Jon Moxley is once again the AEW World Champion, only this time it's of the interim variety.
Moxley defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi for the interim belt in the main event of Sunday's AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door pay-per-view in front of a sold-out United Center in Chicago, Illinois.
Moxley stuck to his usual game plan of brawling, even putting the Japanese wrestling icon through a table outside the ring with a uranage. Tanahashi was game, taking the abuse and firing up when Moxley was delivering kicks to his chest.
After Tanahashi hit a sling blade, Moxley rolled to the outside and came up bleeding badly from his head. Moxley kept fighting, hitting a Paradigm Shift for a two count followed by his hammer & anvil elbows. Tanahashi hit his Aces High bodypress on Moxley followed by the High Fly Flow, but rolled off in pain temporarily which led to him just getting a two count.
Moxley quickly reversed it into a bulldog choke which Tanahashi worked his way out of. Later, Tanahashi kicked out at one from a King Kong lariat which got the crowd on its feet, but Moxley laid in more hammer & anvil elbows and sunk in a rear naked choke before transitioning to a bulldog choke that looked to be the end.
However, Tanahashi fought out of it again to the crowd's delight. Seconds later, though, Moxley hit a Death Rider to get the pin and win.
After the match, Chris Jericho and Daniel Garcia ran out to attack both men as a preview of Wednesday's Blood & Guts match. Both teams then eventually came out and a brawl ensued. New signee Claudio Castagnoli was the last man out and he took out the Jericho Appreciation Society, ending with a long airplane spin on Angelo Parker.
Moxley qualified for tonight's match with a win over Casino Battle Royale winner Kyle O'Reilly on Dynamite while former IWGP Champion Tanahashi defeated Hirooki Goto to earn his spot.
At some point in the future, Moxley will face undisputed champion CM Punk to unify the titles. Despite the show being in his hometown, Punk didn't make an appearance on the show. He is currently recovering from surgery for what is believed to be a foot or ankle injury suffered at the post-Double or Nothing edition of Dynamite.
The Moxley-Tanahashi match was teased for several months after Moxley called out Tanahashi for May's NJPW Capital Collision. AEW head Tony Khan said he prevented the match from happening several times as he wanted AEW to be involved.
It's Moxley's first AEW gold since he lost the undisputed title to Kenny Omega at the Winter is Coming edition of Dynamite in December 2020.