Harold Meij says New Japan Pro-Wrestling is open to working with all promotions but remarks that AEW is still in its "exploratory" phase.
Speaking with Fox Sports, The president of New Japan Pro-Wrestling said that at the end of the day, losing The Elite was not anything more than a matter of business. adding that he feels their new company has helped wrestling overall.
“No. It’s a business, at the end of the day," said Meij. "The wrestlers we hire, we work with on a contractual basis for a certain period of time. Obviously we would’ve loved to have kept having them here but I can understand that if there’s in their minds a bigger and better opportunity, well then that’s just a natural way for competition to move forward. It’s a natural thing. I do also believe the likes of AEW is good for the industry, because it puts a lot of new money into the industry, and a lot of people might be getting more interested in pro wrestling - people who might not have been interested if AEW hadn’t been established. So it can only be good for the industry."
As for whether or not there will be a working relationship between New Japan Pro Wrestling and all elite wrestling, that has been on the mind of wrestling fans since the announcement of the new promotion. Harold says that New Japan is open to working with all promotion but right now, he feels that this particular promotion is still in their early stages of development and trying new things.
"We’re very open to working with anyone, we don’t exclude anyone," Meij began. "But it does take time to create that trust between companies. And right now AEW is still in the exploratory phase; they’re trying to establish themselves as a brand, what is that brand? They’re about one year in, and we’re starting to see what their brand is all about. Then we’ll have to see if that brand fits our brand of course."
Meij would further go on to say that NJPW looks into styles when deciding whether to partner with a promotion.
He continued, "At this stage, they still have different styles than we do, and that’s the only thing. We’re looking at what their brand positioning is and whether it complements ours.”
Nick Jackson recently tweeted that there would never be a working relationship between the two companies, and a recent edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter noted that Kenny Omega has had issues trying to get enter Japan in recent times. Meij would further shut down claims that NJPW has had any involvement with these issues.
"If you read the column that I write, I say in detail, this is the one time I believe I have to say something. There’s many others out there that I wouldn’t even react to, normally I wouldn’t react to something like this," he'd say. "But this was getting more traction and because as a company, you can’t react to every misunderstanding and or rumor. When some of them get to a certain stage, you know, I have to say something. We couldn’t even do it if we wanted to. We would never - why?
"He was a great contributor to our company for many years. He was our top foreign wrestler, the heavyweight champion for crying out loud. He’s still growing in his own way in his new role, and we wish him all the best.We would never do something like that.”
Currently, NJPW is running its 2019 World Tag League. See updated standings here.