The John Report: AEW-NJPW Forbidden Door 2022 Review

aew njpw forbidden door review tjrwrestling 2022

AEW-NJPW Forbidden Door is a show put on by two great wrestling companies with several titles on the line including Jon Moxley facing Hiroshi Tanahashi for the Interim AEW World Championship.

It’s another loaded card with a lot of matches that should take around four hours. I ordered the show on Fite TV here in Canada. I’m happy to support AEW. Check out my past AEW PPV reviews right here on TJRWrestling.

I am not reviewing the BUY-IN PRE-Show matches that aired on Youtube. It’s a long night of writing and I just don’t feel like writing about these matches. Here are the results of those matches with Excalibur, Taz and NJPW’s Kevin Kelly on commentary.

* Bishamon (Hirooki Goto and Yoshi-Hashi) defeated The Factory (QT Marshall and Aaron Solo).

* Lance Archer defeated Nick Comoroto.

* Swerve In Our Glory (Swerve Strickland and Keith Lee) defeated Suzuki-gun (El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru).

Lee got the win for his team. After the match, Ricky Starks and Powerhouse Hobbs did a promo from the skybox section. It was a tag team match challenge for Swerve/Lee.

* Gunn Club (Billy, Austin, and Colten Gunn) and Max Caster (with Anthony Bowens) defeated Yuya Uemura and New Japan LA Dojo (Alex Coughlin, The DKC, and Kevin Knight).

Austin and Colten Gunn left the match because Danhausen played a song calling them the Ass Boys. What a riveting storyline. Caster won with a top rope Mic Drop (elbow drop) for the win in what was essentially a 2-on-4 match.

Let’s go on to the main show.

AEW-NJPW Forbidden Door
From United Center in Chicago, Illinois
June 6, 2022

The commentary team was Excalibur, Taz and Kevin Kelly. That’s the trio that called the pre-show as well. I should point out there’s AEW ring announcer Justin Roberts and the NJPW ring announcer as well.

Chris Jericho and Sammy Guevara entered with Sammy’s fiancée Tay Conti to Jericho’s “Judas” theme song. Their partner Minoru Suzuki was up next with the fans giving him a loud reaction and even singing part of his song. The Chicago crowd was loud as usual.

The babyface team was next with Shota Umino making his AEW debut. They showed a clip when Jericho slapped Shota, who is the son of the red shoes referee, and Jericho gave him the Walls of Jericho as well. That was several years ago. Wheeler Yuta was next as the ROH Pure Champion and Eddie Kingston was last. Eddie got a big reaction from the crowd.

Chris Jericho, Sammy Guevara & Minoru Suzuki vs. Eddie Kingston, Wheeler Yuta & Shota Umino

Yuta started with Jericho with Yuta hitting about six German Suplexes in a row and then a lifting slam for two. Sammy broke up a submission attempt and then it turned into a wild brawl all around the ring. Jericho managed to send Yuta into the steel steps and Sammy sent Eddie into the steps as well. Shota and Suzuki exchanged strikes on the floor. Sammy was booed heavily as he tagged in with a kick to the ribs of Yuta. Kingston into the ring illegally with punches on Sammy. Good exchange of moves with Sammy hitting a dropkick on Yuta. That led to Yuta coming back with a body slam followed by a senton splash. Shota tagged in with a dropkick on Sammy with Kelly saying that Shota is a future main event star in NJPW. Jericho tagged in with hard chops, Shota came back with forearms and stomping on the ribs. Eddie tagged in, he wanted Jericho and Suzuki tagged in, so the fans went crazy for Eddie facing off with Suzuki. Chop by Suzuki, then Eddie fired back, then they did more chops and Eddie sold a bit while Suzuki didn’t sell that much. When Eddie did machine gun chops, Suzuki no sold them and hit a forearm to the face. The fans gave a standing ovation for that exchange. Jericho tagged in for a bit of offense, but Eddie came back with chops for him. Suzuki applied an armbar by the ropes even though Suzuki was not the legal man. Jericho followed up with a single arm takedown on Eddie’s injured right arm. Suzuki back in with a hard kick to Eddie’s chest for a two count. Suki with an octopus submission, Sammy into the ring with a submission on Yuta and Jericho with an abdominal stretch on Shota, but Eddie fell into the ropes to break that hold. Sammy tagged in, he went up top and jumped right into Eddie’s arms, so Eddie hit a belly to belly suplex. Eddie with an STO trip on Sammy.

