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New Japan confirms Moxley vs. Juice, but has no relationship with AEW

It was pretty much a foregone conclusion once Jon Moxley was confirmed as the knife-wielding mystery man whose videos have been tormenting New Japan’s United States champion Juice Robinson throughout the Best of the Super Juniors tournament. Last night, the company made it official - the IWGP commission has accepted the former Dean Ambrose’s challenge, and he & Juice will square off with the belt on the line at Weds. June 5’s BOSJ finale.

Moxley working with New Japan, and the confirmation of their plans with him coming so soon after he debuted for All Elite Wrestling at last Saturday’s Double or Nothing, has led to a lot of speculation about what’s going between the two companies. AEW’s Chris Jericho is already set to challenge IWGP Heavyweight champ Kazuchika Okada at Dominion on June 9, and Kenny Omega’s All Elite contract reportedly allows him to wrestle for New Japan, as well.

New Japan General Manager Michael Craven told Sports Illustrated’s Justin Barrasso:

“New Japan and Jon Moxley came to terms on an agreement some time ago, completely independently of All Elite. Our understanding is that he is free to wrestle in Japan. We wish AEW well, but have no working relationship as of now.”

Dave Meltzer’s reporting backs that up. On the latest Wrestling Observer Radio, Meltzer said that while Moxley’s AEW contract allows him to work for New Japan, once television starts for Tony Khan’s company in the fall, All Elite will be Mox’s priority. The flexibility being afforded Jericho, Moxley and Omega is not a sign AEW and NJPW are officially working together:

“There’s no relationship. Everyone thinks those two sides are working together, and believe me, I think that they should, and I think that everyone thinks that they should. But it’s just a very complicated thing for a lot of reasons. Number one, you’ve got the deal where AEW took key people from New Japan. A lot of them. So there’s gonna be that, and also New Japan’s got the deal with Ring of Honor, AEW’s got the deal with AAA. These are not insurmountable problems, but they are problems.”

It seems Moxley’s AEW contract was signed first and will be his “primary”. That’s why both New Japan and NEW’s announcements about his bookings were held until after Double or Nothing. Meltzer does not know if Mox will work G1 Climax, but he doesn’t have any indie dates during New Japan’s iconic tournament.

We’ll find out about all that in due time. For now, we have next week’s Mox vs. Juice showdown to look forward to.


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