Tony Khan Details AEW's Working Relationship With NJPW

As good as AEW's working relationship is with NJPW these days, it didn't start that way, with the Japanese company initially sticking to its longstanding partnership with ROH and distancing itself from the startup promotion. That changed in early 2021 when NJPW needed Jon Moxley to defend the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship against KENTA. COVID-19 pandemic restrictions kept Moxley out of Japan, while his AEW contract kept him from working NJPW STRONG tapings in the U.S. To solve that problem, NJPW agreed to work with AEW, and their relationship has gotten stronger ever since. 

Recently, while appearing on "The Pacific Rim Pro Wrestling Podcast," AEW CEO Tony Khan explained how that relationship has blossomed. Furthermore, he's happy that it is evolved so much.

"Our strongest promotional partnership is New Japan Pro Wrestling," he explained. "The partnership is year-round, it's outside of Forbidden Door. We team up on video, we have AEW footage available on New Japan World, and New Japan makes their stars available to us in NJPW, and to Ring of Honor, which is great to bring that partnership with New Japan and Ring of Honor back because they have so much history together. I was glad to bring that partnership back after I acquired that promotion."

Though not referencing any promotions by name, Khan did also add that sometimes, conflicts between international partners do make the partnerships more difficult. This is likely a reference to NJPW and AAA, as NJPW's Mexican affiliate is rival CMLL, which has a longstanding policy against its contracted wrestlers appearing on shows with AAA-contracted wrestlers. This reportedly kept various AEW luchadors off of last year's NJPW x AEW Forbidden Door show.

If you use any quotes from this article, please credit "The Pacific Rim Wrestling Podcast" with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.