Forbidden Door
June 26, 2022
United Center
Chicago, Illinois

Watch: PPV / FITE (Non-US)

Meet our Previewers

Jeri Evagood: This is going to be a good show. Maybe not the star studded, stupendous, sensationally spectacular show everyone wanted with all the matches they ever dreamed of, but I think there is a high probability if you are going or purchase it, you will be entertained. The Forbidden Door is open, will you dare step in? Anyway I am the magic writing girl of V.O.W here in this article to preview this magical time in pro-wrestling history. Maybe the illusion isn’t as deep as some of you would like, but I got a feeling there will be a trick or two up the sleeves. You can follow me on twitter at @TheJerriest_Jer for wrestling and other shenanigans. (Warning shenanigans may not be up everyone’s alleyway). 

Steve Case: Perception versus reality. Is this the show that everyone imagined in their head it would be? Doubtful. After all, AEW and NJPW are doing less of a dream card and more of a, hopefully, first trial run of many more joint promotional shows. It’s okay to be disappointed by the card, especially with such lofty expectations. Is it still going to be an electric atmosphere with several great matches that this reviewer and many others will enjoy? There is little to no doubt. This is a historic show in any respect. One that, if it goes well and does good business, we will likely see a lot more of. Maybe then the kinks can be worked out, and the health of various wrestlers will be in a better place. Follow Steve @Coachcase44 on the Twitter hellspace. Also, check out the children’s book, “The Sleeper Hold: Pro-Wrestling for Babies” he helped write with his better half!

Fred: Right at the time AEW became as snakebit as it ever has been in terms of injuries, they also stumbled with parts of the build. This isn’t a high quality build on practically any level, but the match quality will be as good as any other AEW show to date. You can follow Fred on Twitter @flagrantrasslin.

Max Caster & Gunn Club (Billy Gunn, Austin Gunn & Colten Gunn) vs. Yuya Uemura, Alex Coughlin, The DKC & Kevin Knight

Jeri: This has a good chance to be fun and probably nothing too much more, and you know what, that’s kind of what I wanted out of it. I want Max Caster to cut a good rap, everyone to get some good wrestling in, and for the match to move on so we can get to other things. This will be short, sweet, get in and get out, and I have no problem with that at all. A good little get-the-crowd-amped match. Prediction: The L.A Dojo

Steve: This is a perfect opener/pre-show match. The Ass Boys and Acclaimed are OVER, and are becoming sneaky good in the ring. The Dojo Boys are largely studs and will be looking forward to showing out on such a big international stage. Look for especially Uemura and Caughlin to really shine. The Ass Family will be game, but this should and will be a dojo showcase. Prediction: The Dojo Boys

Fred: My name is Fred and I’m here to say / I enjoy the Acclaimed & Gunns in a wrestling way. This is probably going to be the least good match from an in-ring perspective, but all of the guys in it are solid and the Gunn Club/Acclaimed act is perfect for an early match on any AEW show. This one could obviously go either way, but it feels like that once Bowens is healthy, they’ll work towards a split, and a miscommunication causing a loss would help build to that. Prediction: The L.A. Dojo

Zack Sabre Jr. vs. An opponent of Bryan Danielson’s choosing

Jeri: I really, really, really, REALLY, REALLY wish they had announced the opponent before hand. I just don’t know if a mystery opponent gimmick is really needed, anyone who does or doesn’t buy the show is probably not buying it to find out who Zack Sabre Jr.’s opponent is. With so many hits this show has seemingly taken both due to injuries and due to people’s opinion on the show, just giving us the opponent’s name was probably a good idea. I’m thinking it’s Cesaro but there is no middle ground with this mystery opponent; it’ll either be a big welcoming, or a disappointment. I’m really hoping for the former. I have a feeling if it’s the right opponent though, this will be one of the best matches on the show. (The right opponent would be Cesaro btw.) Prediction: An opponent of Bryan Danielson’s choosing

