Jay White has shot down reports that AEW tried to sign him to a deal in 2018 – confirming his commitment as the top champion in New Japan Pro Wrestling.
The New Zealand-born star walks into Wrestle Kingdom 17 as the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion, with his second reign with the belt. He battled long-time rival Kazuchika Okada in the main event of the show, facing the man who he defeated for the title in 2022.
2023’s trajectory will be decided by the result of that match, although one thing is certain for Switchblade – he will not be signing for WWE or AEW. Jay White is committed to New Japan Pro Wrestling and has reiterated his love for the company that he signed a 7-year contract with in 2018.
Since then, the company have rewarded his commitment with several huge moments for the young star. The 30 year old Kiwi is a two-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion, having won his first title just after taking over as leader of Bullet Club, post-Wrestle Kingdom 13. He has main evented multiple Tokyo Dome events, including the epic match with Kota Ibushi in 2021.
Jay White has recently denied claims that AEW approached to sign him in 2018, prior to announcing the start of the company. He signed a 7 year deal around that time and could not join up with them even if he wanted to, but still would have stayed with NJPW regardless. Stars like Chris Jericho and Adam Page signed up with the company in 2018 before their contracts in New Japan expired, not showing as much commitment toward the company as White did. Given how much they value loyalty in Japan, this was surely a factor in his big push in the company over the past 5 years.
Speaking with Fightful Select, Jay White refuted any contract talks he may have had with AEW and categorically denied any reports of his plan to leave NJPW any time soon.
“I was never or have never been approached in regards to AEW. Especially when they were starting up. I don’t know where that rumor came from. It’s just like everything else to do with wrestling in regards to wrestling, people just like to push shit out there as if it’s true and everyone just eats it up. No, I was never approached in regards to AEW. I don’t know where that came from.
“It just hurts my brain. The only part (of the report) that there was any truth to is the very first part of it, talking about the start of this year and about (WWE). Anything after that, none of that is true. It’s completely false. People, I’m sure, they’re probably going to respond and say, ‘Oh, he’s just saying that because he’s not into telling the truth.’ But I’m doing you a favor and telling you the truth here—them approaching me and some contract I was on, both things 100% false.”
Jay White will defend his IWGP World Heavyweight Championship against Kazuchika Okada at Wrestle Kingdom 17 on January 4th, 2023. Whilst he has no intention of signing with AEW, he did appear once on AEW Dynamite and Rampage, wrestling his first AEW match against Trent. He also defended his championship against Okada, Adam Cole and Adam Page at Forbidden Door.