Jericho speaks candidly about his issue with Harold Meij.
After Wrestle Kingdom 13, The Elite (Kenny Omega & The Young Bucks) departed New Japan Pro-Wrestling to launch and establish All Elite Wrestling. There were issues that arose from that ordeal and NJPW’s Rocky Romero dove into that in 2021.
Jon Moxley and Chris Jericho would come to New Japan and work dates but a partnership between AEW and NJPW was not on the table. Jericho touched on that in an extensive interview he did with Monthly Puroresu. He was asked if NJPW did not see the vision of what could’ve been established early on if that partnership was formed then.
He said former NJPW President Harold Meij was the problem and he did not understand. At Wrestle Kingdom 14 in 2020, Jericho did not want to speak to Meij at all, to the point he put a sign on his door which read, ‘No Harold Meij allowed’. The former AEW World Champion added that Meij was concerned with how much money he (Jericho) was making.
The problem was Harold Meij, that was the problem. He just didn’t get it. I don’t think he even really understood what he was doing there. I even put a sign up on my room at, I think, the last Tokyo Dome show which said, ‘No Harold Meij allowed.’ Like, I just didn’t want to talk to the guy.
He just didn’t understand. I don’t think he really understood what he was dealing with and what the big picture was. And how big, like for example, having Chris Jericho on the show could be. He was worried about the money I was making… Meanwhile, the money that I made was far eclipsed by the subscriptions that we sold and the tickets sold.
He didn’t know the wrestling business. He just didn’t get it. He didn’t know the wrestling business. It was a strange call (not to work with us), and it just didn’t work… But I spoke to him about it like, ‘If you’re a marketing guy, you’d understand how huge it could be to have AEW, you know, in the Tokyo Dome.’
And how huge it’d be for New Japan to invade The Forum. Maybe he just didn’t get it, didn’t want to have anything to do with it. Almost looking down on AEW. What are you guys gonna do? And now… you can see what we have going on with New Japan.
The last time Jericho wrestled in Japan for NJPW was at the aforementioned Wrestle Kingdom 14. If he were to go back, he would need to reinvent.
It did (COVID-19 pandemic stopped the world). And it stopped the momentum that I had in New Japan. If I go back there, I would have to start from scratch. But it’s a different thing now. It’s not the same as it was… because then AEW just started and now, you know, once again, I could still go back tomorrow and have some of these matches. But it’s a different vibe now than it was when it was kind of this independent Jericho.
In Japan, yeah (if I came back), I would have to do something different… I’m not saying that (I wouldn’t go back to Japan). I’m just saying that there was a certain vibe that was going on. Because it was like, every couple months Jericho would show up and it was a big deal and it still would be, but you’d have to kind of, like you said, reinvent it and recalibrate it.
New Japan and AEW’s partnership has produced the Forbidden Door joint event which is returning this summer.