The John Report: AEW-NJPW Forbidden Door 2024 Review

AEW Forbidden Door 2024 Review tjrwrestling

It’s AEW-NJPW Forbidden Door with Swerve Strickland facing Will Ospreay for the AEW World Title and many more huge matches.

I had a family event on Sunday, so I made it back home about halfway through the Forbidden Door PPV. I watched this show on Monday morning on Fite/Triller because it has worked very well in the past and the $40 USD price tag is decent enough. Check out my AEW PPV review archive here.

I don’t watch pre-shows because a four-hour main PPV show is long enough for me. Here are the pre-show results.

* Kyle Fletcher defeated Serpentico by pinfall.

* House of Black (Malakai Black and Brody King) defeated Tomohiro Ishii and Kyle O’Reilly, Roderick Strong and Gabriel Kidd (with Gedo, Matt Taven, and Mike Bennett), and Private Party (Zay and Quen) by pinfall.

* Willow Nightingale and Tam Nakano defeated Kris Statlander and Momo Watanabe (with Stokely Hathaway) by pinfall.

* Women’s Owen Hart Cup Tournament Quarterfinals: Mariah May (with “Timeless” Toni Storm and Luther) defeated Saraya (with Harley Cameron) by pinfall.

* The Lucha Brothers (Penta El Zero Miedo and Rey Fénix) and Místico (with Alex Abrahantes) defeated Los Ingobernables de Japon (Yota Tsuji, Titan, and Hiromu Takahashi) by submission.

Let’s get to the main show.

AEW-NJPW Forbidden Door
Sunday, June 30, 2024
From theUBS Arena in Long Island, New York

It’s Sunday and you know what that means. It was Excalibur on commentary with Nigel McGuinness & Taz for the show.

They had AEW ring announcer Justin Roberts and the NJPW ring announcer Takuro Shibata doing the introductions for every match.

Maxwell Jacob Friedman vs. Hechicero

MJF got a huge pop in his hometown and he was wearing a jacket that said “Long Island’s Own” on the back of his jacket. Taz said that MJF was from about 15 minutes from here.

Hechicero went for an armbar right away, but MJF got out of it. MJF did some cheap pop moves like a handshake, a strut and an eye poke. Hechicero grabbed MJF by the tights and tossed him out of the ring. MJF threw Hechicero into the barricades two times in a row. MJF hit a running boot to the head to knock Hechicero over the barricade. Hechicero snapped on MJF’s left arm against the top rope. MJF gave Hechicero a neckbreaker against the top rope. Hechicero countered a move leading to a slingshot splash. Hechicero connected with a backbreaker while locking the arms. Hechicero hit a running knee attack against the turnbuckle along with a double middle finger salute, which drew boos. MJF got some offense going with a couple of clotheslines followed by a piledriver. MJF was selling a left arm injury. Hechicero trapped MJF with an armbar, but MJF got out of that and applied his own submission on the arm. Hechicero went for a submission on the arms again until MJF got his feet on the ropes to break it. They ran the ropes leading to a double clothesline. MJF avoided a running knee attack and MJF did the Babyface 101 moves of the ten slams into the corner along with the ten punches and head biting. MJF hit a Long Island Sunrise that Adam Cole does. MJF hit a brainbuster for the pinfall win at 9:50.

Winner by pinfall: Maxwell Jacob Friedman (MJF)

Analysis: **3/4 An easy win for MJF against a guy that had no chance and everybody knew it. The announcers tried to put over Hechicero as a veteran wrestler with submission skills, but he had no chance here. MJF is technically very good while also knowing how to work the crowd, so his matches are entertaining. The finishing sequence was okay.

They had a video package before the next match. The whole show was like that with a quick video before every match. That’s a good move.

The Elite – The Young Bucks (Matthew & Nicholas Jackson) & Kazuchika Okada vs. The Acclaimed (Max Caster & Anthony Bowens) & Hiroshi Tanahashi

Okada did a cheap shot punch to Tanahashi, so Caster brought in the NJPW President Tanahashi. That led to an Okada-Tanahashi face off while some fans chanted “holy shit” for it, so of course Okada tagged out. That led to boos. Tanahashi hit a cross body block on Nick. Bowens got a pin attempt on Nick for a two count followed by Bowens getting an arm drag. Caster was in the ring giving both Bucks body slams and Okada bailed when Tanahashi confronted him. Bowens hit the Scissor Me Timbers double leg drop on both Bucks while the referee was looking at Okada. Caster clotheslined Nick, Okada made a blind tag and Caster got a boot up to the face. The Elite all kicked Caster at the same time while Okada hit a neckbreaker. Nick put headphones on while Okada acted like a DJ, which was funny. Nick held Caster while Matt ran the ropes repeatedly to kiss his brother on the cheek. Okada hit a running kick on Caster, who remained in the ring as the face in peril. Caster did some head biting (a popular move in AEW) on Nick and Okada tagged in, so Caster hit Caster with a jawbreaker.