Steve: This stinks. But what can you do? The guy isn’t cleared so they had to pivot. I do wish maybe they didn’t do the segment to open Dynamite though. Bryan was so upbeat and passionate, and then just pulled the rug out from under us. Anyway, who’s it going to be? I have three options in my head based on the promo. The best option would be Claudio, or CSRO or whatever he calls himself these days, for obvious reasons. Next would be Johnathon Gresham, who likely people wouldn’t be excited about but would mesh perfectly with Zack. The third and least likely would be Chris Hero. He’s in town across the street, has a well documented history with Eddie Kingston when it comes to Blood & Guts, and checks that early-mid 2000s Indy box that Tony seems to love. In any case, Zack can have a great match with anyone. The floor on this is probably ****, with the potential to go higher depending on the opponent. With Blood & Guts coming up, there’s no doubt this mystery man gets the win. Prediction: Stock Image Wrestler

Fred: Whoever fills in for Danielson is put in a very difficult position as they step in for one of the absolute best wrestlers of all-time. I’d be shocked if the match doesn’t end up being very good, but the question is who did Tony Khan get as a replacement? I can only picture a couple of names that would be a reasonable fill-in here without disappointing too many people: specifically, Cesaro and Johnny Gargano. I can’t picture the AEW wrestler dropping this match since they’re probably going to be in Blood and Guts.  Prediction: Mystery AEW wrestler.

Swerve Strickland & Keith Lee vs. El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru (Announced on AEW Rampage)

Jeri: HELL YEAH! This is going to be some good freaking stuff right here. I love all of this existing. This is going to be a great tag team match if all four men are given some time to breath (doesn’t have to be a lot mind you, just a good 13-15 minute window) and they just go all at it.Swerve/Lee are an excellent pairing that have gelled quickly and Kanemaru and El Desperado are a proven and successful commodity. This has sleeper match written all over it. I think it’s going to finish pretty high on everyone’s end of show lists when it’s all said and done. Maybe I’m hyping it too hard, but I just got a feeling, a hunch, a hint . . . this is going to rule. Prediction: El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru

Steve: Well isn’t this a tasty surprise that has yet to make air. Desperado rules and though I’m not as high on Kanemaru as everyone else, I still think he’s a rock solid wrestler. The dynamic of these two teams and what they can do greatly intrigues me. Lee and Swerve have been terrific as a tag team. I hope they stick together awhile longer through their current spat. I have no idea what this will look like, but I’m confident these four will pull off something special. I think AEW will keep Lee and Swerve together a bit longer, so I’ll go with them for the win. Prediction: Swerve & Keith Lee

Fred: This is a pleasant surprise. The big question on the AEW side is if they’re actually planning on a Swerve and Keith Lee break up based off of the Casino Battle Royale, or if that was just a “battle royales are everyone for themselves” deal. In normal booking, I’d roll with the AEW team taking it as they tend to be positioned higher on the card relative to where Desperado & Kanemaru are. But I’m betting we’ve got a break up coming off of this, and this will set that up.. Prediction: Despy & Kanemaru

The Young Bucks & BULLET CLUB (El Phantasmo & Hikuleo) vs. Dudes with Attitudes (Darby Allin, Sting, & Los Ingobernables de Japon (Shingo Takagi & Hiromu Takahashi))

Jeri: I was really hoping for a Young Bucks tag and a Darby/Hiromu match on this show. I’m really disappointed we aren’t getting Darby/Hiromu, that just screamed “no brainer to me” but this match is what it is, and it should still be good. Sting in there with the likes of El Phantasmo, Shingo, Hiromu is going to be fun as hell all things considering. This is quite the selection of talent and personalities to mix together, and while it won’t be near the best match on the show, I have a feeling it’s going to work. Heck, the more I write about this show the more positive about it I’m becoming. It’s as if a lightbulb on “hey this is going to be fun” keeps popping up in my head. I needed that, and this match will provide it. It’s not what I wanted, but being it’s what we’re getting, I think it’ll be entertaining. Hikuleo I guess is the fall guy. Prediction: Dudes with Attitudes

Steve: The idea of Sting in LIJ is hilarious to me. But of all the 63 year old wrestlers, he’d be the one to do it. Shingo and Hiromu mixing it up with the Young Bucks will rock. This is one of those “sit back and enjoy” kind of matches. Who wins? Who cares. I’ll go with the DUDES WITH ATTITUDES because that’s a beyond ridiculous name. Prediction: Los Ingobernables de DUDES