Shota tagged in against Sammy with forearms, a body slam and a running forearm. Shota with a double sledge that knocked Jericho off the apron. Suzuki into the ring illegally, Shota with a back elbow and dropkick to knock him out of the ring. Shota with a running uppercut followed by Fisherman’s Suplex for two with Jericho breaking up the pin. Shota dropkicked Jericho out of the ring and hit a somersault dive onto Jericho on the floor. Sammy went up top, Shota had to wait for him and Sammy hit a Shooting Star Press onto Shota. Yuta hit a somersault dive onto Sammy. Eddie hit a suicide dive forearm on Sammy. Suzuki teased a dive, but then he stopped himself. Suzuki with a forearm on Shota. Yuta sent Suzuki into the barricade, Yuta got the tag and Yuta jumped off the top with a cross body block on Sammy for two with Jericho breaking up the pin. Yuta with a dropkick on Jericho. Yuta with a bridging pin on Sammy for two. Sammy with a Spanish Fly on Yuta, but Eddie made the blind tag and hit the Backdrop Driver. Eddie wit ha submission on Sammy, but Suzuki broke that up. Eddie with a spinning back fist on Suzuki, Jericho hit a German suplex on Shota, Sammy hit a springboard Cutter on Shota and then Yuta hit a splash off the top on Sammy. The fans were going crazy chanting “AEW” and “this is awesome” as the wrestlers were all down around the ring. Shota tagged in, Sammy with a jumping knee. Jericho wanted the Walls of Jericho, Shota fought out of that and Jericho hit the Codebreaker for two. Jericho went up top for nothing, Shota met up there and Shota gave Jericho a powerslam off the middle rope for two as Suzuki and Sammy made the save. Sammy hit a low blow on Yuta on the floor and a GTH knee to the face. Jericho went for a Lionsault on Shota, but Eddie punched Jericho and Shota covered Jericho for two. Shota ran the ropes, Sammy hit Shota with Floyd the bat to the back (the referee didn’t see it) and Shota was able to come back with a Tornado DDT. Shota hit a brainbuster for a two count. Suzuki was on the floor wrenching on Kingston’s arm. Shota applied the Walls of Jericho on Jericho in the ring, but Kingston superkicked Shota twice. Suzuki with a headbutt on Shota. Suzuki with a Gotch Style Piledriver on Kingston. The three guys on the heel side were in the ring against Shota, who managed to punch Sammy and Suzuki out of the ring, but Jericho capitalized with a Judas Effect elbow on Shota for the pinfall win at 19:01.

Winners by pinfall: Chris Jericho, Sammy Guevara & Minoru Suzuki

Analysis: **** This was an excellent tag team match. I was very entertained by it. I admit that I didn’t know much about Shota before the match, but he’s really talented and got a lot of time to shine in the match. The stuff with Kingston-Suzuki was really fun to watch just because of how hard they were smacking eachother. I expected Jericho’s team to win because I assume they will lose at Blood & Guts, so winning here and losing there makes sense as the result.

The win means that Jericho’s team has the advantage in the Blood & Guts match on Dynamite this Wednesday.

There was a video package that aired about the triple threat tag team match featuring three teams.

The introductions took place for the tag team triple threat match. ROH ring announcer Bobby Cruise did the announcement and Caprice Coleman from ROH called the action. Roppongi Vice were up first, then United Empire’s Jeff Cobb & Great O-Khan and FTR were last as the most popular team in the match.

For the IWGP Tag Team Titles and ROH Tag Team Titles: FTR (Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler) (ROH) vs. United Empire (Great-O-Khan and Jeff Cobb) (IWGP) vs. Roppongi Vice (Trent Beretta and Rocky Romero)

The first team to win by pinfall or submission will become the ROH and IWGP Tag Team Champions. Two guys are legal while the other four guys are supposed to be on the apron.

Harwood started with Trent as they exchanged some holds with some takedowns. Cobb tagged in against Harwood for a bit, but then Rocky tagged himself in and Harwood knocked Rocky down with an elbow smash. Wheeler with a drop toe hold and Harwood tagged in with an elbow drop, but Dax also favored his left shoulder. The AEW ringside doctor named Dr. Sampson checked on Harwood at ringside. Rocky hit a hurricanrana on Wheeler and knocked him out of the ring. Harwood was taken to the back by the doctor. O-Khan worked over Wheeler in their corner. O-Khan trapped Wheeler against the turnbuckle and even sat on his head against the turnbuckle. Cobb was back in with a clothesline and then he stood on Wheeler’s back. Cobb sent Wheeler into the turnbuckle followed by a spinning slam. O-Khan was back in with a body slam. Wheeler with a headbutt on O-Khan and brought in Trent because Wheeler didn’t have a partner to tag in. Trent with a half-n-half suplex on O-Khan, then a corner splash and a swinging DDT. Cobb into the match illegally with a suplex. Rocky into the match illegally with a diving hurricanrana and there was brawling on the floor. O-Khan with a claw slam on Romero on the apron. Rocky with a jumping knee on Cobb and Trent with a Spear on O-Khan. Back in the ring, Rocky hit a springboard leg drop and Trent with a running knee for two. I think they went two minutes without a tag. Wheeler tagged in with chops/strikes, but then O-Khan hit an elbow drop to Wheeler into the mat. O-Khan shoved Rocky out of the ring. The crowd came alive as Harwood made his way back to ringside with his left shoulder all taped up. Wheeler avoided the double team attack as Harwood tagged in with right-handed punches while his left arm was taped up. Harwood punched O-Khan, then a clothesline that had no effect and a harder clothesline by Harwood knocked O-Khan down. Harwood hit three straight German Suplexes on Cobb, but then Cobb drove Harwood into the turnbuckle. Harwood and Trent gave Cobb a double superplex while Wheeler tagged in and hit a Superfly Splash for a two count. O-Khan threw Trent down and kicked Harwood out of the ring. Rocky wrenched on O-Khan’s arm, then Wheeler picked up O’Khan and Rocky tagged in with a spike piledriver. Rocky with a jumping neckbreaker on Wheeler. Vice each hit knee strikes on Cobb. Cobb hit a Powerbomb on Trent in the ring. O-Khan with a flatliner on Harwood, then a knockdown on Wheeler, who rolled out of the ring. Cobb with a clothesline and a standing moonsault. O-Khan with a lifting slam on Trent and Cobb hit a German Suplex for a two count. Rocky with a blind tag, he saved Trent and Rocky hit a suicide dive onto two guys on the floor. Trent picked up Cobb and Rocky jumped off the ropes with a double foot stomp for a double Strong Zero for a two count because Wheeler broke up the pin. Harwood tagged himself in with Rocky getting a bridging pin for two. Rocky got an inside cradle for two. Rocky with a kick to the arm, then a spinning kick to the head and when Rocky ran the ropes, Harwood lifted him into Wheeler for the Big Rig double team move for the pinfall win at 16:25. Big pop for the title change.

