Jon Moxley vs Hiroshi Tanahashi has seemed destined to happen for years now, with the former Dean Ambrose making no secrets about the fact he’s had his sights set on NJPW’s Ace since he departed WWE.
The pair are finally set to square off against one another at the upcoming Forbidden Door show, in a bout that will see an interim AEW World Champion crowned in the absence of current champion CM Punk.
In previous years, the IWGP US Championship seemed like it would be the key piece of the puzzle that would set Moxley and Tanahashi on their collision course, although the match ultimately never came to fruition, until now.
During a recent appearance on Busted Open Radio, AEW President Tony Khan revealed that the match had previously been scheduled by NJPW, and that he actively prevented the match from happening on multiple occasions.
“That’s a match that has been talked about in New Japan for a long time, well over a year. There’s some backstory as to why it never happened. I would never allow it to happen,”-Tony Khan
Khan continued, jokingly comparing his actions to a classic Vince McMahon moment, before elaborating on his reasons for doing so.
“I’ll make an old WWF reference, Armageddon, Vince (McMahon) came out with the truck to stop the six-way cage match [Hell in a Cell], that’s like me with this match. They tried to do it so many times, Moxley vs. Tanahashi, and I’ve always been there to stop it from happening because it’s such a huge match and we had to be involved if it was going to happen. Lo and behold, at a time when everything changed, CM Punk won the world title, he gets injured, we have to set up a huge match to crown an Interim World Champion. Going back to the relationship between AEW and New Japan, it’s been building towards this and it’s fate. Moxley vs. Tanahashi was a match that was supposed to happen many times and it never happened. Now, it’s the right time and right place. It could have happened a lot of times and heaven knows I stepped in and tried to stop it and now it’s finally happening at the perfect time for AEW and New Japan and all the fans.”-Tony Khan
Moxley defeated Kyle O’Reilly to book his place in the title decider following O’Reilly’s victory in the Casino Battle Royale earlier in the night, whereas Tanahashi defeated Hirooki Goto on NJPW’s revent Dominion show to advance to Forbidden Door.
The will finally come face-to-face on tonight’s AEW Dynamite, on a card that will also feature NJPW star Will Ospreay take on FTR’s Dax Harwood, with further NJPW involvement expected with Forbidden Door just around the corner.
H/T to Fightful for the transcription.