REVIEW: AEW x NJPW: Forbidden Door (2022)

A Pay-Per-View Event by AEW and NJPW

Here it is, the proof and concept of Tony Khan’s attempt to somewhat “unify” most non-WWE wrestling leagues into a more fluid group that works together for big shows. We first saw this in an experimental form with All In, a pay-per-view ran largely by the previous Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling regimes with help of Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks. This time everything is on a larger scale, with a much larger venue (that sold out very quickly), and far more promotion. While not every fan’s “dream matches” were able to go forward due largely to commitments and a rash of unfortunate injuries plaguing both companies, the show proved pretty successful with over 127,000 buys early on (as reported by Busted Open Radio). Going into this, my only issue was that the build up somewhat stalled the main AEW programming for a bit, because this alongside the new iteration of Ring of Honor, it seemed like Dynamite was simply becoming a commercial to sell two pay-per-views that weren’t even part of the “main brand”.

I am just now getting to do a review of this largely because of how busy I’ve been, and I’d like to apologize to anyone that was expecting this in a timely manner. I had to set aside some time to rewatch parts of this, and that was easier said than done. Stay tuned for this and an insanely out of timeliness review of AEW Double or Nothing before this weekend as I attempt to “catch up” before AEW All Out 2022, which is this weekend.

For anyone wanting to watch this, It can be found on B/R Live which I am sadly not a fan of at all. For most other wrestling shows, I would recommend Fite.TV. you can get some FITE credits (10 dollars I believe) with the following code: “6m6lyyn”. I’m sure there are other ways to watch, but this has been great for me.

Here is the Buy-In for a taste of what this show has to offer

The Card:

  • 1P Bishamon (Hirooki Goto and Yoshi-Hashi) defeated The Factory (Aaron Solo and Q. T. Marshall) by pinfall Tag team match 8:53
  • 2P Lance Archer defeated Nick Comoroto by pinfall Singles match 6:08
  • 3P Swerve In Our Glory (Keith Lee and Swerve Strickland) defeated Suzuki-gun (El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru) by pinfall Tag team match 12:08
  • 4P Max Caster and Gunn Club (Billy Gunn, Austin Gunn, and Colten Gunn) (with Anthony Bowens) defeated Yuya Uemura and New Japan LA Dojo (Alex Coughlin, The DKC, and Kevin Knight) by pinfall Eight-man tag team match 5:35
  • 5 Minoru Suzuki and Le Sex Gods (Chris Jericho and Sammy Guevara) (with Tay Conti) defeated Eddie Kingston, Shota Umino, and Wheeler Yuta by pinfall Six-man tag team match – The winning team received the man advantage for the Blood and Guts match. 18:58
  • 6 FTR (Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood) (ROH) defeated United Empire (Great-O-Khan and Jeff Cobb) (IWGP) and Roppongi Vice (Rocky Romero and Trent Beretta) by pinfall Winner Takes All Three-way tag team match for the ROH World Tag Team Championship and IWGP Tag Team Championship 16:19
  • 7 Pac defeated Clark Connors, Miro, and Malakai Black by submission Four-way match for the inaugural AEW All-Atlantic Championship 15:10
  • 8 Dudes with Attitudes (Darby Allin, Sting, and Shingo Takagi) defeated Bullet Club (El Phantasmo, Matt Jackson, and Nick Jackson) (with Hikuleo) by pinfall Six-man tag team match 13:01
  • 9 Thunder Rosa (c) defeated Toni Storm by pinfall Singles match for the AEW Women’s World Championship 10:42
  • 10 Will Ospreay (c) (with Aussie Open (Kyle Fletcher and Mark Davis)) defeated Orange Cassidy by pinfall Singles match for the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship 16:43
  • 11 Claudio Castagnoli defeated Zack Sabre Jr. by pinfall Singles match 18:26
  • 12 Jay White (c) (with Gedo) defeated “Hangman” Adam Page, Kazuchika Okada, and Adam Cole by pinfall Four-way match for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship 21:05
  • 13 Jon Moxley (with William Regal) defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi by pinfall Singles match for the interim AEW World Championship 18:14

My Thoughts:

As I’ve stated before, my methodology for this is to avoid giving arbitrary star ratings or anything resembling the typical ratings people give in wrestling reviews. I usually go through the show and pull a half-dozen or so things that I thought were significant or that I liked. You might think some of my choices are dumb and that’s okay – we all like different things!

