AJ Styles Set for First Match Outside of WWE in 8 Years

AJ Styles will make his Pro Wrestling NOAH debut this July.

Japan’s Pro Wrestling NOAH previously revealed that they’d have a huge announcement in the coming days with WWE. The news came at Sunday’s NOAH’s Grand Ship 2024 where AJ Styles sent in a video message, explaining that he would be making his return to Japan to wrestle Naomichi Marufuji. The event will take place this July 13th at Budokan Hall for their Destination 2024 show. For fans inside the United States, Philippines, South Korea and Thailand, the show will be available to purchase live on Abema.

Styles is no stranger to Japan as he’s spent many of his quarter century in the business in Japan. After leaving TNA, he returned to Japan full-time to wrestle in New Japan Pro Wrestling where he became IWGP Heavyweight Champion, taking the title off of legendary Japanese wrestler Kazuchika Okada. He would then go on to dominate the company as the leader of the villainous Bullet Club stable which he took up when Prince Devitt (WWE’s Finn Balor) departed for WWE. He’s been to Japan several times since his departure in 2016, wrestling on a few WWE Live events. As his career winds down this match may very well be his final time in Japan.

Styles debuted for WWE in 2016 at the Royal Rumble and has won almost every title in the company since. He just wrapped up a feud with Undisputed WWE Champion Cody Rhodes at Clash at the Castle where they battled in an “I Quit” match that ended in Rhodes coming out on top. They had never crossed paths in their careers until this May, as by the time Styles got to WWE, Rhodes was on his way out.

WWE Continues To Show Interest in Building Wrestling Partnerships

Styles’ upcoming appearance in NOAH is the same day former WWE Women’s Champion IYO SKY will also return to Japan. WWE has continued to expand on their global partnerships over the last few months, bringing back TNA Knockouts Champion Jordynne Grace, sending NXT talent to TNA, and other Japan appearances including Shinsuke Nakamura fighting Greta Muta in one of his final matches last January. The response from fans and talent has been overwhelmingly positive, with many stars hoping to cross over to other promotions in the future. It remains to be seen if that will ever include AEW like some talent believe. AEW President Tony Khan recently reiterated to Comicbook that it would “depend on the circumstance.”

Stay tuned to Comicbook for updates on WWE.

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