Fred: It is extremely accurate for a New Japan show to not position the Young Bucks in a match near the top of the card. In another New Japan-style booking head, there’s one person in this match – Hikuleo – that is obviously a level lower than the rest of the team and is probably going to be the fall guy. This match will be really good – you’ll get the crazy Sting spot, plus Hiromu, Darby, and the Bucks all trying to out-crazy each other. Prediction: Ingobernables con Actitud

AEW Women’s World Championship
Thunder Rosa (c) vs. Toni Storm

Jeri: While it’s AEWxNJPW, I am stoked for these competitors to get a spot on the card. Thunder Rosa had a great title defense against Deeb at Double Or Nothing, and Storm is talented but (IN MY OPINION) hasn’t fully shown her capabilities in AEW yet. Hopefully this is the match where she will finally be able to do so. I got a good feeling about this match, and I think they have a good opportunity to put on a performance that could be talked about amongst everything else that happens. Of course, when it comes to the AEW Women’s division good feelings and reality doesn’t always line up, but I hope this is a case where it does. I think this is going to be good. Prediction: Thunder Rosa

Steve: Weird spot for this match. If we aren’t going to get Stardom involved, this is about the best singles match you can come up with from the AEW women. Thunder Rosa has been fine as champion, but she doesn’t seem to have IT like she did when she was chasing Britt. Some people are like that. Dusty for example, and to a lesser extent, Steve Austin. These two are capable of a tremendous match on paper, though Thunder doesn’t click with everyone. Toni has looked like the Toni F***ing Storm of pre-WWE days. She has it all and should be on top of this division. Prediction: Toni Storm

Fred: Thunder Rosa earned her time with the title, but her run has been pretty boring to date. Toni Storm has looked a step above the rest of the women’s roster this calendar year and would be the best choice for the division’s champion at this time. A Storm win would also provide an opportunity to give the title more direction moving forward. Prediction: Toni Storm.

Winner Takes All tag team match for the ROH World Tag Team Championship and IWGP Tag Team Championship
FTR (Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler) (ROH) vs. United Empire (Great-O-Khan and Jeff Cobb) (IWGP) vs. Roppongi Vice (Trent Beretta and Rocky Romero)

Jeri: I like a good three way (take that as you like) although in wrestling they seem to cause a massive gnashing of teeth from some elements of the fandom. And I get it, they can be a convoluted mess that ends up being brought down by one competitor too many. (To save us the trouble with the four ways coming up, you can say the same thing about them as well.) These are three great tag teams though, and I appreciate we got quite the high stakes as both the ROH and IWGP championships will be on the line. Now that is something juicy I can really sink my teeth into. I’m really not sure what direction they are going to go with this one. I’m pretty sure Roppongi Vice will be the fall guys, but who wins from there. They are both fun directions to go in my opinion, but you know what, I think I’m going FTR. FTR defending some sweet sweet IWGP gold in the future would freaking rule. Prediction: FTR

Steve: Are southern style three way tag matches a thing? I question how this one is going to work chemistry wise. I think any combo 2 on 2 match between these teams would be stellar. When I think of 3 way tags, I think of wild spectacle. I don’t see that with this one. Maybe that’ll be what makes it. Maybe they’ll go bonkers and Cobb and O’Khan will fly around. In any case, I think FTR wins to build to a Young Bucks match for ALL the gold. Prediction: FTR

Fred: This will be a lot of fun, even if Roppongi Vice feels like they’re as attached to this match as a Post-It Note. This feels like a spot where Tony makes sure New Japan gets to take one of his belts home, and having Cobb & GOK pick up the fall on Trent or Rocky would help protect one of the hottest acts in AEW and potentially free them up for bigger things. Prediction: United Empire

IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship
Will Ospreay (c) vs. Orange Cassidy

