Is New Japan Pro Wrestling working with WWE?


New Japan Pro Wrestling is expanding internationally, which could mean stars competing in WWE.

New Japan Pro Wrestling is arguably the second biggest wrestling promotion in the world, coming in just behind the monster that is WWE. Even some of the biggest stars in WWE today competed in New Japan prior to signing with Vince McMahon’s giant, including superstars like Daniel Bryan, Brock Lesnar, and current NXT Champion Finn Balor. It now seems like seeing New Japan stars in a WWE ring is creeping closer.

On Saturday, NJPW announced plans for “major international expansion,” as reported by This expansion is said to include talent exchange programs with other promotions, though none of the promotions were named in the announcement from the company.

There is nothing in the announcement that mentions New Japan’s expansion including WWE, but there are inferences that can be made that lead to it being at least a possibility.

For starters, it was announced this week that Jushin “Thunder” Liger will be competing at NXT: Takeover Brooklyn during Summerlam weekend in August. Liger has strong ties to the New Japan brand, as well as to other brands around the independent wrestling scene. With Liger already set to compete in a WWE event, this announcement from NJPW seems like something more than coincidence.

More than that, we’ve heard in the past from within WWE that there is a desire to compete with and against some of the stars from New Japan. Most famously is Daniel Bryan stating in interviews that he wants to face Shinsuke Nakamura, one of NJPW’s biggest stars. There were also rumors that Bryan pushed extremely hard to the higher-ups in WWE to try and make that match happen.

Another aspect that can’t be overlooked is that WWE just recently toured Japan, including the Beast In The East show that was broadcasted live on the WWE Network. Though we can’t confirm anything, the timing of that tour and then this announcement from New Japan is another example of curious timing.

We’ll have to wait and see if anything actually happens going forward between New Japan Pro Wrestling and WWE, but it seems like it is—at the very least—something that’s a possibility. One can only hope it also ends up being something that comes to fruition. Seeing Nakamura, the Bullet Club, Kazuchika Okada, and many others compete against the best of WWE is something that I and others who love wrestling needs in our lives.

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