NJPW president Harold Meij says He is Open to Working With AEW

Nov 30, 2019 - by Steve Gerweck

Foxsports.com.au was invited to meet with New Japan Pro Wrestling president Harold Meij on November 14 in Tokyo.

In a rare interview with western media, Meij discusses some of the big talking points surrounding NJPW and its relationships with western companies and wrestlers.

On whether NJPW of America will impact on the relationship with US promotions like Ring of Honor:

“I actually think it complements a lot of the relationships that we have, especially with ROH for example.

“As we do these shows and more fans fall in love with our product, as we do more joint matches with ROH – whether ROH comes to us or we go to them – the value of the total package increases. They would see that our wrestlers are very good and so are the ROH ones.”

On whether NJPW intends to continue sharing wrestlers with ROH:

“Oh yes. We’re here for the long run with partners that we tie up with.”

On whether NJPW would work with All Elite Wrestling:

“We’re very open to working with anyone, we don’t exclude anyone. 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.

“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.”

On whether the exits of AEW stars and executives such as The Young Bucks, Kenny Omega and Cody have impacted the relationship between the company and NJPW:

“No. It’s a business, at the end of the day.
“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.”

On the report (that came out two days before this interview) claiming NJPW tried to make it difficult for Kenny Omega to enter into Japan:

“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.
“But this was getting more traction and because as a company, you can’t react to every misunderstanding and or rumour. 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.”

(Pro Wrestling & MMA World)

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