On Jan. 17, 2017, one of WWE's champions will go one on one with one of New Japan's for the first time since 1993.
As much as WWE is its own entity—and they like to be alone at the top of the mountain and not refer to other promotions—they are currently finding it hard not to associate themselves with New Japan Pro Wrestling. Last week, WWE guy Chris Jericho went one on one with Kenny Omega at New Japan's Wrestle Kingdom 12 and it looks as if Y2J will be sticking around for a while.
There are even crossovers going on back in the United States too. WWE has finally acknowledged that Finn Balor and Gallows and Anderson knew each other before WWE, and they've dived in head first. Not only are they hinting at their pas,t but they've named them Balor Club, as a nod to the Bullet Club, and even showed photos of the three of them hanging out together back in Japan.
Next up on the WWE/NJPW crossover agenda is something pretty big. On Jan. 17, 2018, WWE United Kingdom Champion Pete Dunne will clash with IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, Will Ospreay. The match is taking place in the pair's native of the UK for IPW. It will be the first time a WWE title holder has faced a champion from New Japan since 1993. The last time it happened was when Hulk Hogan took on The Great Muta.
Have no idea if this has ever happened.— ウィル・オスプレイ (@WillOspreay) January 8, 2018
But for my knowledge, this will be the the first time a WWE champion & a IWGP Champion will be in the same ring at the same time. pic.twitter.com/A6KVSaLySg
Ospreay has tweeted the fun fact and also pointed out that the last time this happened neither he nor The Bruiserweight were even born. Dunne is currently one of WWE's hottest prospects and the future is bright for the young UK Champion. Ospreay, on the other hand, is one of the biggest stars outside of WWE right now and one that WWE can't seem to pin down. He would have probably been the only star that could have made 2016's Cruiserweight Classic even better than it already was had he been a part of it.
How’s this. Wednesday 17th January when I take on @PeteDunneYxB it will be the first time an IWGP champion will take on a WWE champion since Hogan vs Muta. Funny story. Me & Pete weren’t even born when this match happened.— ウィル・オスプレイ (@WillOspreay) January 8, 2018
This could be a one time only thing get to it at @IPWUK
This match between Ospreay and Dunne truly is a landmark one and it's a shame that it isn't happening on a bigger stage. If you live nearby though it is surely an unmissable bout for any wrestling fan. Plus, above all else, it not only proves that New Japan is continuing to grow but also strengthens the bond between the Japanese promotion and WWE.