In a recent interview with TSN, AEW President and CEO Tony Khan spoke on the current status of AEW’s relationship with NJPW and what he’d like to see from the two companies working together moving forward. Khan also commented on his stance on working with other promotions besides NJPW, and provided an update on more AEW programming coming to TNT in 2021.
NJPW and AEW have a bit of a complicated history. Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks were some of the Japan based company’s biggest stars, helping bring together a number of NJPW’s other western wrestlers into the Bullet Club faction which helped catapult the popularity of the promotion in western countries. When Omega and The Bucks left the promotion to form AEW with Cody Rhodes and Tony Khan, NJPW executives were reportedly very unhappy with them.
Though tensions appeared to cool somewhat when Jox Moxley captured NJPW’s IWGP US Championship. The now AEW World Champion is rumored to be heading back to Japan in January to defend his title against Kenta at NJPW’s annual Wrestle Kingdom event. NJPW star Hiroshi Tanahashi also recently made an appearance on AEW programming to congratulate Chris Jericho on his 30th anniversary as a pro wrestler.
Last month President and CEO Harold Meij left NJPW, Khan is hopeful that with his exit the two companies can improve their working relationship.
“With New Japan, it’s been a little more one-sided where we’ve sent people there and I haven’t really had people from New Japan show up on my TV [programming] yet,” said Tony Khan. “I’d like to see more of a two-sided relationship there because I’m honestly one of the easiest people to work with in wrestling. We’ve worked with NWA, we’ve worked with AAA and we’ve sent people to New Japan. I think with Harold being gone, I don’t know if it’s going to be easier, but I have a feeling it might be.”
Khan went on to layout his desire for AEW to operate as a hub for companies around the world, where stories from different promotions can come to a climax.
“I’d like for AEW to be the center point of the wrestling world where all these big stories culminate,” Khan said. “So I’m really open to working with anybody if the situation makes sense for us.”
AEW has long been rumored to have a third show in development for TNT that operates entirely separately from Dynamite and Dark. Khan confirmed that a third show will be coming to TNT in 2021.
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