Jon Moxley is at the center of the recent AEW/NJPW/IMPACT cross-promotion.
Speaking with the Wrestling Perspective podcast, Rocky Romero was asked about KENTA showing up on the February 3rd episode of AEW Dynamite and how this partnership came about. He says that everything happened quickly, but that they were excited because it was sure to be huge and nobody was expecting it. Here is his full response:
"The idea of the whole thing, it really goes down to KENTA and Moxley, and how Moxley is basically the centrepiece of all this. He really is. As much as you want to say Kenny [Omega] is, but I really feel like Mox is because IMPACT even coming to AEW was to work with Moxley. Obviously, alongside Kenny. Then KENTA coming to AEW, showing up on Dynamite, really for one reason and one reason only, and that because Moxley is the IWGP US Heavyweight Champion.
This thing kind of got put together, you know, we got the okay from Moxley to come to New Japan Strong which is every Friday night... That's kinda where it all started, not knowing that KENTA was going to be on AEW. That came kind of later and quickly got put together. Everybody seemed to be excited to work together because they knew it was going to be, promotion wise, it's going to be f***ing mega huge because nobody was expecting it."
While the companies may be working together now, Romero is quick to point out that the relationship between AEW and New Japan hasn't been a good one.
"The relationship with New Japan and AEW hasn't been a good one, even though Tony Khan has been very cool with letting Jericho bring the AEW title at last year's Wrestle Kingdom and little things like that. I mean, it just wasn't really a great situation when the [Young] Bucks and Kenny and Cody [Rhodes] left New Japan."
Romero points out that the two sides came together organically, and that the pandemic really changed how they [NJPW] do business. While both promotions benefit from the collaboration, they also recognize that this was an opportunity to do something cool for the fans.
It is also noted that if the news of KENTA appearing on Dynamite had leaked, it likely would have done severe damage to a growing relationship.
Jon Moxley will defend his IWGP US Title against KENTA on February 26 when the two men clash at NJPW New Beginning USA.
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