[RUMOR] Emphasis on RUMOR before I even begin saying anything. I only aim to translate this information, but keep in mind that RUMORS are not facts! I will though provide some enlightening information towards if it could be factual or a stinky pile of you know what. [SOURCE: Tokyo Sports]
So not much on news as of late, but what is making press is that All Japan Pro-Wrestling’s President Masayuki Uchida met personally with WWE’s John Laurinaitis, who used to compete in All Japan as Johnny Ace in the late 80’s and 90’s, and that they agreed to form a cooperation between both promotions, even to the extent that a contract was formed and signed by both parties.
Apparently this all went down during the last WWE Smackdown Japan tour in August (More info points to the meeting took place on August 10). Uchida, Laurinaitis, and Kaz Hayashi, Hayashi is part of the All Japan Board of Directors, were together for said meeting.
As I mentioned before, Johnny does have a strong past within All Japan so this idea of him going back to All Japan could lead to some truth. The fact that Johnny is no longer the Senior Vice President of Talent Operations kind of leads this as something that may not have happened, but then again he spent so much time in that position that he might have made this his final big deal/partnership.
The deal, still highly classified as a rumor, seems to the promise of the bringing talent back and forth among the promotions.
(Much like with NJPW and CMLL, New Japan sends a guy over then CMLL sends a guy over there (talent exchanges). It keeps a balance going between the two.)
Now how well the WWE would even work with this kind of agreement is beyond me, but then again I can see many lower/mid level guys working in All Japan. WWE has never really worked with another promotion in the last 20 years. Back in the 80’s and 90’s there was more between the WWE working with promotions for the Tokyo Dome shows, but not so much these days. Much like what goes down now with the state of Japanese wrestling. The guys WWE release tend to make it over to Japan, but the WWE could utilize this to their advantage for the guys who they want to keep but cannot figure out the best way to work them into the current tv spots.
Keiji Mutoh is one that enjoys bringing foreign talent into the promotion (sometimes for better and or worse), but with most of the WWE talent on hand they are already picked to be “TV ready/near ready” and are not sometimes kids just starting out. Most have shown signs of potential to be signed by the WWE.
Now let’s get to the All Japan wrestlers. There is a lot of talent within the promotion, but the history of Japanese guys working in the USA is usually met unfavorably. Yoshi Tatsu being one of the few who has built a fan base around himself, though himself has been met with many trials since being signed by the WWE. Who remembers Kazuchika Okada in TNA? Okato ring any bells? Now look at what he has done since being back in New Japan. Another one would be KIYOSHI, aka Akira Raijin now SUSHI, he never really got anywhere in TNA, but he was noticeable for being a “light” Great Muta.
The language barrier is always a problem, but with a good manager or with a natural charisma, much like Tatsu’s case, can get you noticed. They could use someone like Masayuki Kono as long as they utilize his bigger size and let him use his shoot style as well as power. KAI is both fast and strong for size, hence his new goal of jumping up to a heavyweight, and could easily get himself noticed among everyone else. The same can be said for just about anyone in that locker room, and they even have a few new rookies that could use the time in FCW/NXT to hone in/broaden their skills.
Though will any of this happen? That is completely up in the air at this point. I was just making some examples of what could play out if anything happens.
Some new power sways have occurred within All Japan in the last several years, and most recently with GAORA TV taking charge of helping All Japan return to a higher position in Japan.
All Japan has also recently been noted with an agreement with SMASH’s Management Representive Masakazu Sakai, yes the owner of TAJIRI’s former SMASH promotion, who works with Tenryu Project (Genichiro Tenryu’s Promotion) as well many forms of MMA/Kickboxing namely Pancrase.
So the idea of AJP and WWE having some form of relationship does not seem as far fetched as one would have to think as of late. Though again I must emphasis that this is all just a RUMOR, until stated otherwise. I mean it could have just been a meeting just for Laurinaitis to see how things are going in the last several years. The meeting did happen, as you can see in the pic above of Uchida and Laurinaitis shaking hands, bu no one really knows besides the parties involved, that were in the room where they met.