Jay White is the new IWGP Heavyweight Champion and one of the top wrestlers in the world. However after conquering Kazuchika Okada, he ran his mouth off about AEW and Adam Page rather than celebrate his win.
He called himself “the catalyst” and proclaimed that without him, there is no AEW. Him forcing Kenny Omega out of the company, along with the Young Bucks, was the spark that lit the flame of AEW and none of it would be possible without Jay White.
While he is set to stay in NJPW as long as he can, we have already seen Jay White’s AEW debut. In, fact he has made a number of high profile appearances in the company, most notably when he was a surprise guest to announce the Forbidden Door PPV
The show is a dream show pitting NJPW and AEW stars against each other and is something that could only have dreamed about three years ago when AEW was founded. As IWGP Heavyweight Champion Jay White will have his pick of the matches and can face whoever he wants, although he made it clear that would not be Adam Page.
Jay White remains a part of Bullet Club in NJPW and The Elite in AEW, although he seems very loosely aligned with The Elite. His is rumoured to be facing Adam Cole at Forbidden Door so the whole relationship could implode with that match.
Jay White AEW Debut
Jay White’s debut in AEW was a shocking one, and something that almost never happened. Before the February 9th AEW Dynamite, Tony Khan hyped up a “Forbidden Door” debut for the company. He meant this as Keith Lee making his debut after signing from WWE, but quickly realised his mistake.
The term “Forbidden Door” was coined by Hiroshi Tanahashi and means when an AEW wrestler appears in NJPW, or vice versa. In this case, the debut did not fit the definition so Khan scrambled to find a NJPW wrestler who could appear on the show.
In this he found Jay White. He appeared backstage for his first AEW appearance alongside the Elite, attacking Trent and aligning himself with the Young Bucks. This would set up his first match in AEW next week where Jay White wrestled Trent Barretta (also a former NJPW star) on that weeks episode of AEW Rampage.
On Twitter after the show, Tony Khan tweeted;
“I didn’t secure @JayWhiteNZ until Sunday. I realized after the fact that Friday night I butchered my own definition of Forbidden Door in hyping tonight. I heard the fans’ feedback, & wanted to ensure that tonight was a special #AEWDynamite for all. Thank you everyone who watched!
On an interview with Busted Open Radio, Jay White revealed that the reaction he got on his debut “did not surprise” him, as he “knows my own worth”.
“It did a little bit. It doesn’t surprise me in the sense that, I know my own worth, but it did in the sense that I had no idea what the reaction would be to a bigger, more mainstream audience,” White explained. “Whether they love me from the start or not, that doesn’t bother me because I know over time people are going to realize my ability, that’s how it’s been from the start.”
“In terms of that reaction, it was a little surprise, but in a good way. I had nothing to go off in terms of gauging what an audience that size whether they would know me or how they would feel about it.”
Jay White’s AEW debut match was against Trent at AEW Rampage on February 18th 2022. The 29 year old Kiwi faced off against the Best Friends’ member in a highly anticipated match, with fans eager to catch a first glimpse of Jay White in AEW.
The match was a back and forth encounter with Jay White winning in the end by pinning Trent after a Switchblade. He would not appear on AEW again until the announcement of Forbidden Door, but he gave the AEW fans a tease of what could be if he signed for AEW some time in the future.
However, he seems happy in NJPW, having recently become the IWGP Heavyweight Champion. There is little to make him leave the country that he moved to 7 years ago and he still has much to achieve in New Japan before he can rival stars like Kazuchika Okada and Hiroshi Tanahashi in the eyes of the fans.
Hopefully Jay White in AEW will become a more regular occurrence now that travel restrictions have been lifted and we can see dream matches like Jay White vs Kenny Omega and Jay White vs Bryan Danielson in AEW.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.