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AEW x NJPW: Forbidden Door predictions

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All Elite Wrestling

All Elite Wrestling and New Japan Pro-Wrestling are making history this weekend, putting on their first-ever joint PPV Forbidden Door on Sunday night (June 26, 2022) at United Centerin Chicago.

After a free streaming pre-show which starts one hour earlier, the event starts at 8PM Eastern, and can be purchased on Bleacher Report (and traditional PPV) here in the U.S. & Canada, or internationally on Fite.

This crossover between two of pro wrestling’s biggest companies has a little bit of everything, with stars of AEW and New Japan featured in supersized tags and championship matches. As we prepare to step through the Forbidden Door, we’ve assembled our motley crew to give thoughts & predictions on everything booked the show!

Let's get to it.


Jon Moxley vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi for the interim AEW World championship

Sean Rueter: Because selling this as an ongoing partnership is much easier if some NJPW guys leave with TK gold and vice-versa, and because it’s the One True Ace. Pick: Hiroshi Tanahashi

Claire Elizabeth: I think we’re going big here to sell the interpromotional partnership between AEW and New Japan and give us the dream match that was booked and we were all excited for down the road once CM Punk is healed up and ready to go. The Once in a Century Ace can stick around enough to sell a reasonably respectable summer title reign, and Mox can go join Okada’s support group for men who thought they could knock Tanahashi off the throne with ease. Pick: Hiroshi Tanahashi

Cain A. Knight: Tanahashi was originally going to lose against CM Punk, so now he’ll lose against Moxley. Pick: Jon Moxley

Manolo H. Pizzazz: As much as I want to predict Tanahashi winning AEW gold as an interesting way to mix up the results, I just don’t believe Moxley will be losing. Mox’s promos sell me that this win is his destiny. Pick: Jon Moxley

Stella Cheeks: As cool as it would be to see Tanahashi and his beautiful hair win the interim championship, I really don’t think TK is secure enough in his AEW manhood to put the belt on someone whose checks he doesn’t write. Pick: Jon Moxley

Marcus Benjamin: There’s no way AEW puts its top prize on a wrestler who doesn’t work for AEW. Especially when the prospect of a Jon Moxley vs. CM Punk match is too tantalizing for the company to ignore. The only hope is they provide plenty suspense in the match to make us think that maybe, just maybe, the obvious outcome isn’t quite so obvious. Pick: Jon Moxley

Kyle Decker: Tanahashi would be a really cool twist, but it would just be that. A twist. Because Jon Moxley is almost certainly winning this match. He’s the one who will be available on weekly TV with a title belt. And this could set up a big match between Punk and Moxley when the former is healthy. Pick: Jon Moxley

Jay White (c) vs. Hangman Page vs. Kazuchika Okada vs. Adam Cole for the IWGP World Heavyweight title

Sean Rueter: The Bucks repping the Biz Cliz elsewhere on the card foreshadows a BC/TUE war somewhere down the road, and Switchblade & Cole costing each other here gets us a lot closer to that. I don’t think this is the IWGP title an AEW star wins (and I don’t think Tanahashi would win the AEW belt if it wasn’t an interim version) either. Pick: Kazuchika Okada

Claire Elizabeth: Argh I hate that this is a four-way so much. And a four-way with two Adams is REALLY hard to liveblog, y’all. But Gedo is Gedo and Gedo sayeth that Knife Pervert should be champion now, so here we are. Fair is fair and I’m thinking if Tanahashi picks up the interim AEW title, an AEW boy should probably get this one, so it’s Bullet Club vs. Elite intrigue and a summer in Japan for you (and hopefully that singles against Okada), Hangman. Pick: “Hangman” Adam Page

Cain A. Knight: White or Okada are the most likely winners here. Perhaps Okada recently dropped the title to White just so he can win it back on a major PPV. Pick: Kazuchika Okada

Manolo H. Pizzazz: White is an opportunist that will find the right time to pin Cole. Pick: “Switchblade” Jay White

Stella Cheeks: I want to watch Okada punch all these white boys in their faces, and thankfully that will happen. Sadly, I think he still loses and Jay White retains for the storyline or whatever. Pick: Jay White

Marcus Benjamin: I see Okada getting the W here. I think the Bullet Club and Undisputed Elite soap opera keeps them all occupied while Okada capitalizes on their drama Pick: Kazuchika Okada

