Last night (June 17), New Japan announced IWGP United States champion Jon Moxley would not be appearing at the G1 Climax 29opening night show in Dallas on July 6. Moxley is one of 20 men in the field of this year’s version of NJPW’s most prestigious tournament, but he was not announced for a match at the American Airlines Center event. They also specified he wouldn’t take part in the traditional press conference and photo shoot taking place in Texas the day before the show.
It seemed like a move partly aimed at the Japanese audience in their home country, who expects to see all of the entrants in the G1 present at all G1 events (though tournament specific action alternates with either A or B Block matches on each show, the participants not featured in Block action typically work tag bouts on the undercard). It also felt like an excuse to issue a press release reminding wrestling fans worldwide that Moxley is in the tournament, as his is the hottest name in the game right now.
Turns out there’s a little more to it than that, however.
On Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer reported that All Elite Wrestling actually blocked Moxley from appearing for New Japan in Dallas. His AEW contract allows him to work for NJPW overseas, but not in the United States. Smaller independent dates such as the ones Mox worked for NEW this past weekend are okay, but All Elite doesn’t want him working with a televised show in their home market.
Meltzer went on to say that until AEW and New Japan can agree to a formal partnership, this will be the case for not only Moxley, but also Chris Jericho - who just wrestled Kazuchika Okada at Dominion 6.9 and looks to have a match with Hiroshi Tanahashi on the horizon - and Kenny Omega - who doesn’t have any NJPW angles set right now, but who’s said his contract allows him to work with his old company.
It’ll be interesting to see how this affects New Japan’s U.S. expansion. For Dallas, the card is stacked without Moxley, so the company and fans should be just fine.