Shortly after Jon Moxley (fka Dean Ambrose) made his first post-WWE appearance at All Elite Wrestling‘s Double or Nothing, he revealed his imminent arrival in New Japan Pro Wrestling had been teased for some time. Moxley is set to debut for the company on the last Best of the Super Juniors show on June 5, which already included the headlining tournament final and Hiroshi Tanahashi’s return match.
Those familiar with how NJPW typically puts angles together could have easily assumed Moxley would wrestle in a tag team match opposite IWGP United States Champion Juice Robinson, who had been threatening via mysterious video package, on that show to set up for a title match at Dominion on June 9. However, NJPW revealed at a press conference earlier today that Moxley and Robinson will face off for the U.S. title on that June 5 show in what is currently, as far as the public knows, Moxley’s first scheduled match after leaving WWE.
At the press conference, which you can watch above or here, Robinson cut a characteristically really good promo on Moxley, adding a bit more depth to the feud that previously amounted to, “I desperately want someone to come challenge for my title and now this video creep keeps doing it without telling me who he is and it’s pissing me off.”
Robinson brought up their time together in WWE developmental territory FCW as Dean Ambrose and CJ Parker. While Ambrose went up to the main roster and won championships, “CJ Parker stayed in Florida so long that he had to pull himself out of Flordia and he had to come to Japan,” which made him the man he is today and a very different wrestler.
Robinson answered press questions about Moxley’s wrestling style and their previous two matches in WWE developmental, then delivered his closest thing to a shoot statement at this event:
The amount of people who have New Japan World is going to increase overnight. It probably already has. Everybody is going to be watching him. Everybody thinks he’s going to beat me for the title right there and I’m not going to let that happen. It’s the biggest match that I’ve ever been in, hands down.
Given the timing of this match, it’ll be interesting to see how long Moxley ends up sticking around NJPW. A Dominion appearance still seems likely given that it’s one of NJPW’s biggest shows of the year, he’s a big international name, and it’s only four days after his first match for the company. Also, according to Tony Khan, Moxley won’t be a full-time AEW employee until their TV show starts, and according to a statement given to Sports Illustrated‘s Justin Barrasso by NJPW International Department General Manager Michael Craven,
New Japan and Jon Moxley came to terms on an agreement some time ago, completely independently of All Elite. Our understanding is that he is free to wrestle in Japan. We wish AEW well, but have no working relationship as of now.
Basically, it’s possible Moxley could stick around NJPW for at least the summer (and maybe even win the U.S. title), but maybe don’t expect what he’s doing in New Japan to have some big, overarching connection to what he’s doing AEW right now.