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Is Jay White going to WWE? Former world champion set to sign with major U.S company following NJPW exit

Sporting News 2023-03-29 Liam O'Loughlin
© Provided by Sporting News

Jay White has emerged as the hottest free agent in all of pro wrestling – and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

The 30-year-old is widely-regarded as one of the best talents in the business today, winning multiple titles in New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) and toppling some of the biggest stars in the world.

White’s contract status with NJPW has become a major storyline in the industry in recent weeks, with reports from Fightful indicating the Kiwi sensation is set to move to the United States on a full-time basis after his contract finishes.

It is believed that White’s deal with NJPW is set to expire some time in February, and following his recent losses, it would appear his time in the company has come to an end.

White lost a “Loser Leaves Japan” match at a recent show to Hikuleo, before being banished (in storyline) from NJPW as a whole after falling short against Eddie Kingston in a “Loser Leaves NJPW” match at their recent pay-per-view in San Jose.

With the leader of Bullet Club now written out of all future events with NJPW, it will only be a matter of time before he signs with one of the major US-based promotions.

WWE and AEW have both reportedly expressed interest in the former IWGP World Heavyweight Champion and with major events on the horizon for both companies in WrestleMania and Revolution respectively, now appears to be an ideal time for White to jump ship.

In a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, White opened up on his decision to leave the company after a historic run.

“So much is possible…Impact, AEW, WWE—we’ll see," he said.

"I’m at peace with it - I don’t know if there is much more I could have done. I don’t feel like I left a bunch of boxes unchecked.

"I’ve been living it, so it can be hard to appreciate it in the moment, but as I move on, I’ve started to look back at the weight some of it holds.

"As time goes on, I hope people appreciate it even more. To me, I was doing what I was meant to be doing. Now I’m looking at what’s next.”

White’s time in NJPW included victories over some of the company’s biggest legends including Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kazuchika Okada and Kenny Omega.

Why is Jay White leaving NJPW?

After conquering the Japan over the past five years, there is simply nothing left for Jay White to accomplish within NJPW.

Given his record in the company, which includes the distinction of being the first-ever Grand Slam Champion – winning all four of the major singles titles – White has opted to not renew his deal and will move on for seemingly greener pastures.

White’s final match in NJPW came at the recent Battle In The Valley pay-per-view event in San Jose, losing to AEW’s Eddie Kingston in a singles match.

Is Jay White signing with WWE?

At this stage, there has been no official word or report regarding Jay White signing with WWE, but there is believed to be internal confidence within the company that they will be able to sign him to a long-term deal.

According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer, WWE are the front-runners to land White’s signature.

"Nobody in WWE has confirmed Jay White coming in, but they are certainly the favourite," he said.

"One would think if White was going to AEW, he’d be able to work big shows with New Japan and would continue to do so, but they wouldn’t do the loser leaves for good stipulation.”

With his departure from NJPW coming less than two months out from WrestleMania, there will likely be more news on White's next destination in the coming weeks.

Highly reputable NJPW-based podcast 'Super-J Cast' have also indicated White looks set for a move to WWE. 

Is Jay White signing with AEW?

At this stage, there has been no official word or report regarding Jay White moving to AEW and they appear to be the outsiders to land his signature. 

The New Zealand-born star has strong relationships with many in the company and has previously appeared on AEW television in 2022.

Despite WWE being the favourites to land his signature, sources close to White revealed to Wrestling Observer that the former world champion is '50/50' between both major US promotions. 

Jay White career record

  • 1x IWGP World Heavyweight Champion
  • 1x IWGP Heavyweight Champion
  • 1x IWGP Intercontinental Champion
  • 1x IWGP United States Champion
  • 1x NEVER Openweight Champion
  • First-ever NJPW Grand Slam Champion
  • Fifth NJPW Triple-Crown Champion
  • Ranked 12th in the PWI 500 list (2019)
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