Hiroshi Tanahashi’s AEW debut has been announced for next week. The Ace of the Universe has been announced as teaming up with his Forbidden Door opponent Jon Moxley to take on the duo of Chris Jericho and Lance Archer.
Hiroshi Tanahashi & Jon Moxley vs. Lance Archer & Chris Jericho comes just weeks before the former pair clash for the interim AEW Championship. Meanwhile, Chris Jericho is teaming with Archer’s Suzuki-Gun stablemate Minoru Suzuki and long-time friend Sammy Guevera, to take on three of Moxleys’ friends and teammates – Wheeler Yuta, Eddie Kingston and Shota “Shooter” Umino.
Hiroshi Tanahashi has long been rumoured to be appearing in AEW and his first match has come somewhat out of the blue. As the Ace of NJPW, he has been a top star in New Japan for decades and was not expected to be having any matches on free TV in AEW.
However he will debut in a team with his opponent at Forbidden Door, Jon Moxley. Moxley claimed that Tanahashi had been “ducking him” for three years, as the pair never clashed over the IWGP US Championship which both men held over the past few years.
Tony Khan recently revealed that he put the stop on a clash between the two over the years, waiting for the biggest opportunity for the two big stars of the US and Japan to finally clash, and in front of fans.
“I would never allow it to happen. They tried to do it so many times…I have always been there to stop it from happening. It’s such a huge match that we had to be involved if it was going to happen,”
The match, however, was not set to happen at Forbidden Door after all. Hiroshi Tanahashi was meant to face CM Punk at the AEW vs NJPW event for the AEW Championship, but due to CM Punk’s foot injury that match was cancelled.
Instead, he battles Moxley to become the Interim AEW Champion. Whoever holds the belt by the time CM Punk returns will have one last match to unify the two belts, which is a concept that has been often used in the UFC and other promotions.
It is unknown is Hiroshi Tanahashi’s AEW debut match will open the show or be the main event, with it unlikely to be placed in the middles of the show.
The card for AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door is currently as follows;
- Jon Moxley vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi for the Interim AEW World Championship
- Thunder Rosa vs. Toni Storm for the AEW Women’s Championship
- Will Ospreay vs. Orange Cassidy for the IWGP U.S. Championship
- Pac vs. Miro vs. two TBA in a four-way to become the first AEW All Atlantic Champion
- Minor Suzuki, Chris Jericho, and Sammy Guevara vs. Wheeler Yuta, Shota Umino, and Eddie Kingston in a six-man tag