Kyle Decker: I don’t see many titles changing hands. And I certainly don’t see that happening cross-promotion here. Okada could pick up a win here from Jay White, but White pinning Cole (with AEW opting to protect Hangman of their two) is much more likely. Pick: Jay White

Thunder Rosa (c) vs. Toni Storm for the AEW Women’s title

Sean Rueter: Hate to say it, but Rosa’s reign ain’t working. Not sure how much of that is her fault and how much of it is TK’s. Not sure it matters now, either. Pick: Toni Storm

Claire Elizabeth: Thunder Rosa’s reign has been lackluster, Toni’s been kicking ass, part of me thinks it’s premature but the rest of me thinks AEW’s women’s scene ebbs and flows and a title change will kickstart a flow. Pick: Toni Storm

Cain A. Knight: It’s not Toni Time quite yet. Pick: Thunder Rosa

Manolo H. Pizzazz: Tough pick. My mind says Storm, but something screams Thunder Rosa. Maybe it’s her theme song. Pick: Thunder Rosa

Stella Cheeks: It was exciting when Thunder Rosa won the belt, but it’s been a lackluster title reign. Changing courses and giving the belt to Toni could be a good idea to bring some excitement back into the the women’s title scene. Britt held the belt for SO long. We can hot potato for a while methinks. Pick: Toni Storm

Marcus Benjamin: Still in my feelings about Serena losing the title match and getting relegated to Dark. I’ll get over it. One day. But I do think this division needs a spark, so I’m with my co-host here. Toni Storm gets the W just for a different flavor, establishing a nice feud between she and Rosa for the summer. Pick: Toni Storm

Kyle Decker: I don’t see a title change just yet. The women have pretty long title reigns in AEW. Pick: Thunder Rosa

FTR (c) vs. United Empire (c) vs. Roppongi Vice for the ROH and IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team championships

Sean Rueter: This the one where AEW guys win IWGP gold. Pick: FTR

Claire Elizabeth: FTR are the best tag team in the world and the only way they don’t come away with the New Japan gold also on their shoulders is if there’s some kind of non-finish. Pick: FTR (Cash Wheeler & Dax Harwood)

Cain A. Knight: FTR is really good at collecting tag team gold. Pick: FTR

Manolo H. Pizzazz: It would be too safe of a show if no NJPW talent win any new titles. That’s why I think Jeff Cobb and Great-O-Khan get the job done on Roppongi Vice to set up a straight up FTR rematch for an ROH PPV. Or maybe FTR travels to NJPW for the sequel. Pick: United Empire

Stella Cheeks: This is just another opportunity for FTR to prove that they are the best tag team in the entire world. Pick: FTR

Marcus Benjamin: FTR is the best tag team in the world. This solidifies that. Pick: FTR

Kyle Decker: With CMLL doing business with NJPW and FTR holding the AAA tag belts, there’s a chance CMLL won’t want the NJPW straps on a rival’s champion. (And they’ve surely been petty this go around.) But I think the plan is to have FTR win all the titles they can that aren’t the AEW ones before challenging the Bucks. I think TK finds a way to make that plan stick. Pick: FTR

Will Ospreay (c) vs. Orange Cassidy for the IWGP United States title

Sean Rueter: Orange will hopefully convert a few more skeptics by delivering here with a guy many think is among the best in the game right now. That’s all he’s leaving this one with, though. Pick: Will Ospreay

Claire Elizabeth: This is a weird match on several levels. Chief among them— why is Orange Cassidy wrestling anyone but Toru Yano on an AEW vs. NJPW show? That’s the match, damnit. Anyway, Orange is a hell of a wrestler but loathe as I am to pick against him, I just can’t see a way he wins here. Pick: Will Ospreay

Cain A. Knight: It will be a great match, but the winner seems obvious. Pick: Will Ospreay

Manolo H. Pizzazz: Ospreay has been put over as a big deal to AEW audiences. He needs this win to back up the hype. Pick: Will Ospreay

Stella Cheeks: I’m not in the habit of rooting for gross jerks. Pick: Orange Cassidy

Marcus Benjamin: This is a showcase match for Orange. He showed he can hang with Omega now he does the same with Ospreay. That means he doesn’t get the win but he does get..respect? A trophy? Not sure. Pick: Will Ospreay

Kyle Decker: The above tag team titles are the only change I see possible on this PPV. Pick: Will Ospreay

PAC vs. Miro vs. Malakai Black vs. Clark Connors for the AEW All-Atlantic championship

