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AEW x New Japan - Forbidden Door
June 30, 2024

by Doc Allen

Forbidden Door

Live from UBS Arena in Elmont, New York. WrestleTix estimates attendance at 10,184. Excalibur, Nigel McGuinness, and Taz are on commentary.

Hechicero vs. MJF

MJF gets the hometown ovation and tries some crowd surfing. Hechicero scores some quick takedowns. MJF offers a handshake but lands a cheap shot to the gut. The fans love his underhanded tactics. Hechicero tries grabbing the tights, but MJF smashes him around ringside and boots him into the front row. MJF stops to gloat, and Hechicero hyperextends his bad arm over the rope. Hechicero mocks MJF's earlier showboating, but gets a far different reaction. MJF desperately counters with a back body drop. MJF digs deep to hit a piledriver, Hechicero answers with a springboard dropkick to the bad shoulder. Hechicero monkey flips MJF into an armbreaker, MJF counters into Salt of the Earth. MJF escapes a nifty arm submission, they both go down after stereo clotheslines. MJF makes a comeback with his good arm and hits the Long Island Sunrise, then a brainbuster for the straightforward pinfall at 9:50. It was a good idea to give MJF a win in the opener. Totally functional showcase for MJF and his current character direction, although not particularly PPV-worthy, **½.
Winner: MJF

The New Elite (AEW Tag Team Champions The Young Bucks and AEW Continental Champion Kazuchika Okada) vs. The Acclaimed (Max Caster and Anthony Bowens) and Hiroshi Tanahashi

Okada gets the type of superstar babyface reaction that makes one question why he's cast as a heel. Caster cuts a scathing rap, accusing the Bucks of killing Okada's career, among other more juvenile jabs. Okada demands to start against Tanahashi, but then retreats with a tag to Nicholas. The Acclaimed stack the Bucks for Scissor Me Timbers, Okada chooses not to save his partners because of Tanahashi's presence. Okada makes a blind tag to ambush Caster and cut him off from tags. Fans chant "F*** the Young Bucks" but Nicholas can't hear them while wearing Caster's headphones. The New Elite wear Caster down with deliberately non-flashy offense. Max blocks a superplex, Bowens gets the hot tag and outsmarts the Bucks to run wild. Both teams use do-si-do counters and The Acclaimed score stereo clotheslines. Tags are made, and Okada is finally forced to tangle with Tanahashi. Somersault senton by Tanahashi gets 2! Dragon screw by Tanahashi sets up the Texas Cloverleaf, but the match breaks down around him. The Acclaimed hit Okada with The Arrival and Mic Drop, but the Bucks delay Tanahashi's High Fly Flow, and Okada blocks. The Bucks pump up their sneakers for a SUPERKICK PARTAY! The Bucks hit stereo planchas to ringside. Okada gives the Rainmaker Middle Finger, but Tanahashi reverses the Rainmaker. Okada recovers with his famous dropkick and the Rainmaker ends Tanahashi at 13:06. Rock solid tag match to put The New Elite over, and even earn Okada some heel heat, ***.
Winners: The New Elite

Okada prepares another Rainmaker on Tanahashi but Billy Gunn chases him away. Tanahashi sells a bad head injury, The Acclaimed help him walk out.

Owen Hart Foundation Tournament:
Shingo Takagi vs. Bryan Danielson

Bell rings, they battle for wrist control. Bryan goes after the legs. Shingo survives a Romero Special and nails a hard shoulder block. Shingo reverses Bryan's tope into a draping DDT. Bryan looks hurt, the doctor checks him out. Danielson avoids the countout, Shingo greets him with a hard suplex. Bryan fights from behind and hits a roundhouse kick. He rallies with the running dropkick, Shingo cuts the comeback off with knife edge chops. Bryan answers with hammer and anvil elbow shots on the top rope, then nails an avalanche suplex! Nigel has been making the case that Danielson is recklessly sacrificing his neck to hit offense. In the ring, Bryan gets a triangle choke and elbows the head, Shingo reverses with a mean power slam! Superlex by Shingo seems to devastate Bryan's neck injury, a sliding lariat gets a concerning 2 count. Bryan blocks Made in Japan but misses the running dropkick! Shingo blasts his lariat and delivers Made in Japan, but BRYAN KICKS OUT! Bryan looks helpless, Shingo hits a sliding lariat and hammer and anvil elbows. Bryan reverses a sliding lariat into an armbar, but can't quite get the LeBell Lock. Roundhouse kick by Bryan, then a belly to back suplex! Bryan gets the YES chants going, hits the BuSaiKu Knee, but SHINGO KICKS OUT! Bryan proceeds to kick Shingo's f***ing head in. Shingo fails to reverse a triangle choke with a powerbomb, Danielson reapplies a deep armbar to win at 19:58! This was a compelling war of attrition, they did well putting the obvious winner, Danielson, into dire jeopardy. The sad thing is that with Danielson's injury history, his matches based around selling head/neck injuries are scary to watch, ****.
Winner: Bryan Danielson

