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411’s AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door 2022 Preview

June 26, 2022 | Posted by Blake Lovell
AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door Image Credit: AEW

Hey everyone! Tagging in for Jeremy for the official AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door preview. The inaugural edition of this show promises to be a memorable one, with 12 total matches (including the Buy-In) and six title matches. There has been a lot of criticism of the build, but on paper, there’s still a ridiculous amount of talent worthy of putting on great matches. But with the likes of CM Punk, Bryan Danielson, Tomohiro Ishii, and Hiromu Takahashi all being pulled from their scheduled matches on the card, it’s a shuffled lineup. That certainly makes it difficult to predict some of these matches. Let’s jump in!

The Buy-In Match
Max Caster and The Gunn Club vs. Kevin Knight, The DKC, Alex Coughlin, and Yuya Uemura

Image Credit: AEW

This is one of many multi-man matches on this show, which was expected and in no way surprising. Both companies want to protect certain guys, and multi-man matches allow for the possibility of defeating only one person while keeping one or more of his teammates strong. I’ve enjoyed the pairing of Caster and The Gunn Club while Anthony Bowens has been sidelined, and they should continue to build momentum. The two things I’m most interested in: Caster’s rap on the NJPW Dojo guys and whether Uemura gets an opportunity to showcase his potential as a future top star in NJPW. He’s one of my favorite young lions in recent years. I suppose an underdog win on the Buy-In could happen, but I’ll lean towards Caster and former NJPW star Billy Gunn to captain their squad to victory.

WINNER: Max Caster and The Gunn Club

The Buy-In Match
Swerve Strickland and Keith Lee vs. El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru

Image Credit: AEW

In what could be a common theme in some of these matches, there seems to be a clear choice for who’s taking the pinfall. Sorry, Kanemaru. Have a drink, my friend. The Swerve and Lee pairing has been fine, though in a perfect world with a better AEW roster structure and/or more TV time, they’d each be shining as singles stars. Meanwhile, Desperado was terrific in BOSJ 29, and this should be a nice match for featuring his talents. But a Swerve and Lee win seems like one of the easiest bets on this card…..unless there’s a, well, swerve to send Swerve and Lee in different directions.

WINNER: Swerve Strickland and Keith Lee

The Buy-In Match
QT Marshall & Aaron Solo vs. Hirooki Goto & Yoshi-Hashi

Image Credit: AEW

Poor Goto. He goes from a win away to being in the AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door main event against Jon Moxley to a Buy-In tag team match. But if it’s a win he’s searching for, he’ll get that against an AEW pairing that doesn’t have much going on. It was a late addition to the card, and it should allow NJPW to prevent a Buy-In sweep from AEW. Goto is the biggest star of the group, so he’ll be the main focus. That should set up Solo to take the pinfall in this match.

WINNER: Hirooki Goto & Yoshi-Hashi

Chris Jericho, Sammy Guevara, & Minoru Suzuki vs. Wheeler Yuta, Shota Umino, & Eddie Kingston

Image Credit: AEW

It was announced on Rampage that the winner of this match will be awarded the advantage entering next week’s Blood and Guts Match. Having Suzuki and Shooter, who aren’t in that match, factor into a stipulation is an interesting move but does give this one a little extra something I suppose. Nonethless, adding that stipulation probably swings things in favor of the heels since they work better in the man advantage role than babyfaces. And no matter what, Kingston and Suzuki beating the hell out of each other should be worth the price of admission. But it’s Shooter who probably finds himself on receiving end of a Jericho or Guevara finisher to seal the win for the heels.

WINNER: Chris Jericho, Sammy Guevara, and Minoru Suzuki

The Young Bucks and El Phantasmo vs. Darby Allin, Sting, and Shingo Takagi

Image Credit: AEW

I was so excited about Hiromu teaming with Sting in 2022 when I wrote the original draft for this preview. Then Hiromu was pulled from the card like several other top stars. Still, Shingo teaming with Sting in 2022, on a pay-per-view, in a match involving The Young Bucks, is just as awesome. What’s even better is the team being billed as “Dudes with Attitudes” which I assume still applies even with Hiromu sidelined. Maybe they’ll have even more attitude now. This could easily be a show-stealer given the competitors involved, and though the betting odds (as of this writing) suggest a swing towards another outcome, I think the teamwork of the dudes will produce enough attitude to emerge victorious in another fun match.

WINNER: Darby Allin, Sting, and Shingo Takagi

 Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Opponent To Be Picked By Bryan Danielson

Image Credit: AEW

There has been plenty of speculation as to who Danielson will choose as Sabre’s opponent. Surprises are always tricky since it’s easy to build your fans’ expectations so high to the point where anyone other than the top available talent is a letdown. I’ve seen Johnny Gargano, Jonathan Gresham, Timothy Thatcher, and others mentioned as possibilities. Those guys are all skilled wrestlers who would no doubt put on a good wrestling match with ZSJ. But this has to be Claudio Castagnoli (aka Cesaro). It just has to be given how both Danielson and Tony Khan have promoted it. Of the realistic group of candidates, Castagnoli is both the biggest name and the one who would make the biggest impact. If it does indeed wind up being him, I do think there would have been value in announcing it ahead of time. Then again, surprises always garner curiosity, so I understand withholding it if you know it’s going to deliver. That would be the case with Castagnoli, and in that scenario, he needs the victory more than ZSJ in what could be a technical classic.

