Image Credit: All Elite Wrestling

AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door Preview and Predictions

It’s almost time for AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door!

The third annual Forbidden Door pay-per-view event goes down at the UBS Arena in Elmont Sunday, June 30. Wrestlers from Stardom and CMLL will work the show in addition to AEW and NJPW talents.

Eleven matches have been officially confirmed at the time of this writing. The main show begins at 8 p.m. ET, and will be streamed live on Bleacher Report and TrillerTV. With that in mind, let’s dive right into AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door preview and predictions.

AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door Bryan Danielson Shingo Takagi
Photo Credit: AEW

Bryan Danielson vs. Shingo Takagi – Owen Hart Cup Tournament at AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door

Backdrop: Bryan Danielson declared for the Owen Hart Tournament on 6/5 Dynamite. AEW announced Danielson would be facing NJPW’s Shingo Takagi in the first round match-up at Forbidden Door. Both men came face-to-face after Takagi assaulted Wheeler Yuta following LIJ’s DQ win over BCC on 6/26 Dynamite.

Prediction: A rematch that’s been more than a decade in the making. For those unaware, Danielson and Takagi had a brilliant match all those years ago in Dragon Gate. They have since grown exponentially as competitors. The American Dragon is my pick as the winner in this potential MOTY contender.

Video Credit: YouTube

MJF vs. Hechicero at AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door

Backdrop: MJF had a filler feud with RUSH following his return to AEW at Double or Nothing. Both men put on a banger two weeks ago on Dynamite. Following the match, Max was attacked by Cage of Agony and CMLL’s Hechicero. The “Wolf of Wrestling” would retaliate later during the night, accepting Hechicero’s challenge in the process.

Prediction: MJF’s first PPV match since Worlds End 2023. Hechicero may seem like an underwhelming opponent for MJF at a PPV, but he is excellent in the ring. Those who’ve seen his CMLL work know just how good Hechicero is between the ropes. MJF is winning this match but it won’t be easy putting down the former CMLL World Champion.

Video Credit: YouTube

Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Orange Cassidy – Singles match

Backdrop: Orange Cassidy won a fatal four-way also involving Zack Sabre Jr, Daniel Garcia, and Shibata at Forbidden Door 2023. Zack would issue a challenge to OC for a singles match at Forbidden Door 2024 on 6/8 AEW Collision. Both men would cross paths in a multi-man match on 6/19 Dynamite. They would once again confront each other after Zack defeated O’Reilly in singles action on the final Dynamite before Forbidden Door.

Prediction: Orange Cassidy may be a sloth, but he can deliver an excellent match whenever he wants. The former AEW International Champion has a history of brilliant matches against the likes of Moxley and Ospreay on PPV. His ability to adapt to the style of his opponent is underrated in my opinion. This could be lowkey Match of the Night with Zack as the winner. I won’t prefer any sort of interference but the confrontation between TMNT and OC and Ishii suggests otherwise.

Title for title match at AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door

Backdrop: Mercedes Moné won the AEW TBS Championship at Double or Nothing. AEW announced Mercedes would collide with CMLL’s Stephanie Vaquer in a title-for-title match at Forbidden Door. Stephanie is the reigning and defending NJPW Strong Women’s Champion. Mercedes had beat Stephanie in the Strong Women’s title tournament in 2023. She was penciled in to become the inaugural champion, but her injury during the finals prevented her victory. The TBS Champion showed up at a CMLL show to confront the NJPW Strong Women’s Champion.

Prediction: They haven’t presented Stephanie as a credible opponent to Mercedes despite her being a complete badass in the ring. It seems the whole point of the match-up is to make Mercedes a double champion. After all, there has to be someone walking out of Forbidden Door with two titles on their shoulders. (Sorry Will, I’m not talking about you.) Mercedes stays double champion until someone from Stardom takes the Strong title from her.

AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door The Acclaimed Hiroshi Tanahashi The Elite
Photo Credit: AEW

The Elite (Matthew Jackson, Nicholas Jackson & Kazuchika Okada) vs. Scissor Ace (Anthony Bowens, Max Caster & Hiroshi Tanahashi) – Trios match

Backdrop: The Elite took control of AEW by force after taking out Tony Khan months ago. The EVPs, Okada and Jack Perry emerged victorious against Team AEW in their chaotic Anarchy in the Arena match at Double or Nothing. Matthew and Nicholas would be confronted by The Acclaimed, leading to a great tag team eliminator between the two teams on 6/19 AEW Dynamite. After The Elite challenged The Acclaimed to a trios match, Billy Gunn revealed Tanahashi as his replacement for AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door.

Prediction: Tanahashi’s addition has made the match interesting. Bucks and The Acclaimed already had a great match on Dynamite weeks ago. Add Okada and Tanahashi to the mix, and you could possibly end up with the best trios action of the night. This will be Okada and Tana’s first time stepping inside an AEW ring from across each other, I believe. Both men have had some legendary encounters in Japan. The Elite gets the win at Forbidden Door to retain their momentum on the road to AEW Blood & Guts.

AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door Konosuke Takeshita
Photo Credit: AEW

Konosuke Takeshita vs. Mark Briscoe vs. Jack Perry vs. Dante Martin vs. Lio Rush vs. El Phantasmo – Ladder match for the vacant TNT Championship

Backdrop: The TNT title was vacated following Adam Copeland’s terrible injury at AEW Double or Nothing. The Bucks tried to bestow the title on Perry, but Christopher Daniels announced qualifying matches for the TNT title ladder match in the lead-up to AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door. Takeshita beat Penta. Mark Briscoe advanced by putting away Brian Cage. Perry bloodied Dustin Rhodes. Martin defeated Moriarty. Lio Rush won against Andretti.

Prediction: Briscoe has the most experience when it comes to multi-man matches. That said, there’s no way he’s coming out the match a double champion. Martin, Rush and El Phantasmo are in the match for “show-stealing spot-fests.” It all comes down to Perry and Takeshita. I really hope they put the TNT title on Takeshita. He’s been nothing but brilliant in his run thus far. That said, I do smell a possible interference from The Elite to set up the win for Perry.

Video Credit: YouTube

Jox Moxley (c) vs. Tetsuya Naito – IWGP World Heavyweight Championship match

Backdrop: Mox beat Naito for the title at NJPW Windy City Riot 2024. He’d retain the title against the likes of Powerhouse Hobbs, Shota Umino and EVIL. Naito would make his presence known on the final Dynamite before Forbidden Door to confront the champion.

Prediction: Naito saying he’d give up his G1 spot for Mox if he fails to reclaim the title Sunday has me second guessing the outcome. If this was a first blood match, then easy win for Naito because Mox loves to bleed. Still, I’m going with Naito as the winner and new IWGP champion.

Toni Storm (c) vs. Mina Shirakawa – AEW Women’s World Championship

Backdrop: Toni Storm teased a title match at AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door by making a cameo at a Stardom event on April 4. Mina Shirakawa showed up on the following Dynamite to tease a match between the pair. Both women would confront each other while Mariah May helplessly tried to diffuse the tension.

Prediction: This storyline has been entertaining from the get-go. Mina is charismatic. She’s a beast inside the ring. Mariah did a great job struggling to pick sides. She has history with Mina, but Toni is her mentor. Toni retains this Sunday after a great match but that comes at the expense of some dramatic storytelling.

Video Credit: YouTube

Swerve Strickland (c) vs. Will Ospreay – AEW World Championship

Backdrop: Ospreay won the AEW International Championship at Double or Nothing. Strickland retained his AEW World Championship against Christian Cage later that night. Ospreay became the number one contender to the world title on 6/29 Dynamite. Both men almost came to blows two weeks ago on Dynamite before joining forces against Gates of Agony this past Wednesday.

Prediction: This match was inevitable. Both men have traveled the world together. They have stood beside and against each other inside the squared circle. Ospreay wants to become double champion thus Sunday. He’s already on a winning streak since signing with AEW full-time. However, AEW might pull a time-limit draw to protect both competitors this Sunday.

Wrestlezone will have full coverage of AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door as it airs.