From an outside perspective, it looks like Konosuke Takeshita is doing pretty well in AEW; he's in a stable that, while divisive, is featured on television regularly, has worked massive matches against Kenny Omega and Will Ospreay over the last year, and is set to challenge Jon Moxley in an elimination match for the Jon Moxley's World Heavyweight Championship at AEW Double or Nothing, his first shot at any IWGP title, if you can believe it.

But behind the scenes? The sailing hasn't been quite so smooth for the “Alpha,” as, in an interview with his former promotion DDT Pro, Takeshita explained the challenges he's experienced wrestling for an American audience, including some discrimination he's experienced from a Stateside crowd.

“I thought hard work could cover for everything else before getting there. If I showed how good I am I could get more airtime, but there are other aspects that come to play when competing here,” Konosuke Takeshita told DDT. “Discrimination is not the word here, but unfortunately, there’s a lack of space for an Asian person to be on a TV show watched by Americans. No matter how good my condition was nor the amount of matches I was put it, or how many times they said my match was good, it felt like I couldn’t make it in the starting lineup, to put it in baseball terms. Everyone felt like they’re having fun wrestling here (in Japan). I didn’t have any fun wrestling ever since I got to America. The effort was bearing fruit, but I didn’t feel the enjoyment. It was the most mentally exhausting period in all 12 years of my wrestling career. However, when I stopped having fun, my matches were better received, and I gained more recognition. And it's not proportional.”

Gosh, what a tough read for a 28-year-old who is widely considered one of the best in-ring performers in the world today. While some of this could simply be due to how stacked AEW's roster is at the moment, forcing Takeshita into a mid-card role where he was a top guy in DDT, it's also worth wondering if some fans should re-evaluate how they treat wrestlers who don't speak English as a first language, as even Takeshita's best in-ring efforts haven't made him a top guy because some feel they can't connect with a performer who doesn't do backstage banter and in-ring promos.

Rocky Romero believes AEW could run a huge show in Japan

Speaking of AEW's Japanese connection, Rocky Romero discussed the prospects of Tony Khan's company running a Forbidden Door-style show in Japan in the future, where stars who came up in promotions like NJPW, DDT, and Stardom like Konosuke Takeshita, Kenny Omega, “Switchblade” Jay White, and Kazuchika Okada could thrive.

While Romero didn't use the interview as a chance to announce something new, he does believe the idea could work, especially since he's an executive for both promotions.

“AEW obviously has huge potential to do an event, along with New Japan, in Japan. That’s an easy one that is a big one. For Forbidden Door, New Japan uses AEW’s infrastructure. If AEW was to come to Japan, it would be vice versa where they could use New Japan’s infrastructure to do a big event in a stadium or Budokan or wherever,” Rocky Romero told Fightful. “Obviously, the UK is a massive market. We’ll see that again with Wembley this year. I do feel there is an opportunity to do some smaller arenas and more stuff around the country because they have a great infrastructure there as well with Fulham. Australia would be a great place. Mexico would be a great place now with the partnership with CMLL. Imagine AEW in Arena Mexico or having the CMLL infrastructure to help them. Strategically, that’s what these partnerships are all about, how can we help each other do these types of events all over the world? AEW is always trying to help New Japan as well. We share some of the same production people. There are a lot of Forbidden Door elements that are not just things you see in the matches.”

Would it be cool to see AEW bring the show to Japan for a massive co-produced show with NJPW, selling out the Tokyo Dome in pursuit of another signature event for the promotion? Most definitely, especially since it would almost certainly deliver the sort of matches AEW and NJPW have been known for, even if it would almost certainly happen either very early in the morning or very late at night for fans stateside.