Winners by pinfall AND ROH & IWGP Tag Team Champions: FTR (Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler)

Analysis: ***1/2 A very good tag team match. Harwood showed a lot of heart getting the shoulder injury and coming back from it. It seemed like a legit injury. I hope it’s not too serious. I liked the finish of the match a lot because it was Harwood battling Romero and I didn’t really think about Wheeler, but there he was for the double team Big Rig ending. They had some good nearfalls throughout the match. I think FTR leaving with two sets of tag team titles was the right call.

There was a backstage interview with IWGP World Champion Jay White and Juice Robinson, who had the IWGP United States Championship even though he wasn’t the champion. Jay said that he will beat Adam Cole, Adam Page and Kazuchika Okada in the same night and at the same time. Jay said it’s the Switchblade Era and that is too sweet.

Analysis: A basic promo here. It was fine, but nothing special. Robinson is married to Toni Storm, who is in a match later in the show.

The AEW All-Atlantic Championship match was up first with Clark Connors up first. No reaction for him. Malakai got his darkened entrance with the lights going off for most of it. Miro was up next as The Redeemer and he got a big reaction. The All-Atlantic Title was at ringside.

For the AEW All-Atlantic Championship: Pac vs. Malakai Black vs. Miro vs. Clark Connors

All four guys are legal in the match with the first pin or submission winning the match.

Miro worked over Connors in the ring with a body slam while the announcers noted that Connors had by far the least amount of experience as anybody in this match. Connors knocked Miro out of the ring with a dropkick and he wanted more, but Miro gave Connors a body slam on the floor. Pac went up top, Black jumped up to kick him in the face and Pac wanted a sunset flip, but Black landed on his face and hit a sliding knee strike. Miro back in with an uppercut that knocked Black down. Black hit a springboard moonsault on Miro. Connors charged, Black with a knee strike and kneebar submission, but Miro pulled Connors’ hair to break up the submission. Miro sent Connors into the barricade. Miro with a back splash on Black, Pac with a kick to Miro and Miro caught Pac with a fallaway slam across the ring. Connors went after Miro with forearms, but Miro caught him and hit a spinning slam. Miro with a hard whip sending Connors into the turnbuckle. Miro with a short clothesline. Miro with a hard lariat to knock Connors down. Miro with a gutwrench slam on Connors for two. Black stomped on Pac, then Miro joined in and Black didn’t like Miro pushing him out of the way. Miro and Black disagreed about strategy, so they got into it by exchanging punches and Miro hit an uppercut punch to the chest. Miro ran the ropes, Pac was ready with a shoulder tackle to the ribs and Miro hit a Samoan Drop on Pac for two. Miro went for a running kick, but Pac stopped him with a kick to the face. Pac dumped Connors over the top to the floor. Pac hit a twisting dive over the top onto Black on the floor. Pac went up top, he jumped off the top and hit a shotgun dropkick. Pac with a German Suplex on Black, then Black with a jumping knee, Connors with a German Suplex on Black, Miro with a clothesline and Black with a knee on Miro for just a one count.

Black grabbed a table from under the ring and he set it up against the barricade. Black tried sending Miro into the table, but Miro blocked it. Miro sent Black into the steel steps. Pac jumped over the top, Miro caught him and Pac broke free to send Miro into the ring post. Black with a shot to Miro and then Connors tackled Miro into the table that was against the barricade. Connors was on fire in the ring with clotheslines followed by a powerslam. Pac with kicks on Connors, but Connors hit a Spear. Connors hit the Trophy Kill lifting slam for a two count. The fans chanted “Let’s go Clark” for Connors, who tossed Black out of the ring. Pac landed on his feet during a move and hit a superkick. Pac went up top, but Black was there to trip him up to crotch Connor on there. They did a Tower of Doom spot out of the corner with Miro doing the Powerbomb. Miro tossed Connors and Black out of the ring. Miro hit a running superkick on Pac. Miro with the spine stomp followed by the Game Over submission. Pac was fighting it, so Miro let go and applied the Game Over submission again. Black into the ring with the black mist on Miro’s face to send him out of the ring. Black and Connors were fighting over an armbar, so Pac went up top and hit a 450 Splash on Black. Pac applied the Brutalizer submission on Connors for the submission win at 15:07.