Jeri: There has been some major negativity about this match from some individuals, and I don’t give a single cell of care about any of it. In fact, I’m going to say it, this is going to be one of the top matches of the night. Ospreay is a lot of things, and all of it is true, but he is also a top notch wrestler. Orange Cassidy has the crowd’s support and when he turns it on, HE TURNS IT ON and he gets going. This is going to have comedy in it for sure, but it’s also going to go into dead serious mode at any moment and they are going to deliver something truly special. Maybe I’m going out on a major major limb, but I think this could be the best match of the show once it’s done. I’m calling my shot there. Of course the people who’ve been hemming and hawing about Ospreay getting Cassidy will never cop to it or admit it once it has happened, but that’s okay. They are allowed to be wrong, just wish they be a lot quieter about it. Prediction: Will Ospreay

Steve: This is a cool ass match. Ospreay has done nothing but have cool ass matches all over the world and in every territory this year. Yet some people hate him and think he stinks. Orange has been injured but is always entertaining and turns it WAY up when he’s in there with another wrestler who can roll. Yet some people hate him and think he stinks. I’m going to watch these two tear the house down and enjoy every second while a bunch of contrarians scoff and try to tell others why it stunk. Prediction: Will Ospreay

Fred: It’s time for the semi-annual “actually, Orange Cassidy is an amazing in-ring talent” match! Ospreay will be the best wrestler OC has worked in a singles match on pay-per-view, and it’s virtually a guarantee that this match will be a highlight of the show. This will be an excellent match, and Ospreay will make sure that Orange gets enough close calls to keep the crowd invested. Prediction: Will Ospreay

Le Sex Gods (Chris Jericho & Sammy Guevara) & Minoru Suzuki (with Tay Conti) vs. Eddie Kingston, Wheeler Yuta & Shota Umino

Jeri: I can’t help but love this. Le Sex Gods (No wonder I’m bordering atheist) and Minoru Suzuki teaming against Kingston, Yuta, and Shota just screams entertaining…  and it will be. I think this is a match that the crowd is going to have an absolute easy time getting into as it starts and they will stay with it right until the end. I’m imagining Shota as the fall guy, but putting in a spirited effort before he drops. I need me some Kingston/Suzuki interactions and Yuta kicking the crap out of Jericho… *blows kiss* would be right up my alley for sure. This is going to be good stuff, don’t sleep on it. Prediction. Le Sex Gods and Minoru Suzuki

Steve: What a random match this is. You get Murder Grandpa with Le Sex Gods. Imagine the conversation between Sammy, Tay, and Suzuki. Then on the other side you have Eddie Kingston babysitting Moxley’s children. I have no idea what to think of this other than Shooter is prolly eating a Judas Effect and/or Gotch at the end of it. Prediction: Le Sex Gun

Fred: This is a “TEW is drunk” match and I love it. Guevara is finally back in a good spot as a heel instead of whatever alignment he was in the TNT Championship picture. The big question mark is Shooter – I haven’t followed him closely on his excursion, but I do remember some talk about how he had conditioning issues early after the pandemic and he hasn’t had a lot of hype while away. Prediction: Le Sex Gods + Murder Grandpa

Inaugural AEW All-Atlantic Championship
PAC vs. Miro vs. Malakai Black vs. Clark Connors

Jeri: Originally Ishii was going to be a part of this match, but….. But… Ishii then suffered a knee injury. This show just feels like it’s suffering so much bad luck. That said though, his replacement is Clark Connors and while he’s no Ishii, he can still go. Result? While this match has lost some luster I think it’s going to be a great match. I know how many of you feel about four-ways but if this match has to be a four-way, this is some damn great talent to put in it, and I have no doubt it’s going to be hard hitting and very good. Connors is probably now going to be the fall guy but he’ll work hard, the other three will definitely be putting on their working boots for this match. I feel like PAC is FINALLY going to get himself some gold in AEW, and I hope that it happens!  Prediction: PAC

Steve: This show really can’t catch a break. Ishii hurting his knee means Connors has to step way up in a big spot. This is a big chance for him to shine against three of the best wrestlers in the world. Any of the three AEW guys can win. Before he was hurt, Ishii could have easily won this as well since it’s got more of an international flavor. They could shock the world with Connors, but the chance is minuscule. Miro just returning means they can hold off on him for a bit. If either PAC or Black win, I see them feuding with each other for the belt after. I’ll go with PAC here, because damnit the dude has earned it! Prediction: PAC