Sean Rueter: No data to back this up at all, but feel like this is where fka Neville gets rewarded for his service to AEW from the jump. Pick: PAC

Claire Elizabeth: Miro’s gonna redeem that title and he’s gonna talk about god and his wife and pagans and blasphemy and eventually he’s gonna say something terrible and try to start an inquisition or something but I’m not too worried about that right now. Pick: Miro

Cain A. Knight: PAC and Malakai cancel each other out, giving Miro the clear advantage. Pick: Miro

Manolo H. Pizzazz: PAC is too good for spot duty. Winning the All-Atlantic belt will give him more purpose to wrestle more often. Pick: PAC

Stella Cheeks: God is so scared right now. I love it. Pick: Miro

Marcus Benjamin: Miro. Sorry, God. And I truly do love you with all my heart. Pick: Miro

Kyle Decker: Sure I could go with the guy I never heard of until filling out these predictions that I had to google. But I think instead, Miro’s God returns to him. Pick: Miro

Zack Sabre Jr. vs. the newest member of Blackpool Combat Club

Sean Rueter: If it’s who we all think it is, a simple Airplane Spin will outdo Hurrah! Another Year, Surely This One Will Be Better Than The Last; The Inexorable March of Progress Shall Lead Us All to Happiness. Pick: the newest member of Blackpool Combat Club

Cain A. Knight: I don’t think the newest member of the Blackpool Combat Club (who will hopefully be Claudio Castagnoli) loses in his first match. Pick: newest member of Blackpool Combat Club

Manolo H. Pizzazz: I can’t go with the unknown. What if Bryan Danielson is trolling and selects Mark Sterling? Pick: Zack Sabre Jr.

Stella Cheeks: I’m calling this a match of the night right now. I love ZSJ so much and anyone that joins BCC is gonna f*ck so I know I’m right. Unless it’s Johnny Gargano then I am going to roll my eyes until I die. Pick: newest member of Blackpool Combat Club

Marcus Benjamin: I’m going with Danielson’s ringer. He sold the hell out of him and for that alone, he better win, Pick: newest member of Blackpool Combat Club:

Kyle Decker: Bryan Danielson was likely going over Zack Sabre and I think his replacement will as well. And I really think that replacement is Cesaro. Pick: Cesaro

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

Editor’s note: Several of these picks were made before the Blood & Guts advantage stipulation was added.

Sean Rueter: The combo of hard-earned street cred and youthful vigor the babyface team has going for them just can’t be beat. Pick: Eddie Kingston, Shota Umino & Wheeler Yuta

Claire Elizabeth: Credit where it’s due, I was in the chorus going “Forbidden Door’s not gonna be that exciting it’s gonna be a bunch of undercard tags and then like two genuinely interesting singles” and a) it didn’t play out that way and b) the first tag match they announced is like... genuinely interesting? Can’t wait to see Uncle Eddie and Mox’s Two Sons fight valiantly only to get overwhelmed by Murder Grandpa as a prelude to Blood & Guts Pick: Chris Jericho, Minoru Suzuki, & Sammy Guevara

Cain A. Knight: I think Jericho is losing via improved cardboard technology next week at Blood & Guts, so he’s probably winning this one. Pick: Chris Jericho, Minoru Suzuki, & Sammy Guevara

Manolo H. Pizzazz: With increased stakes for Blood & Guts, the Wizard will have tricks up his sleeve. Pick: Chris Jericho, Minoru Suzuki, & Sammy Guevara

Stella Cheeks: Feels like Jericho and his gang of pals is going to lose at BLOOD & GUTS and no one wants to cheer against Suzuki so I’m going with the baddies (not not those baddies) all the way. Pick: Chris Jericho, Minoru Suzuki, & Sammy Guevara

Marcus Benjamin: This is 50/50 booking, right? But also not really. Blood & Guts is already happening, so it makes sense for the bad guys to get the W here and give the good guys their vengeance very soon. Pick: Chris Jericho, Minoru Suzuki, & Sammy Guevara

Kyle Decker: The bad guys have more star power here. Pick: Jericho, Sammy, Suzuki

Sting, Darby Allin & Shingo Takagi vs. Bullet Club (The Young Bucks & El Phantasmo)

Editor’s note: Several of these picks were made before Hiromu Takahashi was pulled from this match.

