Despite the rise of several strong competitors over the years, WWE continues to be the biggest wrestling company globally. The wrestling world, however, isn't how it used to be around 10-20 years ago.
NJPW has been actively working with a handful of promotions for a long time now, but the entire professional wrestling landscape could be in for another massive shakeup.
In the latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Melter reported that WWE has been in talks with New Japan Pro Wrestling regarding becoming the Japanese company's exclusive American partner.
"In what could end up being among the biggest wrestling stories of the year, or a non-story, depending on the end result, Nick Khan has been in talks with New Japan Pro Wrestling about WWE being the exclusive American partner with the promotion," noted Meltzer.
Several NJPW stars such as KENTA, Yuji Nagata, Rocky Romero, and Ren Narita have recently appeared on AEW shows. It should be noted that AEW's Jon Moxley is still the reigning IWGP United States Champion.
NJPW has also allowed talent to work matches in IMPACT Wrestling, and the company has working relationships with CMLL and ROH as well.
There have been no updates on the extent of talks between WWE and NJPW, dating back to March and April.
"Right now, New Japan has been working with AEW (KENTA, Yuji Nagata, Rocky Romero, and Ren Narita plus Jon Moxley working New Japan Strong) and Impact (Juice Robinson, David Finlay, El Phantasmo, and Satoshi Kojima) and has had a relationship with CMLL and ROH, but things have slowed down with those companies since COVID. Obviously, there are a million questions regarding such a deal if it was to happen, and there are no indications where talks are at past they date back to late March or early April," Meltzer added.
The reasons why WWE wants to work with NJPW
Meltzer reported that a potential deal could allow WWE stars to work a few dates for NJPW. Nick Khan has been credited with changing WWE's hostile attitude as the company now wants to be seen as an active member of the evolving wrestling community.
WWE's reported goal is also to prevent NJPW from working with other major wrestling companies. WWE has been attempting to sign younger wrestlers who grew up watching NJPW, and the possible alliance could give Vince McMahon some leverage in attracting new signings.
AEW has kept the forbidden door open, making it a viable destination for many promising wrestlers who want to explore multiple avenues.
"Obviously, it's also to keep New Japan, which pre-pandemic was the third strongest company in the world, away from working with other companies, which could strengthen the opposition and also be a factor with WWE gunning for the same talent as other companies because there is a percentage of younger talent that grew up on watching New Japan either via tape or YouTube where working there is a much bigger part of their career goals than the prior generation, and AEW talent has been willing to allow its talent to work outside its walls and Impact would allow talent to work with other promotions," Meltzer concluded.
This is still a developing story that could have long-lasting effects on the pro wrestling business. How will AEW react to the news? What happens next? Stay tuned as we keep track of all the updates.
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