AEW Women's Championship:
Toni Storm © (with Luther) vs. Mina Shirakawa

Toni enters dressed as the Statue of Liberty, complete with a flaming torch. Mariah May is the flower girl for both champion and challenger, though she looks conflicted on whose corner to join. Bell rings, Mina slides on her knees to dodge a lock up, Toni kicks her head. Mina slides out of a pin attempt and annoys Toni with her dancing. Mina dropkicks the knee and happily goes to work on both knees. Toni hits a backstabber anyway, then a suplex with a bridge for 2. Toni does appear hobbled but delivers a hip attack. Toni misses a second hip attack and crashes into the steps. High crossbody by Mina takes down Toni AND Luther. Toni counters with a Liger Bomb for 2. Mina answers with a tornado flatliner and Figure Four. Toni survives and they duke it out. Mina nails an avalanche DDT, then a normal DDT for only 2. Toni answers with a release German suplex. Hip attack by Toni gets 2, Mina nearly steals it with a roll up. Mina nails her patented driver for a tight nearfall. Toni throws a pair of headbutts, nails another German, and finishes with Storm Zero at 11:42! Very well executed back and forth contest, despite Mina's early knee work going nowhere. Still, this was two very fun personalities having a total battle, ***¼.
Winner and still AEW Women's Champion: Toni Storm

Mina and Toni shake hands while Mariah continues to question her allegiances. They hug it out, much to Mariah's glee, now she doesn't have to choose a side. They share a 3-way kiss for the pop of the night.

Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Orange Cassidy

ZSJ gets a quick takedown and strolls away to show how little respect he has for OC. Cassidy wins the next exchange and takes his own stroll at ringside. ZSJ offers sarcastic applause. I already love the mind games at play. Match restarts with a battle for wrist control, they exchange fancy chinlocks. Cassidy has Zack at his mercy and drives his knuckles into his legs rather than playing silly games. They trade quick counters until ZSJ snaps the neck with his ankles. Zack is free to dominate with elaborate submission holds and mocking sloth kicks. Cassidy angrily targets the knee with a drop kick and dragon screw. Zack looks hobbled, Orange nails a slick tope and another dragon screw on the floor. ZSJ rolls through Cassidy's high crossbody, but eats another dragon screw. They trade reversals until Cassidy hits a Michinoku Driver for 2. Flying DDT by Cassidy gets a nearfall. Orange Punch is blocked, ZSJ stomps Cassidy's elbow into his palm. ZSJ snaps the fingers loudly enough to gross out the fans. Orange loses his temper and unloads on the knee until applying a Cloverleaf. ZSJ escapes by attacking the bad hand, but Cassidy nails Beach Break for 2! Orange is too injured to hit a proper Orange Punch, ZSJ puts him through an absolute wringer of quick pinning predicaments. ZSJ blocks the Mouse Trap and applies an indescribable submission hold, wrapping all of Cassidy's limbs around his body and wins at 16:23! Simply put, this was two artists having a jam session together, ****¼.
Winner: Zack Sabre Jr.

Samoa Joe, Hook, and Katsuyori Shibata vs. Jeff Cobb and The Learning Tree (Chris Jericho and Big Bill, with Bryan Keith)

Shibata and Bill stiff the loving sh*t out of each other. Would you have ever guessed that Big Cass would someday be in this spot? Vertical suplex by Bill gets 2. Jericho wakes up Shibata's serial killer persona with knife edge chops. Jericho tries a springboard crossbody, Hook and Shibata just walk away, much to Joe's delight. Hook tears into Jericho, forcing a tag to Cobb. Joe gets a quick tag and engages in a HOSS FIGHT with Cobb. Joe suffers a uranage, and The Learning Tree takes control. Joe knees Cobb's head, Hook gets the hot tag and shoves Bill into Jericho. Hook lets Keith distract him, Cobb capitalizes. Hook takes a turn playing the babyface in peril. Shibata gets the next hot tag and runs wild like a proper psychopath should. Joe leads his team to swarming Cobb in the buckles and hits a back senton. Bill saves Cobb from Shibata's armbar. Cobb gives Shibata a fallaway slam, but Jericho's lionsault is blocked! Bill prevents a tag by throwing Joe into the buckles, but doesn't see Hook's flying sledgehammer coming! Meanwhile, Jericho kicks Shibata in the balls and applies the Walls. The match breaks down with guys taking turns hitting finishers. Hook wows with a T-bone suplex on Cobb, then kicks out of the Codebreaker! Hook puts Jericho in Red Rum, Shibata stops Bill from breaking it. Hook suplexes Jericho and steals the Judas Effect to win at 13:59! This match was inspiring a lot of gloom and doom from fans, but this totally surpassed expectations. The guys were able to get over by delivering and taking massive power moves, and Hook beating Jericho with his own finisher was awesome, ***¼.
Winners: Hook, Samoa Joe, and Katsuyori Shibata

