When AEW announced the tournament to culminate in a four-way match at Forbidden Door June 26, a corner of the bracket was dedicated to finding a representative from New Japan Pro Wrestling to round out the match, but no details were offered.
We have them now.
As part of card previews for the upcoming New Japan Road shows coming out of Dominion this past Sunday, New Japan has announced two singles matches to take place June 20, and a final match to take place on June 21 to determine who will join the match in Chicago.
First, Tomoaki Honma will take on Clark Connors, then Tomohiro Ishii will battle Yoshinobu Kanemaru, with the winners meeting on June 21 to determine who advances.
Honma has seen most of his success as a tag team compeitor, where he is a two time World Tag League winner and has held the IWGP Tag Team Championship with Togi Makabe, although he has competed for the NEVER Openweight Championship in the past, including a tremendous contest with Ishii at Wrestling Dontaku 2014.
Connors recently came off of his first appearance in the Best of the Super Juniors tournament, finishing in a tie for third in his block, but picking up a win over Kanemaru among his successes. He’s also looking to be the only American in this tournament with an international flavor.
Ishii comes into the match having held the ROH World Television Championship and the RevPro British Heavyweight Championship, in addition to being a six-time NEVER Openweight Champion, a two-time NEVER Six-Man Champion, and a former IWGP Tag Team Champion. He’ll look to advance to Chicago and add another American promotion’s title to his collection.
Kanemaru, for his part, has more than a quarter century of experience, and is one of the most decorated junior heavyweights going today. having won All-Japan’s World Junior Heavyweight Title, and the GHC Junior Heavyweight Title an astonishing seven times for Pro Wrestling NOAH. Between NOAH and NJPW, he’s also won Junior Heavyweight tag gold ten times with six partners. Kanemaru also picked up wins over both Best of Super Juniors winner Hiromu Takahashi as well as IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Taiji Ishimori in the course of this year’s tournament.
One of these four men will advance to Chicago to compete with Pac and the winners of Ethan Page/Miro and Penta Oscuro/Malakai Black in a four-way match to crown the first AEW All-Atlantic Champion.
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