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Cook’s AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door 2023 Review

June 26, 2023 | Posted by Steve Cook
Bryan Danielson Kazuchika Okada AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door Image Credit: AEW
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Cook’s AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door 2023 Review  

Hey kids! Steve Cook here with the AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door 2023 Review. It’s been a busy day for me, so I missed the Zero Hour show with all of those matches that were probably awesome & 5 stars across the board. I assume that at least Billie Starks’ match was pretty great and I wish I had seen it. Didn’t happen, so you’re getting a full main card review here.

Cook’s AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door 2023 Review

Pyro & ballyhoo, it’s Sunday and we know what that means! Excalibur, Kevin Kelly & Taz are here to commentate.

AEW World Championship Match: MJF (c) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi: Some excellent ring jacket game from our illustrious challenger & intolerable champion. “New Japan is an Indie” says the back of MJF’s garb. Takuro Shibata & Justin Roberts are our ring announcers. Bryce Remsburg is our official. Don’t know who our bell ringer is, but they go ahead & do that. MJF with some mockery via air guitar. MJF loses the tieup and Tanahashi plays some air guitar. Fans are hype. MJF with a cheap shot and a headlock. Tana with a shoulderblock & MJF goes outside. MJF walks up the aisle, saying he’s done! Tanahashi starts a “Coward” chant, which grinds MJF’s gears. MJF returns to the ring, and offers a handshake! Tana accepts, then catches the boot & punches MJF. Tana goes off the ropes, MJF falls into the corner, then pulls Bryce in front when Tana charges. MJF pulls Tanahashi into the corner and takes control. Dumps Tana on the top rope, then poses in the opposite corner. Reverse bearhug by MJF. Tana fights out but gets a kitchen sink knee from MJF. MJF with a gutshot on the ropes, whips Tana but gets rolled up for two. Tana with a kick, but MJF locks in the abdominal stretch. Not sure what Gorilla Monsoon would say about the quality, but MJF uses the ropes for leverage. Bryce finally catches MJF using the ropes, has to kick it loose & Tanahashi with a hip toss. Tana with some elbows, then a flying elbow off the ropes. Some forearms from Tanahashi, then a slam. Tana to the middle rope, hits the flipping senton for two. Tana goes up top, but is too slow & MJF meets him up there. Excalibur notes the difference between AEW & NJPW turnbuckles. Frog crossbody, but didn’t quite get all of it. Running forearm in the corner, then MJF does the Flair Flip & gets thrown off the top rope. There’s a Sling Blade! That gets two for Tanahashi. Tana back up top, looks more comfortable now, but still gets crotched. Superplex by MJF! Cover gets two. Crowd chants as MJF returns to his feet and grabs Tanahashi on the apron. Heat Seeker is blocker, but Tana walks into a forearm. Shoulderbreaker by MJF, but the impact hurts his knee. Cover by MJF gets two. MJF returns to his feet and spits in Tana’s face! The cad! MJF calls Tanahashi a joke & kicks away at him. Tanahashi looks angered. He eats some shots from MJF, and wants some more! MJF with the Greco-Roman eyepoke, and a middle finger for the crowd. MJF gets caught in a Dragonscrew by Tanahashi, then a Tokyo Cloverleaf! MJF reaches the ropes. Tana’s suplex attempt gets blocked, MJF’s suplex gets blocked and a neckbreaker leads to the Sling Blade! Is it time for the Hi Fly Flo? It is, but it gets blocked! MJF’s knee doesn’t allow him to take proper advantage of the situation. MJF leaves the ring and grabs his title belt. Bryce blocks that and takes it away, Tana with the schoolboy, which gets the visual count but not the official count. MJF pushes Tana into Bryce, then lands a shot with the Dynamite Diamond Ring for the three count.

