NJPW's Hiroshi Tanahashi Makes Surprise Appearance As Mystery Partner On AEW Collision

The third edition of the AEWxNJPW Forbidden Door pay-per-view is still a month away, but attendees and viewers of "AEW Collision" got an unexpected sneak preview on Saturday, as former 8-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion (and current NJPW president) Hiroshi Tanahashi appeared as a surprise third partner for Claudio Castagnoli and Daniel Garcia in their trios match against Lance Archer and The Righteous. The Ace of New Japan even picked up the win for his team, scoring with the High Fly Flow and pinning a stunned Vincent.


The trios opener was Tanahashi's fifth AEW match and second match on "Collision" — he defeated Swerve Strickland last year in the lead-up to Forbidden Door 2023. When it comes to that event itself, however Tanahashi's record is less than stellar. He's been defeated in AEW World Championship matches at both previous Forbidden Door shows, losing to Jon Moxley in 2022 and MJF in 2023. It's unclear who, if anyone, he'll be wrestling at Forbidden Door this year, as the build for the show has not yet begun, but it stands to reason that build will start to ramp up following Sunday's Double or Nothing PPV.

Following Tanahashi's appearance, AEW CEO Tony Khan tweeted a picture of himself standing next to his fellow company president, wearing a Jushin "Thunder" Liger jacket that Tanahashi apparently gifted him and thanking Tanahashi for making the trip to Last Vegas "to stand up for AEW vs the hired guns of The Elite." The Righteous and Archer had previously gotten involved in the feud between The Elite and "Team AEW," which will culminate in an Anarchy in the Arena match at Double or Nothing. Neither The Righteous and Archer, nor Tanahashi's partners, Castagnoli and Garcia, are currently slated to wrestle at the event.