During the last hours, it has been reported that Jun Akiyama, general manager of All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW), has been invited as a special trainer to the WWE Performance Center for the month of May. The information has been disclosed exclusively by the Japanese newspaper Tokyo Sports, who have contacted Akiyama himself to confirm it.
Akiyama’s trip to the United States will be a special visit, helping to train new talent at the Performance Center. In addition, he will attend WWE NXT tapings to see its development and will have a meeting with WWE Executive Vice President Paul “Triple H” Levesque.
The article details that this agreement began to be forged last June 2019 during a meeting between Akiyama and Triple H, which took place during the WWE Japanese tour. Triple H offered the possibility to visit its facilities to the Japanese legend and for months they have followed the talks, with WWE executives visiting the Asian country to continue negotiations.
Akiyama himself has spoken to Tokyo Sports about the goals he wants to achieve with this visit: ”
“I want to feel how WWE is doing. I do not know what will happen in the future, but look at the world’s best wrestling organization It will be a study and there may be new discoveries. I was personally invited by your chief operating officer, Triple H, who respects my pro wrestling skills and my job as a coach for future stars. ”
For his part, the president of AJPW, Tsuyoki Fukuda, commented on the decision of Akiyama and his stay at WWE: “I’m glad that Akiyama was called as a coach, and I think that all the rings in Japan were evaluated,” and about his future relationship with WWE. “I haven’t decided anything yet, and I’m looking forward to the future. I hope this visit will have a positive impact on each other.”
This news comes between rumors and speculation about the upcoming WWE landing in Japan. Wrestling Observer Newsletter recently reported that the company would be preparing the presentation of its new Performance Center project in Japan for this summer.
WWE is working on the exploration of young talents, as well as the closing of different deals with veteran stars and the possibility of incorporating personalities from other sports. In addition, it has been specified that the Training Center will be located in Tokyo.
In October 2019, Wrestling Observer Newsletter reported that WWE tried to buy some important companies in the country such as Pro Wrestling NOAH or Dragon Gate with the aim of building a base for its NXT project in Japan.
Triple H held several meetings during his visit to Japan with executives from Dragon Gate, Pro Wrestling NOAH, STARDOM, and Sendai Girls. However, both were acquired by larger companies, with CyberAgent buying Pro Wrestling NOAH and BUSHIROAD taking STARDOM.
It should be remembered that WWE and AJPW already tried an alliance in 1990. After finishing alliances and ties with NWA and WCW, Giant Baba tried to start a relationship with Vince McMahon’s company, which was looking for a Japanese partner after moving away from NJPW. However, several internal tensions and clashes led to WWE (at that time WWF) seeking a new ally in Super World of Sports (SWS) for a short period of time.
Tokyo Sports also reported a collaboration agreement for talent exchange between companies in 2012, signed by John Laurinaitis (WWE) and Masayuki Uchida (at that time president of AJPW). Even so, those plans never had a future and were quickly discarded.