Sean Rueter: Put those two LIJ dudes with anybody and I’d have a hard time picking against them. Put then with The Icon? Fuhgedaboudit. Pick: Dudes With Attitudes

Claire Elizabeth: Another fun twist in the myth, I like the mixing and matching here. On talent and fun team names I’d give it to the Dudes, but I think as reigning tag champs the Bucks are gonna pick up a win here, probably over Sting. And also hey it’s a New Japan show so Bullet Club have to win at least one thing they arguably shouldn’t. (Sidebar: Does this mean that Sting is Ingobernable?) Pick: Bullet Club

Cain A. Knight: I just can’t see the Young Bucks and Bullet Club coming up short on this PPV. Pick: Bullet Club

Manolo H. Pizzazz: A win by Sting and Allin will get us one stepper closer to my wish of seeing them as AEW tag champions. Or at least they can earn a shot for a unique dream match against the Young Bucks. Pick: Sting, Darby Allin, & Shingo Takagi

Stella Cheeks: Legally you can’t have an NJPW/ROHAEW PPV without a Bullet Club member winning a match. It’s a law. Pick: Bullet Club

Marcus Benjamin: I’m not cool with them biting the name of Shawn Michaels’ and Diesel’s tag team. But that’s for another day. Bullet Club can’t lose here, right? Pick: Bullet Club

Kyle Decker: Sting has never lost in AEW. Pick: Sting, Darby, Takahashi, & Takagi

Swerve Strickland & Keith Lee vs. El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru

Sean Rueter: Normally I’d go with Swerve In Our Glory, but then I heard about how Keith Lee smashes Pop Rocks in catering. Pick: El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru

Claire Elizabeth: Oh I missed that this was happening, somehow. Interesting. I think I’d rather just have Swerve vs. Despy in a singles but this should be fun. AEW picks up the win. Pick: Keith Lee & Shane Strickland

Cain A. Knight: Strickland and Lee have some friction right now, and a loss here will keep that going. Pick: El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru

Manolo H. Pizzazz: There will be no combusting from Swerve and Lee until a showdown with Team Taz. Pick: Swerve Strickland & Keith Lee

Stella Cheeks: Swerve & Lee are not on the same page right now. We’re headed for a feud between the two so I think this one is an easy win for their opponents. Pick: El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru

Marcus Benjamin: Lee & Swerve continue their spiral and eventual explosion. Pick: El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru:

Kyle Decker: The issues between Lee & Swerve could cost them, but I think they’re still going to be good enough even off the same page to beat the New Japan team, even though said team has held junior tag gold. (Lee is no junior.) Pick: Keith Lee & Swerve Strickland

Gunn Club (Billy, Colten, & Austin Gunn) & Max Caster vs. a NJPW Dojo team of The DKC, Kevin Knight, Alex Coughlin & Yuya Uemura

Sean Rueter: CINCINNATI! THE ASS-CLAIMED HAVE ARRIVED! Pick: Ass Boys & Platinum Max

Claire Elizabeth: I just recently learned that Alex Coughlin is a cyborg, so that’s neat. It’s kind of a shame that like, Yuji Nagata or Satoshi Kojima aren’t on the NJPW team to give them a dad to match Billy over on Team Ass but whatcha gonna do. Pick: Team Ass

Cain A. Knight: Scissor me, Daddy Ass! Pick: Team Ass

Manolo H. Pizzazz: The NJPW team will be so mesmerized by scissoring that they will lie down to take the pin then join the party. Pick: Gunn Club & Max Caster

Stella Cheeks: Inexplicably the Ass Boys and The Acclaimed are crowd favorites. No way they are losing to a group of Dojo kids. Pick: Team Ass-Claimed

Marcus Benjamin: I still can’t get over the fact the Ass Boys and The Acclaimed got over. As faces. Feel like most of the props go to Max Caster for that. Team Ass keeps chugging along like their doo doo don’t stink. Pick: Team Ass

Kyle Decker: I’m no longer googling people I don’t know. I’m just picking the folks I do. Pick: The Ass-Claimed

QT Marshall & Aaron Solo vs. Hirooki Goto & Yoshi-Hashi

Sean Rueter: Alls I know is... HOOKhausen better get sent before this one is over Pick: Hirooki Goto & Yoshi-Hashi

Cain A. Knight: QT Marshall is in this match. Pick: Hirooki Goto & Yoshi-Hashi

Manolo H. Pizzazz: Who made this match? Pick: Hirooki Goto & Yoshi-Hashi

Kyle Decker: QT exists to lose. Pick: Hirooki Goto & Yoshi-Hashi

That's who we've got. Who are you taking, Cagesiders?

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