Another day, another big name with All Elite with a different perspective on the company’s relationship with New Japan.
After wearing AEW’s title belt to the ring at Wrestle Kingdom 14, the company’s champion Chris Jericho said he wants there to be a partnership between the two companies. Executive Vice-President’s The Young Bucks said they’re amenable to working with NJPW, but there’s no plans to do anything now.
Now, another EVP says what Jericho did Sun., Jan. 5 at Tokyo Dome indicates there already is a relationship.
“I think the thing that was strange to me was people were asking for this partnership. I don’t know what a partnership would look like other than what you saw. Chris Jericho was part of one of the main events of Wrestle Kingdom, Jon Moxley as well. They both were successful. What did he call it? The forbidden door? … The forbidden door. It may be forbidden, but clearly the door is opening and closing and opening and closing. It’s public knowledge that some guys here, myself included, have exemptions to work New Japan Pro-Wrestling. But I know that New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s focus is New Japan and AEW’s focus is AEW.”
“So more likely what a partnership would look like is perhaps some sharing of talent, some shared creative, but we’re not going to do a Super Clash III where [WCWA champion Kerry] Von Erich and [AWA champ Jerry] Lawler are fighting over the title [in 1988]. Sorry, that’s a real specific angle I brought up. I’m always hesitant to combine banners versus just respecting each other’s banners. But I like how it’s referred to as the forbidden door. I don’t really think it’s forbidden at all. Like I said, many people have the exemption to work there. They put on a great Wrestle Kingdom. They have some amazing talent, particularly Will Ospreay. He’s a top-five wrestler in the world right now. So, we’ll see where that goes. I know everyone pretty much feels the same about it.
I think it’s something in the next year that we will hopefully all explore. We’ll explore on our end, they’ll explore on their end and we’ll see if it works.”
What do you think, Cagesiders? Is sharing talent but not intertwining stories enough, or are you hoping for something more? Should the occasional exchange of wrestlers at least be two-way?
Let us know below. And to check out the entire interview with Rhodes, where he talks about hiring Arn Anderson as his manager, his upcoming cage match with MJF, and AEW working their way into the New York marker - click here.