Projecting the Full AEW X NJPW: Forbidden Door Match Card

Graham GSM Matthews@@WrestleRantFeatured ColumnistApril 22, 2022

Projecting the Full AEW X NJPW: Forbidden Door Match Card

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    Who will step through the "forbidden door" and join Jay White on the grand AEW x NJPW supershow?
    Who will step through the "forbidden door" and join Jay White on the grand AEW x NJPW supershow?Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    The long-awaited All Elite Wrestling and New Japan Pro-Wrestling supershow fans have been eagerly anticipating is finally set to become a reality.

    Tony Khan announced on Wednesday's Dynamite that the two companies will join forces for the first time to present Forbidden Door, a joint pay-per-view emanating live from Chicago's United Center on June 26.

    The only names so far to make it known that they intend to take part are Adam Cole and Jay White. No one else has been confirmed to compete, but it's safe to assume most, if not all, of AEW and NJPW's top talent will appear in some form or fashion.

    AEW has been bringing in more and more star power from NJPW over the last year, but nothing to this extent. Now, the possibilities are endless as far as exciting dream matches that can be booked featuring stars from both promotions.

    Anything can change in the next two months, but the following 12-match card (including another three on The Buy In) should be what it looks like when all is said and done.

    Please note that some injured talent from AEW and NJPW will be included in case they are cleared by late June, and it's unknown what—if any—championships will be defended.

The Buy In

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    Miro vs. Jeff Cobb

    One thing AEW and NJPW have in common is squeezing as many matches onto their PPV cards as possible. It's hard to blame them when the rosters are so stacked, and it's hard to complain when the matches consistently deliver.

    Jeff Cobb vs. Miro may not worthy of making the main card, but it would be an incredible hoss battle that would open the evening on a high note on the pre-show.


    Trent Beretta, Rocky Romero, Orange Cassidy and Toru Yano vs. House of Torture (EVIL, Sho, Yujiro Takahashi and Dick Togo)

    Orange Cassidy is the first name you'll find on this list whose status for the show is up in the air due to being injured. He hasn't been seen since the grueling ladder match at Revolution on March 6, but if he's able to return in time, he and Toru Yano would be the perfect pairing.

    Meanwhile, House of Torture isn't exactly a hot act in NJPW at the moment, but it would make sense for the promotion's NEVER Openweight champion and NEVER Openweight six-man tag team champions to be represented.


    Tag Team Invitational

    Between the two companies, there is a wealth of tremendous tag teams. This card will feature enough tag team matches as it is, so putting the rest (including AEW world tag team champions Jurassic Express and IWGP tag team champions United Empire) in an invitational (either gauntlet or straight-up Battle Royal style) would be a nice way to showcase them all.

Thrilling Undercard Outings

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    Kenta vs. Sammy Guevara

    The former IWGP United States champion has made it quite clear on social media he wants CM Punk one-on-one at Forbidden Door, but The Second City Saint is bound to be in a higher-profile match at the event being the hot commodity he is right now.

    Sammy Guevara would at least be a serviceable replacement, especially since he also executes a variation of Kenta and Punk's GTS finisher. This would be a blast from an in-ring standpoint and ensure the AEW TNT Championship gets defended (assuming Guevara is still champ in two months).


    El Desperado vs. Darby Allin

    Despite not receiving too much singles spotlight in recent months, Darby Allin remains one of the most exciting prospects on the AEW roster. He never fails to rise to the occasion and would be a thrilling opponent for an athlete of El Desperado's caliber.

    Desperado is currently the IWGP Junior Heavyweight champion, so this would ideally be for that belt. This could serve as the show's obligatory spot-fest and be one of the night's biggest barn-burners.


    Malakai Black vs. Minoru Suzuki

    AEW hasn't done a whole lot of anything with Malakai Black and his faction as of late, but he more than anyone should have a spot on the Forbidden Door card. His style is a perfect fit for NJPW and would compliment Minoru Suzuki's exceptionally well.

