Can’t Knock The Hustle: AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door 2024 Review

For the third consecutive year, All Elite Wrestling and New Japan Pro Wrestling have come together for their official crossover event, Forbidden Door.

Depending on who you ask, tonight’s card is either an all-time classic (on paper), or it isn’t on the level of the previous Forbidden Door shows. One thing everyone can agree on, however, is the size of the card. After a whopping FIVE matches during the pre-show, the main show will feature another ten matches. There are a total of six championships on the line. Hopefully, a red hot crowd in Long Island, New York will help to enhance the show from start to finish.

I’m excited. You should be, too. Let’s have some fun.


MJF vs Hechicero

Well, if you’re going to have the live crowd sit through six hours of wrestling, I guess you might as well start the main show with the hometown hero. While we’re on the subject, though, it’s completely fucking asinine to have a show last that long. It was stupid when WWE did it, and it’s stupid when AEW does it. You’re just asking for large chunks of your show to feature little-to-no crowd reaction as the fans deal with exhaustion and having to conserve energy for something “bigger” later in the show.

MJF got a good crowd pop for his entrance, but the match itself has seen a quiet crowd. They’ll give polite applause when MJF is on offense, and slight boos when Hechicero is on offense, but that’s it. Are they already tired after the lengthy pre-show?

Well, that match certainly happened. It wasn’t bad. However, it was slow, and there’s either a language or a wrestling style barrier that kept them from having any real chemistry. I hate using this word, but the match was kind of boring. If we’re going to be honest, this was a waste of MJF on pay-per-view. I like Hechicero, but this match should’ve been on Dynamite or Collision. 2.75 Stars


The Acclaimed & Hiroshi Tanahashi vs The Young Bucks & Kazuchika Okada – Trios Match

It’s still funny that Okada gets a face pop for his entrance, while the Bucks get booed. As soon as The Elite got to the ring, there was a loud “Okada” chant, as well.

This is worth repeating whenever I get the chance… Max Caster fucking sucks. At everything. Please get that goof away from Anthony Bowens, posthaste.

“Holy shit” chants as Tanahashi and Okada have a face-off to start the match, only for Okada to do the expected move and tag out before they made contact.

It’s still somewhat early in the match, but so far, this one hasn’t really gotten out of first gear, either. We’ll get a move or two, and then we stop for a comedy spot involving Okada, and then go back to another move or two. That’s unfortunate, but made even more so because AEW almost always excels with trios matches.

The pace picked up a bit after I typed that previous paragraph, but not by much. Realistically, this could’ve been a television match, too, even with the inclusion of Tanahashi. They had more chemistry than MJF and Hechicero did, at least, so I’ll give this one 3 Stars. Nothing terrible, but we’re not off to a great start. Luckily, the first two matches on the show were predicted to be two of the “worst” matches, so let’s hope it all uphill from here.


Bryan Danielson vs Shingo Takagi – Men’s Owen Hart Cup First Round Match

Well, shit, let’s go ahead and officially start the pay-per-view now. Two of my all-time favorite wrestlers, squaring off for the first time since they had a bout in Dragon Gate USA 14 years ago. I’m pumped for this one.

It’s crazy that this is only a first round match in the Owen Cup. This is something that could’ve been later on.

It wouldn’t be a Danielson AEW pay-per-view match without an injury spot and Doc Sampson having to come in to check on him. Sheesh. I have no doubt that at least some of it is legitimate pain and suffering, simply based on the injuries he’s dealt with in his career, but we’re going to the this particular well too often, in my opinion.

Whenever Danielson does any sort of promo, he mentions the pain that he’s in, and how close to the end of his career he is. Then, he turns around and wrestles every match in a way that guarantees more pain and suffering for himself. Even his offense has him landing on his neck, head, and upper back.

Momentum, momentum, and more momentum. That’s what this match has been building. The longer it goes, the better it has gotten.

To the surprise of nobody, Danielson picks up the win. All three matches on the main show have featured pretty obvious outcomes… MJF, The Elite, and Danielson all picking up victories.

While I would still appreciate it if we didn’t have “injury” stoppages in all of Danielson’s big matches, this was still a lot of fun. As I said, it got better as it went on, and both men really beat the hell out of each other. 4.25 Stars. Even after taking a loss, I would love to see more of Shingo in AEW.


