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Matt Riddle issued a challenge to Hiroshi Tanahashi in his New Japan debut

NJPW Global’s X

Nic Nemeth isn’t the only recently released WWE talent who’lll be working with New Japan Pro-Wrestling in 2024.

One day after the former Dolph Ziggler showed up at NJPW’s biggest event of the year, Matt Riddle appeared for the promotion to challenge one of its biggest-ever stars — and current president — Hiroshi Tanahashi.

In a video that played during Jan. 5’s New Year Dash!! show in Tokyo, the ex-UFC fighter introducing himself as Matthew Riddle. It largely matched up with Riddle’s recently stated desire to show a more serious side of himself than he got to during his WWE run, but still featured a few “Bro”s.

Tanahashi no sold The King of Bros challenge, saying (per New Japan English language commentator Chris Charlton) that he didn’t know who Riddle is and will have to research him. The announce team added that President Ace is certainly aware of the former WWE Tag & United States champion, and was likely playing mind games with someone coming for his newly won NJPW TV title.

No indication yet when Riddle vs. Tanahashi might happen, or reports on the extent of Riddle’s New Japan deal.

His WWE release came after an incident at New York’s JFK Airport which was said to have been the final straw for company officials who’d already dealt with numerous controversies involving and allegations of serious misconduct against Riddle. NJPW — and MLW — have evidently decided the potential rewards of working with the 37 year old outweigh the risks.

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