Winner: MJF (15:31 via pinfall)
Match Rating: ***1/2

Men’s Owen Hart Cup Tournament First Round Match: CM Punk vs. Satoshi Kojima: Dasha Gonzalez joins Shibata for ring announcing duties here. I wonder if Dasha introducing Punk at all times is part of his contract. Toronto not exactly 100% in the Punker’s corner here. Paul Turner calls for the bell and here we go. Punk with some modified basketball shorts here, and Kevin Kelly notes the 20 minute time limit here. Punk with the headlock. Runs into a shoulder from Kojima. Tieup into the corner, then Kojima with some shots. Hip toss by Kojima, shoulder block and some pec popping by Kojima! Punk with a kick, and he tosses Kojima to the floor and does some pec popping of his own! Punk goes to work on the outside, lands some chops. Kojima responds with chops of his own and Punk goes over the barricade. They briefly go through the ring, Kojima leg sweeps Punk on the apron. Back in the ring, some stomps by Kojima before he eats a leg lariat from Punk. Slam by Punk, and he does the Hogan pose before dropping a leg! Punk & Kojima exchange strikes, Kojima gets the better of that before getting kicked & 10 punched in the corner by Punk. Snap mare and a cover for two. Punk with the rear chinlock for a second before Kojima gets in the ropes. Whip into the corner by Punk. Some lariats in the corner while Punk re-creates his Homicide impression from back in the day! Larry Csonka would have loved that shit, believe me on that. Some chops & even a Mongolian chop in the other corner by Punk! Punk misses in another corner, and there’s some machine gun chops from Kojima! Punk staggers to another corner, and gets some more machine gun chops. Running forearm in the corner from Kojima, then he goes up top…elbow drop to the yambag! Poor AJ, but the cover gets a two count. Rolling elbow and a DDT from Kojima. Kojima sent into the corner, then a knee from Punk. Punk goes up top for his own elbow drop. He takes a ton of time to soak in the boos. Right across the throat, that gets two! Punk with the Anaconda Vice! Kojima punches his way out of it. Punk motions for the GTS. Mongolian Chops from Punk, but Kojima fights out of the GTS and hits some chops of his own! Cravate into the Koji Cutter! Down goes that elbow sleeve, and time for the Lariat! Punk avoids it, hits a neckbreaker for 2.78. Punk with some strikes, walks around with Kojima on his shoulders, but Kojima blocks the knee strike! BRAIN BUSTAAAAAAAAAA gets 2.84! Punk ducks the Lariat, hits the roundhouse, GTS equals 123.

Winner: CM Punk (13:37 via pinfall)
Match Rating: ***1/2

Punk embraces Kojima afterward & raises his hand. Punk will face either Samoa Joe or Roderick Strong in the semi-finals of the Owen Hart Cup Tournament. That should be fun!

Some hype for the next PPV & week beforehand in Chicago. All Out will be at the United Center on September 3.

AEW International Championship Four-Way Match: Orange Cassidy (c) vs. Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Katsuyori Shibata vs. Daniel Garcia: I’m sure Orange has had the world’s laziest pyro before, but I’m here for it at any rate. Sabre talks the most trash early. All four square off, and OC delivers some huge kicks to all three! OC gets a near fall on Garcia, gets tossed onto the other two guys on the floor. DG with the Dragontamer, Shibata breaks that up, then locks in a Figure 4 on OC. Sabre with a kick to break that up. Sabre with the ol’ Rusty Pretzel, then Garcia breaks that up. Garcia & Sabre exchange, then Shibata joins the fold. Garcia gets rocked by both of them. He starts dancing and they both pummel him. Chops exchanged between Sabre & Shibata, Garcia with a double clothesline, OC with a rollup for two. Kicks all around, and everybody falls down! Shibata & Sabre both lock in Cobra Twists on opponents, then start chopping each other. Then Garcia & Cassidy go for sleepers, and Shibata & Sabre still try to chop each other. Vertical suplexes all the way around! I think everybody hit everybody with that particular move. Cassidy counters on Garcia with the Slumdog Millionaire, then a DDT gets two. Sabre goes after OC’s right hand with some of that small joint manipulation that the kids love. Garcia just runs in with the darn title belt and clocks Shibata for a two count. Garcia with some shots on Shibata in the corner, who seems to want more. Shibata clocks Garcia, then clocks him some more with forearms in the corner before the stalling dropkick. OC back in the picture, he & Shibata square up, sit Indian Style and exchange some strikes. OC begs off after some strikes, goes to his pockets, but hits the Orange Punch with his damaged hand! Shibata stays up, hits an elbow. OC hits the Beach Break and that gets two. Sabre in to stomp on that hand & elbow a couple of times. OC goes for the Mouse Trap, Sabre counters, Garcia breaks that up. Garcia gets knocked out of the ring & Sabre locks in another hold that Shibata breaks up. Shibata knocks Garcia off the apron, he & Sabre go through an exchange I can’t keep up with but was awesome. Garcia breaks that all up, hits a backslide then a piledriver on Sabre. PK by Shibata on Garcia, but OC gets Shibata out of the way and covers Garcia for three!

