NJPW Boss Dismisses AEW “Inferior Partner” Claims

Tony Khan AEW Hiroshi Tanahashi NJPW

NJPW management have addressed the notion that the company is the inferior partner compared to AEW and says it offers things that Tony Khan’s company cannot.

When AEW was formed in 2019, the reception to the company from those at the top of NJPW was frosty at best. Former NJPW President Harold Meij has been blamed for that but with aspirations of global expansion, the Japanese promotion was faced with losing many of its stars, not least former IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega.

Meij is long gone and now AEW & NJPW have a healthy working relationship that saw the advent of the co-promoted Forbidden Door event come to fruition in 2022. The two companies are now on the verge of the third Forbidden Door show with CMLL and Stardom set to also be involved this time around.

NJPW Owner Hits Back At AEW Inferior Partner Suggestion

Speaking at a press conference to mark Hiroshi Tanahashi’s six months as NJPW President, he was joined by Representative Director Hitoshi Matsumoto and owner Takaaki Kidani. As the trio addressed the company’s progress over the last six months and it was Kidani who spoke about NJPW’s relationship with AEW and admitted his company is perceived to be the junior to Tony Khan’s outfit:

We have a very positive relationship with AEW right now, and there is room for it to evolve further. There are things we can’t talk about just yet, but I think it’s something that can involve other departments within Bushiroad as well.

I think that this relationship has settled into something that’s a lot more stable int he long run, and a lot of that comes from Tony Khan having a deep fandom and appreciation for NJPW. He has a lot of passion for 90s guys like Hase, and the Steiners. He’s a fan, and both he and his father have an incredible business acumen.

Tony Khan’s father started out making Toyota bumpers, and grew his business eightfold in a ten year span. And the Khans have had all this success not just in wrestling but American Football and the Premier League. With that acumen and their affinity for Japan, there’s a lot that can be done in the future, and I don’t think NJPW could ask for a better partner right now.

Having said that, there is the perception that NJPW is treated as a sub brand or is looked down on by AEW. Some of that perception of NJPW being behind comes from the economics at the moment. But the truth of the matter is AEW’s strengths and NJPW’s strengths are different. From development of talent from scratch, to a historical and traditional perspective, there’s a lot NJPW can offer that AEW cannot.

So there’s a lot that we can do together and while much of it isn’t something we can discuss right now, there’s a lot we will do. But the idea that NJPW is the inferior partner is not correct. We are absolutely on an even footing, and that’s something we’ll prove in the near future.

In recent months NJPW has lost major stars to AEW. Long-time NJPW icon Kazuchika Okada left the promotion to join AEW while Will Ospreay signed his AEW deal live on pay-per-view despite still being tied to the Japanese company.