Tanahashi was originally set to face the AEW Champion before Punk announced that he had to have surgery to fix a broken foot. Now Tanahashi is proposing that the two face each other, but instead of in Punk’s hometown of Chicago, IL, in NJPW’s home base: the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan.
Tanahashi implied that CM Punk owed him some kind of make-good rematch, and felt the match is worthy of “Wrestle Kingdom 17” on January 4th, 2023. While Tanahashi didn’t necessarily say that the AEW Championship had to be involved, it is very possible that both men could be AEW Champion by the time the sun rises on January 4th.
Hiroshi Tanahashi is set to face Hirooki Goto on June 12th at “NJPW Dominion.” If he wins, he’ll head to the main event of “AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door” on June 26th, where he’ll face either Jon Moxley or the winner of a Battle Royal to determine the interim AEW Champion. While there is no current timetable for CM Punk’s return, it is possible that the unification of the AEW Championship could happen under the lights of the Tokyo Dome.
Tanahashi isn’t putting the cart before the horse, however. He understands that the Punk match in Tokyo Dome doesn’t happen if he loses to Goto at “Dominion,” and seems as motivated as ever to not just represent NJPW in the “Forbidden Door” main event, but also win the other company’s interim title in the process. Tanahashi said something to the effect of, “the road to The Best In The World starts in Osaka Castle.”
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