First things first, I am not here to downplay the importance of the budding partnership between New Japan Pro Wrestling and All Elite Wrestling. This crossover, as well as the existing crossovers between AEW and NWA and AEW and Impact (and even the Impact and NJPW crossover), are huge and could represent a huge shift in the landscape of professional wrestling. Fans of the sport should be excited about these crossovers and should look forward to seeing the dream matches between their favorite AEW and NJPW wrestlers. However, it makes sense to be realistic about what these crossovers actually mean for everyone involved because, at the end of the day, AEW will do what is best for AEW, and NJPW will do what is best for NJPW.
So now that the "forbidden door" has been kicked wide open let's take a look at what is actually on the other side and take a moment to realize what is pretty much out of the realm of possibility.
Yes: Omega vs. Okada V
AEW Champion Kenny Omega and five-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada have four of the most highly regarded bouts in wrestling history. Their match at Dominion in 2018 was famously given the highest star rating that the Wrestling Observer Newsletter's Dave Meltzer has ever given out. One more match between these two would be a huge deal, and if rumors are to be believed, that is exactly what we will be getting sooner rather than later.
Even if there wasn't any concrete evidence to suggest that Okada would be making his way to an AEW ring, this prediction makes a ton of sense. Okada and Omega are two of the biggest stars in wrestling, and their matches are legendary. Putting these two in the ring again is guaranteed money for both AEW and NJPW.
Now, I don't see this happening soon. I think we will get teased with potential matches for a while before it actually happens, and I likely think that we won't see this match until major crowds can gather for wrestling events, but hey, Double or Nothing 2022 has a nice ring to it.
No: WWE Crossover
Earlier this week, Cody Rhodes made headlines by claiming there was "no reason there couldn't be a potential WWE crossover," but let's be honest here. This was a major PR move to put the blame on WWE when the crossover doesn't happen. WWE has made it clear in the past that they are open to crossovers but only if it is beneficial to WWE.
The biggest thing about these AEW crossovers, whether it is NWA, Impact, or NJPW, is that the biggest beneficiary is AEW. A crossover with WWE would likely be no different. AEW would have everything to gain from the big names on the Raw, SmackDown, and NXT rosters, and WWE would have everything to lose.
Would a crossover be fun? Yes. Is it going to happen? No.
Yes: "All In" II
The pay per view that really led directly to AEW was All In. For those unfamiliar, this massive indy wrestling event featured wrestlers from NJPW, Ring of Honor, Impact, AAA, CMLL, and NWA. Less than four months later, Cody and The Young Bucks would announce the formation of All Elite Wrestling with the backing of Tony Khan.
With the number of major crossovers that AEW has cultivated since there inception, it's not hard to see a major event in the same vein as All In is on the horizon. This event will likely see major titles across multiple promotions being defended as well as appearances from major independent stars. The first All In was a huge success and an incredibly fun show, so a similar event with even more money and production value behind it should be even more fun.
No: Kenny Omega IWGP Heavyweight Champion
Kenny Omega currently holds both the AEW World Championship and the AAA Mega Championship. When the Impact Crossover was first revealed, wrestling fans freaked out about the possibility of Kenny Omega becoming a belt collector of sorts, and while it seems entirely possible that Omega could go on to hold the Impact World Championship and potentially even the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship, it does not seem likely that NJPW will let an outside wrestler hold the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
Similar to WWE, NJPW is willing to work with other promotions so long as it benefits them. Having current champion Kota Ibushi or a future champion take a loss to Kenny Omega benefits Omega and AEW much more than it benefits NJPW.
If Kenny does end up with a belt from New Japan in his collection, I imagine it will be the United States Heavyweight Championship currently held by Jon Moxley and being chased by Kenta.
Yes: Bullet Club vs. The Elite
Yes, the one that we all know is coming. Kenny Omega and co have been teasing a Bullet Club reunion, but on the other end of things, Toma Tonga has been shutting down rumors that things are ok between the current club and the past members.
With the forbidden door kicked wide open, it seems like the opportunity for members of Bullet Club to show up and confront the current version. of the Elite. Perhaps this will be the opportunity to revive the Blood and Guts concept that got canned last year due to the pandemic. Even if it doesn't end up with a huge multi-person match, it seems unlikely that either New Japan or AEW will pass up the opportunity to pit these factions against each other.
So now that we have peeked behind the forbidden door, what do you hope comes out of this partnership? Let me know by tweeting at me @robbydeshazer!
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