    Suzuki has lost every match he's had against an AEW talent so far, and while this wouldn't be any different, the hard-hitting affair they'd have would be well worth it.

Tag Team Turmoil

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    FTR vs. Guerillas of Destiny

    FTR's tag team excellence is understood and recognized by many. They're currently on a quest to prove that excellence to anyone willing to step in the ring with them, and no team has better represented New Japan's tag team division in recent years than Guerillas of Destiny.

    These talented tandems have defined tag team wrestling for the last half-decade, making this the biggest two-on-two tag team match that can be done on this show.

    Putting FTR up against United Empire's Jeff Cobb and Great O-Khan is another option where several sets of titles could be on the line, but this matchup has more appeal on paper.


    Keith Lee and Swerve Strickland vs. Shingo Takagi and Hiromu Takahashi

    Keith Lee and Swerve Strickland are still the new team on the block in AEW, but the chemistry they've shown as partners in such a short span of time is astounding.

    Both men should be branching back out into the singles ranks before long, but it wouldn't hurt to stretch their partnership a little longer so they can face the duo of Shingo Takagi and Hiromu Takahashi at Forbidden Door.

    Representing Los Ingobernables de Japon, Takagi and Takahashi must be featured on this show. The former is a former IWGP Heavyweight champion and the latter is one of the best junior heavyweights in the entire company, not to mention that they'd be amazing opponents for Lee and Strickland.

    The only issue the audience would face is deciding who to cheer for.

Fantasy Warfare

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    Bryan Danielson vs. Zack Sabre Jr.

    The closest Bryan Danielson and Zack Sabre Jr. ever came to interacting with each other was when the latter competed in WWE's one and only cruiserweight classic in 2016 and the former served as one-half of the commentators alongside Mauro Ranallo.

    Danielson was obviously in awe of what Sabre could do and surely wanted nothing more than to be able to lock up with him. Sabre was wise to turn down the deal from WWE and continue to hone his craft all over the world. This technical masterpiece would be an absolute treat.


    Samoa Joe vs. Tomohiro Ishii

    AEW fans got a small taste of what dream matches lie ahead for Samoa Joe when he battled and bruised up Minoru Suzuki on Dynamite last week. He now has the ROH World Television Championship in his grasp and should be looking to take on all comers, so why not Tomohiro Ishii?

    In fact, Ishii is a former ROH TV champ in his own right, having beaten Roderick Strong for the strap in 2016. Imagine the chops these two could lay into each other, and then imagine how much more damage they'd do in an effort to leave with the title. 


    Andrade El Idolo vs. Tetsuya Naito

    Andrade's history in Los Ingobernables is well documented, having left the group when he signed with WWE in 2015. He found success there and has done well for himself in AEW, but there's no way he forgot his roots.

    Tetsuya Naito has taken the Japanese subsection of the stable to new heights in recent years, even winning the top title in 2020.

    Andrade now has a faction of his own in the form of the Andrade Family Office, and although a multi-man tag team match between them is possible, a straight-up singles bout would be infinitely more interesting.

Jon Moxley vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi

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    Next to Jon Moxley's match with Kenta last year for the IWGP United States Championship, Moxley vs. Tanahashi just may have one of the longest builds of any bout in recent New Japan history.

    From Minoru Suzuki and Tomohiro Ishii to Juice Robinson and Will Ospreay, the former AEW world champion has had the chance to mix it up with practically everyone since starting with NJPW three years ago. Tanahashi is one of the few opponents who has alluded him up to this point.

    Tanahashi made a quick cameo last August on Dynamite in the form of a pre-taped video package, clearly stating his intentions of wanting the IWGP U.S. title that was held by Lance Archer at the time. Moxley called out Tanahashi leading into All Out but got Satoshi Kojima instead.

    All signs seemed to point to the match happening before Moxley left on a self-imposed hiatus later that year. They rekindled their rivalry recently and are scheduled to finally go one-on-one next month at NJPW's Capital Collision event.

