WWE’s AJ Styles to Face Naomichi Marufuji at NOAH Destination 2024: Inside the Historic Collaboration

Posted at: June 17, 2024 - 8:44 AM

WWE Superstar AJ Styles Set for NOAH Destination 2024 Match Against Naomichi Marufuji

AJ Styles, fresh off his loss to Cody Rhodes at WWE Clash at The Castle, is set to compete at Pro Wrestling NOAH’s Destination 2024 event on July 13th at Budokan Hall. His opponent will be Naomichi Marufuji, a Japanese wrestling legend.

Cyberfight Director Narihiro Takeda, who oversees the organization, revealed the negotiation process behind the match in an interview with Tokyo Sports. He stated that the collaboration was facilitated through ABEMA, the internet television network that broadcasts shows for both WWE and NOAH.

Takeda explained that the success of Shinsuke Nakamura’s match against Keiji Mutoh at NOAH’s New Year Show in 2023 paved the way for further collaboration. WWE also recognized the potential to increase their visibility in Japan through such events.

“We got a positive response, so we were able to talk,” Takeda stated.

Takeda personally nominated AJ Styles for the match, despite Styles having no prior affiliation with NOAH. He believed Styles could uphold WWE’s image while also providing a dream match for Japanese fans.

“The WWE Universe (fans) wouldn’t want the WWE worldview to be destroyed, and WWE performances in Japan come as a package, but the next wrestler Japanese fans can dream of being apart from WWE is AJ after Shinsuke Nakamura,” Takeda explained.

Marufuji was nominated by WWE as Styles’ opponent. Takeda saw Marufuji as the obvious choice due to his prominence in America and status as a Japanese legend.

“It was like there was only one choice. If there’s a Noah wrestler who’s well-known in America, it’s got to be Marufuji. He’s a Japanese legend. I think it also has to do with the fact that there are PPVs (for Noah) over there,” Takeda stated.

NOAH plans to strengthen its ties with WWE, and Takeda hinted at further collaborations. Fans can anticipate more appearances by international superstars in future NOAH events.

“There is still a lot more to be done regarding strengthening our relationship. We can look forward to more surprise appearances by superstars in the future,” Takeda added.

The Styles vs. Marufuji match could lead to more collaborations between WWE and Pro Wrestling NOAH, depending on its success.

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