Winner by pinfall AND NEW AEW All-Atlantic Champion: Pac

Analysis: **** Another great match on this show with a lot of action and chaos as you would expect. Kudos to Connors for having some time in the match that allowed him to shine a bit. Pac winning the title likely is a reward of sorts for being with AEW since day one and he’s the guy that holds the AEW All-Atlantic title for now. I thought Miro was going to win during his offensive blitz, but Black was there to spit the mist in his face. I thought Black was going to win at that point. So many twists and turns in this match. I have no problem Pac winning. I’ll always be a fan of his.

Tony Schiavone joined commentary at that point, so it was four guys on commentary with Tony doing his usual line about how great everything is. I mean it has been really good, so I guess it’s okay.

It was time for another six-man tag team match. Sting jumped off the top of the entrance onto his three opponents that were standing there. Good leap from the Stinger for a big pop.

Bullet Club (El Phantasmo, Matt Jackson, and Nick Jackson) w/Hikuleo vs. Dudes with Attitudes (Darby Allin, Sting, and Shingo Takagi)

I missed the first five minutes of the match. Sometimes a man needs a bathroom break, so I missed the start. Shingo got the tag with a body slam on Matt, a clothesline on Nick and punches. Shingo with clotheslines on both guys, then he avoided Nick charging, Matt bumped to the floor and Shingo hit an elbow to Nick. Shingo with a snap suplex for two. Nick hit a corkscrew kick to the head, but Shingo picked him up with a Death Valley Driver. Sting tagged in with punches on both Bucks, Phantasmo with a double ax to the back, Sting no sold it, Phantasmo grabbed the nipples and Sting hit a Stinger Splash. Sting avoided a charging Nick and hit a Stinger Splash on both Bucks. Hikuleo distracted the referee, so Phantasmo punched Sting in the groin. All six guys got in the ring, the Bucks hit a double superkick on Allin and Shingo, but when they did it to Sting, he no-sold it. The fans cheered loudly at Sting no selling. Allin tagged in, he jumped off the top with a Coffin Drop, but Matt got the knees up. Bucks hit a More Bang for Your Buck combo, then Phantasmo with a top rope splash and that got two because it was broken up. The Bucks hit dives onto Shingo and Allin on the floor. Sting ran the ropes teasing a dive (never going to happen) and the Bucks/Phantasmo hit a triple superkick. Sting avoided a BTE Trigger, so the Bucks hit their knees. Sting with a double Scorpion Deathdrop on the Bucks, Phantasmo celebrated in the ring thinking it was by his guys, so Sting grabbed Phantasmo’s nipples. Sting kicked Phantasmo in the groin while the referee was distracted. Allin hit a Coffin Drop on Hikuleo on the floor. Shingo with forearms on Phantasmo, then the running lariat and that was good for two. Great sell by Phantasmo with a flip bump. Shingo hit the Last of the Dragon slam off the shoulders for the pinfall win at 12:57.

Winners by pinfall: Dudes with Attitudes (Darby Allin, Sting, and Shingo Takagi)

Analysis: ***1/2 A solid tag team match here. I’m a bit surprised that Sting wasn’t the guy to get the win, but putting over Shingo is cool. The Young Bucks really didn’t get to show off and do some of their usual big moves that you see them do in regular matches. Phantasmo had some decent moments while the nipple pulling with Sting drew some laughs. Allin was mostly selling early on and then his teammates did most of the offense.

A video aired promoting the Wednesday, September 21 episode of Dynamite for Dynamite and Rampage Grand Slam at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens, New York. That was a big event last year, so it’s smart to go back there again.

Shota Umino was interviewed by Tony Schiavone, but Chris Jericho interrupted along with Angelo Parker and Matt Menard. Angelo and Matt said they respected him, but when Umino turned to Jericho, Chris threw a fireball in Umino’s face. Jericho’s a wizard!

The lone women’s match was next with Toni Storm as the challenger followed by AEW Women’s Champion Thunder Rosa.

AEW Women’s Championship: Thunder Rosa vs. Toni Storm

Rosa had some skull facepaint on the right side of her face. They shook hands before the match since they are both faces. They spent a few minutes doing some mat wrestling, counters and getting some nearfalls along the way. Storm got some momentum early with a kick to the head followed by a snap suplex. Rosa countered a suplex into an inside cradle. Rosa with a hard slap, Storm came back with a forearm and they exchanged strikes. Rosa hit a leaping Stunner that was more like a neckbreaker. Rosa with a running knee attack in the corner followed by a dropkick while Storm was against the ropes. Rosa with a Northern Lights Suplex for a two count. Rosa got a roll through pin for two followed by a double foot stomp for two. Storm tossed Rosa out of the ring, Storm wanted a DDT on the floor, but Rosa countered her with a Northern Lights Suplex on the floor. Rosa on the apron, Storm with a shoulder tackle to knock Rosa down and they battled on the apron with Storm hitting a German Suplex on the apron. Storm jumped off the apron with a DDT on the floor. Storm hit the running hip attack in the corner and another Tornado DDT for a two count. Ros got back into it with double knees to the face followed by the Death Valley Driver. Rosa hit the Fire Thunder Driver for just two. That is Rosa’s finisher, but Storm kicked out, so Rosa was shocked by it. Rosa with kicks, Storm blocked a kick and Storm hit a German Suplex. Rosa with an arm-wring to take Storm down and Rosa hit the Final Reckoning for the pinfall win at 10:39.

