Check out the best photos of Jay White defeating Adam Cole, Hangman Adam Page and Kazuchika Okada at Forbidden Door.
Jay White backed up his assertion that he is the Catalyst of professional wrestling by successfully defending his IWGP World Heavyweight Championship against three of the best in the game — Adam Cole, Hangman Adam Page and Kazuchika Okada — at Forbidden Door. Check out some of the best photos from this unforgettable four-way title bout below. (Photos courtesy of All Elite Wrestling)
Never watch NJPW and need a quick briefing on who’s who? Read our beginner’s guide to the top New Japan stars before Forbidden Door.
It goes without saying that Forbidden Door is a big deal. A collaboration between the second-largest pro wrestling promotion in the U.S., All Elite Wrestling (AEW), and New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW), the biggest wrestling company in Japan, it’s not the first event of its kind, but it is being done on a scale that isn’t often seen.
Not only is the card loaded with bouts that feature talent from both brands, there are multiple matches in which an AEW wrestler could win a NJPW championship — or vice versa. That means what takes place at the United Center on June 26 could have ripple effects for months down the road, and AEW boss Tony Khan has already stated that he’s thought about how Forbidden Door could become an annual event.
If that happens, it’s possible the top NJPW talents could become household names among the masses in the U.S. But it’s possible, maybe even likely, that Forbidden Door will be the first time (or one of the first times, since some New Japan wrestlers have been on AEW TV leading up to the event) that many American fans are seeing them.
Perhaps even you.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a beginner’s guide to the top NJPW wrestlers who are appearing on the Forbidden Door card. There are many resources out there to learn more about these stars, and tons of videos to watch them in action. But if all you need is a brief overview to get ready for Sunday night, just keep scrolling down, as we’ve got you covered.
Get ready for AEW x NJPW: Forbidden Door with our preview, including predictions for each match, start time, how to watch and more.
Considering AEW is only three years old, the company still enjoys a fair amount of firsts. Not many, however, are as significant as AEW x NJPW: Forbidden Door, a pay-per-view being held in conjunction with Japan’s top pro wrestling promotion. Once only a dream in the minds of most wrestling fans, it’s about to become a reality in Chicago’s United Center.
That’s not to say the road to get here has been easy. The logistical hurdles in building a show between companies half a world apart have been apparent at times, with a good chunk of the card coming together only in the final week. Injuries haven’t been kind; in a perfect world, CM Punk, Bryan Danielson and Kenny Omega would all be on this show.
Despite that, there are some tantalizing matchups of the kind many probably never dared imagine prior to this year. They begin with the interim AEW World Championship being contested between Jon Moxley and Hiroshi Tanahashi. With Punk out, one of them will carry the banner for AEW for the next few months, and even the possibility that it will be NJPW’s Ace is enough to be intriguing.
NJPW’s top title will be up for grabs as well. Jay White, who only recently secured the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship from Kazuchika Okada, now needs to defend it against not only the Rainmaker, but his friend Adam Cole and former AEW world champ Hangman Adam Page. Four-way matches are definitely not every fan’s cup of tea, but four performers of this caliber figure to make it compelling.
As the match count has made it to double digits, including a pre-show bout, the card figures to be close to final now. Keep reading for everything you need to know about AEW x NJPW: Forbidden Door.
AEW x NJPW: Forbidden Door
- When: Sunday, June 26
- Where: United Center, Chicago
- Start time: 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT/5 p.m. PT
- How to watch: On PPV through Bleacher Report, or InDemand through cable or satellite providers, as well as in select movie theaters in the U.S. On Sky Deutschland in Germany, and on FITE TV internationally. In Japan, Forbidden Door will be available exclusively via NJPW World, with Japanese commentary.
- Matches announced: 10 (including one on pre-show)
Tony Khan confirmed that the June 22 episode of AEW Dynamite would reveal who Jay White will face at Forbidden Door, plus more matches.
Not having IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Jay White on the Forbidden Door card would be pretty strange, but just four days out from the joint AEW/NJPW event, that was the case. Fortunately, the June 22 episode of AEW Dynamite looks set to rectify that situation.
Two of AEW’s press releases this week have promoted the idea that White would defend his title against a “TBD” opponent. Tony Khan confirmed that this week’s Dynamite would hold the answer during his appearance today on SiriusXM’s Busted Open Radio (h/t to Fightful for the transcription).
It’s going to start the IWGP Champion Jay White coming in tonight and we’re going to find out who he is going to wrestle. We’re going to announce more matches tonight on Dynamite for this big event. … Some of the top stars in new Japan have not been here yet. Tonight on Dynamite, you will see more wrestlers and more involvement from New Japan than we’ve seen so far.
White has been part of the build toward Forbidden Door from the start, crashing the official announcement of the event on the April 20 episode of Dynamite. More recently, he addressed challenges to a match from both Hangman Adam Page and Adam Cole after defeating Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship at Dominion, but appeared to turn both of them down. A popular theory is that White may face both of the AEW Adams in a three-way dance, or a four-way with another NJPW challenger in the mix as well.
Having White and NJPW’s top title on the show is even more important given that AEW’s top champion, CM Punk, is missing the event due to injury. Instead, Jon Moxley and Hiroshi Tanahashi will square off for the Interim AEW World Championship, with the victor expected to face Punk somewhere down the road.
As for other matches, a showdown between Bryan Danielson and Zack Sabre Jr. to determine who is the better technical wrestler has been heavily hinted at, but may have been waiting until Danielson’s health status was cleared up as he’s also been battling injuries. A few more bouts would also be welcome since the card as of June 21 had just six matches.
However many matches it ends up with, Forbidden Door is set for the United Center in Chicago this Sunday, live on PPV.