Winner: Orange Cassidy (11:27 via pinfall)
Match Rating: ***1/2

Sabre grabs the title belt, and demands a singles match. He also issues a challenge to Shibata. Some mutual respect between OC & Shibata after.

IWGP World Heavyweight Championship Match: Sanada (c) vs. “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry (w/Hook): RED SHOES is here to officiate this one. He gets the opening chant, and he bows to take his pop & get it out of the way. Tieup into the ropes leads to nothing. Perry with a headlock, then a shoulderblock. Perry locks in the Snare Trap & Sanada finds the ropes. Sanada with a big dropkick, but can’t hit the dive. Perry knocks him off the apron to the floor and hits a dive of his own. Sanada gets bounced off the guardrail and covered for two in the ring. Sanada looks for the Paradise Lock, gets shook off. Perry gets rolled into that ball eventually, Sanada hypes the fans and hits that kick to the backside for two. Taz suggests the cover was a bit cocky. Perry with some chops. Sanada knocks him down with one. Perry runs into a big boot, but fights back with a forearm. Superkick & a clothesline from Perry, then a Tiger Driver gets two. Sanada with an Ego Trip! Cover gets two. Both men on their knees and they exchange strikes. Perry got a good chop there! Sanada exchanges. Backslide by Perry gets a nearfall, Sanada blocks the crucifix, but that leads to a Skull End/Dragon Sleeper by Jack! Sanada’s boot gets on the ropes. TKO by Sanada gets two. Sanada tries a moonsault, series of reversals leads to a Poison Rana by Perry, Sanada reverses into Skull End, but Perry counters into a near-fall! Sanada with his own Poison Rana, then a Shining Wizard for two! Sanada hits a moonsault press for the three count!

Winner: Sanada (10:41 via pinfall)
Match Rating: **1/2

Hook does not look impressed. WAIT A DAMN MINUTE, PERRY ATTACKS HOOK WHEN THEY GET TO THE STAGE? WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH HIM? I’m shocked that Taz has managed to maintain his composure. He does tell us that Jack Perry is a dead man.