Winner by pinfall: Thunder Rosa

Analysis: **3/4 It was a slightly above-average match with Rosa dominating most of the match. I thought they should have given Storm more offense. They could have had Storm do more to make it look like she might win. Excalibur noted that the finisher was a Dustin Rhodes move since Dustin is Rosa’s mentor. I picked Rosa to win, but her title reign hasn’t been that interesting and if Storm won then I would have been okay with that.

Post match, Rosa shook hands with Storm, who was holding her left arm.

A video package aired for Will Ospreay’s match against Orange Cassidy.

Jim Ross joined commentary. It was about halfway through the show at this point. Kevin Kelly and Taz both noted that JR was their old boss. That meant it was Excalibur, Taz, Kelly and Ross on commentary.

Orange Cassidy was up first to a pretty good reaction from the crowd doing his lazy guy schtick as usual. Will Ospreay was up next as the IWGP United States Champion that doesn’t have possession of that title. Will was wearing the Revolution Pro Title around his waist.

IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship: Will Ospreay vs. Orange Cassidy

Cassidy did his pockets gimmick as he avoided moves by Will. Orange with a headscissors that sent Will out of the ring while mocking Will’s pose in the ring. Back in the ring, Will hit a running kick. They showed some Bullet Club guys watching in a skybox with Juice Robinson holding the US Title that’s on the line in this match. Orange was on the floor by the barricade, Will ran around the ring and hit a dropkick. Will was in control with a hard whip into the turnbuckle. Will hit a spinning backbreaker after spinning around several times. Will with another hard whip into the turnbuckle. Will with an abdominal stretch, then he put his hand in the pocket and pulled the finger out to give the middle finger to the crowd. That was funny. Orange broke free, he sent Will into the turnbuckle and a cross body block off the top. Will with a spinning slam followed by a handspring kick to the head. Will jumped off the top with a diving elbow to the back of the head for two. Orange collapsed to the mat to avoid the forearm attack. Will with repeated Kawada kicks to the head. Orange back up, he put his hands in his pockets like a dumbass and hit a dropkick on running Will. Both guys were down. Orange did comedy kicks, Will back up with a chop, Orange with a superkick and a kick barrage of his own. Will went for an Oscutter off the ropes, but Orange avoided it and got a two count. Orange hit a Stundog Millionaire and a Michinoku Driver for two. Orange hit an impressive jumping DDT off the ropes, then Will to the floor and Orange hit a suicide dive on the floor. Orange hit a dive on the Aussie Open guys Davis and Fletcher on the floor.

Back in the ring, Orange jumped off the top with a spike DDT for a two count. There was a charge by Orange, but Will countered it with a Spanish Fly slam. Will with a superkick while Orange was against the turnbuckle. Orange sent Will into the camera that was on top of the ring post. Good camera shot on that because it busted the camera that was on the ring post. Orange was down on the mat pretending like he was hurting, Will had no idea, then he hit a Shooting Star Press a and when Will went for a move, Orange got the knees up to block for a two count. They each went for moves, Orange hit the Beach Break for a two count. That was really close to a three count. The fans thought this was it. Orange charged, Will with a Cutter and Will jumped off the ropes with the Oscutter for a two count. Great nearfall. Will wanted a Stormbreaker, but Orange countered it into sunset flip Powerbomb for two. Will hit the running forearm Hidden Blade to the back for two. Great nearfall again! Will hit the Stormbreaker for the pinfall win at 16:49.

Winner by pinfall: Will Ospreay

Analysis: ****1/4 This was an awesome match. It was very even most of the way with both guys looking like they had a legit shot to win. Will hit Orange with everything, but Orange kept kicking out. When Orange countered that Stormbreaker into a sunset flip Powerbomb for two that was as good of a nearfall as you’re going to see. This was just a lot of fun to watch. I think it was refreshing after all the multi-man and tag team matches so far. Ospreay is awesome and Orange impressed me a lot, so kudos to both guys.

After the match, Ospreay and Aussie Open beat up Cassidy some more. Trent Beretta and Rocky Romero tried to make the save, but they were beaten up easily. Katsuyori Shibata entered to a huge pop with the fans clearly knowing who he is. Shibata knocked down Ospreay and then hit a corner dropkick. Shibata was going for a choke hold, but Ospreay got out of it and left with Aussie Open. After the heels left, Shibata had a staredown with Orange and Orange put his sunglasses on Shibata. Good pop for that.

Analysis: That was fun. The crowd clearly knew who Shibata was and loved seeing him there. I know Shibata has been through a lot with injuries in his career, so it’s cool to see him out there again. They obviously set up a Shibata/Ospreay match.

A video aired about Bryan Danielson not able to compete against Zack Sabre Jr., so Bryan has found the one person that he trusts to take his place at Forbidden Door.

