New Japan Pro Wrestling is continuing to gain popularity as a promotion. Although the company has been in operation since 1972, it has only been the past few years that they have made such a strong American presence. For years, NJPW has partnered with American promotions such as the NWA and Ring of Honor, even featuring these promotions and the NWA and ROH World Championships on their annual Wrestle Kingdom pay-per-view.
However, due to the ongoing western popularity, New Japan had their first American independent event last year, G1 Special in USA, which crowned Kenny Omega as the inaugural IWGP United States Champion after winning an eight-man tournament. Since then, the promotion announced two more U.S. events, Strong Style Evolved which occurred on March 25, and G1 Special in San Francisco, scheduled for July 7.
With the influx of gaijin (non-Japanese, or “foreign”) wrestlers now frequently competing in New Japan, such as Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks, Cody, Will Ospreay, Marty Scurll, Juice Robinson, Michael Elgin, Zack Sabre, Jr., Jay White, Bad Luck Fale, Killer Elite Squad, Beretta, and more, other names have become interested in joining the promotion. According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, former Intercontinental Champion John Morrison has inquired to New Japan to compete for the company.
Morrison, 38, left WWE in 2011. Since then, he has competed for a number of promotions, primarily Impact Wrestling, Lucha Underground, and AAA. According to the Observer, Morrison’s relationship with AAA may cause a snag in being able to join New Japan. There had been some interest previously, but this same issue kept him from joining the New Japan roster. New Japan typically does not use anyone from the AAA roster, due to their working relationship with CMLL. However, New Japan executives have seemingly softened their restrictions on the AAA ban, since Rey Mysterio is competing for both promotions.