Tony Khan Explains Why AEW WrestleDream Will Honor Antonio Inoki

Later tonight, All Elite Wrestling will honor the legacy of NJPW founder Antonio Inoki, who died exactly one year ago at the age of 79. After learning of Inoki's death last year, AEW President Tony Khan felt compelled to assemble a tribute show to the legendary wrestling promoter, hence the announcement of AEW WrestleDream – a pay-per-view that will feature a combination of AEW and NJPW stars.


Speaking with Sports Illustrated, Khan explained what prompted him to put on this Antonio Inoki tribute event. "When Antonio Inoki passed away, the wrestling world lost a king. Mr. Inoki built a legacy and created a kingdom that has touched us all. In doing so, he inspired so many of us to dream up our visions for what pro wrestling can be," Khan said. "I'm one of the countless dreamers that Mr. Inoki influenced in his remarkable lifetime. Since he passed away exactly one year ago today, I've worked to create an event for fans around the world to celebrate his creations–and the fighting spirit that he will forever embody."

WrestleDream, which emanates from the Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, will be headlined by TNT Champion Christian Cage and Darby Allin, who are slated to battle in a two-out-of-three falls match for the title. NJPW stars Zack Sabre Jr., Will Ospreay, TMDK, and Satoshi Kojima will also be competing at the event. In the midst of honoring Inoki, Tony Khan also noted that tonight's PPV will usher in a new era for his company as well.


"Tonight in Seattle, we'll proudly honor Mr. Inoki. The greatest champions and rivalries in the sport will take center stage, and a new era in AEW will begin at WrestleDream," Khan said.