Zack Sabre Jr. was up first. Claudio Castagnoli (former Cesaro) was up next to a huge ovation by the crowd. They know how good he is and he’s one of my favorite wrestlers in the world, so I’m glad to see him in AEW.

Analysis: I’m happy to see Claudio in AEW. He was a free agent after letting his WWE deal expire and I think he’s going to be a great fit in AEW. I should point out also that Claudio is a member of the AEW roster and the Blackpool Combat Club already.

Claudio Castagnoli vs. Zack Sabre Jr.

Claudio with a running forearm and the Neutralizer for the two count. They left the ring with Claudio getting some forearms. Back in the ring, Claudio hit a delayed vertical suplex. Claudio went for a kick, Sabre avoided it and wrenched on the leg against the ropes. Sabre wrenched on the left knee some more. Sabre worked over Claudio’s right arm a bit followed by Sabre using his knees to twist on Claudio’s neck. Sabre pulled back on the arms, then he turned it into an ankle lock on Claudio and Sabre hit two uppercuts. Claudio came back with a backbreaker two times in a row followed by a running uppercut for a two count. Claudio went for a power move, but Sabre countered again with an armbar on the right arm. They left the ring with Sabre still holding onto Claudio’s right arm and Claudio walked the steps with Sabre on his right arm. Claudio slammed Sabre into the ring. Claudio wanted the swing, but Sabre countered it into a guillotine choke. Claudio managed to slam Sabre onto the top turnbuckle. Sabre wrenched on the arm of Claudio again, but Claudio was back up with a running uppercut. Claudio with a gutwrench suplex off the middle rope for a two count. Claudio with an uppercut that knocked Sabre down. Claudio wanted a swing again, but Sabre crawled to the ropes. Claudio with two hard uppercuts, Sabre avoided a third, Claudio hit the turnbuckle and Claudio came back with an uppercut for two. Claudio with a Giant Swing with about five revolutions, but then he stopped because his right arm was sore. Sabre kicked Claudio’s shoulder to block a Sharpshooter at first and then Sabre applied a heel hook submission on the right leg. Sabre grounded Claudio with the heel hook submission on the mat. Claudio managed to counter it into a Sharpshooter, but Sabre got out of it quickly. Claudio hit a double stomp to the chest for two. Sabre with an uppercut, so Claudio came back with his own uppercut that rocked Sabre into the ropes. Claudio with two more uppercuts, then Sabre with a kick to the arm. Claudio went for a power move, but Sabre jumped on the back with a choke submission move. Sabre got a takedown while pulling on the arms, but Claudio got his feet on the ropes to break up the submission. Sabre worked over Claudio with a barrage of kicks to the chest, Claudio blocked and hit a kick followed by a clothesline for two. Sabre held the arms for a pin attempt for two. Claudio with an elevated uppercut and a discus lariat for his buddy Brodie. Claudio with a Powerbomb (Ricola Bomb) for the pinfall win at 18:39.

Winner by pinfall: Claudio Castagnoli

Analysis: ***3/4 It was great to see Claudio in an AEW ring. It was a hard-hitting, submission style match with Sabre applying a lot of different moves to the limbs of Claudio, who kept on coming back with power moves. I thought maybe it went a bit long because I wanted Claudio to put him away earlier, but it’s not like it was a bad match or anything like that. In the end, Claudio used his power to beat the smaller guy and he should have won in his first match.

Claudio Castagnoli is part of the Blackpool Combat Club in a 6-on-6 Blood & Guts match on Dynamite this Wednesday. JR said that Claudio was a pro wrestler and not a sports entertainer. Yes Jim, we know where you work now. They’re all wrestlers/entertainers.

The video package aired for the Fatal 4-Way IWGP Heavyweight Title match.

It was time for the IWGP Championship match. Adam Cole was up first with the fans popping for the Bay-Bay thing as usual. “Hangman” Adam Page got a huge pop. Kazuchika Okada got a big ovation as one of the biggest stars in the world and my favorite NJPW guy. Jay White was up next as the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion with Gedo joining him at ringside. They stood in the ring for the championship introductions.

IWGP World Heavyweight Championship: Jay White vs. Adam Cole vs. Kazuchika Okada vs. “Hangman” Adam Page

The first pinfall or submission wins the match. There are no countouts and no disqualifications in a match like this. White was the leader of Bullet Club while Cole used to be in the group, so they were aligned going into the match.

White left the ring and Cole left the ring too, so Okada/Page touched knuckles to start the match. Cole pulled Page out of the ring and White tried to go after Okada, but Okada kicked White in the face. Okada and Page elbowed White out of the ring. Page hit a suicide dive onto Cole on the floor. White countered a slam on the floor and While suplexed Okada on the ring apron. Page went after Cole on the ramp, so White hit Cole in the back. Cole and White gave Page a delayed vertical suplex on the ramp. Cole and White worked together against Okada in the ring with Cole hitting a neckbreaker. White chopped Okada in the chest a few times. Page got back into it to send White into the steel steps. Cole punched Page down. Okada went after Cole, but White was back in to help Cole stomp on Okada a bit. Page with a springboard clothesline on White, a fallaway slam on Cole, a dive onto White on the floor and Hangman went up top with a clothesline on Cole for a two count. Page worked over Cole with chops, Cole with a back elbow to White and Page went for a moonsault, but Cole hit a superkick to Page’s head. Okada was back in the ring to fight Cole with a forearm and a flatliner. Okada set up Cole on the top rope leading to a standing dropkick that knocked Cole off the turnbuckle to the floor. Okada sent White into the barricade and Okada kicked him over the barricade. Okada threw Cole over the barricade as well. Okada hit a diving cross body block over the barricade onto White and Cole in the crowd.

