The Real Winners and Losers From 2022 AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door Card
All Elite Wrestling and New Japan Pro-Wrestling came together to put on a show like no other Sunday night. Forbidden Door was a special event from its first announcement, promising many dream matchups.
While the card might not have appeared to be what was hoped for, the execution was everything fans could have hoped for. A hot crowd in Chicago got to see many of the greatest wrestlers in the world compete.
No matter where these stars landed on the lineup, they brought everything to their performances and put on matches as good as anything this year.
Since it was never about AEW vs. NJPW but rather highlighting the talent of both promotions, the companies won big by showcasing their best talent.
Multiple stars walked out of this show as big winners, from Jon Moxley and PAC to FTR, while few could be considered losers.
Winner: Shota Umino
AEW fans may not be too familiar with Shota Umino. He has spent time with Jon Moxley as his support in NJPW, but he has not gotten many opportunities to work solo there, let alone in AEW.
However, he showed out throughout this match, particularly the highlight of the final sequence. While he may have been pinned in the end, Chris Jericho gave The Shooter a lot throughout the action.
Kevin Kelly put over Umino as a future main eventer for NJPW. He may not be there yet as he is still on excursion at Revolution Pro Wrestling, but this was a step in the right direction.
If AEW is going to continue to grow its relationship with NJPW, it would be a smart move to let Umino work dates for the U.S. promotion during his excursion. He clearly has captured the attention of the audience.
He would be a great honorary member of The Blackpool Combat Club where Mox can continue to help him find his character.
FTR may be the best tag team in the world, and both Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler have now added more to that legacy. They hold tag team gold for NJPW, Ring of Honor and Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide.
However, it is far more than that. Every time FTR step in the ring, they shine. Their Triple Threat tag team match with Roppongi Vice and former IWGP tag team champions Jeff Cobb and Great-O-Khan was an epic that was far better than anyone could have expected it to be.
Harwood has been so good in singles action that there is an argument he is the wrestler of the year for AEW. However, it was Wheeler who stood out after his teammate was taken out of the action early.
At this point, FTR have reached such a level in AEW that it is only right that Harwood and Wheeler become its tag team champions again, making them the first team in history to hold AEW, IWGP, ROH and AAA gold at the same time.
As huge as the AEW roster may be, few can claim to have been with the company since its inception. PAC was one of the biggest original signings for the company, yet injuries and travel issues have kept him away from gold.
That changed at Forbidden Door. He overcame a massive field, including rival Malakai Black, to become the first-ever All Atlantic champion.
While Miro and Black could make good arguments as to why they should have won, The Bastard had the best one. He has stuck with AEW through so much and finally earned an accolade that can never be taken away from him.
He will always be the first man to capture AEW's newest title. Even if Black does take it from him shortly, he will remain the very first.
PAC is one of the best wrestlers in AEW, and he will have great matches with anyone who steps up to him. He can help craft the legacy of the company's newest belt.
Loser: The Young Bucks
On a night of great wrestling, The Young Bucks may have had the worst match of the night. It was fun enough but it was also a clear step down from a series of incredible performances.
Matt and Nick Jackson were a vital element in creating the future of wrestling that led to Forbidden Door. Many would have expected them to be more heavily featured. Instead, they were left in an eight-man bout that was forced to become a trios tag at the last minute.
Even the story of the contest was taken from the currently injured reDRagon. Darby Allin and Sting wanted to hurt Kyle O'Reilly but settled for The Young Bucks and El Phantasmo.
It was an anticlimactic event for one of the best tag teams in the world, especially on a night when FTR won more tag gold.
Loser: AEW for Its Continued Injury Issues
While AEW may have had a great night overall, the injuries continue to pile up. CM Punk and Bryan Danielson were the biggest names who missed the card, but so many more were also kept out of the action.
On the night, Dax Harwood may have injured his shoulder, forcing him to walk out during the contest. It is unclear how serious it was since he did return, though he is not completely healthy no matter what.
Adam Cole also went down hard during the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship match, forcing a modified finish. He was able to walk out under his own power, but it seems likely he will need to spend some time recovering after this show.
It is possible more wrestlers were also injured during an action-packed night. Only time will tell what comes of that. It is a credit to everyone involved as they put their bodies on the line to create a great event, knowing injuries are always possible.
Winner: Jon Moxley
No one has established the relationship between AEW and NJPW more than Jon Moxley. When he left WWE, he decided he wanted to work with both companies and made sure he could.
Even when the promotions have struggled to work together, Moxley remained a neutral party and worked for both. While his opponent at Forbidden Door, Hiroshi Tanahashi, may have coined the phrase that defined this show, Moxley made more of the opportunity than anyone else.
With CM Punk being injured, there is no one better to represent the company as its world champion in the interim. Even if a surprise result could have sparked more attention on the company, AEW trusted the man who helped the company rise to this moment.
Moxley defeated The Ace in a memorable main event, proving his value to AEW and NJPW. He will likely go on to defend the interim title in both promotions as long as they allow it.
The future of AEW is with Moxley, and he could well prove himself more valuable in that spot than even The Best in the World this summer.