The road to Forbidden Door is officially here and the picture hasn’t gotten any clearer despite an interim AEW World Title match set for the June 26th event. However, we got some hints at where things stand ahead of the big AEW/NJPW supershow event on last week’s Dynamite and Rampage, so let’s take a quick look at what went down.
6/8/22 AEW Dynamite Recap
Match 1: Interim AEW World Championship Qualifying Casino Battle Royal
With current AEW World Champion CM Punk sidelined due to injury, AEW management quickly drew up their backup plan as it related to the title situation in the form of two matches on the 5/8/22 Dynamite:
The Casino Battle Royal saw a stacked field of competitors which included names like Eddie Kingston, Keith Lee, Darby Allin, Daniel Garcia, Ricky Starks, Konosuke Takeshita, Lance Archer, and the returning Wheeler YUTA.
One notable moment from the Battle Royal was “Swerve” Strickland’s actions during it. After partner Keith Lee took out the Gunn brothers, he was suddenly thrown out by Strickland. This appeared to be a breakup for the “Swerve in Our Glory” team, which might mean we’ll get a Swerve/Keith Lee feud spinning out of this.
Wheeler YUTA, back from his Best of the Super Juniors tenure in Japan, had a strong showing in the Battle Royal, making it all the way to the final two, alongside eventual winner Kyle O’Reilly. The match’s closing moments saw a duel on the apron that O’Reilly would eventually win, punching his ticket to the evening’s main event against Jon Moxley.
Match 2: All-Atlantic Championship Qualifier: Buddy Matthews vs. PAC
Prior to this match, a brand-new championship was unveiled in the form of the “All-Atlantic Championship”, with a new champion to be crowned in a four-way match at Forbidden Door. Four matches would be announced (including this upcoming one) as part of the bracket:
- PAC vs. Buddy Matthews
- Ethan Page vs. Miro
- Malakai Black vs. Penta Oscuro
- NJPW match TBD
“The Bastard” PAC and House of Black member Buddy Matthews got things going for this tournament with one heck of a qualifier match. With the backdrop of the House of Black versus Death Triangle rivalry firmly in play for this match, fans were treated to some hard-hitting action between Buddy and PAC.
We got a stalemate heading into picture-in-picture as the two competitors stared each other down outside the ring. Action resumed with PAC hitting a draped-over DDT on Buddy on the ropes. Buddy briefly got the advantage with a jumping knee, but PAC responded with a German suplex.
The finish for the match came when PAC floored Buddy with a poison rana, followed by the Black Arrow to advance to the Forbidden Door four-way match for the All-Atlantic Championship.
At 10:46, the match was impactful and to the point, with both PAC and Buddy Matthews looking as good as ever in this one.
Eddie Kingston Challenges Jake Hager
A pissed-off Eddie Kingston was angry towards Jake Hager of the J.A.S. for eliminating him in the Casino Battle Royal. He challenged Hager to a match for Rampage, while accosting a production crew member for daring to count him down.
The United Empire
Trent Beretta stood in the ring, upset that his Best Friends aren’t around to celebrate National Best Friends Day with him. He claimed that he and Rocky Romero – otherwise known as Roppongi Vice – deserved another shot at the ROH Tag Championships.
FTR showed up to confront Trent, appearing to accept his challenge to another ROH Tag Title match, because they wanted to prove that they were the best tag team on the planet by taking on all comers. Dax Harwood said that he and Cash Wheeler understood if Trent didn’t want that match here due to Rocky Romero’s absence, stating that Trent should hold his anger for “Will Ospreay’s ‘bitch boys’” instead.
Will Ospreay, leader of the United Empire from NJPW, appeared on the ramp and looked like he had something to say. However, that was a mere distraction to allow for Ospreay’s United Empire allies to attack FTR and Trent. Aaron Henare and Aussie Open’s Kyle Fletcher and Mark Davis beat up on the face trio in the ring, with Ospreay eventually joining in on the attack.