TNT Championship (Ladder Match):
ROH World Champion Mark Briscoe vs. Konosuke Takeshita vs. Dante Martin vs. El Phantasmo vs. Lio Rush vs. Jack Perry

I'm just going to get two grievances out of the way early. #1, Mark is a "World Champion" gunning for a midcard title? #2 The TNT title is famous for open challenge title defenses, so why put it up for grabs in a career-shortening type of gimmick match? Having said all that, I'm ready to enjoy this for what it is (even if I'm pretty tired of ladder matches in general). Jack Perry enters wearing a creepy goat mask (because he's a "ScapeGoat" hardy har har) and the guys all gang up on him. With Perry on the floor, the others race for ladders. They all throw the ladders at once and spill to ringside for a series of stunt bumps. Perry has an opening to climb, Lio stops him. ELP gives Lio a spinning Burning Hammer through a ladder. Dante climbs but is forced to hit a crossbody on ELP. Takeshita gives Dante a BRUTAL brainbuster onto the side of a ladder! Mark wraps a ladder around his head to clear the ring and throws the steel at Lio! Mark sandwiches Takeshita between a table and ladder for a Sabu-style somersault senton! Fans chant "Holy Sh!t!" Perry climbs, but ELP crosses a ladder bridge to stop him with a titty twister! Dante leaps over Perry to stop ELP, but Perry pushes them over! Dante sells his leg so convincingly, he's probably legit injured. He's healthy enough to dropkick Perry through the buckles. Meanwhile, Mark puts a ladder on the ring apron, brawls with Takeshita, and Rush breaks it up with a dive through the ladder! Mark climbs the precarious ladder and splashes Perry against a table! Meanwhile Takeshita powerbombs Rush through a propped ladder! ELP springboards up to stop Takeshita from winning, but a pair of knee strikes allows Takeshita to hit a Blue Thunder Bomb through a pair of tables! Crowd LOVES this and wants Takeshita to win. Mark stops Takeshita with a chairshot and nails a J-Driller through a ladder. Perry dismantles Mark with a ladder and climbs a giant ladder to win at 16:53! Anti-climatic finish aside, this absolutely ruled. Perry, Takeshita, and Briscoe were all convincing possible winners, and the guest stars used their athleticism and abilities to absorb stunt bumps to put them all over. As mentioned before, I'm totally burnt out on these multi-man ladder matches, but this one had me marking out left and right, ****¼.
Winner and new TNT Champion: Jack Perry

Winner Takes All:
NJPW STRONG Women's Champion Stephanie Vaquer vs. TBS Champion Mercedes Mone

Stephanie is cosplaying as X-Force Psylocke and knocks Mercedes down before the bell. Mone monkey flips Stephanie into place for a flurry of punches. Stephanie hits a hard lariat, Mone takes a long time executing her springboard armdrag. Vaquer hits a quadruple springboard armdrag, Mone does a measly single springboard takedown into a crossface. Mone slides off the apron to deliver a rana. Meteora by Mone gets a flat nearfall. Vaquer recovers with a springboard crossbody to outside! Mone recovers with the Three Amigos. Vaquer blocks the last Amigo and applies a mean leg scissors. Vaquer pops the fans by smashing Mone's head into the canvas with her legs and gets a nice nearfall. Vaquer flies into Mone's dropkick! Tornado DDT by Mone only gets 2. I got distracted because I felt the need to go yell at Eric Bischoff on Twitter, but they've been trading reversals to good crowd reactions. Mone gets a crossface, Vaquer powers out for a double knees gutbuster! Mone answers with a pair of Backstabbers, but flies into Vaquer's boot! Nasty dragon screw by Stephanie and running double knees for 2. Mone pulls her into another crossface, Vaquer escapes, so Mone nails the Money Maker! Another crossface quickly submits Vaquer at 16:53! Urgent back and forth battle. The fans were hotter for this than just about anything else on the card, ***¾.
Winner and new NJPW Women's Champion: Mercedes Mone

Mercedes barely has a moment to celebrate when she's interrupted by the returning DR. BRITT BAKER! Finally! Britt poses with her pyro while Mercedes poses with her belts.

Wrestle Dynasty is announced for the Tokyo Dome next January. It's AEW's turn to walk through the forbidden door in Japan.