Toni Storm vs Mina Shirakawa – AEW Women’s World Title Match

Dueling “We want Mina” and “Toni Storm” chants early on.

Mariah May is shown on-camera approximately every 15 seconds, and her name is mentioned on commentary even more frequently than that. There’s more focus on “WHO WILL MARIAH MAY CHOOSE?” than there is on “WHO WILL BE THE AEW WOMEN’S CHAMPION?” so far. That’s probably not ideal.

On multiple occasions, Mina has had difficulty picking Toni up. Toni is… let’s just say she’s bottom heavy… and it seems to be a lot for the petite challenger to deal with.

The match was fun. It was pretty slow a lot of the time, but fun nonetheless, as both women made it work. If you’re looking to nitpick anything, it’s that we just our fourth consecutive obvious outcome. An AEW full-time performer defending her AEW Title against someone who isn’t on the AEW roster… gee, I wonder who’s going to win? The story being told was entertaining, but Toni Storm was never in danger of losing. After everything, though, Mariah didn’t actually choose anyone. She still seemed torn, but she made the crowd happy by setting up a triangle kiss between all three women. 3.25 Stars


Orange Cassidy vs Zack Sabre Jr.

Based on a lot of the predictions I’ve seen, this might be the first non-obvious outcome of the night. It’s still a full-time AEW wrestler facing someone who isn’t on the AEW roster, but I guess we’ll wait and see.

This match has been billed as a bit of a clash of styles, but I’m not sure that’s accurate. Yes, Orange Cassidy is known for his character work, while ZSJ is not. However, how many times has OC proven to be an incredibly solid in-ring performer? We’re not talking about a Santino Marella-like comedy character, where that’s all he’s booked to do.

This crowd has been really disappointing tonight. Other than the one guy in the crowd finding quiet spots to yell out “YERRRRR” and leading others to yell it back. We are in New York, after all. If you know, you know.

Oh, hey, it was another really good performance from Orange Cassidy. Many feel that ZSJ is the best technical wrestler alive today, but OC matched him damn near every step of the way. It wasn’t an obvious outcome, as the non-AEW wrestler picked up the hard-fought victory. 3.5 Stars


Samoa Joe, Hook & Katsuyori Shibata vs Chris Jericho, Big Bill & Jeff Cobb – Trios Match

Well, there goes the interest I had in the show. No more Chris Jericho, please. For the love of all that is holy. This should’ve been Samoa Joe vs Jeff Cobb. I wouldn’t argue if you wanted Hook vs Jeff Cobb, either, but that’s it.

Another match that featured a quiet crowd. The Long Island fans have been a disappointment all night long. The match itself wasn’t anything too offensive. It was just… there. Another TV style match. Damn shame. Hook pinned Chris Jericho by using Jericho’s own finishing move, though, so there’s that, at least. 3 Stars


Mark Briscoe vs Dante Martin vs Konosuke Takeshita vs El Phantasmo vs Lio Rush vs Jack Perry – Ladder Match for the vacant AEW TNT Title

Will this one wake the crowd up? The entrances haven’t done the trick, but perhaps the crazy high spots will.

You almost have to turn your brain off when you watch a Ladder Match. Terrible gaps in logic are all over the place, whether it’s a wrestler climbing a ladder slowly, someone setting multiple ladders up for no reason, and so on. There has already been a bunch of that here, and the match is probably no more than six or seven minutes old.

With Jack Perry atop a table at ringside, Mark Briscoe sets a ladder up in the ring… but not to win the match. Instead, he uses it to make a dive to the outside, where he almost misses the table completely, basically hitting Perry with a double axe handle. Yikes.

You know… I’m disappointed with that match. Not just because Jack Perry won. I don’t give a fuck about anything Perry does. The worst part of this was that it just wasn’t memorable. Think about any Ladder Match you’ve enjoyed in your time as a wrestling fan. Chances are, the match featured at least one HUGE spot that will be immortalized on highlight reels for years to come. This match didn’t feature a spot like that. There wasn’t enough wild and crazy to make up for all of those logic gaps I talked about. 3.5 Stars, but that’s pretty low for a match of this type.

