Jon Moxley Beats Hiroshi Tanahashi to Win AEW Interim Title with CM Punk Injured

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJune 27, 2022

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Jon Moxley defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi at the AEW x NJPW: Forbidden Door pay-per-view Sunday to become the interim AEW world champion.

A bloodied Moxley took out Tanahashi with the Death Rider.

By virtue of his victory, Mox will go on to face CM Punk when the latter is medically cleared to determine the undisputed AEW world champion.

Sunday's contest was made necessary by Punk announcing just days after he beat "Hangman" Adam Page for the AEW World Championship at Double or Nothing that he suffered an injury that required surgery.

There was some thought that Punk would relinquish the AEW title, but instead the decision was made to hold a series of matches to determine an interim champ and eventual opponent for Punk.

AEW President Tony Khan announced that on the following episode of Dynamite, the winner of a Battle Royal would face Moxley in the main event. The winner of that match would then face the winner of the New Japan Pro-Wrestling Dominion contest between Tanahashi and Hirooki Goto.

Kyle O'Reilly won the Battle Royal and faced Mox later in the night, but the former AEW world champion prevailed. That was followed by an eight-time IWGP world heavyweight champion in Tanahashi beating Goto at Dominion.

Those results set the stage for arguably the biggest match of the night at Forbidden Door with Moxley and Tanahashi battling for the right to eventually challenge Punk.

Sunday marked the first ever one-on-one match between Moxley and Tanahashi, though they did work together once before as part of a four-way match for the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship at Capital Collision in Washington, D.C., last month.

The match also included Juice Robinson and Will Ospreay, and Robinson won the bout to take the title from Tanahashi.

Originally, Punk was going to face Tanahashi at Forbidden Door, meaning there was some belief Tanahashi could beat Moxley despite not being an AEW wrestler.

Even so, Mox came out on top at Forbidden Door, setting the stage for an eventual, highly anticipated meeting with Punk.

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