Five Talking Points from AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door

AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door Delivers World-Class Professional Wrestling Action

Forbidden Door has come and gone, and even Hodor couldn’t hold all the world-class professional wrestling that came crashing out. I was able to attend the event live from the United Center, and it was one of the best events I’ve been lucky enough to be in the crowd for. To celebrate what is hopefully the first of many, here are the five main talking points coming out of AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door.

5. Orange Cassidy and Will Ospreay Are World Class Wrestlers 

There are plenty of detractors who have and will diss Will Ospreay and Orange Cassidy for their own specific reasons. Those detractors can suck on a bottle of expired OJ in my humble opinion. This match was incredible, and maybe my favorite of the entire night. Ospreay’s aerial offensive attack is up there with maybe Rey Fenix as the most breathtaking in the world, and he also has a strong aptitude for kicks and strikes. Not to be outdone, Cassidy showed off his high-flying ability and creative attacks in just another reminder of just how talented he is. 

The pace of this championship thriller was frenetic, but there were times left to breathe. Cassidy’s special brand of comedic wrestling filled these slower moments and worked in harmony with Will’s temper. Angry Ospreay is arrogant and rude but is backed up by his aggression and skill in the ring.  

This sequence was pro wrestling art. Orange flopping to the ground to sucker Ospreay was genius, but then Ospreay’s physical ability to react and hit an insane combo, and Orange getting his knees up and almost getting a pin: just wow. In the end, Ospreay was able to retain after emptying his clip of finishing moves. What a match. 

4. Jay White Retains IWGP World Heavyweight Championship 

To come into an event like Forbidden Door as champion against three of the best wrestlers on the planet and leave with the belt is no easy feat, but that’s exactly what Jay White did. The Switchblade saw his opportunity to strike and took out his compatriot Adam Cole to retain. The match did end a bit abruptly due to an injury to Cole, who joins a long list of AEW stars currently on the shelf. Despite White’s win, I thought that Adam Page stole the show. The Hangman was all over this match, hitting big move after big move. It was also a joy to watch Okada in person, and the crowd was absolutely eating out his hand. 

3. Katsuyori Shibata Returns 

After the bonkers Ospreay-Cassidy match came the biggest and most wholesome surprise of the night. Katsuyori Shibata, who had not appeared in New Japan since his comeback match against Ren Narita at Wrestle Kingdom, came out to assist the Chaos Friends. Possessor of a great fighting spirit, Shibata helped chase off United Empire, and then seemed to be ready to square up against Orange. Both a lover and a fighter, OC was able to diffuse the situation by putting the sunglasses on Shibata’s face in a hilarious touch. I was hoping for a patented Best Friends hug with their newest pal Katsuyori. It seems likely that Shibata will challenge Ospreay for the IWGP United States Championship at some point, an exciting proposition. 

2. Three New Champions Crowned 

FTR defeated Roppongi Vice and Jeff Cobb & The Great O-Khan to retain ROH Tag Team Championship and Win IWGP Tag Team Championship 

Another pay-per-view, another incredible three-way tag match. The heroic Harwood return was goose-bump inciting, as Dax fought through an arm injury suffered in the early minutes of the contest. Despite a bit of a hiccup on a Rocky Romero cover that resulted in a premature three slaps by the referee, this was a solid effort by all six competitors. Seven Star FTR has a new title in their growing collection, and should be in a position to challenge the Young Bucks at All Out for the belts perhaps? 

PAC defeated Clark Connors & Malakai Black & Miro to Win Inaugural AEW All-Atlantic Championship 

This match started a little slow, as Miro dominated the field, especially Clark Connors. Connors was a late addition to the match after Tomohiro Ishii was pulled due to injury, and took a huge amount of punishment early in the contest. As the match continued, Connors gained the support of the crowd which exploded after his massive spear nailed Miro through a table propped on the barricade. 

PAC was his usual exhilarating and efficient self, hitting an awesome 450 on his way to a huge title victory. The Bastard winning this is a fun choice, as it sets up matches against all sorts of opponents across the world, or at least the Atlantic. 

Jon Moxley defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi to win AEW Interim World Heavyweight Championship 

The long-awaited clash finally came to fruition, and what a clash it was. Moxley takes and dishes out violence with glee, like he’s the world’s most violent ice cream man. The legendary Ace was more than game for Mox’s violence. 

Tanahashi kicking out at one was awesome. This match maybe wasn’t the best of the night, but it was extremely satisfying. In the end, the Death Rider was able to vanquish his foe Tanahashi, and Moxley captured the Interim AEW Championship. More bad news on the injury front is that Moxley may have suffered a concussion during the match. Hopefully, both Mox and CM Punk will be healed up for a big-time match, maybe back in Chicago at All Out. 

1. Claudio Castagnoli Is All Elite 

This whole thing was excellent. There aren’t many people that could fill Bryan Danielson’s boots, but Claudio did a pretty solid job. The former Cesaro got a huge reaction from the Chicago crowd, who was desperate to see Claudio put ZSJ in the swing. The technical wizard (not Chris Jericho) Zach Sabre Jr. also got a great reaction and rewarded the fans with an excellent performance. Sabre’s ability to wrap his opponent into knots from seemingly out of nowhere is amazing. Claudio was able to showcase his superhuman strength, delighting the crowd to no end. 

This match was physical and exciting, and Claudio began his AEW career on an exciting note and with a big win. Fans will be happy to see Castagnoli in Blood & Guts where he will once again serve as Danielson’s replacement. Claudio also got involved in the post-main event skirmish, which included Eddie Kingston throwing a fit after seeing the newest BCC member. Claudio and Kingston have a long-lasting feud, and a renewal of that rivalry sounds like an awesome idea to me. 

Written by Joel Kananen

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