Bowens got the tag leading to a Fameasser on Nick and a punch to Okada. Matt sent Bowens into the turnbuckle, took way too long, Bowens avoided it and Nick splashed brother Matt by accident. Bowens superkicked Nick and Bowens did a spinning slam on Matt for two because Nick made the save. The Bucks and Acclaimed did a double clothesline spot to knock them all down. Okada and Tanahashi tagged in at the same time leading to Tanahashi hitting forearm along with a body slam. Tanahashi hit a senton out of the corner for a two count. Tanahashi did a dragon screw leg whip on Okada followed by Tanahashi applying a Sharpshooter, but that led to all six guys going into the ring to hit moves. Bowens hit The Arrival on Okada and Caster hit the Mic Drop elbow on Okada. Both of those moves were illegal offense but…AEW? I guess. Anyway, Tanahashi tried going up top, the Bucks tried to stop him, so that allowed Okada to block a Frog Splash by getting his knees up. The Bucks were illegally in the ring, they superkicked The Acclaimed and Matt superkicked Tanahashi in the back of the head. Nick superkicked Tanahashi as well. The Bucks dove onto The Acclaimed on the floor. Okada gave Tanahashi a body slam. Okada jumped off the top with an elbow drop. Okada did a middle finger salute to the crowd and Tanahashi. Inside cradle by Tanahashi for two. Tanahashi took out both Bucks with leg whips. Okada was back up with a dropkick. Okada hit the Rainmaker clothesline for the pinfall win at 13:01.

Winners by pinfall: The Young Bucks (Matthew & Nicholas Jackson) & Kazuchika Okada

Analysis: *** A solid six-man tag team match, but it wasn’t that special in any way. Guys like Okada and The Young Bucks have had many better PPV matches compared to this. I’m really enjoying Okada as a heel although I must point out that he’s the Continental Champion that hasn’t defended that title at the last two PPVs. Tanahashi is still great although he’s definitely slowing down in his late 40s. We know The Acclaimed are getting a title shot against The Young Bucks and none of them were involved in this finish since it was Okada beating Tanahashi for the win. At some point, AEW needs to try to create a rivalry for Okada because he’s yet to have a meaningful singles feud in AEW.

After the match, Okada wanted to do more to Tanahashi, but Billy Gunn ran out for the save so Okada bailed. The Acclaimed and Gunn helped Tanahashi to the back.

Analysis: I hope The Acclaimed beat The Young Bucks for the AEW Tag Team Titles. I think that will happen at All In. As I noted above, it would be nice if Okada had a meaningful rivalry in AEW.

The video package for the Danielson-Takagi match was about Danielson retiring as a full-time wrestler later this year and wanting to win the Owen Hart Foundation Tournament so he can be AEW World Champion.

Analysis: The weird thing about this story is that Bryan did an interview a few days ago saying he didn’t want to be the AEW World Champion. I like Bryan a lot, but he shouldn’t have said that in an interview. The story should be Bryan WANTING to become AEW World Champion at least once and for him to do that, he had to win the Owen Hart Foundation Tournament to earn the World Title shot at All In. Instead, Bryan is out there saying he shouldn’t be AEW World Champion. This company needs stories. That’s a good story to tell.

Owen Hart Foundation Tournament Quarterfinals: Bryan Danielson vs. Shingo Takagi

It’s a matchup between a former WWE Champion and a former IWGP World Champion. They wrestled over a decade ago, but this is the first time on a big stage. Bryan had kinesio tape on Bryan’s upper back/neck.

Bryan trapped Shingo’s legs leading to a submission, but Shingo got to the ropes to break the hold. Bryan did a surfboard submission while pulling back on the arms. Shingo ran over Bryan with a shoulder tackle. Shingo hit a senton splash onto Bryan. Nigel was complaining about Danielson as usual because that’s what he does. Nigel said Bryan was pathetic since he hasn’t held a title in AEW. Bryan hit a running clothesline. Bryan dropkicked Shingo out of the ring. Bryan went for a suicide dive, Shingo caught him on the floor and Shingo hit a neckbreaker on the floor. The referee called for the doctor to check on Bryan. Good job by Bryan selling on the floor before crawling back in the ring before the ten count. Shingo hit a vertical suplex for two. Shingo overpowered Bryan with a lefty clothesline. Shingo went for a running strike, Bryan avoided it and Bryan kicked Shingo in the head. Bryan hit a snap German Suplex followed by a running dropkick. Bryan went up top, Shingo chopped him few times and Bryan slipped out from the turnbuckle where he tripped up Takagi. Bryan delivered some elbow smashes to the head followed by a belly-to-back suplex off the top rope. Nigel criticized Bryan for doing that move. Bryan worked over Shingo with kicks to the chest, then Shingo blocked a kick and Bryan slapped Shingo in the face. Bryan took down Shingo by the arm leading to a Triangle Sleeper attempt. Shingo lifted Bryan over his head leading to a powerslam. Some fans attempted a “this is awesome” chant, but it didn’t carry well.