Match 3: “Hangman” Adam Page vs. David Finlay
In his first match since losing the AEW World Title to CM Punk at Double or Nothing, Adam Page looked to bounce back by taking on NJPW’s David Finlay in this one-on-one encounter. Hangman’s recent World Title rival Adam Cole was out on commentary for this match.
Hangman was more than ready for the challenge of Finlay, overcoming the aggressive style of his foe long enough to pick up the victory. Page prevailed with a Buckshot Lariat that rocked Finlay for the one, two, three.
Realizing that he wasn’t due for a shot at the AEW World Title anytime soon, Hangman opted to shoot his shot for another title altogether. He had one name in mind and that name was IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada. An incensed Adam Cole shot down Hangman’s bold challenge, stating that he was worthy of the IWGP World Title shot due to his big win at the Owen Hart Foundation Tournament.
Cole threatened Hangman to stay out of his way as he mentioned that Okada might not even be IWGP World Champion by the time Forbidden Door rolled around due to the Rainmaker’s match with Jay White at Dominion on 6/12/22.
At that Dominion match, White became the new IWGP World Title by defeating Okada, which puts Page’s initial challenge to Okada in doubt. It’s presumed that we’ll have Hangman vs. Jay White instead at Forbidden Door.
Will the TNT Title be Wardlow’s World?
Conspicuous by his absence in the AEW Interim Title Casino Battle Royal was Wardlow, who explained that the reason he didn’t enter himself in that match was because he viewed CM Punk as the true AEW World Champion and he wanted to fight Punk once he was cleared to return.
Wardlow then said that he wanted to bring some prestige back to a particular AEW title: the TNT Championship. Current champ Scorpio Sky hobbled out from the back, appearing to accept Wardlow’s challenge, but Ethan Page and coach Dan Lambert backed him out of it. Wardlow didn’t want excuses from Scorpio, so he opted to wait until the TNT Champ was healthy.
We got a cutaway to “Smart” Mark Sterling, who said that Wardlow had two options as it related to the class-action lawsuit on behalf of his plaintiffs, the security guards of America: either settle this in court or face 20 of these security guards at Road Rager in an elimination match.
While Wardlow’s explanation for not wanting to challenge for the interim AEW World Title despite his hot streak might’ve not made much sense, it was a good enough reason to keep him solely in the TNT Championship picture. The fact that he had some unfinished business with Scorpio Sky after their previous TNT Title match ended with MJF shenanigans costing Wardlow the belt just adds to it.
As for the scheduled 20-on-1 handicap elimination match at Road Rager, it’s guaranteed to end with some good old-fashioned ass-kickings courtesy of Wardlow, so that should be very entertaining.
Ladder Match Challenge
The Young Bucks were sat in chairs in their private quarters, as they bragged about their successful homecoming a week before. They laid their claim for the AEW World Tag Team Championships before being interrupted by the Hardys. Matt and Jeff talked about how they beat the Bucks at Double or Nothing, which meant they had an equal claim for the the AEW Tag Titles.
The current Tag Champs, Jurassic Express, appeared with mentor Christian Cage. Continuing the unintentional(?) backhanded insults towards Jungle Boy, Christian noted that the Bucks pinned him in his hometown. He ended up throwing a challenge to the Hardys and the Young Bucks for a three-way ladder match with the AEW Tag Titles on the line at Road Rager.
As you’ve probably heard by now, this ladder match will still be taking place… albeit without the Hardys in the match, as a result of Jeff Hardy being arrested for DUI on June 13th. This forced AEW to suspend Hardy without pay and mandating that he seek treatment and help in maintaining sobriety before being reinstated.
We’ll keep it brief and just say that I hope Jeff is getting the treatment he truly needs and that he’s on the road to recovery. For some, it might be difficult to approach that road to recovery and there will be hurdles along the way. What’s important now is that Jeff Hardy finds help in overcoming his personal demons and that he’ll be in good spirits physically, emotionally, and mentally.
Match 4: Thunder Rosa © vs. Marina Shafir (AEW Women’s World Championship)
Perhaps as a way to address the AEW Women’s World Champion’s lack of screentime, we got this match that was set up with Thunder Rosa throwing down an open challenge to face anyone for her Women’s World Title. This challenge was answered by Marina Shafir, who appeared to be more than a match for the AEW Women’s World Champion.
