After he announced his retirement, some details have come to light regarding the agreement between AEW and NJPW for Lio Rush.
Rush was (and still is) under contract with New Japan, but appeared at the AEW Double Or Nothing pay-per-view on May 30 in the Casino Battle Royale, which is where he suffered the injury that prompted his retirement announcement.
Dave Meltzer revealed on Wrestling Observer Radio that New Japan had actually given Rush permission to sign an American contract with AEW, instead of just allowing him to work there without a contract.
“He had a contract with New Japan that we talked about, and an interesting story is that New Japan gave AEW the okay to sign him. New Japan would have priority on the dates, but originally, the nature of the New Japan contract was that he could work for AEW, he could work for MLW, he could do indies, whatever, but New Japan would have the first priority, and New Japan would also have the the right to turn stuff down. But they weren’t going to do that.
“But, in fact, they gave him permission to sign an American contract with AEW. Which also I think is very important politically, because the fact that New Japan would give someone who they have under contract the okay to sign with AEW tells me that New Japan, at this point today, believes that they are going to be in business with AEW and not WWE. So that’s actually a pretty important part of this story too.”
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Lio Rush has one date left on his current NJPW contract which he’s said he will fulfill when he recovers from the injury.