Shingo was in control with a running clothesline against the turnbuckle. Shingo went up top leading to a superplex off the top rope. Shingo hit a running lariat on a seated Bryan. Shingo hit a knee to the chest. Bryan went for a move, but Shingo powered out of it and Shingo hit a running clothesline. Bryan sold it great. Shingo hit the Made in Japan powerslam for a two count. Bryan hit Shingo with some forearms and then collapsed to the mat. Shingo hit a running elbow to the head. Shingo hit elbow smashes which is more like gentle triceps attacks to the shoulder. Bryan came back with submission pulling on the left arm. Shingo broke free, Shingo delivered a punch and Shingo headbutted Bryan. Shingo went for a lifting move, Bryan broke free with a kick and Bryan hit a shoulder Capture Suplex. Bryan led the crowd in “YES” chants. Bryan hit the running Busaiko knee for one…two…and no. Great nearfall there. Bryan stomped Shingo’s head repeatedly. Bryan trapped Shingo in a triangle choke followed by elbow strikes to the head. Bryan sat on Shingo’s back while pulling back on the right arm and Shingo passed out in the hold, so Bryan got the submission win. It went 20:03.

Winner by submission: Bryan Danielson

Analysis: ****1/4 It was an excellent match. This was another match on this show that was very easy to predict, but I certainly didn’t mind it. Bryan is so talented, he sells so well and is believable in his comebacks. This was classic Bryan because he got his ass kicked throughout the match, Shingo looked like a badass and Bryan found a way to the win, which is what makes the fans love him. I was impressed by Shingo as a talented veteran who did a great job in his role as a guy that overpowered Bryan throughout the match. The last few minutes were excellent with the nearfalls, the drama and Bryan eventually finding a way to win.

Bryan Danielson moves on to the Owen Hart Foundation Semifinals this Wednesday on AEW Dynamite Beach Break and he will face Pac in that match. That should be an awesome match.

The video package for the AEW Women’s Champion Toni Storm and Mina Shirakawa was about Mariah May being close with both women.

AEW Women’s World Championship: “Timeless” Toni Storm (w/Luther) vs. Mina Shirakawa

Toni Storm was dressed like the Statue of Liberty for her entrance. Mariah May was there to present flowers to the champion and challenger before the match.

Storm hit a shoulder tackle while Mina did some upper body shaking. Mina hit a dropkick to the right knee. Mina stomped on Storm’s knees. Mina worked over Storm’s right knee by ramming it into the ring post. Mina did the ringpost Figure Four Leglock for a few seconds. Mina slammed Storm’s knee into the floor. Storm avoided a charging Mina and hit a backstabber into the knees. Storm hit a bridging suplex for two. They kept showing May at ringside while May was conflicted. Storm gave Mina a hip attack to knock her out of the ring to the floor. Storm tried a hip attack on the floor, Mina moved and Storm hit the steel steps. Mina jumped off the top with a cross body block onto Storm and Luther. Mina hit a running dropkick to the back of the left knee. Storm hit a sitout spinebuster for two. Storm charged, so Mina dropkicked her in the knee. Mina hit a spinning slam that sent Storm face first into the mat. Mina applied the Figure Four Leglock in the middle of the ring. Storm made it to the ropes to force a break. Storm and Mina exchanged forearms. Mina hit a rolling elbow to the jaw. Mina went up top, Storm went after her there. Mina got a hold of Storm on the top leading to a diving DDT off the top. Mina hit a lifting DDT on the mat for a two count. Mina went for a lifting move, Storm avoided it and Storm hit an elbow strike followed by a release German Suplex. Storm hit a running hip attack against the turnbuckle for two. Mina came back by hooking Storm’s arms leading to a pin attempt for two. Mina hit a rolling elbow strike. Mina hit a Glamour Driver for a two count, which is like a lifting reverse suplex. Mina delivered a roundhouse kick to the head. Storm countered a move and hooked the leg for two. Storm headbutted Mina followed by a German Suplex. Storm hit Storm Zero for the pinfall win at 11:40.

Winner by pinfall: “Timeless” Toni Storm

Analysis: ***1/2 This was a very good match. It’s nice to see them get plenty of time. I didn’t expect a title change, but I still enjoyed the match due to both women being entertaining characters. Mina got several nearfalls throughout the match to show she was a worthy challenger. Storm connected with a few big moves to put Mina away. I would have had Mina kick out of the Storm Zero and then Storm hit another Storm Zero to win. Mina did well. I like her personality. It would be cool to see Mina around again in the future.

After the match, Mina offered a handshake and Storm shook her hand. Mina hugged Storm, which made May happy. The fans were happy too. May brought in both ladies close leading to a three-way kiss, which drew a big pop from the crowd. Nigel gave it a standing ovation as well while crying as well. That was funny.

Analysis: I have mentioned several times that I think Mariah May is going to win the Owen Hart Foundation Tournament to get a Women’s Title match at All In. That will mean May beats Storm at All In since the match is in England, which is May’s home country.

Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Will Ospreay

Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Will Ospreay

Zack got a takedown on the mat, spun around Orange’s body and did a light boot to the head. Orange exchanged some moves with Sabre on the mat leading to Orange bailing to the floor. Zack and Orange did some comedy spots while holding hands. Orange tied up Sabre by twisting the leg leading to more comedy. Orange tied up Sabre by the limbs leading to a chinlock. Orange sat on top for a two count. Sabre used his feet to twist Orange’s neck. Sabre decked Orange with an uppercut to the chest. Sabre was twisting on the limbs of Orange for a submission, but Orange managed to get his hand on the bottom rope. Sabre hit Orange with two forearms to the face. Sabre did Orange’s stupid comedy kicks followed by a harder kick to the chest. Orange hit a dropkick to the knee along with a dragon screw leg whip, which led to Sabre leaving the ring and selling the attack. Orange hit a suicide dive on Sabre on the floor followed by another dragon screw leg whip on the floor.

They were back in the ring with Orange going for a cross body block off the top, but Sabre rolled three. Orange did another dragon screw leg whip. Sabre went for dragon sleeper and Orange came back with a Michinoku Driver. Orange jumped off the top leading to a diving DDT for two because Sabre got his left shoulder up. Sabre stomped on Orange right elbow. Sabre did finger snapping leading to “you sick f**k” chants. Orange countered a move going for a pin for two and then Sabre twisted up Orange’s body. Orange got his foot on the bottom rope. Orange applied a Texas Cloverleaf submission on Sabre, but Sabre twisted his way out of that. Sabre applied a wristlock and Orange came back with Beach Break for two. Orange pulled the right elbow pad off and hit an Orange Punch. Sabre fired back with a running kick. Sabre and Orange exchanged pin attempts leading to Orange putting his hands in his pockets for a two count. Orange did another bridging pin attempt for two. Sabre hit Orange with two uppercuts and Orange went for a pin, but Sabre escaped. Sabre pulled back on both of Orange ‘s arms while pulling on Orange’s legs as well. Orange told the ref he gave up. It went 16:20.

Winner by submission: Zack Sabre Jr.

Analysis: ***1/2 A solid match featuring the technical wrestling skills of Sabre while Orange did well with his unorthodox style. Sabre’s style of wrestling isn’t the most exciting to watch, but he does a nice job of building to the finish. The NJPW guys needed to win some matches on this show, so having Sabre win makes sense. Plus, Sabre is from England and could be a part of the All In card in two months. Giving Sabre a win in this spot makes sense.

After the match, Sabre gave Orange his sunglasses and Sabre left.

“The Learning Tree” Chris Jericho, Jeff Cobb & Big Bill (w/Bryan Keith) vs. Samoa Joe, Hook & Katsuyori Shibata

The fans were chanting “please retire” at Jericho, who said he knows the fans don’t really want him to retire. Jericho said he’s from Long Island saying he’s a hometown hero. Taz said that Jericho was a rich kid growing up because his dad played for the New York Rangers. As Taz also said, Jericho moved to Winnipeg when his dad retired. Bill punched Shibata followed by an elbow smash and a boot to the head. Jericho worked over Shibata with chops, but Shibata no sold those. Shibata chopped Jericho several times including a chop to the back. When Jericho tried a cross body block, Shibata and Hook avoided it while Joe laughed because that’s a Joe move. Hook punched Jericho repeatedly, so Jericho tagged. Joe faced off with Cobb leading to the Meat showdown. Joe and Cobb collided with cross body blocks where neither man went down. Joe ran over Cobb with a shoulder tackle. Joe hit a corner splash along with an enziguri kick. Joe ran at Cobb, who hit a spinebuster. Bill worked over Joe with punches. Cobb punched Joe a few times, Joe punched back and Joe did a sweep kick to trip Cobb’s legs. Hook tagged in with a couple of clotheslines. Hook tossed Bill over the top to the floor. Cobb was legal as he chopped Hook and did a suplex into a slam. Jericho choked Hook across the middle rope and said hi to Hook’s dad Taz. Jericho hit a back suplex. Cass worked over Hook with elbow drops. Cobb hit an impressive standing moonsault press on Hook for two. Hook hit a leaping lariat on Cobb. Shibata was back in with a boot to Cobb’s jaw along with a barrage of strikes against the turnbuckle. The three babyfaces all took turns splashing Cobb and Shibata hit a corner dropkick. Joe hit a senton on Cobb leading to Shibata getting a two count. Bill hit an elbow drop on Shibata to break up an armbar attempt. Cobb gave Shibata a fallaway slam. Jericho back in with a missed Lionsault because Shibata got his knees up. Bill knocked Joe off the apron and sent Joe into the barricade. Hook jumped off the top with a double axhandle on Bill on the floor. Keith distracted the referee, so Jericho kicked Shibata in the groin and Jericho applied Walls of Jericho, but Shibata got out of it. Everybody took turns going into the ring and hit big moves. Hook hit an impressive T-Bone on Cobb and then Jericho hit a Codebreaker on Hook for two. Hook, Shibata and Joe were all doing choke holds, but Jericho countered Hook for a two count. Hook hit an overhead suplex on Jericho. Hook hit his own version of a Judas Effect on Jericho for the pinfall. Taz was laughing and clapping on commentary. It went 13:25.

