Backstage Report On AEW-Stardom Negotiations Following Rossy Ogawa Departure

There has been a lot of change at the top of some of wrestling's biggest companies in recent months. Hiroshi Tanahashi is now the president of NJPW, Scott D'Amore has been removed from TNA, and the biggest of all being Vince McMahon resigning from both WWE and TKO following the lawsuit filed by Janel Grant. One move that left a lot of fans talking was Bushiroad's decision to fire STARDOM founder Rossy Ogawa following accusations of talent poaching, with the belief among many that he was going to take a lot of the STARDOM roster with him upon the expiry of their contracts and form a new promotion.

Given STARDOM's parent company is Bushiroad, the parent company of NJPW, many fans have expected AEW to work closely with STARDOM, which has only happened on a sporadic basis. Now that Ogawa is no longer in the company, Dave Meltzer wrote in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that there is hope from an AEW standpoint that a working relationship with STARDOM would become a lot easier to achieve. AEW has already formed relationships with the likes of NJPW and CMLL, and are hoping to add STARDOM to the growing list of promotions they call allies.

AEW star Megan Bayne has been under contract since mid-2023, but was sent to STARDOM to gain experience and has achieved some success during her time in Japan. In return, Utami Hayashishita appeared on an episode of ROH on HonorClub in 2023, but the "forbidden door" was never opened fully due to the two companies not being on the same page. Regarding the Forbidden Door event itself in 2023, Ogawa was never asked if any STARDOM wrestlers could perform, and even if AEW had spoken to someone like Rocky Romero to secure a deal, Ogawa never heard anything of it. STARDOM would eventually run their Sunshine event the same day as AEW and NJPW's joint pay-per-view in Toronto.

Tony Khan has rubbed STARDOM the wrong way

Part of the reason AEW and STARDOM have never formed a proper working relationship is simple; Tony Khan and Ogawa aren't fans of each other. So much so that when the news broke Ogawa would be leaving the company, Khan posted a series of tweets celebrating his departure. One of the tweets was a gif from the 1966 film "Batman" with the quote reading "it's a clear case of industrial espionage," leading some to believe Khan was trying to tell AEW fans that Ogawa was interfering in his company's business.

This series of tweets hasn't gone down well in Japan, as a source close to the Ogawa situation told Meltzer that people have no idea how upset wrestlers and media are about Khan sticking it to Ogawa. The STARDOM founder has developed a strong reputation in Japan dating back to his days in All Japan Women's Pro Wrestling, and has developed such a bond with the STARDOM roster that it's heavily speculated a lot of them will help him form the new promotion he is thinking of.

STARDOM hosts its next event this Sunday in Osaka, with its annual Cinderella tournament set to begin in March. However, given the amount of performers who look to be leaving the promotion at that time, it's unclear at time of writing just who might be able to fill the void left by the number of high-profile stars likely leaving. One of those high-profile stars is Giulia, who despite rumors of her joining WWE ramping up in recent weeks, seems to be remaining loyal to Ogawa and will help his new promotion whenever it begins operations.