IWGP Heavyweight Championship:
Jon Moxley © vs. Tetsuya Naito

Jim Ross joins commentary for the occasion. Moxley enters to his New Japan music. He has no love for Naito and stomps him into a heap. Naito spits at him and poses on his side. Mox is properly p!ssed off and dismantles Naito's legs. Mox hits a back drop onto the Spanish table. Naito slowly gets up, spits in Mox's face, and absorbs more leg punishment. Stalling piledriver by Moxley gets 2. Naito keeps spitting and Moxley keeps hitting him. Mox rakes the back, Naito blocks a butterfly superplex, and throws Moxley outside. I think they had a different spot planned, but they recovered well. Naito spears Mox into the barricade and pummels him with a piece of rubber. Back to the ring, Naito puts together a flurry of offense and hits a neckbreaker for 2. Mox answers with a twisting powerbomb, knee to the head, but Naito reverses into a small package. Mox hits a powerbomb but is too worn out for a proper cover. Naito regains control, hits Destino, but Mox counters with a Paradigm Shift! They slug it out until Mox hits a lariat and Death Rider! Naito kicks out! Mox menaces referee Red Shoes and fetches a chair. Red Shoes removes the chair, Mox loses his composure, Naito counters with a messy DDT. Brainbuster by Naito, then another Destino ends Moxley at 17:03! Naito is the champion again! They maintained great intensity from bell to bell, Moxley looked monstrous, Naito looked rough at times. You can argue that Moxley cost himself the title, good setup for rematches, ***½.
Winner and new IWGP Heavyweight Champion: Tetsuya Naito

AEW World Championship:
Swerve Strickland © (with Prince Nana and Jim Jones) vs. AEW International Champion Will Ospreay

This is a rare main event in which I cannot really imagine either guy losing. I give the nod to Ospreay giving AEW's continuing ratings woes and the pressure to sell more tickets for ALL IN. Either way, Swerve is a star and should continue to be a contender even with a loss. The crowd is red hot for this one at the bell. Jim Ross is still on commentary and marvels at how enthusiastic the fans are this late in the show. For the record, it's 11:31 pm, and this night has flown by. The guys talk smack and trade blows. Ospreay hits a rana, Strickland lands on his feet, Ospreay cartwheels away from destruction, and they reach a stalemate. They cautiously restart, Ospreay nails a slingshot crossbody outside. Will mugs at the camera before hitting a dropkick to the skull. Swerve sweeps his legs on the middle rope and uppercuts the back of the head. Strickland continues targeting the neck, delivering rolling neckbreakers. Swerve sweeps Ospreay on the guard rail, but Ospreay answers with a sick rana! Flying clothesline by Ospreay gets 2. Fans chant "this is awesome!" Strickland responds with a backbreaker to the hip. Swerve applies an arm scissors. They slug it out until trading quick counters. Ospreay hits a Styles Clash, Strickland kicks out! Swerve counters the Os-cutter with a Code Breaker! Daniel Garcia is spotted in the balcony. Ospreay dodges a dive, hits a Penalty Kick, but gets caught on the top rope for an AVALANCHE OLYMPIC SLAM! Late cover gets 2, Will rolls away, recovers with a back heel kick. Swerve swats away an Oscutter on the apron! Ospreay rolls away from a possible Swerve Stomp on the ring frame, the champ improvises with a Swerve Stomp against the announce table! That gets a loud "holy sh*t!" chant. Strickland isn't satisfied and hits a piledriver on top of the barricade! Back to the ring, Swerve hits a diver, but OSPREAY KICKS OUT! Ospreay recovers with an AVALANCHE OSCUTTER! Will follows with a standard Oscutter, but SWERVE KICKS OUT! Will hits a Hidden Blade, back heel kick, but the Oscutter is blocked! Ospreay blocks a submission, hits a third Oscutter, hits Stormbreaker, but SWERVE KICKS OUT AGAIN! These are some fabulous false finishes. Ospreay headbutts Swerve between the eyes, Swerve counters Tiger Driver ‘91! Swerve hits a Hidden Blade, but misses the Swerve Stomp! Ospreay takes the referee down with a missed Hidden Blade! Poison rana and Hidden Blade by Will, but there's no ref! Don Callis arrives to offer Will a screwdriver. Nana attacks Don, Will threatens to stab him with the screwdriver. Will throws the weapon aside, but Swerve is ready for a curb stomp! Swerve Stomp connects, but WILL KICKS OUT AGAIN! Swerve snaps the arm and nails the House Call, but WILL KICKS OUT YET AGAIN! These false finishers are killing me! Ospreay stumbles around and is too worn for the Hidden Blade. Swerve hits another House Call and Big Crusher to WIN at 27:04! Wow, this main event had just about everything, including ridiculous athleticism, red herring interference, and some of the best false finishers I've ever seen. They really leaned into the uncertainty of the outcome and delivered a classic, ****¾.
Winner and still AEW World Champion: Swerve Strickland

Final Thoughts: What do you want me to say? This event was awesome. The four hours flew by and left me wanting more. I give Forbidden Door 2024 a heartfelt recommendation.

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