With CM Punk’s June 3 announcement that he’s injured and needs surgery, it has been decided by AEW management that there will be an interim AEW World Champion crowned at the upcoming June 26 AEW/NJPW Forbidden Door event. A Battle Royal will take place this week on, “AEW Dynamite” and the winner will face Jon Moxley that same night. Meanwhile in NJPW, Hiroshi Tanahashi and Hirooki Goto will compete at NJPW Dominion on June 12. The winning AEW and NJPW talent will go against each other at Forbidden Door to decide the interim champion. And this would be the perfect opportunity to make the AEW World Championship the most legitimate world championship in the industry, via it being held by an NJPW star.
Even if an NJPW star were interim AEW World Champion for only 3 – 5 days, it would be a boost to the championship’s image. Putting the interim AEW World Championship on an NJPW star would garner attention for the Japan-based pro-wrestling media, and perhaps mainstream media outlets as well such as TV Asahi, a minority owner of NJPW.
World Championship Legitimacy
If an NJPW star wins the interim AEW World Championship, defeats CM Punk upon his return to become the lineal AEW World Champion and then returns to Japan and defends it at an NJPW event, it will undisputedly be a true world championship because it will have been defended internationally. Also, having an NJPW star as part of the AEW World Championship lineage would be a positive for the company for years after they eventually drop the championship. Both Hiroshi Tanahashi and Hirooki Goto are top members of the NJPW roster, and in Tanahashi’s case, he is currently associated with a world championship owned by only one company: NJPW. Tanahashi as AEW World Champion would add AEW to that very exclusive list. And in Goto’s case, it would be his first world championship.