Source: Potential WWE-AJPW Relationship Revolves Around Unknown 'Consultant' — Exclusive

Wrestling Inc. has learned more about the purported working relationship between All Japan Pro Wrestling and WWE after Charlie Dempsey's excursion at the beginning of 2024. The "WWE NXT" star made his way to AJPW to wrestle on the December 31, January 2, and January 3 events, lastly challenging for the AJPW Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship.

Wrestling Inc. has since been told by a source in AJPW that the inter-promotional excursion was a result of decisions made by a yet unnamed consultant working "unilaterally" with AJPW President Tsuyoki Fukuda. While reports have since emerged to say that AJPW has been happy with Dempsey's work with the promotion, it was communicated that there was a degree of internal uncertainty towards bringing him in, and it had been noted that the root of the issue may lie with who the consultant is. It was indicated that some higher-ups — including the consultant and Fukuda — are happy with the "NXT" relationship, but the general internal opinion of the move was "desperate" and the future of the WWE-AJPW deal is believed to hang on the way WWE assesses Dempsey's performance. 

Following Dempsey's challenge for Katsuhiko Nakajima's Triple Crown, the idea had been floated on social media that Nakajima could make his own excursion to WWE's developmental brand. However, it was indicated that this is unlikely to happen, owing to a diminished influence on the consultant's part, and it was further indicated that there is no clear vision from the consultant going forward. It was pointed out that AJPW has recently announced a working relationship with independent Joshi promotion Act Wres Girl'Z in an attempt to appeal to a wider audience, and that appears to be the central focus going forward, but there is concern over whether the in-ring product will mark a departure from the established AJPW brand. One of founder Giant Baba's earliest disciples, Masanobu Fuchi, will celebrate his 50th anniversary with AJPW on his 70th birthday in a commemorative match at AJPW's January 14 show from Korakuen Hall.