Winners by pinfall: Samoa Joe, Hook & Katsuyori Shibata

Analysis: *** The match was good at times, but I think it says a lot that the crowd was dead for a lot of it. I don’t think Jericho’s “Learning Tree” gimmick is working that well. Hook winning by nailing Jericho with the Judas Effect elbow was a nice way to end it since Jericho turned heel on Hook in the past, so it’s a bit of payback for Hook.

The TNT Championship Ladder Match was up next.

TNT Championship Ladder Match: Mark Briscoe vs. Dante Martin vs. El Phantasmo vs. Lio Rush vs. Jack Perry vs. Konosuke Takeshita

The TNT Championship was hanging above the ring. To win the match, a wrestler must climb the ladder and pull the championship down.

There was a spot early on where the foursome of Martin, Rush, Briscoe and Phantasmo cleared the ring of Perry Takeshita. The four wrestlers all threw ladders at eachother. Rush jumped off a chair, but Briscoe hit him with a clothesline. Perry set up a ladder, climbed up and Rush stopped that. The title above the ring looks way too high for the shorter guys. Rush sent Perry into a ladder against the turnbuckle. Rush hit a running kick into Briscoe as the ladder fell near Briscoe on the floor. Rush climbed up a ladder, Phantasmo went up after him and Phantasmo slammed Rush onto another ladder. Phantasmo went for a move on Martin, who landed on his feet and hit a knee strike Martin jumped off the ladder onto Phantasmo in the ring. Takeshita shoved a ladder into Martin in the ring. Takeshita gave Martin a brainbuster on a ladder. Takeshita took the bump, but Martin sold it. Mark used a ladder to knock the others down. Mark set up Takeshita on a ladder, then he put a ladder on Takeshita and Mark jumped over the top onto a ladder that put Takeshita through a table. Perry went up a bigger ladder, but Rush stopped that. Perry sent Rush face first into a ladder bridge. Phantasmo fought with Perry on the big ladder and their hands touched the ladder. Phantasmo punched Perry down and Martin punched Phantasmo, but Perry was there to shove a ladder over. Martin was selling his left leg since he hurt it in the past. Rush and Perry fought by the turnbuckle. Martin came back with a running dropkick on Perry. Mark jabbed a ladder into Takeshita’s ribs against the ring post. Rush hit a suicide dive onto Takeshita on the floor. Mark went up top of a huge ladder and jumped onto Perry, who was on a table and Mark tried to put him through the table, but instead Mark landed short so the table didn’t break.

Martin set up a ladder in the ring where Rush met him on the other side. Takeshita stopped both guys and hit a Powerbomb on Martin. Rush went up the ladder, Takeshita caught him and gave Rush a Powerbomb onto a ladder that was bridged against the turnbuckle. Takeshita went up a ladder, but Phantasmo jumped onto the ladder with a strike. Takeshita came back with a knee to the jaw. Phantasmo with two superkicks on Takeshita. There were two tables set up on the floor by the apron, so Takeshita hit Phantasmo with an elbow and knee smash (with loud leg slap). Takeshita gave Phatasmo a Blue Thunder Bomb off the apron through two tables. Takeshita climbed a ladder, but Mark stopped that with a chair to the back. Mark hit a Jaydriller on Takeshita onto a ladder, but the move involves Mark taking the bump on his ass. Mark climbed a ladder and that’s when Jack Perry hit Mark with two chair shots. Perry hit Mark with a chair a few times. Perry climbed the ladder and pulled down the TNT Championship for the win. It went 16:55.

Winner AND NEW TNT Champion: Jack Perry

Analysis: ***1/2 It was a fun match with a lot of cool spots the whole way. My pick was Jack Perry because I thought that all of The Elite would have a championship and now Jack gets his to join Okada and The Young Bucks. I thought they could have done a better job of making some of the climbing spots look like somebody might win because there were too many spots where it just a weak climb attempt followed by somebody else hitting a move after that. It just felt repetitive. A little more creativity would be nice. It’s still a good match that I enjoyed, but I think there should have been a few moments for guys like Takeshita and Brisco where it looked like they might win.

I know AEW hates showing replays after matches for some reason, but spending 30-40 seconds showing highlights isn’t a bad thing after your wrestlers are killing their bodies taking big bumps.

