Are Triple H & Nick Khan opening their own forbidden door?
It’s probably too early say anything definitive, but we do know they’re sending someone from NXT to All Japan Pro Wrestling for an upcoming show at Tokyo’s Korakuen Hall.
That news came today (Dec. 23) via a video All Japan shared on social media. For the past few weeks, AJPW has been teasing an “assassin” who would challenge for the promotion’s Triple Crown championship at the Jan. 3 edition of New Year Giant Series 2024. The aforementioned video features All Japan President Tsuyoki Fukuda on the phone with an unnamed official from WWE. We only get his end of the conversation, in which he says:
“Oh, WWE! Thank you for your call back.... AJPW order strong Superstar from your brand NXT... yes, yes, Triple Crown match... Kento Miyahara or Katsuhiko Nakajima... You have good superstar for us? What? Submission assassin? Killer catch style? Great. Thank you. Thank you. My pleasure. Appreciate your support this time. Please say thanks to your boss in WWE.”
The phone call is bookended by women in Christmas outfits giving Fukuda metal bowls to bonk himself on the head with, complimenting him on his English, and — after he offers to take them out for top grade sushi — surprising him with one last “very big” and “thick” bowl. Because Japan.
Anyway, back to the matter at hand... it sounds like they could be describing either Drew Gulak or a member of his new
Catchpoint No Quarter Catch Crew group, but we’ll find out in due time. Whoever Shawn Michaels sends will face either reigning Triple Crown champion Katsuhiko Nakajima or the man Nakajima is defending against on Dec. 31, Kento Miyahara.
What does it mean? WWE is rumored to be anxious to show potential free agents like New Japan’s Kazuchika Okada that they’re treating Japanese talent and Japanese wrestling in general more respectfully now than in the past, and moves like this and having Shinsuke Nakamura work The Great Muta’s retirement show in Pro Wrestling NOAH could be examples of that.
WWE also reportedly wanted to open an NXT Japan branch before the pandemic, with All Japan even rumored as a partner or possible takeover target in that effort. This could be a step toward that, or just rebuilding their presence in the country after reportedly shutting down operations there in 2021.
Or maybe it’s just a general change in strategy, as no one is close to challenging WWE for global market dominance, so why not take a “rising tide lifts all boats” approach to the international scene?
Making this even more interesting is the fact AJPW recently joined with NJPW and others in the United Japan Pro Wrestling alliance. Does an openness toward working with one mean working with that entire group?
More questions than answers at this point, obviously. Let us know what you make of it all in the comments below!