They were back in the ring with Okada applying a chokehold on Cole, but White was back in with a quick belly to back suplex onto Okada’s head. Page was back in punches/chops to White, but White hit a flatliner. Page countered White leading to a jackknife cover and Cole was there with a superkick on Page to break up the pin. Cole and White did the “too sweet” hand gesture, then Cole did a Backstabber and a suplex onto the knee for a two count. White avoided a running knee by Cole and he hit a uranage slam for two. White with a hard chop to the chest, but then White hit a sleeper suplex on Cole and on Okada as well. White with a sleeper suplex on Page as well. Cole knocked down White, Okada with a dropkick on Cole and Page hit a discus lariat on Okada leading to all four guys down on the mat. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for them. They got back up leading to the wrestlers exchanging strikes, then White and Cole did eye gouges. Page hit a running kick on Okada, Page with a forearm on Cole and Page hit a sitout Powerbomb on White for two. Cole held onto Page to prevent a move, so Page went up top and hit a moonsault onto Cole/Okada on the floor. Gedo grabbed Page’s foot, JR pointed out that the referee was looking right at it (no DQ here, Jim) and Page exchanged moves with White. Page hit the Deadeye move followed by a Buckshot Lariat for two because Okada broke up the pin. Page and Okada exchanged forearms, Page avoided a dropkick and a release German Suplex. Page with a discus lariat on Okada. Cole pulled Page out of the ring leading to a whip into the ring post. Cole back in with a kick, but Okada blocked a move and hit a backbreaker onto the knee. Okada with a body slam. Okada jumped off the top with an elbow smash. Page into the ring, Cole with superkicks on Page and Okada. Cole with a superkick on Okada for a two count. Cole ran the ropes leading to Okada hitting an impressive dropkick. Cole avoided the clothesline, then he kicked him in the head and another kick to the head. Cole superkicked Page off the apron. Okada with a dropkick. Okada with a sitout powerslam on Cole. White back into the ring for a Bladerunner on Okada and White covered Cole for the pinfall win at 21:07. It looked like Cole kicked out or tried to kick out, but he failed to do it in time.

Winner by pinfall: Jay White

Analysis: **** It was an entertaining match as expected with so many talented guys involved. My favorite parts involved Okada and Page, which were nice teases of what can happen if they have a singles match. Something was clearly wrong with the finish because Cole looked like he was concussed or something to that effect (maybe a shoulder/arm injury), so they decided to just have White pin him. I said in the preview I thought White would pin Cole in the match since Okada and Page are more protected. Anyway, I still enjoyed it a lot although White isn’t that impressive to me compared to Okada and Page. I think White is good. I just don’t think he’s as great as those other two guys.

After the match, White celebrated with the IWGP Title. Cole was being checked on by the medical team so there might be a legit injury there or it’s just a worked injury. They showed replays while Excalibur said that Cole left on his own power.

Analysis: I hope Cole is okay. He came into the match with kinesio tape on his upper body, so he was clearly hurting to some degree.

A brief video aired for the Interim AEW World Championship match with Jon Moxley proclaiming that he was the Forbidden Door.

Jon Moxley was shown walking backstage with his mentor William Regal walking by his side. Moxley got a big ovation from the crowd as he walked in from the back part of the arena and the fans touched him on his way to the ring. Hiroshi Tanahashi got a good reaction from the crowd, but not nearly as loud as Moxley. I also think Okada got a bigger pop too, but the fans still liked Tanahashi a lot. They got the in-ring championship introductions.

For the Interim AEW World Championship: Jon Moxley vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi

It was even early on as they exchanged strikes and Tanahashi took control with a kick to the left knee. Tanahashi stretched on the left knee on the mat. Moxley with forearms, then a corner clothesline and Moxley with a double underhook throw off the top rope. Moxley hit a piledriver for a two count. The fans were distracted by something in the crowd, so Moxley grabbed a headlock. Moxley held the arms of Tanahashi followed by some boots to the face. Moxley with a Texas Cloverleaf submission that Tanahashi likes to use. Tanahashi came back with punches, then he ran the ropes and hit a flying elbow strike. Tanahashi with a body slam in the corner followed by a somersault senton off the middle ropes for two. Tanahashi charged, Moxley sent him to the apron and Moxley clotheslined Tanahashi over the top to the floor. Moxley whipped Tanahashi into the barricade. Moxley gave Tanahashi a uranage slam through the timekeeper’s table at ringside. Good placement by Moxley putting him through the middle of the table. The referee Paul Turner took a long time to start counting as he reached a nine count with Tanahashi getting back into the ring. Tanahashi caught a Moxley kick attempt, but Moxley turned it into an armbar. Tanahashi managed to get a hold of Moxley’s arms with Tanahashi stomping Moxley in the face repeatedly. Tanahashi with a Slingblade neckbreaker leading to Moxley bailing to the floor. Moxley did a bladejob or at least did something to cause a lot of blood to pour out of his head. Tanahashi jumped off the top with a cross body block onto a standing Moxley on the floor. The announcers tried to say that Moxley was busted open after the stomps to the head. Good cover by the announcers, but I think they could have done a better spot to start the blood.

