The much-anticipated All Elite Wrestling/New Japan Pro-Wrestling supercard, aptly named Forbidden Door took place on June 26th, 2022 and exceeded expectations – even as injuries wreaked havoc on what was shaping up to be a monumental interpromotional event.
What fans ultimately got was a satisfying nearly-four hour event and one that proved that the AEW/NJPW supershow was a success.
Featuring the crowning of an interim AEW World Champion, the first-ever All-Atlantic Champion, plus appearances from some of NJPW’s best and brightest, we’ve got the full rundown of what went down at Chicago’s United Center below.
- Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI (NJPW) def. QT Marshall & Aaron Solo (AEW) via pinfall (8:55) with their double team move on Solo.
- Lance Archer (NJPW/AEW) def. Nick Comoroto (AEW) via pinfall (6:08) with the Blackout.
- Swerve Strickland & Keith Lee (AEW) def. El Desperado & Yoshinobi Kanemaru via pinfall (12:08) after Lee got the pin on Kanemaru with the Big Bang Catastrophe. Post-match, Team Taz’s Ricky Starks & Powerhouse Hobbs talked trash to “Swerve in Their Glory”, likening themselves to Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen.
- Max Caster and The Gunn Club (AEW) def. Yuya Uemera, Alex Coughlin, The DKC, & Kevin Knight (NJPW) via pinfall (5:35) after Caster hit the Mic Drop elbow on DKC for the win. Mid-match, Danhausen appeared on the entrance screens to taunt the Gunn Club with the Ass Boys theme song, which prompted Colten and Austin Gunn to head to the back in search of Danhausen.
Match 1: Chris Jericho (AEW), Sammy Guevara (AEW) & Minoru Suzuki (NJPW) def. Eddie Kingston (AEW), Shota Umino (NJPW), & Wheeler YUTA (AEW)
The coveted advantage for the upcoming Blood and Guts match was at stake as the latest chapter of the Blackpool Combat Club versus Jericho Appreciation Society played out in Forbidden Door’s opener.
Shota Umino came out of this match looking like a million bucks, especially in the latter half of the bout. With eyes focused on revenge against Chris Jericho, Umino seemed unstoppable, even withstanding a shot with “Floyd the Bat”, a superkick, and a headbut before finally releasing Jericho from a submission hold. The J.A.S. would pick up the win after a Judas Effect to Umino for the all-important Blood and Guts advantage.
As it wouldn’t be a Blood and Guts match without the heels getting the advantage, it was a no-brainer that the J.A.S. would pick up the win here. The victory, along with a later segment where Jericho threw a fireball at Shota in a backstage attack, seems like it’s all but telegraphing a gloriously satisfying defeat for the J.A.S. at Blood and Guts. Jericho’s faction has largely had the upper hand on Kingston and crew, so it’d be a wise decision for them to finally suffer an ultimate comeuppance… and the violent confines of the Blood and Guts cage is the perfect stage for that.
Match 2: FTR def. Roppongi Vice & The United Empire to win the ROH & IWGP World Tag Titles
The duo of Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler continued their quest to become the greatest tag team in all of wrestling, and had to contend with Roppongi Vice (Rocky Romero & Trent Beretta) and United Empire (Jeff Cobb & Great O’Khan, the current IWGP World Tag Team Champions) standing in their way in this triple threat tag match.
That task would prove daunting at the onset with Dax appearing to suffer a shoulder injury, which took him out of the match and left Cash alone to represent FTR for this match… or so we thought. Dax made a heroic return to the match and wrecked shop on the competition for a bit. If the fans didn’t love FTR as much as they did already, then Dax’s big comeback only made them love the team even more.
We got some wild back and forth tag team action that saw either one of these three teams having a great chance to steal the victory, but it would be FTR that would triumph at the end of it all. With Dax and Rocky Romero facing off in the ring, Cash entered the ring as FTR would hit the Big Rig on Rocky for the pivotal win.
With their victory, FTR now hold the IWGP World Tag Titles, in addition to the ROH Tag Titles and the AAA Tag Team Championships. Could the AEW World Tag Titles be in their future? Any way you slice it, there’s no denying that FTR are the kings of tag team wrestling today, and their win at Forbidden Door was further proof of that.
Match 3: PAC def. Clark Connors, Malakai Black, and Miro to win the AEW All-Atlantic Championship
The battle to decide the first-ever All-Atlantic Champion would be decided in a four-way bout that saw four of the roughest and toughest that AEW and NJPW had to offer face off in a hard-hitting showdown.
PAC and Black didn’t waste time to renew their hostilities, often going after one another whenever possible. There’d be occasions when either Miro or Connors would try to get involved, but the PAC/Black rivalry superseded that at various points.
Clark Connors seemed to win over the Chicago fans easily by living up to his “Wild Rhino” nickname and plowing Miro through a table with a vicious gore. This got the crowd firmly behind him for a bit. Subbing in for the injured Tomohiro Ishii was no small feat for Connors, but he passed with flying colors.
