It’s here! The time of year where the wrestling world starts to get excited again after the long end-of-year slump. With Kenny Omega and Kushida leaving New Japan Pro Wrestling and All Elite Wrestling turning the business on its head, this year has gotten off to a great start.
While Kushida and Omega are leaving NJPW, there are also a handful of wrestlers who have resigned. We’ll run through who’s resigned and how long for, plus who else is leaving and where they could end up.
One of the first NJPW wrestlers to resign was Hiroshi Tanahashi, who as far we know signed a one year deal through 2019. The current IWGP Heavyweight champions posted to Twitter:
— 棚橋弘至 (@tanahashi1_100) December 27, 2018
“Contract renewal with New Japan Wrestling. I will do my best next fiscal year too.”
Current IWGP US champion Juice Robinson and Rocky Romero also signed contract extensions, both for multi-year deals. Robinson’s contract lasts through January 2022 and Romero’s expires 2021 at the minimum. It’ll be interesting to see what these two do in the coming years.
We’ve talked about who’s staying, so let’s talk about whos leaving. We know Kushida and Omega are leaving, but it’s also been reported that Chris Jericho’s contract with NJPW expired after his match at WrestleKindom 13. Its also interesting to note that NJPW’s AXS commentators, Jim Ross and Josh Barnett, have contracts expire sometime in January. Ross still has a contract with WWE that expires in March 2019 and has been speculated to head to AEW after his WWE contract expires.
We know that Jericho, Kushida and Omega are all gone, with Ross and Barnett being uncertainties. Jericho is heading to AEW, while it is still uncertain where Omega and Kushida will end up.
It’s possible for both men to end up in WWE or AEW. We know that WWE has offered Omega a massive amount of money and that it’s in his hands if he turns them down. The frontrunners for both men are WWE and AEW, but it wouldn’t surprise me if one or both men stayed in Japan or headed to a different U.S. promotion.
Thank you for my 1st match in Japan.
Thank you for the motivation.
Thank you for carrying the junior division so long.
But most of all thank you for so many learning experiences.
— “A̶e̶r̶i̶a̶l̶ Assassin” Will Ospreay (@WillOspreay) January 7, 2019
All we can really do is sit back and wait for them to make their decisions.