    That will take place six weeks before Forbidden Door, so it's only logical for the feud to continue through that show where they can blow it off in a some sort of stipulation rematch.

Adam Page vs. Will Ospreay

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    Adam Page is no stranger to the stars of New Japan Pro-Wrestling, having worked with many of them thanks to Ring of Honor's longstanding relationship with the promotion during his time there.

    He had the chance to clash with the likes of Kota Ibushi, Hiroshi Tanahashi and many more, but never Will Ospreay under either the ROH or NJPW banners.

    It wasn't until Hangman left for AEW that Ospreay started to really break out in NJPW's heavyweight division and find success as a singles star. He eventually captured the IWGP Heavyweight Championship before being forced to relinquish it due to injury in 2021.

    Page, of course, has gone on to bigger and better things as well. Despite falling short of becoming the inaugural AEW world champion in August 2019, his hard-fought journey led him back to the belt in November 2021 and he's been the reigning champ ever since.

    If Hangman is still in possession of the prestigious prize by that point, this bout can be contested for that championship with the idea being Ospreay wants the world title gold he arguably never lost. Page would be willing to offer him a shot knowing he'd do the same thing if the roles were reversed.

    Regardless of whether he loses the title to CM Punk at Double or Nothing on May 29, Page vs. Ospreay in a battle between two of the brightest young prospects in wrestling today would be an awesome attraction for Forbidden Door.

Golden Elite vs. Undisputed Elite

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    The long-term storytelling AEW has done with The Elite over the years has been near-perfect, but then again, that should have been expected considering their history was the genesis for how the company came to be in the first place.

    The Young Bucks, Kenny Omega, Adam Page and Cody Rhodes started out as a cohesive unit upon the inception of AEW. Rhodes eventually distanced himself from the rest while Page was "fired" in late 2020 for having issues with the Bucks.

    Omega and the Bucks eventually reformed their own version of The Elite with The Good Brothers and Adam Cole, but with The Good Brothers gone and Omega out with injuries, that's left Cole in charge. The addition of reDRagon led to the supergroup being called Undisputed Elite, but it's apparent the Bucks aren't long for the faction.

    Once Omega returns (and there's nothing set in stone that it will be before Forbidden Door), he should reunite with the Bucks to take on Cole, Kyle O'Reilly and Bobby Fish. To add an extra New Japan element, Kota Ibushi (also sidelined with an injury at the moment) should team with Omega and the Bucks, while Undisputed Elite recruit Jay White.

    Again, this is entirely dependent on whether Omega and Ibushi are able to make it back in time, but fingers crossed they can because this would be something special given the history of all involved.

CM Punk vs. Kazuchika Okada

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    CM Punk made it crystal clear with a single tweet at the onset of 2022 that he desperately wants to wrestle Kazuchika Okada. Not only that, but he also included the address for the United Center in Chicago, which is where Forbidden Door will take place.

    It could be a coincidence, but Tony Khan has shown with his style of booking that most things happen for a reason and this might be one of them. He may have had the idea for months that Punk would be headlining in his hometown against one of the best wrestlers in the world.

    To make matters even more intriguing, Okada is the IWGP Heavyweight champion. As NJPW's biggest star, you'd think they'd want him coming into the event with the title and the same could be said for Punk.

    The Straight Edge Superstar's recent run with AEW has been nothing short of stellar. He's proved he can still continue to innovate, making him an ideal opponent for Okada. The storytelling could be off the charts and this might be the only time we have a chance to see it.

    As two wildly popular wrestling draws, this sells itself.

    A champion vs. champion main event for Forbidden Door would be the cherry on top for what should be a fantastic night of wrestling, and hopefully it's the first of many more installments to come.


    Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, has specialized in sports and entertainment writing since 2010. Visit his website, WrestleRant, and subscribe to his YouTube channel for more wrestling-related content.