This match’s wild finish came when Miro had PAC locked in the Game Over submission and nearly had it won… only for Black to spray the black mist in his face and hit him with the spinning back kick. Malakai then applied an armbreaker on Connors, but soon found himself in position for PAC’s Black Arrow, leaving Connors at the mercy of a Brutalizer for the tapout.
PAC’s victory is a long time coming for the AEW day one original, and the title’s nature of being something that can be defended elsewhere beyond the All Elite rings should give PAC no shortage of opponents to fight.
Given how the black mist operates in regards to changes in character for some (specifically Julia Hart’s dark turn), it’ll be interesting how being hit with it will affect Miro in the long run. His “Redeemer” gimmick was already largely character-driven, so we could be in for a darker variation down the line.
Match 4: Dudes with Attitudes (Sting, Darby Allin, Shingo Takagi) def. Bullet Club (The Young Bucks & El Phantasmo)
This trios match got off to a very wild start when it seemed like Sting would be a no-show for the Dudes with Attitudes. However, it was all a ruse, as Stinger literally got the jump on Bullet Club by leaping onto the Bucks and Phantasmo from one of the entrance tunnels!
Once things settled down, we got a hot tag from Sting, where he withstood Phantasmo’s nipple-twisting attack, as well as a dual Superkick Party from the Young Bucks, following that up with a clothesline. Phantasmo and the Jackson brothers would eventually nail Sting with a triple superkick, which seemed to pave the way for a BTE Trigger on the Icon. Sting dodged at the last second, allowing him to hit a double Scorpion Death Drop on the Bucks. Phantasmo found himself the victim of a nipple twister in the immediate aftermath, as well.
While Sting stole the show with a tour-de-force performance, it would be Shingo of Los Ingobernables de Japon who’d pick up the win for the Dudes. Shingo finished off Phantasmo with a super variation of his Last of the Dragon to make it a bad night at the office for the Bullet Club.
Match 5: Thunder Rosa (AEW) def. Toni Storm (AEW) to retain the AEW Women’s World Championship
Thunder Rosa defended her AEW Women’s World Title against a more-than-game Toni Storm in an eleven minute match that showed both women at their best, even with the rather short time alloted to them.
Toni took the lead by hitting Rosa with a tornado DDT on the outside of the ring as she took advantage back inside the ring. She tried to hit Storm Zero for the victory, but was countered as Rosa thundered back with the knee to the face, followed by her Fire-Thunder Driver. 1, 2… no! Toni attempted another Storm Zero, but she didn’t have the strength due to Rosa’s earlier targeting of her arm. The AEW Women’s World Champion would end up winning by pulling a trick from Dustin Rhodes’ playbook with the Final Reckoning. A great match and another successful defense for Thunder Rosa, whose title run is starting to pick up.
Match 6: Will Ospreay (NJPW) def. Orange Cassidy (AEW) to retain the IWGP United States Championship
The leader of the United Empire had his work cut out for him in defending his IWGP US Title, as he had to contend with “Freshly Squeezed” Orange Cassidy.
Like many of Orange’s foes before him, Ospreay underestimated the guile and adept quickness that OC approached him with. Orange repeatedly stymied Ospreay with his skill, managing to pull out his best weapons against the IWGP US Champion, including hitting the Beach Break for a two-count that could’ve easily been a three.
Ospreay fought back, hitting an impressive Spanish Fly to intercept a would-be Orange Punch. He tried to go for his Stormbreaker finisher, but was reversed into a flash hurricanrana pin for the near fall by OC. Ospreay thought he’d have the match won with his patented Hidden Blade back elbow strike, but Orange shockingly kicked out at two. One final Stormbreaker from Ospreay would eventually be enough to put OC away in a match that exceeded expectations – a theme that seemed to run concurrently throughout the evening.
The United Empire looked to brutalize OC after the match, but were confronted by Roppongi Vice. However, the 3-on-2 advantage for Ospreay and Aussie Open was too much for Romero and Beretta.
Just as things looked dire for Orange, the surprise appearance of one Katsuyori Shibata brought the Chicago fans to their feet. Shibata, who recently made a return to wrestling after suffering a serious injury to his brain, looked as good as ever in dispatching Ospreay and company. We also got an unlikely sight with “The Wrestler” sharing the ring with Orange Cassidy, as OC bequeathed his signature shades to Shibata in a moment that nobody could’ve ever anticipated to ever happen at all.
Match 7: Claudio Castagnoli (AEW) def. Zack Sabre Jr. (NJPW)
Bryan Danielson was set to face ZSJ in a true technical classic, but injuries sustained by Danielson prevented that from happening. However, this opened up a big surprise opponent that the American Dragon promised fans wouldn’t be disappointed by. Judging by the reaction for the man once known in another life as “Cesaro”, there would be no disappointment in the evening for Chicago.