They were back into the ring with Moxley going or a Paradigm Shift, but Tanahashi got a snap neckbreaker. Moxley with a German Suplex followed by a Paradigm Shift of sorts for a two count. Moxley with elbows to the head, Tanahashi with a headbutt and a knee strike to the head. Tanahashi went up top, he jumped off and hit a cross body block onto a standing Moxley. Tanahashi went up top and hit a High Fly Flow splash for a two count. Moxley turned the momentum into a counter with the Bulldog Choke submission. Tanahashi came back with a pin attempt for two. Moxley went for a submission, Tanahashi pushed off the turnbuckle and got a two count. Tanahashi with slaps to the face, then Tanahashi bounced off the ropes and Moxley hit a king kong lariat for just a one count. Moxley was shocked by that. Moxley elbowed Tanahashi repeatedly, Moxley applied a rear naked choke on the mat, but Tanahashi fought back with fans chanting “Go Ace” for Tanahashi. Moxley let go of the choke submission and hit the Death Rider (Paradigm Shift) for the pinfall win at 18:21.

Winner by pinfall and NEW Interim AEW World Champion: Jon Moxley

Analysis: ****1/4 It was an excellent match for the AEW World Title. I thought it was worthy of being in the main event spot with Tanahashi hitting all of his big moves and Moxley doing the same thing. I thought the blood spot could have been set up better. They should have done something like Tanahashi sending Moxley into the ring post leading to the blood instead of the stomps to the face because it just looked too silly. It’s not a major complaint by me because it was an enjoyable match. I think Moxley winning was obviously the right call since he’s a top guy in AEW and we don’t know when Tanahashi is going to be in an AEW ring again. They could have done a swerve by having Tanahashi win, but I think it was the right move with Moxley winning the title. At some point, we’ll probably get Moxley vs. CM Punk and that’s going to be fun to watch.

Jon Moxley celebrated with the Interim AEW World Title.

Moxley paid respect to Tanahashi by pointing at him and wanting a handshake, but Chris Jericho and Daniel Garcia ran out to the ring to attack Moxley and Tanahashi. Eddie Kingston ran out to the ring to save his buddy Moxley, but Jericho and Garcia managed to overwhelm Kingston. There were more guys from the Blood & Guts match that went down to the ring including Santana, Ortiz and Wheeler Yuta. The rest of the Jericho Appreciation Society ran out there to help Jericho as well. They played Claudio Castagnoli’s music and he got into a brawl with Jericho in the ring. Claudio cleaned house with running uppercuts on all of the heels, who bailed to the floor. William Regal smirked as he walked out to ringside. Claudio gave Angelo Parker the big Swing in the middle of the ring. The fans loved it. The heels retreated while Claudio checked on Moxley in the ring. Moxley was happy to have Claudio on his side. Kingston was yelling at Claudio even though they were on the same team and Moxley was trying to talk to Kingston about it, but Kingston was yelling. Anyway, the Blackpool Combat Club guys were celebrating in the ring as the announcers signed off. That was the end of the show.

Analysis: It was a smart move to spend a few minutes at the end of the show to promote Blood & Guts. The crowd wasn’t into the brawling that much, but when Claudio hit the forearms on everybody it did lead to a strong reaction.

AEW-NJPW Forbidden Door had a runtime of 3 hours, 47 minutes for the main show.

Five Stars of the Show

  1. Jon Moxley
  2. Will Ospreay
  3. Hiroshi Tanahashi
  4. Claudio Castagnoli
  5. FTR

Final Thoughts

It gets an 8.5 out of 10 from me. For comparison sake, I rated Revolution in March at 8.75/10 and Double or Nothing in May at 8.5/10. My reviews of every AEW PPV are available at this page listing all my AEW PPV reviews in the order that they have taken place.

A lot of great matches on this show. It’s tough to really rate them. I liked so many of them, but then I look at the ratings I gave them and I might adjust a few of them just because it’s so hard writing about matches live while also picking apart little things. I think Moxley/Tanahashi was my favorite even though it was a predictable finish. It was an entertaining and very good main event match. The Ospreay/Cassidy match was tremendous as well. It’s hard to remember everything else that happened because it’s a long night of wrestling. I don’t think there was a match of the year contender on the show like most AEW PPVs have. Lots of great matches, though.

The crowd was very good, so obviously Chicago was a smart choice to host this event. I was glad to see Claudio there and I think he’ll fit in well in AEW.

I think the fans that love NJPW are going to like this more than fans that don’t watch NJPW regularly, but for the most part, it was fitting for an AEW show. It’s about the great matches, not really about the big angles and focusing on the talent in the ring.


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Twitter: @johnreport