Even before he lost his “Loser Leaves Japan” match last weekend, or his match with Eddie Kingston on Saturday night in San Jose became a “Loser Leaves NJPW” affair, signs were pointing to former IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Jay White leaving New Japan.
While writing about the situation in latest Wrestling NewsletterDave Meltzer only had the same guess as most of us about where White would land next. But in the process, I’m dropping something else puzzling from its sources (emphasis mine):
It’s not clear what’s next for Wyatt, though one might suspect WWE or AEW would be his next destination, because nothing else would make sense. Those in WWE who normally know about major acquisitions during Mania season didn’t know about him. This is what they just said There was a much bigger major free agent at the moment that was an internal priority.”
Meltzer left most fans and critics scratching their heads as to who this “much larger free agent” was.
- Anything like that will invoke “CM PUNK RETURN IMMINENT” reactions, but as Dave pointed out elsewhere in Won this week, he’s still under contract with AEW. The surprise WrestleMania debut is also the kind of thing that makes Tony Khan reluctant to release Punk even if he doesn’t plan on using him again.
- Former IWGP World Champion, Kota Ibushi, is a free agent. But given his plans to run a wrestling school in Japan, he doesn’t look like a terribly fit, and it’s questionable if he’s someone WWE thinks is a “much bigger” name.
- Kenny Omega is definitely better known in the US than White or Ibushi, and at one point he was supposed to be a free agent at this time. But it’s believed he added extra time in injury time to the four-year contract he signed upon AEW’s launch, so he probably won’t be available until later this year at the earliest.
- The Young Bucks may be in the market, and Dax Harwood has said that FTR’s AEW contracts will expire in April. But does WWE see the tag functioning as a marquee signature?
Is there anyone we lost? Let us know, along with how much inventory you’re putting into this report, in the comments below.