Castagnoli roared right out of the gate with a fierce uppercut, followed by the Neutralizer. Sabre Jr. managed to kick out to avoid an embarrassing defeat. From there, the match evolved into a true technical classic.
ZSJ proved why he’s considered one of the great technical wrestlers of the modern era by using his submission prowess to answer against Castagnoli’s offensive attack. It took three attempts for Claudio to hit his patented Giant Swing, but Sabre Jr.’s focused targeting of Claudio’s arm made him unable to get the full effect.
The Swiss Superman would pick up the win in his AEW debut by hitting ZSJ with the Ricola Bomb for the convincing victory. Castagnoli now goes on to Blood and Guts, representing Blackpool Combat Club against the Jericho Appreciation Society.
Match 8: “Switchblade” Jay White (NJPW) def. “Bay-Bay” Adam Cole (AEW), “Hangman” Adam Page (AEW), and “Rainmaker” Kazuchika Okada (NJPW) to retain the IWGP World Championship
Just a couple of weeks removed from winning the IWGP World Championship at NJPW’s Dominion event, “Switchblade” Jay White had to defend it against three of the top wrestlers in New Japan and AEW.
Weeks of speculation of whether or not Kazuchika Okada would make it to Forbidden Door ended on the go-home Dynamite when the coin dropped in Milwaukee and the fans went wild for it. The Rainmaker got a similar reaction in Chicago, receiving a huge pop from the fans.
Early on, it seemed like White and Adam Cole would try and form an alliance to keep Hangman and Okada at bay, but their egos seemed to prove too much for that to happen consistently.
The match opened up as all four men looked to get the victory and the IWGP World Title. Gedo, who accompanied White to the match, tried to get involved by grabbing at Hangman Page’s leg as he was preparing for the Buckshot on White. Hangman punched Gedo for his troubles and went for the Buckshot Lariat. White reversed it into a Blade Runner, but got countered into the Deadeye for a pin that was broken up by Okada.
Things came to a rather abrupt end after Cole collapsed to avoid Okada’s Rainmaker lariat. This gave White the opening to dispatch Okada with the Blade Runner before pinning Cole to retain his IWGP World Title.
There were reports that Cole suffered a concussion after taking a bump to the head during the match, which necessitated the sudden end to this match.
Match 9: Jon Moxley (AEW) def. Hiroshi Tanahashi (NJPW) to become the Interim AEW World Champion
Originally set to be a showdown between AEW World Champ CM Punk and Hiroshi Tanahashi, but was changed due to an injury to Punk. Thus, the quest to crown an interim World Champion began and ended with Jon Moxley and Tanahashi as the last two men standing.
Things started off slow as Mox and Tanahashi were in the “feeling out” process of the match, but quickly ramped up as the intensity ratcheted.
Mox found himself busted open at a key juncture of the match, which opened him up for the Aces High standing crossbody from Tanahashi on the outside of the ring. Once the action spilled back into the ring, things began to even out for the two competitors.
Tanahashi would once again hit Aces High, followed by the High Fly Flow frog splash, but Mox resiliently kicked out of it. The Death Rider would lock in his Bulldog Choke in an attempt to make Tana pass out, but the veteran escaped and countered it into a pin for the near-fall. Mox furiously battered Tanahashi with the seated elbows before applying a rear naked choke submission.
With the fans’ chants of “Go Ace!” willing him on, Tana fought out of it and kicked out of a Paradigm Shift. Mox would finally score the victory and the interim AEW Title with the elevated Death Rider DDT.
Mox and Tana’s moment of respect was ruined by a Jericho Appreciation Society beatdown, but Moxley’s allies for Blood and Guts came to make the save. The bad guys still held the numbers advantage until Claudio Castagnoli cleared house and caught “Cool Hand” Angelo Parker in a Giant Swing. The JAS beat a hasty retreat as Eddie Kingston yelled at Claudio (continuing the apparent hostilities the two had in Chikara after Claudio left for WWE).
If we’re being honest, I wasn’t feeling this post-match brawl, even with Castagnoli getting the shine. This feels like something that could’ve been shown as an off-air exclusive on AEW’s social media channels, with the actual PPV ending on Moxley and Tanahashi showing respect for one another.
Even so, that doesn’t take away from Forbidden Door being a solid night of wrestling all around and a fantastic showcase for NJPW, especially for those who are new to the King of Sports.
Other Odds & Ends
- AEW officially announced a return to Arthur Ashe Stadium for Grand Slam episodes of Dynamite & Rampage on the week of September 21st, 2022.
- The next AEW PPV event, All Out, was confirmed to take place on September 4th, 2022. However, no location has been announced yet. Rumors of All Out’s location range from Chicago (where the past shows have been held) to even a new location like Toronto, Canada.
- Juice Robinson, the former IWGP US Champion, appeared with his title still in hand during a backstage segment, and watching the Orange Cassidy vs. Will Ospreay title match
- Chris Jericho attacked Shota Umino with a wizard fireball in a backstage segment.
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.