WWE's attempts to get in on the white-hot Japanese wrestling scene recently hit a snag, according to Wrestling Observer's Dave Meltzer. On a recent episode of Wrestling Observer Radio he reported that WWE attempted to buy the Japanese promotion Pro Wrestling Noah and use it as a platform to launch NXT Japan, another branch of the growing NXT brand. However the deal couldn't get done, and while it doesn't kill WWE's hopes of launching a Japan-based promotion it does put them at a bit of a disadvantage.
Noah was originally launched in 2000 when Mitsuharu Misawa led a mass exodus from All Japan Pro Wrestling as 24 of its 26 contracted wrestlers left the company. Over the years the company has created a number of major Japanese stars (including former WWE star Hideo Itami aka KENTA) and has been in working relationships with other promotions like New Japan, (TNA) Impact Wrestling and MLW.
Meltzer also noted that WWE is still trying to sign Japanese wrestlers to work as trainers for NXT Japan, but wouldn't name names. Unfortunately due to the dojo system that major promotions like New Japan utilize, there isn't a large number of independent Japanese wrestlers WWE can simply scoop up.
Meanwhile back in the United States NXT is entering its third full week of two-hour live television on the USA Network. This week's episode will feature Keith Lee vs. Dominik Dijakovic, Pete Dunne vs. Damian Priest, Tegan Nox's return to the brand and Tommaso Ciampa's return match against Angel Garza.
At the same time AEW will air the latest episode of AEW Dynamite on TNT from Philadelphia. The show will feature two championship matches — AEW World Champion Chris Jericho vs. Darby Allin in a Street Fight and AEW Women's World Champion Riho vs. Britt Baker — and two matches in the AEW World Tag Team Championship tournament.
Thus far AEW has won the ratings battle against the WWE brand and it brought in more than one million viewers in each of its first two weeks of television. WWE even released a statement congratulating AEW after it brought in 1.4 million viewers for its premiere.
"Congratulations to AEW on a successful premiere," the statement read. "The real winners of last night's head-to-head telecasts of NXT on USA Network & AEW on TNT are the fans, who can expect Wednesday nights to be a competitive & wild ride as this is a marathon, not a one-night sprint."