Jon Moxley, Wheeler Yuta, Claudio Castagnoli, Konosuke Takeshita & Shota Umino vs. “Hangman” Adam Page, Matt Jackson, Nick Jackson, Eddie Kingston & Tomohiro Ishii: Apparently Taz couldn’t maintain his composure for too long, since Tony Schiavone joins Excalibur & Kevin now. This is definitely an Elite crowd. Some new music for the BCC & their hangers-on as they enter through the crowd. Claudio immediately tags out to avoid Eddie, as one would expect. Umino & Hangman end up starting. Umino gets the early upper hand, Page hits some boots. Tags to Ishii. Unimo won’t back down from those two, but he’ll get knocked down. Takeshita tags in to square off with Ishii. Forearms are exchanged! Good God. Shoulder blocks get exchanged. They both finally fall down. The Bucks tag in and they hit some double teams on Yuta, Unimo, anybody with a pulse. King & Mox both tag in, and the fans want to see them some of that. I do too! King pulls the straps down, and shots are exchanged. Lotta chops as neither of these guys will ever back down. Yuta comes in, Nick Jackson comes in, everybody comes in! The Bucks hit a big dive on the outside as King & Mox continue their battle. Page hits a moonsault into the mess. Mox & King still going at it, and Claudio hits a cheap shot on Eddie. Now, Claudio tags in and stomps Eddie down. Takeshita gets Eddie in the camel clutch, Ishii wants to exchange strikes and gets knocked the hell out by Takeshita. Unimo with a neckbreaker on Eddie for two. Claudio tags in again to lay in more shots on Eddie. Kingston catches a kick and hits a lariat on Claudio! Mox tags in and cuts off his former best friend Eddie. They exchange some chops. Double clothesline sends both men down. Ishii tags in, he & Claudio exchange some shots. Ishii with the brainbuster on Claudio. Umino & Takeshita doubleteam Ishii. Ishii with some suplexes on Moxley & Umino. Ishii tags to the Hangman and he’s out of his mind. He’s bumping everybody. A shooting star off the apron! Page goes up top, hits a strike on Takeshita for two! Takeshita & Page going at it. Some kicks on Takeshita in the corner, the Bucks tag in and go into their scheme. Takeshita avoids their finish, suplexes both of them! Then the Bucks hit a Superkick Party! King blocked Mox out of it, what the hell? Takeshita & Yuta go after Matt Jackson. Wheelbarrow into the German gets broke up at 2.85. Hart Attack on Matt Jackson, then then the Swing, then the cover by Yuta that everybody broke up. Claudio with the hammers on Matt, Nick broke that up, Ishii clotheslines Yuta in the corner, takes him up top, superplex gets 2! King & Ishii hit clotheslines & kicks on Ishii, this whole thing has broken down. Page with a powerbomb. Moxley cuts Kingston! Mox gets cut down! A dive! Yuta blocks the Buckshot, but not the lariat from Ishii! There’s another one! Ishii plants Yuta on his head with a Brain Bustaaaaaaaaaaa and gets the three count.

Winners: The Elite, Eddie Kingston & Tomohiro Ishii (21:25 via pinfall)
Match Rating: ***

AEW Women’s World Championship Match: Toni Storm (c) (w/Saraya & Ruby Soho) vs. Willow Nightingale: Willow gets a near-fall early, so Toni needs to get self-affirmation from her fellow Outcasts. Doesn’t seem to work, as Toni continues to get outworked by Willow. Until Saraya & Ruby Soho take some bumps on the outside & take some attention, then Toni hits that hip attack knocking Willow to the floor. Then Saraya & Ruby put the boots to Willow. Toni chokes Willow on the ropes, and Saraya does as well. Suplex from Toni gets 2. Toni with a Masterlock. Willow fights out but Toni re-locks. Willow reverses with a slam. Willow attacks in the corner, hits a big boot. Toni responds with a rope choke, but Willow hits a DVD on that goshdarned apron. Running DVD in the ring gets 2! Toni’s a tough one, no doubt. Stephon Smith notices the spraypaint from the Outcasts and ejects them from ringside. Willow gets a nearfall by reversing Storm Zero. She goes to the middle but misses the moonsault, Toni with a DDT, a hip attack, another DDT gets 2. Toni’s nose got busted at some point but she’s still fighting. Spine on the pine by Willow, then a Native American Deathlock! Willow keeps it on even though Toni keeps fighting. She bites her way out eventually. Willow with a modified Pounce to avoid the hip attack. Willow works Toni over in the corner, then drops those straps, but Toni pulls the MJF referee trick and hits Storm Zero for three.

Winner: Toni Storm (10:22 via pinfall)
Match Rating: **1/2

Skye Blue & Dr. Britt Baker DMD were both looking on backstage. Can we book them in a match?