TBS Championship AND NJPW Strong Women’s Championship: Mercedes Mone vs. Stephanie Vaquer

Vaquer started with a headbutt. They exchanged pin attempts after that. Mone hit a knee to the head followed by an armdrag off the turnbuckle. Vaquer hit an impressive springboard armdrag. Mone did her own version of it leading to a Crossface submission, but Vaquer got out of it and left the ring. Mone gave Vaquer a headscissors on the floor. Mone hit a Meteora off the middle ropes. Vaquer blocked a move on the floor and punched Mone. Vaquer came back with a boot to the face along with a knee drop to the back. Vaquer hit a springboard cross body block onto Mone on the floor. Back in the ring, Vaquer got a couple of pin attempts for two. Mone hit two suplexes, Vaquer blocked a third and then Vaquer applied a submission move tying up Mone while pulling on the left arm. Vaquer put her legs around Mone’s head leading to consecutive ramming into the mat. It is really Vaquer’s knees that hit the mat, but Mone sold it like it was her head hitting the mat. Vaquer jumped off the top rope and Mone countered with a dropkick to the ribs. Mone hit Vaquer with a knee followed by the running double knees. Mone bounced off the ropes with a Tornado DDT for two. Vaquer hit a piledriver and a running leg drop. Vaquer tried a lifting move, Mone got out of it, they ran the ropes and they hit a double clothesline. They laid on the mat with Mone talking to Vaquer and the referee about what to do next.

Vaquer trapped Mone in a Crossface submission. Mone got out of it and applied a Crossface submission of her own. A group of fans were cheering for Vaquer as she hit double knees on Mone’s ribs. The fans were chanting “f**k the Celtics” for a fan wearing a Boston Celtics jersey. Money hit a backstabber and the fans were booing while the announcers had to explain why the fans were booing. Mone jumped off the top, Vaquer avoided that and Vaquer did a dragon screw leg whip against the middle ropes. Vaquer hit a running double knee attack for two. The referee was talking to both women a lot. The fans were chanting “f**k the Red Sox” and when Mone went for a Crossface again, the fans were booing. Vaquer countered a move into a pin attempt. Mone had Vaquer on her back, then Vaquer broke free and Mone had Vaquer on her back leading to the Mone Maker slam. Mone applied a Crossface submission, which led to Vaquer tapping out. It went 16:52.

Winner by pinfall who is still TBS Champion and NEW NJPW Strong Women’s Champion: Mercedes Mone

Analysis: ***1/2 This was a pretty good match. I wouldn’t call it a great match because it was hard to get that invested in a match that had such an obvious outcome. This was the most predictable title match in AEW history because we know Mone had no chance of losing a match like this. Vaquer is a great wrestler and you can see that by watching her, but the fans were dead for a lot of this match because they barely know who she is. They wrestled in a way where they were even most of the way with Vaquer hitting Mone with everything, but Mone was able to overcome and get the big win. I don’t think it’s a good sign that fans are already booing Mone while also reacting to a Boston Celtics fan in the crowd instead of reacting to the match.

Mercedes Mone was presented with the TBS Title and the NJPW Strong Women’s Title. Mone had a shocked look on her face while nobody watching was shocked that she won. The fans were booing her…or at least some of them were.

Britt Baker’s familiar music played. Welcome back Dr. Britt Baker, who got a huge ovation from the crowd. The fans chanted “DMD” for Baker. There was an impressive pyro display for Baker, who had a long distance staredown with Mone. Baker walked to the back.

Analysis: It’s good to see Britt Baker back on the show after a long layoff. I think we can pencil in Mone-Baker for AEW All In on August 25th. That will be a lot of fun.

A video aired about NJPW debuting Wrestle Kingdom on January 4th and then Wrestle Dynasty on January 5th.

The video package aired for the Jon Moxley-Tetsuya Naito match up next.

Jim Ross joined commentary so it was Excalibur, Taz, Nigel McGuinness and Ross for the final two matches.

IWGP World Heavyweight Championship: Jon Moxley vs. Tetsuya Naito

I missed a few minutes to start the match. Moxley was in control of Naito on the ground with a Crossface submission (a popular move on this show), but Naito got to the ropes. Moxley hit a stalling piledriver for two. Moxley set up Naito on the top rope, Naito tried to fight it and then Naito slipped out of it. Naito sent Moxley off the top to the floor. Naito tackled Moxley by the announcers. Naito grabbed a piece of cover on the barricade and hit Moxley with it. I don’t think that could hurt a fly. Anyway, they went back into the ring and Naito hit a running dropkick to the back. They were back to the turnbuckle for another move and this time it was Moxley hitting a top rope Powerbomb on Naito. Moxley tried a move, but Naito slipped out of it and Naito hit a DDT. Naito a diving neckbreaker off the ropes. Naito sent Moxley into the turnbuckle and Naito hit the Destino slam without a pin attempt. Naito went for it again leading to Moxley hitting a regular DDT, but Excalibur called it a Paradigm Shift. It was more like a regular DDT since Moxley didn’t lift him before it. Naito hit a jumping kick on Moxley and then Moxley no sold it so Moxley hit a lariat. Moxley hit Death Rider for just a two count because Naito barely got his shoulder up. Moxley intimidated referee Red Shoes, who said it was just a two count. Moxley brought a chair into the ring while Excalibur noted that a title can change hands on a disqualification. Moxley teased a move on the chair, but the referee kicked the chair and put the chair out of the ring. Moxley tried a lift and Naito countered it into a side slam. Naito lifted up Moxley leading to a DDT into the mat. Naito hit Destino for the pinfall win. It went 17 minutes.

