January and blasted Kingston for failing to meet him in trios action earlier this month.
An NJPW Strong match was set to pit Kingston, Homicide, and AEW's Wheeler Yuta against White, Karl Anderson, and Doc Gallows. Kingston's contraction of COVID-19 forced him to pull out of the match, resulting in Gallows exiting as well so it could go down as a standard tag. White and Anderson ended up winning, and the Switchblade wasted no time in calling out the Mad King for his absence.
"Eddie Kingston, seeing that you don't have the balls to come to me, maybe I'll come to you in New York City," White said. "And in your hometown, you can find out first hand what it is like to breathe with the Switchblade, because it is still my era."
While many expected this to be a singles match, it has evolved into a tag contest with the additions of Okada and Robinson on either side. New Japan is known to run tag matches that feature stars from its upcoming top Wrestle Kingdom bouts, such as when Kenny Omega teamed with Kota Ibushi to face Will Ospreay and Hiroshi Tanahashi just weeks before Omega faced Tanahashi and Ibushi squared off with Ospreay at Wrestle Kingdom 14. With Okada already set to challenge White at NJPW's signature show in January, this tag match could plant the seeds of a feud between Kingston and Robinson that also culminates in a singles contest at WK17.
AEW President Tony Khan has spoke on the possibility of AEW's involvement with Wrestle Kingdom before, but emphasized that the timing of the event will make it difficult.
"One challenge this year that we'll have to keep an eye on is the Tokyo Dome is on a Wednesday," Khan said. "I'm not thrilled about it, but I'm gonna do my best to support them because they are our partner, but I also can't send everyone over there. If it was the weekend, I'd send the house because that's the kind of partners we are."
NJPW Rumble on 44th Street goes down Friday, October 28th.