IWGP United States Championship Match: Kenny Omega (c) vs. Will Ospreay (w/Don Callis & security): A dream match re-match! Let’s goooooooooooooo. Tieup, some armwork. Kenny works the left arm into a chinlock. Will with a headlock. Some matwork leads to a Kenny headscissors. Omega rocks Ospreay with a knock and some shots in the corner. Ospreay fights back. Paul Turner has to warn Will about those throat shots. Some big moves reversed early. Way too much time left here to hit those moves. Will kicks away on Kenny after a thumb in the eye, takes him to the corner and chops him down. Omega hits a rana, then YOU CAN’T ESCAPE for two. The fans clap along with Kenny. Don trips him up! Turner kicks Callis out of here! Will still takes advantage to hit a dive, then sends Kenny into a Cactus Jack ringstep bump, then bicep first into the ringpost. Backbreaker gets two. Ospreay works Kenny’s back. Will hits a vertical suplex for two. We go back to that Cobra Twist/Ab Stretch. Kenny fights back. Hits a PK to the gut, then a clothesline gets two. Kenny with a knee & some strikes. Ospreay with the enziguri. Dumps Kenny on the ropes, Will up top, shooting star to Kenny hanging on the top rope! Then an Oz Cutter on the apron! They go over to the announce table, Will wants to do the same thing that Kenny did to him in their previous match. He does. Kenny is busted open, and driven through the announce table cover. Will rolls Kenny back into the ring. Will works the man over. He licks Kenny’s blood on his arm. “YOU SICK FUCK” as the fans go CZW style. Kenny fights back. A rolling elbow sends Kenny down. Will motions for the V-Trigger. He hits Kenny damn near out of the ring with it. Oh no, Will has a Candian flag. He wipes himself with it! Picks his nose! Omega hits a lariat. He sends Will across the ring with the flag as his weapon. Omega tries to hang Ospreay with that flag. Omega hands the flag off. Omega V-Triggers Ospreay against the barricade. Will is bleeding quite a bit right now as Kenny uses the ring steps for a weapon. DDT on the ring steps. Yeah, Will isn’t looking great. Omega mounts in the ring, lands some punches, then a choke, then an arm scissors and a triangle. Will’s still fighting, hits a sitout powerbomb! Some back & forth, Will couldn’t quite get the pin on a Spanish Fly. Will goes for the Sharpshooter, which gets all the boos. Kenny almost gets there, Will goes back to the middle of the ring, then slips out of that into the Crossface, which gets a boo as it should. Cheers to you Toronto fans for that, and for chanting YOU SICK FUCK after. Some shots exchanged! Will wins, then kicks Kenny’s head off a couple times, but the Oz Cutter is blocked by a knee! Snap Dragons by Omega! Poison Rana then a spike piledriver gets 2.90! Neckbreaker by Omega! V-Trigger to the back of Will in the corner! Will fights out, kicks Kenny to the floor. Will with the Sky Twister Press to the floor! Will is going for that Hidden Blade, Kenny blocks, Will with the Liger bomb for two? Top rope Oz Cutter gets two! Well hell, how will Will win this? Don Callis is back at ringside for some reason. AEW security is lax enough to let this continue. Knee strike from Kenny. Another one. A third knee strike. Then Don goes to the ring apron and blocks Will’s head for a second. Will blocks the One Winged Angel! He uses a foreign object from Don & hits all of his finishes, and the count is two! What is going on here? Antoher knee, then a One-Winged Angel, and Kenny kicks out at one! Some strikes exchanged, Omega with a brainbuster, Will blocks the One-Winged Angel into a bridging German for two. Series of reversals, Will hits Tiger Driver ’91 for two! Holy hell! Another Hidden Blade, then a Storm Breaker for three!