Winner by pinfall AND NEW IWGP World Champion: Tetsuya Naito

Analysis: **3/4 A disappointing match between two veterans who have had many matches way better than this. It’s probably Moxley’s worst AEW PPV match. It certainly didn’t feel like a major championship match or anything close to some of the great Moxley matches of the last five years. Like a lot of stuff on this show, I wouldn’t call it an amazing match or anything like that. It was another match with the crowd sounding like they didn’t care much. Naito winning was my pick because I figured Moxley wasn’t going to have a very long reign as IWGP World Champion. Plus, the NJPW guys needed a big win on this show and it made sense for this match to have the title change. This is a reminder that you need better stories, especially going into an IWGP World Title match. These guys brawled for 30 seconds on the last Dynamite before Forbidden Door. Assuming the crowd was going to care just because it’s a title match is poor thinking.

Tetsuya Naito celebrated with the IWGP World Champion while Jon Moxley left the ring. No replays again.

It was main event time so they had the video package featuring AEW World Champion Swerve Strickland and International Champion Will Ospreay.

Will Ospreay made his entrance to a big pop paying tribute to Hayabusa by wearing a mask on his way to the ring. The fans were strongly behind Ospreay. It was mentioned by Excalibur that one of Ospreay’s grandmothers died earlier this week, so he was dedicating the match to her.

Swerve Strickland’s entrance was next as rapper Jim Jones of Dipset introduced the AEW World Champion. I don’t know who that is, but the fans seemed to know, so that’s cool. Swerve Strickland made his entrance as the AEW World Champion joined by Prince Nana the dancing fool.

AEW World Championship: Swerve Strickland vs. Will Ospreay

Will Ospreay is the AEW International Champion, but only Swerve’s AEW World Title is on the line in this match.

The fans were into this as Swerve and Will exchanged strikes. Will and Swerve each did headscissors, but each man landed on their feet after taking those moves. They each delivered kicks leading to a staredown. Swerve hit a couple of chops. Swerve wanted to do a move off the turnbuckle, but Will did kip-up back to his feet. Will sent Swerve out of the ring followed by Swerve leaping over the top onto Swerve on the floor. Will hit a Drive By dropkick while Swerve was by the ropes. Will chopped Swerve a few times. Will went up top, Swerve tripped him up and Swerve hit an elbow smash to the back. Swerve hit a neckbreaker. Swerve followed up with a neckbreaker on Swerve against the ropes. Swerve sent Will into the ropes, so Will did a handspring off the ropes followed by a jumping kick to the head. They left the ring where Swerve tripped up Will by the barricade. Swerve tased a move on the barricade, but Will countered with a hurricanrana onto the floor. Back in the ring, Will hit a springboard forearm (like a Phenomenal Forearm) for two. Swerve gave Will a back body drop. Swerve came back with a backbreaker. Swerve did a hiptoss leading to a short-arm scissor submission. Will managed to get out of that, so Swerve kicked Will in the upper body a few times. Will and Swerve exchanged forearms. Swerve hit a running uppercut. Each man went for moves, but the other guy countered and Will caught Swerve leading to a Powerbomb. Will hit a Styles Clash for two.

Will continued on offense with a superkick. Swerve jumped off the ropes, but Will got his knees up to counter a move. Daniel Garcia was shown watching from a skybox in the crowd. Will worked over Swerve with a kick on the apron. Swerve went up top, but Swerve was right there so Swerve hit a top rope Angle Slam. Impressive move that was executed well. They battled on the apron where Will delivered a kick to the head. Will tried an Oscutter, Swerve avoided it and Will hit the ring apron hard. Will went down to the floor. Swerve went up top and Swerve jumped off the top with a double foot stomp on Will by the commentary table, which did not break. Great spot there that made a lot of noise. The replay showed that Will actually jumped into it, which looks silly, but watching it live showed it was an impressive move. Swerve gave Will a piledriver on the barricade. There really isn’t a lot of room there, but they made it work.