WINNER: Claudio Castagnoli

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

Image Credit: AEW

The only non-interpromotional match on the card, and I’m tempted to go against the grain and predict a title change. The issue with doing that it would be overshadowed by so many other things on the AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door lineup. AEW has done a good job for the most part of making title changes seem significant, and though Storm winning would be a huge achievement for her, it may be better served on an AEW-specific show where it’s promoted as one of the top matches. Rosa’s title reign has been far from perfect from a booking standpoint, but a win in this spot at least gives her another quality defense.

WINNER: Thunder Rosa (STILL AEW Women’s Champion)

IWGP United States Championship
Will Ospreay vs. Orange Cassidy

Image Credit: AEW

This is the match that should elicit the widest range of opinions. Some people love Ospreay, some people don’t. Some people love Orange, some people don’t. Let the fun begin. I want to go as far as to say that this is the most predictable match on the card in terms of who wins since it’s just hard to see Orange as the IWGP United States Champion. Then again, perhaps a future Orange vs. Juice match for the belt is simply too tasty for NJPW to ignore. Drink it up, man. But the better pick is Ospreay, whose mannerisms and facial expressions figure to be something else when selling for Orange. Again, there will be a lot of opinions on this one, and mine is that this could be sneaky good.

WINNER: Will Ospreay (STILL IWGP United States Champion)

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

Image Credit: AEW

Miro’s goal is to destroy these three men so that they can send a message to God for him. Sounds reasonable enough. Of course, this match is one of many that had to be altered due to injury, and my hope is AEW and NJPW run another four-way back with Ishii included at some point in the future. Connors is talented, but he’s no Big Tom. All four display a hard-hitting style, and they could deliver one of the best matches of the night. I have changed my pick three times since I started writing this, and for my money, it’s the most unpredictable match on the card. Miro has the most noteworthy storyline coming in since the man has a desire to speak to God, and him obliterating his three opponents while celebrating his hot wife and All-Atlantic title victory would be a step towards that. But I think him losing actually continues the story better than him winning. I also think Miro vs. Wardlow for the TNT title would be a great program for All Out. That leaves Black and PAC. Some have argued that Black needs it more, thought don’t discount the idea that AEW wants to give PAC a big moment by winning his first title in the company. I’ll pick PAC, but your guess is as good as mine.

WINNER: PAC (NEW All-Atlantic Champion)

ROH World Tag Team Championship and IWGP Tag Team Championship Match
FTR vs. United Empire vs. Roppongi Vice

Image Credit: AEW

Both titles are on the line in yet another multi-man affair. It’s no secret that FTR wants to go wrestle in Japan, and the path to get there would open up by claiming the IWGP Tag Team titles. That’s the result that would produce the most fan interest moving forward, so why do anything else? I enjoy the United Empire duo of Jeff Cobb and Great O’Khan, though I wouldn’t mind seeing Cobb join the All-Atlantic title scene at some point in potential matches against the likes of Miro, PAC, or Black. Trent and Rocky Romero can work, so they’ll join in making this entertaining. However, FTR should win to set up lots of possibilities for them in NJPW.

WINNER: FTR (NEW IWGP Tag Team Champions)

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

Image Credit: AEW

Not having an Okada singles match is one of the biggest disappointments of this first AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door event. The runner-up idea was to put him in a four-way match where you can protect him with a loss, which make sense for NJPW. That puts the odds in White’s favor to retain considering he just won the title a few weeks ago. I suppose there’s always an outside chance Hangman could shock the world and win, but I just don’t see it happening. And the same can be said for Cole. So, by default, White seems to be the best pick since it allows him to retain his title without pinning Okada. Instead, I think White pins Cole to further the tension between them after Cole thought about hitting him with the belt on Dynamite. While it’s not an Okada singles match, these four in the ring together is a recipe for a match of the year contender.

WINNER: Jay White (STILL IWGP World Heavyweight Champion)

Interim AEW World Championship
Jon Moxley vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi

Image Credit: AEW

There were some unnecessary hoops to jump through to get to this match, but like many others on the card, it should deliver a quality result. The story was already built in between these two, so that makes it a bit different than a lot of the other matches that were thrown together out of necessity. AEW has been in a brutal spot due to the injury to Punk and other top stars, but if Moxley vs. Tanahashi is your backup plan, you’re fine. Let’s start with the idea of Tanahashi winning. It’s a fine thought to get you to the original plan of Tanahashi vs. Punk, but AEW and NJPW have such a good relationship now that you can do that match without Tanahashi having the title. And logistically, it would make no sense with Tanahashi set for the G1 Climax next month. Why take the title from someone who is off AEW television to give the title to someone else who would be off AEW television? Meanwhile, Moxley winning would put the belt on an AEW regular, set up an interesting dynamic with Punk, and also possibly add fellow Blackpool Combat Club member Bryan Danielson to the title mix. What’s not to like about that? Moxley becomes the first two-time AEW World Champion to set up plenty of creative options for AEW until Punk returns.

WINNER: Jon Moxley (NEW AEW Interim World Champion)

And there you have it! There’s a lot of anticipation surrounding this one, and as always, we will have live coverage of AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door via our own Steve Cook right here on 411Mania.com. Be sure to share your predictions below and follow along during the show! For more wrestling discussion, you can follow me on Twitter @wrestleblake.