Fresh off of a title defense against Serena Deeb, Rosa was once again faced with a brutal technical style in the form of “The Problem”. Shafir fought with the use of takedowns and submission holds in the hopes of wresting the AEW Womens’ World Title from Rosa. The valiant fighting champion endured Shafir’s onslaught and retained with a flash victory roll pin for the win.
Shafir, ever a sore loser, attacked Rosa after the match and applied her Greedy submission hold until Toni Storm made the save. Storm and Thunder made short work of Shafir and had a bit of a tense moment when the former took the AEW Women’s World Title before handing it off to the champion.
Match 5: Jon Moxley vs. Kyle O’Reilly (Interim AEW World Champion Eliminator Match)
The main event match to determine who would move on to Forbidden Door to compete for the Interim AEW World Title did not disappoint as Jon Moxley had to contend with a game Kyle O’Reilly who wasn’t afraid to take it to his opponent.
O’Reilly had the early advantage when he literally had Mox on the ropes with a flying knee to the face heading into the final commercial break of the evening. When action resumed, both competitors remained determined to keep their battle going. After a Moxley superplex, we got a double down as Mox and O’Reilly caught one another with dual big boots. Then, Mox applied a crossface chickenwing, which O’Reilly escaped by using his teeth to bite down on the ropes to force the break.
O’Reilly locked in a modified heel hook, but Mox would escape that predicament. We got both men falling over after hitting stereo lariats on one another, but Mox would eventually hit a William Regal-style knee trembler before the Paradigm Shift to secure the win and advance to Forbidden Door.
While the outcome of a Jon Moxley win was inevitable, that doesn’t change the fact that O’Reilly held his own against him and looked like a stud in the process. Recently, O’Reilly has picked up signature victories against names such as Jungle Boy, Darby Allin, and Rey Fenix, which has only raised his stock significantly. His performance versus former AEW World Champ Moxley adds even more credibility to his name.
Who Will Face Jon Moxley at Forbidden Door?
We didn’t have to wait long to see who between Hiroshi Tanahashi and Hirooki Goto would go on to face Jon Moxley for the interim AEW World Championship at Forbidden Door. That answer would come at NJPW’s Dominion event on June 12th, 2022. To nobody’s surprise, Tanahashi ended up winning by pinning Goto with two consecutive High Fly Flows to pick up the win.
Now the stage is set for a match that Mox had been vocal about in the past… albeit with a bigger prize at stake. The world will finally see Moxley vs. Tanahashi at Forbidden Door on June 26th and the winner will walk out the interim AEW World Champion.
6/10/22 AEW Rampage Recap
- Eddie Kingston def. Jake Hager via pinfall (12:00) after two spinning backfists to knock him down long enough for the pin.
- Dr. Britt Baker lamented Toni Storm trying to challenge for the AEW Women’s World Title, stating that she’s the only one who deserves a shot at Thunder Rosa, not Storm.
- Jay Lethal & Satnam Singh def. Local Talent (1:00) with a dual Lethal Injection.
- HOOK and Danhausen were interviewed as they were riding their fancy golf carts. HOOK, of course, showed up in his own cool ride and drove off without saying a word.
- Kris Statlander def. Red Velvet via pinfall (9:30) with the Friday Night Fever. Post-match, the Baddies beat up on Statlander as Anna Jay tried to make the save. She too was beaten up by Jade Cargill and friends. Athena ran in, but was held back by security officials.
- FTR (Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler) and Trent Beretta def. The United Empire (Will Ospreay, Kyle Fletcher, & Mark Davis) via pinfall (15:00) when Trent pinned Kyle Fletcher after hitting Strong Zero for the win.
Marc Quill is the editor of RingCrashers, GateCrashers’ home for all your All Elite Wrestling and indie wrestling needs. He’s also the web novelist behind Skye Emery: Bluebird, which you can read here. You can chat with him about wrestling, comics, and stuff in general on @MarcQuill on Twitter.