Abe Odeh takes a look at the prospects for Jon Moxley in New Japan, as he heads there to challenge Juice Robinson. Who else can be face?
Last weekend, it was announced that Jon Moxley would be signing with All Elite Wrestling immediately after his surprise appearance at Double or Nothing. A few days later, news broke that Mox is scheduled to face Juice Robinson under the New Japan Pro Wrestling banner on June 5th. The match will be for the IWGP US Heavyweight Championship at the Best of the Super Jr. Final in Tokyo.
According to NJPW, there is currently not an official relationship between themselves and AEW but Moxley is free to compete for both companies. We saw Chris Jericho take a similar route that’s currently on the tail end of a year and a half long journey. Jericho wasn’t going on all the New Japan tours but still found his way into main event feuds with Kenny Omega, EVIL, Kazuchika Okada, and even captured the Intercontinental Championship from Tetsuya Naito.
Nobody expects this to be a one-off match for Jon Moxley, especially if he captures the US Title. So let’s start thinking about potential feuds he could work until his schedule becomes fully committed to AEW.
I feel this makes more sense than most people on the roster. They have similar personalities. They’re both cocky, brash, stubborn, and only want to run things their way. Mox and Switchblade are bound to butt heads on the same roster. If Moxley wins championship gold on June 5th, it’ll seem reasonable for Jay White to extend an invitation to the Bullet Club. Moxley just put down one of his former rivals, after all. However, it would make even more sense for Jon Moxley to reject the invite just as Jay White did to Kenny Omega.
As identical as White and Mox are, some might say the actual equivalent to Jon Moxley on the NJPW roster is Naito. Just as Jay White, Tetsuya Naito is the leader of his own faction, Los Ingobernables de Japon. “Ingobernable” directly translates to “ungovernable”. Sounds a bit like a Lunatic Fringe we used to know.
Naito only gives out LIJ memberships to guys he knows personally so I don’t expect that to happen at all. However, Tetsuya Naito already worked a fairly violent program with the outsider in Jericho that involved blood and title changes. Naito will also be attempting to capture a championship next week. If one succeeds and one fails, pairing them for their next championship match is an easy main event.
Who wouldn’t want to see this? If Jon Moxley had a Japanese dad, it would be Minoru Suzuki. Certainly a match nobody thought we’d ever see, but now I want it more than anything. If this match went 20 minutes, about 15 of them would be spent outside of the ring with hardly any rules applied. Thousands of forearms would be thrown and Young Lions would be the primary weapon of choice. It doesn’t even have to be a feud. One match is all I need. Let’s make it happen.
Zack Sabre Jr.
If Moxley is going to get involved with the Suzuki-gun faction, he might as well challenge their brightest star on the way out. In his interview on Talk is Jericho, Moxley expressed how excited he was to be able to work so many new different styles of wrestling now that he’s free to roam. Well, he hasn’t faced anyone like ZSJ any time in recent memory.
Being able to challenge Britain’s most proficient technician for Japan’s leading promotion is exactly what the wrestling fan in Moxley desires. It’s safe to say it’s exactly what we’d want as well. The funny thing is, the promos exchanged between the two may end up actually being the highlight of it all.
Another dream match. Ospreay is one of the fastest rising stars in New Japan at the moment. Trying to extinguish the newest outsider to invade his territory would be an excellent story for him, especially if Moxley is presented as a detestable heel. Ospreay is drawing closer and closer to becoming a mainstay in the heavyweight division so a match with another popular heavyweight should help him get there.
It may not happen until next year but I’d bet my money on it happening eventually. I thought Jericho was never going to get his match with Okada because AEW continued to materialize but now Okada vs. Jericho is set for Dominion. After Okada is sure to dispose of Chris Jericho, Jon Moxley would provide a great test for an IWGP Heavyweight Champion that’s running out of fresh competition.
I wasn’t going to include Kota because him and Moxley just didn’t feel right together. I couldn’t think of a reason for them to get into a heated rivalry. But then I realized the motivation is already right in front of us. Jon Moxley made his AEW debut at the expense of Ibushi’s Golden Lover, Kenny Omega. Mox created the biggest moment of Double or Nothing by embarrassing Kenny in front of the whole wrestling world.
Ibushi can get going during the heat of a match but he’s not the type of guy to go out of his way to target someone. It would be really refreshing to have red-hot Kota Ibushi be the one to ambush Jon Moxley after his match with Juice Robinson as a way to seek immediate retribution for Omega.