8 Ups & 1 Down From AEW X NJPW Forbidden Door 2023 (Review)

Bryan Danielson and Kazuchika Okada fought to find out who the very best is. Someone else won...

Kenny Omega Will Ospreay

On the eve of the show, it was quite incredible to think that what many consider to the the greatest talent roster ever assembled - times two! - were motivated to exceed, not even meet, the wildest of expectations.

AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door 2023 held the potential to be the single greatest pro wrestling pay-per-view of all-time.

The prospect was almost too good. Was there enough time for Kenny Omega Vs. Will Ospreay II and Bryan Danielson Vs. Kazuchika Okada to meet a ceiling as high and artful as the Sistine Chapel? Or was that undercard too loaded?

Did a match like Jungle Boy Jack Perry Vs. SANADA, a very good prospect if it were headlining a Dynamite, suffer because it was dwarfed as a potential show-stealer by several other matches? Would the Le Suzuki Gods Trios match take the piss and exceed its fun vibes party remit? Conversely, would something like that incredibly layered 10-man tag get enough time to extract every available emotional beat?

All AEW and NJPW had to do, to guarantee greatness, was to stay out of their own way.

Was Forbidden Door '23 as good as people thought, or was the expectation simply impossible?


Michael Sidgwick is an editor, writer and podcaster for WhatCulture Wrestling. With over seven years of experience in wrestling analysis, Michael was published in the influential institution that was Power Slam magazine, and specialises in providing insights into All Elite Wrestling - so much so that he wrote a book about the subject. You can order Becoming All Elite: The Rise Of AEW on Amazon. Possessing a deep knowledge also of WWE, WCW, ECW and New Japan Pro Wrestling, Michael’s work has been publicly praised by former AEW World Champions Kenny Omega and MJF, and surefire Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Cody Rhodes. When he isn’t putting your finger on why things are the way they are in the endlessly fascinating world of professional wrestling, Michael wraps his own around a hand grinder to explore the world of specialty coffee. Follow Michael on X (formerly known as Twitter) @MSidgwick for more!