NJPW has announced qualifying matches to determine who will take the two slots in the NJPW bracket of the new AEW All-Atlantic Championship tournament!
‘The Stone Pitbull’ Tomohiro Ishii, a popular figure in both New Japan and AEW, will face off against ‘Heel Master’ Yoshinobu Kanemaru to determine who will be the first name to appear in the NJPW bracket. Ishii is well known to AEW fans, having appeared in a qualifying match of the Owen Hart Cup where he lost to eventual winner Adam Cole.
The other qualifying bout will see the LA Dojo’s ‘Wild Rhino’ Clark Connors opposite surprise entrant Tomoaki Honma. Connors recently impressed in the Best Of Super Juniors 29 tournament, so will be hoping to continue that form here against the veteran Honma.
Both qualifying matches will appear on June 20th, night four of the New Japan Road tour, with the winners advancing to the AEW All-Atlantic Championship tournament match, taking place the following night on June 21st. That match will determine which NJPW competitor will enter the four-way at Forbidden Door to crown the inaugural All-Atlantic Champion.
The All-Atlantic tournament is already underway with the UK’s Pac overcoming Australian rival Buddy Murphy. The tournament features a host of international AEW stars vying to make the final at Forbidden Door on June 26th, with Miro v Ethan Page next up and Malakai Black taking on Penta still to come.
With Forbidden Door right around the corner, both NJPW and AEW are ramping up the cross-pollination of the two brands. Will Ospreay appeared on Dynamite, alongside Aussie Open, before making his AEW in-ring debut on the following Rampage – losing to FTR & Trent Beretta.
NJPW’s new IWGP World Heavyweight Champion ‘Switchblade’ Jay White, who made numerous remarks on AEW after his victory at Dominion, has also made several appearances in AEW and defeated the aforementioned Beretta on the February 18th edition of Rampage earlier this year.
NJPW’s Dominion also saw Hiroshi Tanahashi defeat Hirooki Goto to book his place at Forbidden Door, where he will face number one contender,Jon Moxley in a match to determine a new interim AEW World Champion. The victor will go on to face current champion CM Punk when he returns from injury.