After winning the TNT title for the second time in his hometown of Seattle, Darby Allen made it clear that he would continue his open-door policy to the challengers who made his first reign so interesting.
So far, that has led to successful defenses against Mike Bennett, and last night (January 13) frenzy against Joss Robinson. Both men are best known for their time in other promotions, but are currently working on signed contracts with Tony Khan. However, he would not be Darby’s next challenger.
But while he’s currently signed to New Japan and has deep roots with New Japan, this guy has also worked for some of the same US-based promotions that Bennett & Robinson worked for. In his announcement about him, Khan referred to Kushida’s history with the other wrestling brand he owns…
TNT Open Challenge Championship@tweet opposite Kushida
TNT Champion Darby Allin will defend his title in an open challenge Wednesday against former ROH World Television Champion Kushida! pic.twitter.com/ZXkY5aApv8
– TonyKhan January 14, 2023
In addition to the ROH TV title, KUSHIDA also won the NXT Cruiserweight Championship during his over two years with WWE. Prior to that, his New Japan resume includes six stints with the IWGP Junior Heavyweight crown – along with every accolade a non-heavyweight could earn.
Kushida a promise to “making the United States my main battleground” in 2023, and between Impact’s Hard to kill PPV last night and that’s a good start. He also has several independent dates for the month of March, incl GCW returns to New York City on the 17th.
This isn’t the only title match added to the Dynamite January 18 card last night, either. Jeff Jarrett’s crew attacking Paul Walter Hauser and stealing his Golden Globe award is the setup for Jay Lethal to challenge Orange Cassidy for the All-Atlantic belt as well.
Here’s everything set for next Wednesday’s show:
• Bryan Danielson vs. The Bandido (Danielson must keep winning to secure his Iron Man match for the AEW World Championship against MJF at revolution on March 5)
• Darby Allen (c) vs. Kushida for the TNT Championship
• Orange Cassidy (c) vs. Jay Lethal for the All-Atlantic Title
• Ricky Starks vs. Jake Hager
• Hangman Page speaks with Renee Paquette
• Young Bucks vs. Top Flight
• Tony Storm vs. Willow Nightingale