12 Ups & 0 Downs From AEW X NJPW Forbidden Door

Claudio Castagnoli debuts, Jon Moxley becomes interim World Champion, AEW & NJPW kill it.

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The build for All Elite Wrestling and New Japan Pro Wrestling's first collaborative pay-per-view was suboptimal, for reasons outwith and within the promoters' control.

Injuries robbing the companies of CM Punk, Bryan Danielson, Hiromu Takahashi, Tomohiro Ishii, and more (including one of the architects of the Forbidden Door movement, Kenny Omega) can't be helped - and AEW has pivoted before. Lest we forget Jon Moxley's bout of MRSA prior to All Out 2019. Zack Sabre Jr.'s mystery opponent aside, that the substitutes weren't going to be Ishii and Punk sucked, but what was the promotion to do?

Nonetheless, fast-forwarded half-angles masquerading as storylines meant even the card's more established pairings fell flat. Kazuchika Okada, one of the greatest wrestlers of all time with a once-in-a-generation megastar aura, debuted in a t-shirt and track pants. Debates on whether or not AEW needed another men's singles title diluted the stacked All-Atlantic Championship four-way discourse. Hangman Page and Okada ended up in a multi-man when a singles bout (and an alternative IWGP Title fight for Jay White) looked the more interesting choice.

The list of avoidable issues continues.

But in the end, Forbidden Door didn't need a great build to stand as the best wrestling pay-per-view of 2022 so far. This show was fantastic in spite of the weeks leading up to it.

Let's light the fuse...


WhatCulture's Senior Wrestling Reporter, Presenter and Editor. Formerly Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @andyhmurray.