Alex Shelley Offers Impact World Title Opportunity To His 'Senpai,' Hiroshi Tanahashi

Impact Wrestling announced on Wednesday that Alex Shelley has challenged Hiroshi Tanahashi to an Impact World Championship match at Multiverse United 2: For Whom The Bell Tolls on Sunday, August 20.

Shelley stated, "You were a big senpai to me for years when I was in New Japan Pro-Wrestling, and I looked up to you because you're the ace. Well guess what? I'm the joker. Come August 20 at the world-famous 2300 Arena, go ahead, challenge for this [the world title]. I'm gonna show you why now I'm the best in the world."

Shelley teamed with KUSHIDA and Tanahashi on a number of occasions during his time in NJPW from 2013 through 2015. But thus far, Shelley and Tanahashi have never faced each other in singles competition.

Tanahashi worked the first Multiverse United event in March and defeated "Speedball" Mike Bailey in a highly-touted dream match. "The Ace" also took part in this year's AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door event when he challenged MJF for the AEW World Championship.

Shelley shocked the world at Impact Against All Odds on June 9 when he defeated Steve Maclin to capture his first Impact World Championship. Since then, Shelley has retained against Maclin and also defeated Nick Aldis in the main event of Impact Slammiversary.

Multiverse United 2 is slated to be Impact's next pay-per-view event. The only other bout officially announced for the inter-promotional card is X-Division Champion Lio Rush and Trey Miguel vs. Mike Bailey and Hiromu Takahashi. Reigning IWGP World Champion SANADA is being advertised for Impact Emergence on August 27.