FTR Must Have Back Issues Carrying All That Gold:

I honestly did not have it down on my predictions that FTR would take the IWGP tag team gold, but here I am pleasantly surprised. It’s crazy to me that, at one time, the best Vince McMahon could come up with for these guys was an elaborate storyline involving them getting caught shaving each other’s backs, that was somehow going to lead into a gimmick change where they had on lipstick, top hats, and drumsticks. It really goes to show what can happen if you actually take tag team wrestling seriously, and FTR have pulled down that brass ring and made tag team wrestling their own. They are the team to beat and the entire world seems to be on notice now. While nowhere near as good as one of their more recent matches with The Briscoes, this was still a great match.

Pac Finally Gets His First AEW Gold:

I was at the Dynamite show in Kansas City where they announced the confusingly-named All-Atlantic Championship, and I wasn’t sure where they were going with it as announced. I honestly assumed this was going to get tossed over to Miro since he lost his TNT Championship off of his own terms, but was more than pleasantly surprised when PAC won the inaugural belt! The entire internet blew up when this went down, and for good reason – PAC always seems to be that guy that works his ass of but gets overlooked. Perhaps, finally, the tides are changing!

Shibata Makes an Appearance:

This was truly a fun moment for the fans. After the Ospreay/Cassidy match, Ospreay and his goons from Aussie Open started your typical heel beat down of Cassidy. Trent Beretta and Rocky Romero ran out and tried their best to make the save, but they were outmanned and taken out easily. Katsuyori Shibata, who nearly died from his brain bleeding out through his head doing headbutts a while back, comes strolling out to a HUGE pop with the fans. While this isn’t his first match back after returning to wrestling, the fans savored every second of it giving him a true heroes welcome. Shibata had a staredown with Orange and Orange put his sunglasses on Shibata. Hopefully that means something between the two ios coming down the pipeline in the future.

Claudio Joins the BCC:

The Swiss Superman Claudio Castagnoli (aka Cesaro) was randomly released from WWE in February 2022 igniting rabid speculation on what his next moves would be in the wrestling world. Bryan Danielson was scheduled to face Zack Sabre Jr., but Danielson was pulled due to injury leading him to announce that he had a hand-picked replacement in mind and one of the few people he trusted to get the job done. Claudio Castagnoli appeared with huge fanfare!

I hope Adam Cole is Okay:

Adam Cole was definitely working an injury during this match, and as a result he looked rough and got ANOTHER injury. At the beginning, Cole came into the match with an assortment of kinesio tape configurations on his upper body, which is never a good sign. Probably due to this shoulder injury, he was not moving too well and suffered what the “dirtsheets” have claimed was a very serious concussion, thus leading to the rushed and awkward finish as Jay White pinned him. I hope he gets to come back after some surgery and time off rather than jump the gun, and honestly I’m not sure he should have even wrestled at this show.

Solid Main Event:

I feel like I’m in the minority when it comes to internet commentators in that I enjoyed this match a lot. The following day, all I saw where your typical wrestling guys that seem to hate wrestling seemingly burying this match, which is a shame. This was a bloody, hard fought affair between the two, and in many ways it led directly into the upcoming “Blood and Guts” match as most of those combatants ran in and brawled after the match. I truthfully would have liked for Tanahashi to have won to have set up an eventual CM Punk match to make up for the one we missed, but I suppose building up “The Summer of Mox” was a better call.

Conclusion:

This was a great pay-per-view from a match quality standpoint! Pretty much everyone involved got to get their big moments in, and look great. Sure, most of the match-ups were large multi-man battles of some nature, but when doing a BIG special show like this, you really want to give the fans some experiences they would not normally have watching a regular show from either company. The build-ups for some of these matches was okay, but not extraordinary. One could tell that the original plans for some of the segments had to be changed as numerous wrestlers got injured in the months leading up to the show, but both companies pulled out the stops and delivered. Here’s hoping they do a sequel next year and keep this relationship going, maybe even a show done in Japan to reciprocate?

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