They were back in the ring where Swerve hit a sitout reverse suplex for a two count. Will came back with an Avalanche Oscutter off the top and then an Oscutter for a two count. In other words, Will recovered quickly from taking a Swerve Stomp and a piledriver. Will went for Hidden Blade, but Swerve got his forearms up to partially block it. Will did a back heel kick to the head. Will went for an Oscutter, Swerve avoided it and Swerve pulled back on the arm. Will sat on top of Swerve for two. Will hit another Oscutter and a Stormbreaker for a two count. Former AEW World Champion MJF was shown watching on a TV backstage. Will headbutted Swerve. Will said he was going for the Tiger Driver that he said he wouldn’t do again, then Swerve countered it into a two count. Swerve hit a Hidden Blade elbow smash like Will does. Swerve jumped off the top for a Swerve Stomp, Will moved out of the way and then Will did a Hidden Blade to referee Paul Turner because Swerve avoided it. Swerve did a Reverse Rana, Will landed on his feet and Will hit a Hidden Blade elbow with a cover but there was no referee to count. Don Callis showed up at ringside and wanted Will to use a screwdriver. Nana shoved Callis down on the floor. Will teased using the screwdriver on Nana and then Will tossed the screwdriver down. Back in the ring, Swerve hit a House Call kick on Will. Swerve went up top and hit a Swerve Stomp for just a two count. Great nearfall. Swerve stepped on Will’s right arm which was bent at a bad angle. Will hit another House Call kick to the head for just two. Will tried a Hidden Blade, Swerve caught him in his arms and Swerve hit a House Call again. Swerve hit the Big Pressure (JML Driver) slam for the one…two…and three. It went 27:05.

Winner by pinfall: Swerve Strickland

Analysis: ****3/4 This was a fantastic match. I’m not going five stars because of the Don Callis spot that slowed down the match even though I understand why they did it for the story. I just think they haven’t pushed the Will/Callis story much Will had the match won when he hit the Hidden Blade and no referee was there to do the count, so they can say that Ospreay should have been the champion. Those nearfalls at the end by Swerve drew huge reactions because Will kept on getting up, but then Will did a nice job of selling like he was out of it. It took a lot for Swerve to put Will away, which puts over Will for his toughness and also shows how aggressive Swerve is. I’m sure some people will rate this higher than me because of how much they love Ospreay and I like him a lot too, but I don’t think this was as good as Will’s match with Bryan Danielson earlier this year. With that said, Ospreay has had many incredible matches in AEW already while Swerve is also performing at a very high level as well.

After the match, the AEW doctors were checking on Ospreay. Swerve talked to Will and tapped him on the head as if to say good job. Swerve celebrated with his friends at ringside. Will’s good friend Kyle Fletcher was at ringside to talk to Will after the tough loss. Swerve continued to celebrate. That was the end of the show.

AEW-NJPW Forbidden Door had a runtime of 4:00:02 on pay-per-view.


Five Stars of the Show

  1. Swerve Strickland/Will Ospreay
  2. Bryan Danielson
  3. Jack Perry
  4. Zack Sabre Jr.
  5. Toni Storm/Mina Shirakawa


Final Thoughts

It gets an 7.75 out of 10 from me.

I thought Forbidden Door was a pretty good show overall, but I also gave it the lowest rating out of the four AEW PPVs so far this year. There were too many average or below average matches for my liking and it’s not normal for AEW PPVs to be like that. With that said, the Swerve Strickland/Will Ospreay match lived up to the hype and I enjoyed it a lot. The stuff after the ref bump was what prevented me from going five stars for it, but it was very close to that level. I’m fine with the result because Swerve is performing at a high level and Ospreay is going to be the champion eventually. I also really liked the Bryan Danielson/Shingo Takagi mainly because Bryan sells so well and did it again here before finding a way to win. The Ladder Match was okay, but nothing special. Jack Perry winning was what I expected there, so congrats to him for being TNT Champion.

The Forbidden Door concept isn’t as interesting as AEW thinks. The fans barely cared about the Mone/Vaquer match because a fan wearing a Boston Celtics shirt got more of a reaction than anything in the match. Mone was booed too. At least Britt Baker returning for a staredown with Mone drew a big reaction. I like Britt. The Moxley/Naito match was probably the worst Moxley PPV match in his AEW career. It didn’t feel like a major championship match at all, which should tell AEW you need to build stories for these kinds of matches and can’t just rely on putting a title match on while expecting the crowd to care. I also think they dropped the ball by not putting MJF in a bigger match against a more notable opponent instead of easily defeating Hechicero. A more meaningful match for MJF would have helped the show.

There were several matches where the fans were quiet for the majority of the match or cared more about what a fan was wearing in the crowd. They did come alive for the main event at least so that’s good thing. It’s a long night for the fans with 15 matches taking place over five hours (the PPV was four hours). The hardcore AEW fans that never see anything wrong with the company will say that stuff doesn’t matter, but the reality is it does matter.

Here are my AEW PPV reviews of 2024 so far:

Revolution: 9 out of 10 – March 3 (Sting & Darby Allin vs. The Young Bucks)

Double Or Nothing 8.25 – May 27 (Anarchy In The Arena: The Elite – The Young Bucks, Kazuchika Okada & Jack Perry vs. Team AEW – Bryan Danielson, FTR & Darby Allin)

Dynasty: 8.25 – April 21 (Swerve Strickland vs. Samoa Joe)

Forbidden Door: 7.5 – June 30 (Swerve Strickland vs. Will Ospreay


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Twitter: @johnreport