On Monday afternoon, Being the Elite dropped their newest episode, “Filler Episode,” as they continue to build toward May’s Double or Nothing. And much like previous episodes, All Elite Wrestling has used this web series as a plot device not just to advance stories but also to make new announcements, such as talent signings and show dates/locations. That’s exactly what happened this week as Co-Executive Vice President Kenny Omega announced the signing of his longtime friend, Michael Nakazawa of Dramatic Dream Team and the Young Bucks announced the date and location for July’s Fight for the Fallen.
At the first press conference for AEW, when Double or Nothing was announced, it was also mentioned that a second show date was planned for July in Jacksonville, Florida. Cody Rhodes noted that proceeds of the gate from the show would be donated to victims of gun violence. In February 2018, a tragedy occurred in Parkland, FL at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where 17 were killed and 17 more were wounded after a former student open fired in the school. This was just one of many senseless acts of violence involving guns to take place over the past several years. On a recent episode of “The Road to Double or Nothing,” the Jacksonville show received its name, Fight for the Fallen, no doubt an ode to the cause this show is supporting.
On BTE, more information on Fight for the Fallen was announced as the show will be taking place on July 13th at Daily’s Place Ampitheater. The venue, which is part of a recent $90M investment and renovation of TIAA Bank Field, home of the Jacksonville Jaguars and funded by the Khan family and city, seats about 5,500 and connects the football arena to the ampitheater.
The other big announcement coming out of Filler Episode, was another new signing in DDT’s Michael Nakazawa, a 14-year veteran of the industry, known mostly for his work in the Japanese indie scene.
The 43-year-old Nakazawa’s professional wrestling career began in 2005 with DDT where he is a former four-time champion. It is also where he met Omega, who joined DDT three years later. Together, Omega and Nakazawa struck up a friendship and even formed a tag team on multiple occasions, winning the KO-D Tag Team Championship once and taking part in the All Japan Pro Wrestling Junior Tag League in 2012. In their careers, Nakazawa and Omega wrestled with or against each other over 30 times, the most recent of which came in 2014 when the Golden Lovers (Kenny Omega and Kota Ibushi) took on Nakazawa and Yoshihiko at DDT’s Osaka Bay Blues Special 2014.
In addition to a successful career in DDT, Nakazawa, who is known for his comedic style, has wrestled for Wrestling in Japan – Freelance Shows, Pro Wrestling WAVE, Big Japan Pro Wrestling, KAIENTAI DOJO, DragonGate, Ice Ribbon, Pro Wrestling ZERO1, Diamond Ring, World Wonder Ring Stardom, Michinoku Pro, New Japan Pro Wrestling and AJPW. In the U.S., Nakazawa also wrestled several shows for Ring of Honor and CHIKARA, twice taking part in the promotion’s King of Trios tournaments in 2008 and 2009.
Recently, Omega and Nakazawa reunited for Omega’s promoted NJPW X CEO event, When Worlds Collide, where Nakazawa wrestled two matches including the second of which was a loss to Alex Jebailey, the president and founder of Community Effort Orlando (CEO). Omega made sure to mention this when meeting to discuss Nakazawa joining AEW on the most recent BTE.
Originally offered an office position, Omega told Nakazawa that he would “find something” for him, before a graphic, played over by the sound of crickets, indicated Nakazawa’s addition to the roster. While there may not be fanfare about Nakazawa’s addition yet, the 43 year old recently tweeted about wanting to be a bridge, perhaps suggesting a partnership with DDT and AEW may not be far away. In fact, in an interview with Tokyo Sports in February, Omega expressed his interest to work with DDT, the company that he broke into the Japanese scene with, saying, “I’m scouting the Joshi talent,” Omega revealed. “I also wanna work with DDT again. I want to showcase the DDT style, and Yuka Sakazaki is truly one of a kind; there’s no one else like her.”
Maybe I overestimate myself too much, but I will hopefully work as a bridge someday somewhere.
Well…I should start planning to fly back and watch his return match!
— 中澤マイケル (@MichaelNakazawa) February 11, 2019
Sanshiro Takagi, president of DDT responded in kind: “Kenny is family; if he needs our help, he’s getting it.”
Perhaps Nakazawa’s addition, following that of Sakazaki’s, is just one of many opportunities DDT wrestlers will have to showcase their unique style to the world through AEW.