AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door
Photo Credit: AEW

AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door Review

Forbidden Door is officially in the books!

All Elite Wrestling’s latest collaboration with New Japan went down at Elmont’s UBS Arena. The main show featured 10 matches. New champions were crowned and old faces returned in a night full of action and drama.

Here’s what went down at AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door.

AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door MJF Hechicero
Image Credit: All Elite Wrestling

MJF vs. Hechicero

New York’s very own MJF kicked off Forbidden Door against CMLL’s Hechicero. Hechicero gained momentum by targeting MJF’s arm. Both men struggled to apply a proper submission until Hechicero locked in the hold, only for Max to reach the ropes. MJF bit the CMLL star on the head before taking him out for the win with a brutal brainbuster.

A good opening match to fire up the New York crowd. Hechicero brought some brilliant offense to Max with his arm work. MJF popped the crowd with his Fargo strut and antics. The submission exchange spots were good. MJF’s win put him in a position to focus on his goal, which is to reclaim the AEW World Championship.

AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door The Acclaimed The Elite Hiroshi Tanahashi
Image Credit: All Elite Wrestling

The Elite vs. The Acclaimed at Forbidden Door

The second match on the main show saw The Acclaimed take on The Elite. Caster and Bowens joined forces with Tanahashi against Bucks and Okada. The action continued for 13 minutes until Okada sealed the win for his team with a brutal Rainmaker.

A decent tag team match, which should’ve been better. Okada played the cocky heel to perfection. Tanahashi cannot compete at the level he once used to. Bowens delivered a great performance. I hope Tana is fine because he looked hurt after taking that Rainmaker.

AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door Bryan Danielson Shingo Takagi
Image Credit: All Elite Wrestling

Bryan Danielson vs. Shingo Takagi – Owen Hart Tournament Quarterfinals

Danielson and Takagi collided in the first round match of the Owen Hart Tournament. The last time they fought was when Danielson was still on his independent run. There were some stiff spots, including the hanging neckbreaker to the outside. Danielson narrowly avoided a count-out loss after taking a brutal bump. Takagi pulled off some clean strikes and submissions until Danielson countered the offense with his own submission hold.

Click here to read complete match results.

This was a great match but not better than their outing from 14 years ago. Still, both men put on an exhilarating performance. Danielson showed his fighting spirit despite being knocked down on multiple occasions. The crowd didn’t really seem invested even for whatever reason. This fight was more grounded compared to the fast-paced action from their previous meeting.

AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door Toni Storm Mina Shirakawa
Image Credit: All Elite Wrestling

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

Toni Storm defended her world title against Stardom’s very own Mina Shirakawa. The champion had previously appeared at a Stardom event via satellite to tease a match at Forbidden Door 2024. Storm’s challenge subsequently led to Mina’s AEW debut. Mariah May was dragged into the feud because of her storyline involvement with both Storm and Mina.

I found the Forbidden Door title match better than Storm’s outing against Serena Deeb. AEW honored Japanese pre-match tradition by having Marian present bouquets to both Storm and Mina. The action itself was pretty solid. Mina may be a pretty face, but she’s a complete badass in the ring. I’m glad they didn’t pull the trigger on Mariah’s heel turn after the match.

Click here to read complete match results

AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door Orange Cassidy Zack Sabre Jr.
Image Credit: All Elite Wrestling

Orange Cassidy vs. Zack Sabre Jr. at Forbidden Door

The feud stemmed from Cassidy’s win in a match that also involved Zack Sabre Jr. at Forbidden Door 2023. Both men had competed in tag team action in the lead-up to their encounter this past Sunday night. The feud also brought Gabe Kidd and his crew from NJPW into the mix on AEW television.

Let me tell you why OC is a chameleon. The man can effortlessly adapt to any in-ring style. He and Zack had a technical masterclass at Forbidden Door. Those Dragon Screws to Zack were nasty. The New Japan star had some brilliant counters to OC’s offense as well. The way he twisted OC’s limbs during the final moments of the match… oof!

AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door HOOK Samoa Joe Katsuyori Shibata Chris Jericho Big Bill Jeff Cobb
Image Credit: All Elite Wrestling

HOOK, Samoa Joe & Shibata vs. Big Bill, Chris Jericho & Jeff Cobb

HOOK found a new mentor in Samoa Joe in the lead-up to AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door. Shibata joined the trio because he too, had some unfinished business with Jericho. Jeff Cobb subbed for an injured Bryan Keith in the build-up to the match. Y2J had originally wanted Suzuki but Murder Grandpa declined by challenging Jericho to an FTW title match.

A decent tag team match featuring the two teams. Big Bill and Jeff Cobb did most of the heavy lifting, literally. Joe has arguably the best no-look enzuigiri. Jericho wasn’t the brightest bulb of the night because he got his lights knocked out by HOOK following a Judas Effect. I’m glad the Learning Tree didn’t kick out of his own move.

AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door TNT Ladder Match
Image Credit: All Elite Wrestling

Ladder match for the vacant TNT Championship

Adam Copeland was forced to vacate his TNT title due to the foot injury he suffered at AEW Double or Nothing. AEW ran a series of qualifying matches to determine the six competitors for the ladder match in the build-up to Forbidden Door. Jack Perry, Takeshita, Mark Briscoe, Dante Marti, Lio Rush, and El Phantasmo punched their ticket by winning their respective qualifying matches on weekly television.

Ladder matches are chaotic and this one was no exception. All six men took some brutal bumps in this high-risk match-up. From Mark Briscoe missing the table to Takeshita hitting a blue thunder bomb, the ladder match wasn’t for the weak of heart. I’m flinch every time Dante Martin lands on his legs because of the terrible injury he suffered at ROH Supercard of Honor 2023. Speaking of injury, Lio Rush, unfortunately, suffered one last night.

Click here to read complete match results.

AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door Mercedes Mone Stephanie Vaquer
Image credit: All Elite Wrestling

Title for Title at AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door

Mercedes Moné and Stephanie Vaquer first confronted each other during the opening round of the NJPW Strong Women’s Tournament a year ago. Stephanie would show up to tease a showdown following Mercedes’ successful defense of the TBS title against Skye Blue on Dynamite. The CEO would collide with one-half of the CMLL Women’s Tag Team Champions Zeuxis in the build to Forbidden Door.

Not the best match of the night but a damn good match nonetheless. Mercedes and Stephanie showed their chemistry from bell to bell. Stephanie’s performance was spectacular. She is truly one of the best in the world. Every move she does comes with precision. Both women did the kip-up, but the CEO botched her part. I’d like to see more collaboration between CMLL and AEW if Stephanie doesn’t become All Elite in the future.

For those wondering if Mercedes will stay babyface after teasing a heel turn, Britt Baker returned and she got one of the biggest pops of the night.

Click here to read complete match result.

AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door Jon Moxley Naito
Image Credit: All Elite Wrestling

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

Jon Moxley won the IWGP title at Windy City Riot 2024. He had some defenses against both NJPW and AEW guys. The former champion, Naito, showed up on the final Dynamite before Forbidden Door to escalate his feud with Moxley.

This, without a doubt, was the worst match of the night. It was disappointing to see two wrestlers the caliber of Mox and Naito give the fans a slogfest. Naito losing might’ve been a surprise outcome, but AEW went the predictable route.

AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door Swerve Strickland Will Ospreay
Image Credit: All Elite Wrestling

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

Will Ospreay earned the right to challenge Strickland for the world title by winning a multi-man match on AEW Dynamite. Both men would team up against Gates of Agony on the final Dynamite before Forbidden Door. Strickland took out Ospreay with a House Call after the challenger snatched the world title from the champion.

A great main event for a crossover PPV. Strickland and Ospreay are world-class athletes with multiple classics under their belts. The action was solid with Strickland isolating Ospreay’s arms to prevent him from hitting the hidden. The numerous cuts to MJF-Daniel Garcia and Don Callis showing up hurt the match in some places, but overall it was a great match.

Also read: Tony Khan says AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door Drew Over $1 Million Gate