Winner: Will Ospreay (39:37 via pinfall)
Match Rating: ****

Le Suzuki Gods (Chris Jericho, Sammy Guevara & Minoru Suzuki) vs, Sting, Darby Allin & Tetsuya Naito: Toronto knows how to sing along to Minoru’s theme. They know Jericho’s theme even better. THAT IS DARBY ALLIN & THIS IS STING. Great intro from Justin. Naito takes his time to take off his entrance attire. Naito also avoids Sammy early on. Samny hits a big kick on Naito and that Tranquilo pose. Naito hits one of his own. Naito with some big hits on Sammy. Darby tags in, and Minoru wants him some of that. Here we go. Darby will fight this man whether it’s good for him or not. Minoru gives Darby some love before punching him down. Darby with a chop, jumps backwards into a choke, things break up and Sting tags in! Sting vs. Suzuki! Let’s go! Jericho loses his mind on the apron, so he tags in against Sting. Jericho & Suzuki double team Sting, everybody comes in and gets bounced out so we get some Sting vs. Jericho. Sting with the Scorpion Deathlock! Sammy cuts Sting out out of the move. Double clothesline from Jericho & Sammy, Suzuki joins in for the pose. Code Red from Darby gets two, a Spanish Fly from Sammy also gets two. Naito & Jericho tag in, doesn’t go well for Jericho. Neckbreaker by Naito. Naito goes for Destino, it gets countered and everybody has chokes on somebody. Darby dives into a Judas Effect. Jericho gets a table out from under the ring. Sting gets worked onto the table. Jericho tells Sammy to put Sting through the table, and he does with a 630. Naito rolls Jericho up for two. Lionsault meets knees. But Jericho gets a Boston Crab until Sting gets a Scoprion, Suzuki breaks that up, Naito comes in, eats a codebreaker for two. Suzuki & Naito go at it. Suzuki with the choke, Sting breaks it up, Naito comes in with the clothesline and that leads to a three count!

Winners: Sting, Darby Allin & Tetsuya Naito (15:06 via pinfall)
Match Rating: ***

Bryan Danielson vs. Kazuchika Okada: THE FINAL COUNTDOWN? WHAT IS GOING ON HERE? I am already marking out watching these guys enter the ring. LET’S GO! Can’t even blame Toronto for already declaring this awesome. The two best in-ring cats in the game.The definition of a big fight. Okada wins the test of strength, but Danielson gets Okada into the Romero Special. Stomps the knees and takes his glory. Okada with a headlock. Shoulderblock by Okada. Danielson flips out of the corner, after some reversals Okada hits the clothesline. Dropkick sends Bryan outside. Sends Bryan into the barricade & over it. Bryan comes back, targets Okada’s arm with the ring post & the announce desk, then hits a diving strike. Bryan sends Okada into the ringpost & back into the ring. Cattle Mutilation by Bryan, leads to a rollup for two. Bryan lands some shots in the corner. Okada bows up. Wants to eat those shots. Bryan boots Okada in the corner but gets flapjacked. Okada takes the advantage, big shot in the corner, a DDT gets two. Okada kicks Danielson off the corner & Schiavone marks out. Okada presses Danielson over the barricade. Danielson makes a comeback but gets his neck broken for two. Okada loading Danielson up, bu Danielson fights back with hammers. Missile dropkick from Bryan. Danielson with some uppercuts, Okada fights back. Danielson regains the advantage. He doesn’t maintain. Okada with some shots, some reversals lead to a shotgun dropkick. Bryan with a German. Okada answers Bryan’s strikes with a lariat, answers another with a dropkick. It is awesome! Bryan blocks Okada’s top rope move and works Okada’s arm into a submission. Okada finds the ropes but gets kicked onto the floor. Bryan’s big move to the floor leads to him kicking Okada further onto the floor. Bryan with some kicks, but Okada ate that and Tombstoned him into the entranceway. We go back to the ring. Okada goes up top. Hits the elbow. RAINMAKER! Bryce Remsburg has a doctor check on Danielson. Okada shys them away, which leads to a Buchiaku knee from Danielson! Bryan flips out of a German, hits a knee for two! Time to kick Okada’s head in! Big kick from Danielson. Some Yeses from the crowd get met from a kick, a Landslide & a Rainmaker for two. Okada works Bryan over. Leads to Bryan working a LeBell Lock! Bryan working Okada’s arms! Some forearms from Danielson! Bryan works Okada’s arms into a way that Okada has no choice to tap!

Winner: Bryan Danielson (27:35 via submission)
Match Rating: ****1/4

So long & good night!

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
Pretty darn fun show. I bumped up the score a bit since I'm an ROH mark from back in the day & loved Danielson coming out to The Final Countdown. Other than that, nothing else missed on this show. I figure the buyrate will be down because you still have some AEW fans afraid of supporting anything involving Japan, but the show delivered.