Wednesday, March 1, 2023

AEW/NJPW Forbidden Door (June 2022 PPV)

So the next AEW PPV is coming up this Sunday and it'll be the first AEW PPV in a good long while that I've actually bought. I haven't watched the past few PPVs for various reasons, but a friend of mine put together a sweet little DVD package allowing me to watch the last three AEW PPVs that I missed out on last year, which includes Full Gear, Forbidden Door, and the highly controversial All Out PPV.

So we'll be covering these PPVs for the next couple weeks, starting with the AEW/New Japan crossover show, Forbidden Door; which took place a few weeks after AEW's Double Or Nothing PPV. I wasn't exactly sold on the concept, plus key people I would've liked to have seen on the show were out with injuries, and so my interest waned and I skipped out on the show. It turned out to be the first AEW show that I had missed, though it wouldn't be the last.

Now that I've seen the show, did I miss out or not? Let's find out.

Chris Jericho, Sammy Guevara & Minoru Suzuki defeated Eddie Kingston, Shota Umino & Wheeler Yuta in a tremendous opening six-man contest.

ROH Tag Champions  FTR defeated IWPG Tag Champions Great O-Khan & Jeff Robb and Roppongi Vice in a Winners Take All 3-way to retain their ROH titles as well as win the IWGP titles, thus beginning a long, long, long, long, long, long, LONG road to FTR going after the AEW titles so they can hold them all. I think they are still waiting for their shots as we speak.

Pac defeated Miro, Malakai Black, & New Japan guy Clark Connors to win the inaugural AEW All-Atlantic International World Western States Heritage championship in a four-way match. Someone else from New Japan was supposed to be here, but he got injured and they slapped in Clark Connors in there. Honestly, they should've stuck with a three-way between the AEW guys, but someone had to take the fall and poor Clark was our victim de match.

Sting, Darby Allin & Shingo Takagi defeated The Young Bucks & El Phantasmo in a fun six-man that featured Sting doing a dive off the entrance stage on top of the bucks and that other guy. You like watching moves and cool shit? This has you covered.

AEW Women's Champion Thunder Rosa defeated Toni Storm to retain the title. We needed a women's match and New Japan didn't have a proper women's division at the time. And so we got this, which looks so out of place that it stands out automatically, which is incredible. The match itself was a thing that happened. Nothing particularly noteworthy. Rosa would eventually be out with an injury and vacate the title, but we'll dive into that saga as we move along.

IWGP United States Champion Will Ospreay defeated Orange Cassidy in a pretty good match to retain the title. This is followed by a beatdown from Ospreay's mates.

The debuting Claudio Castagnoli defeated New Japan's Zack Sabre Jr in a good match. This was supposed to be Danielson, but he was hurt, so we got Claudio. Good pop for Claudio, who showed no signs of rust. He'd go on to have a decent run in AEW and the on-again, off-again ROH.

IWGP World Champion Jay White defeated Adam Cole, Hangman Page, and Kazuchika Okada to retain the title in a four way that felt like we were just rehashing Hangman Adam vs Bay Bay Adam with a couple New Japan guys tossed in for flavor. The match was fine, as good as you can get with a four-way, but would've been better if this was split into two one-on-one matches. Maybe if the Punk injury hadn't happened... wait, I'm sorry. I can't finish that sentence without cackling.

Jon Moxley defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi to win the AEW Interim World Championship - a.k.a. I'm keeping the belt warm until reigning champ CM Punk comes back so that I can kick his ass on a random episode of Dynamite, only to lose it back to Punk two weeks later on PPV and then I get to go on vacation, except not really because Punk lost his marbles and he and the Bucks haz fight and they got suspended and now Mox has no vacation and... wait, I'm jumping ahead here, aren't I?

Anyway, listen... this was a great match. Mox is great. Tanahashi is great. In hindsight, I'm happy that Mox won because he has been the fucking lifeboat of this promotion while all the Punk shit was going on. It's just that it's difficult to look back on this match and appreciate the great action, knowing what's to follow. And if I'm feeling it for THIS main event, I can only imagine the next.

Forbidden Door had great wrestling and was a good showcase of some New Japan guys to the AEW audience who normally wouldn't watch that stuff - though the crossover is obviously there. This was a show that if all you wanted was great wrestling and a chance to see some New Japan guys outside of New Japan, then this was the show for you. But watching this months after the fact, I never felt that I missed out on anything more than some great wrestling. Despite the hype and the crossover, this didn't feel like a big deal. It was, for all intents and purposes, an AEW B-Show PPV event similar to the old Fyter Fest and Fight For The Fallen shows from 2019, except those were free.

That said, if they do another one of these, maybe I'll be more inclined to watch it then, but it depends on the context and the matches offered... and no more of this interim garbage, okay?

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