AEW Inquired Into Jay White’s New Japan Status As Early As 2018

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Jay White could be wrapping up his current run in NJPW and a new report has some insight into how long AEW has had an interest in him.

It has been an interesting start to 2023 for the former IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Jay White, who lost his title to ‘The Rainmaker’ Kazuchika Okada at Wrestle Kingdom 17 earlier this month. The following night at NJPW New Year Dash, White targeted Hikuleo and challenged him to a match where the loser would leave Japan.

Regarding White’s possible future in WWE or AEW, Dave Meltzer wrote in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter about how AEW reached out to White in 2018.

“Fightful reported that Jay White’s contract is coming due and that both AEW and WWE are interested in him. White currently lives in Orlando. He has a loser leaves town match with Hikuleo set for the 2/11 show in Osaka.”

“In 2018, when AEW was being formed, White was asked his contract status since he was a guy that there was interest in, since he was very good and people in AEW worked with him in New Japan and ROH. At the time, White said he was under contract for seven more years. Obviously, that time frame doesn’t add up if he’s available now.”

“The story reported that WWE was the favorite to get him but it wasn’t a done deal, and technically neither side are as of yet unable to legally approach him.”

If White goes to AEW then he’d be joining a company he knows well. White defeated Trent Beretta in a singles match on Rampage in 2022. At the AEW-NJPW Forbidden Door 2022 pay-per-view, White retained the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship against “Hangman” Adam Page, Kazuchika Okada and Adam Cole.

At the age of 30 years old with multiple title reigns in NJPW, it’s easy to see why WWE and AEW would be interesting in signing him to a lucrative contract.