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Mercedes MonĂ© vs Stephanie Vaquer – Winner Takes All Match for the AEW TBS Title & the NJPW Strong Women’s Title

This has been a huge mixed bag so far. Most of the match has seen them have a good amount of in-ring chemistry together. The rest of it has been awkward, at best, and sloppy, at worst. Good or bad, with nothing really in between.

The crowd has almost exclusively gotten behind Vaquer as the match goes on.

ONE GUY stands up in the crowd with a Boston Celtics shirt on, and it leads to a “fuck the Celtics” chant from the crowd. It also goes along with the reaction to the wrestlers, as the Celtics are the NBA team of Mercedes. That chant was as loud as the crowd has been all night, which says everything.

Once again, we get the obvious outcome, with Mercedes picking up the win. She’s the AEW wrestler, so of course, she’s going to walk out with one of AEW’s titles. The good outweighed the bad here, so I’ll give it 3.5 Stars.

After the match, Britt Baker makes her long-awaited return to the company, getting one of the biggest pops of the night. She merely walks out to the stage and poses, while Mercedes stands in the ring and holds both of her titles up, and then… Britt just leaves. Okay then. Glad that the depth of the AEW women’s division is getting even stronger, though.


Jon Moxley vs Tetsuya Naito – IWGP World Heavyweight Title Match

Moxley makes his entrance to his NJPW music, wearing an NJPW track jacket. He’s still walking out through the crowd, but the lack of “Wild Thing” caused a bit of quietness in the beginning of Mox’s entrance.

We’re over three hours deep into the show at the sound of the opening bell, and Jim Ross mentions that this match is probably going to have a long run time. Considering there’s another match to come, I really hope not.

Man, this crowd really sucks. American crowds continue to take L after L after L. Can we just fast forward to All In(nit) already?

Another match that was good without breaking through to a higher level. Also, another match that featured an obvious outcome, only in the other direction. New Japan’s biggest title is on the line, so it makes sense that the full-time New Japan performer picks up the win. 3.5 Stars


Swerve Strickland vs Will Ospreay – AEW World Title Match

Ospreay makes his entrance in a Hayabusa mask after a video that featured a lot of Hayabusa in it. Actually, Ospreay’s gear, as a whole, is a Hayabusa tribute. That’s cool. Hayabusa is one of the most exciting pro wrestlers to ever step foot inside of a wrestling ring.

Swerve gets New York’s own, Dipset member Jim Jones, to introduce him. You can tell that a LARGE portion of the crowd have no idea who he is. Then, Jim Ross mentions that Jones tried to hop the barricade to get to his seat, only to bust his ass and “take a bump” in the process. Fantastic. According to social media posts, former Roc-A-Fella boss Dame Dash is also in the crowd. Way to keep things relevant, AEW. Who’s next? Chingy? Dem Franchize Boyz?

We’re only a few minutes in, but both men are wrestling as if the rent is due, so to speak. Awesome start to the match.

Jim Ross and Taz are openly making fun of a fan behind them. Taz mentioned that he’s annoying, and JR hints that the fan may have had a few beers tonight.

Swerve jumps from the top rope and delivers a disgusting double stomp to Ospreay, who is up against one of the announce tables, and the table barely gives. That had to feel like hell for Ospreay.

Two of the most athletic men in the business today, trying to out-athletic each other at every turn, trying to earn the AEW World Title. This has been wonderful.

A ref bump brings Don Callis out, and Callis gives his trusty screwdriver to Ospreay. However, Willabusa doesn’t want to use it, and he eventually tosses it to the ground after threatening Prince Nana with it.

My goodness, what a match. Swerve retains the title after a fantastic performance from both men. Outside of the ref bump and the unsuccessful interference from Callis, we just witnessed Ospreay get pinned as clean as possible. Ospreay hasn’t been pinned in months. A lot of people predicted a win for Swerve, but it seemed like most of those predictions saw Ospreay losing due to some sort of shenaniganery. This was a big, big, big win for Swerve. 4.5 Stars, and that might be underselling it a bit.


This wasn’t a bad show by any stretch of the imagination. It just wasn’t quite on the level of the usual AEW pay-per-view performance. A terrible crowd, a few matches that had no business on pay-per-view, and a bunch of obvious outcomes didn’t help things. Still, when 2.75 Stars is your worst rated match of the night, it’s a pretty good show.

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