Kevin Kelly’s NJPW Exit “Inevitable” After Taking AEW Job

Nigel McGuinness Kevin Kelly AEW Collision

Kevin Kelly joining AEW made his exit in NJPW all but a certainty.

Former WWE broadcaster Kevin Kelly has been the English voice of New Japan Pro Wrestling since 2015 but many wondered about his long-term role with the promotion after he was announced as the lead announcer for AEW’s new Collision show.

However, Kelly took time off from Collision to cover the G1 Climax tournament and was replaced for those few weeks by Ring of Honor announcer Ian Riccaboni. But now Kevin Kelly has settled into his role with AEW, it seems that his days in NJPW are indeed numbered.

Kelly responded to fans on social media questioning if he was finishing up with the Japanese promotion. According to the announcer he expects to call Wrestle Kingdom in early 2024 but beyond that, his time looks to be up as he wants to spend more time with his wife.

AEW job signalled the end for Kevin Kelly in NJPW

Speaking about the situation on Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer noted Kelly’s AEW role made his NJPW exit inevitable and said the Japanese promotion is on the hunt for a new English-speaking commentator:

It’s not a surprise I think they just made the official announcement. I think he has got the Sumo Hall Show on October 9th and Obstruction in Ryogoku. I think he is going to do Wrestle Kingdom on January 4th and New Year’s Dash on January 5th and then that will be it for him.

“They are looking for a new English announcer, and we will probably have word on that at some point. When he took the Collision job that was inevitable. I don’t know if he is going to be doing the big shows remotely but he will be going to Japan for those big shows. But he is finishing up either way with New Japan.”

Covering one more Wrestle Kingdom show means Kevin Kelly will be on the call for G1 Climax winner Tetsuya Naito’s shot at the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship which could see him go up against his former Los Ingobernables de Japon partner Sanada.

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