Fred: Hey, it’s the least essential AEW championship! It’s a shame that Ishii is hurt, as he obviously will be missed in this match, but Clark Connors is more than capable in this spot and it’s a huge spot for him. I think this is Miro’s time for some gold.  Prediction: Miro

IWGP World Heavyweight Championship
Jay White (c) vs. Kazuchika Okada vs. “Hangman” Adam Page vs. Adam Cole

Jeri: Now that we’ve hyped up the previous four way, let me say I wish this was a three way. Or better yet I wish it was two separate matches. Okada/Page versus White/Cole has more appeal to me than putting it all together in a four way. That said, there is no way this doesn’t hit at least the level of good, and if all cylinders are on fire this is going to hit the level of great. Cole hasn’t been my cup of tea in AEW but he does have talent, and he’s going to be in there with Page, Okada, White, this is a good chance for him to shut up a lot of people, including myself. Okada is the absolute best in the world right now and White and Page are both always nipping at his heels behind. The talent quality in this match alone will make it a success even if it’s not the ideal options for everyone. Cole gets pinned by White is my prediction. Prediction: Jay White

Steve: Hey remember all the people who said Okada won’t be here? I’m sure they all admitted they were wrong graciously. Anywho, this match would have been way better with two matches, or just one without Adam Cole. This might start the Bullet Club versus Elite story that’s been building for a bit. In my dreams I see Okada winning and being confronted by Kenny Omega to add to their storied history on American soil. But I think we ultimately see Jay hit a Blade Runner on Cole for the win. Prediction: Jay White

Fred: I could see the title move onto any of these guys – there’s an argument for either of the AEW guys getting a run and bopping over to Japan a couple times after the G1; White’s title reigns tend to be short and they could quickly get the belt back onto Okada; and White has the kind of gimmick where he could easily get a sneaky win in this kind of match in a way that really works with his style. This will outperform the build to the match easily. Prediction: Kazuchika Okada

Interim AEW World Championship
Jon Moxley vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi

Jeri: Okada might be the absolute best, but the one person who is perhaps having a better year than him (AND YES I AM BIASED) is JONNNNNNNNNNN…. MOXXXLEEEEEY. This is the match I’ve been waiting to see. I was hoping to see it in D.C when I ended up with a four way of my own (Which was really freaking awesome in the end though). The Tanahashi versus Moxley interactions we got just fueled my desire to get this match. No disrespect to Punk who I adore, but with him out injured unfortunately, I’m glad this match is happening instead. This has been the match for me for a long time and I’m glad it’s finally going to happen. Tanahashi’s age might be catching up, but it doesn’t change the fact he’s FREAKING TANAHASHI and he’s in there with what is going to be one hell of a motivated Jon Moxley. This just screams out loud “can’t fail” and I believe it. This is going to great, and it’s probably the most excited for anything on the show I am. You know what, Forbidden Door is going to be good, and this match is going to be a great main event. Prediction: Jon Moxley

Steve: Tanahashi versus Minoru Suzuki from King of Pro Wrestling was the first NJPW match I ever watched. I’d say I got on the wagon at a great time as I have watched the Ace in his prime during one of the peak promotional runs in wrestling history. This dude has meant a lot to me, but he’s older now. He’s still great, but the mileage is showing a bit. Jon Moxley is the coolest wrestler going today. He does nothing but have cool, physical, emotional, and intense matches with everyone everywhere. He’s in the top 3 for WOTY if you ask me. No matter the age or where they are in their respective careers, both of these men are masters of recognizing and seizing the moment. They will have the crowd in the palm of their hands throughout and deliver a main event worthy of this spot. Moxley winning is the safe bet, and deservedly so. He’s been through hell and came out better on the other side. But Tanahashi having a short run with the AEW title, leading to the big match with Punk when he’s healthy in the not so distant future, man….that might be too good to pass up. Prediction: Hiroshi Tanahashi 

Fred: This is the only match on the level of the dream match I hoped they’d be able to achieve when this match was announced. They got one of the absolute all-time best wrestlers in the history of Japan and one of the best wrestlers of the 21st century in America. Tanahashi’s obviously past his peak, but he’s still capable of great performances, and Moxley is one of my contenders for Wrestler of the Year. This will be a more than suitable main event for this show. Prediction: Jon Moxley