Following last night’s announcement that former IWGP Tag champs Juice Robinson and Dave Finlay will be on Impact this upcoming Tuesday (Feb. 16), we’re one step closer to my man Marcus’ vision of a pro wrestling MCU.
FinJuice joins KENTA in stepping through the no-longer Forbidden Door from New Japan Pro-Wrestling to take part in the AEW/Impact alliance. It accelerates fantasy booking many fans were already doing. And based on what Dave Meltzer said on Wrestling Observer Radio after the news about Finlay & Robinson broke, you should feel free to dream big - because it sounds like all those dreams could come true:
“Everyone’s in business now. You know, it’s all open and [Kazuchika] Okada’s coming - at some point, somewhere. I don’t know where, but I know he’s coming... and other people are coming... we may get [Kenny] Omega with Okada, or Omega with [Kota] Ibushi. I don’t know that we’re getting it. It just makes sense that we would be getting it. But the doors are open and that’s a good thing.”
It’s the usual mix of scoop and speculation you get with Meltzer (which is why the latter is often confused for the former on the wrestle web, but that’s a whole ‘nother topic). But he’s saying the man who holds the record for the longest IWGP Heavyweight title reign and the most successful defenses is definitely on his way to an American wrestling promotion.
The question of where Okada could show up is especially interesting. More matches with current AEW World champ Omega do make sense. Their 2016 - 2018 New Japan feud is legendary, and it was Kenny who ended the Rainmaker’s historic fourth IWGP Heavyweight reign in a two-out-of-three falls match at Dominion 6.9 in Osaka-jo Hall.
So Dynamite seems like a no-brainer. But an Impact appearance would be a mind-blower, seeing as it was how TNA booked Okada as Samoa Joe’s sidekick “Okato” (the Kato to Joe’s Green Hornet) in 2011 while he was on loan to them that is said to have helped end the company’s first partnership.
A continuation of Omega and current IWGP Heavyweight & Intercontinental champion Ibushi’s promotion-spanning Golden Lovers saga is also catnip for hardcore wrestling fans. We’ll cross that bridge - likely by throwing a parade - when they get to it.
We also still have questions about how New Japan’s... current? previous?... U.S. partner Ring of Honor fits into all this. Rumors about that will be forthcoming, no doubt.
Until then, feel free to resume fantasy booking how Okada will show up on AXS and take out the entire Impact locker room.