clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

AEW x NJPW: Forbidden Door 2023 predictions

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

AEW’s Instagram

For the second year in a row, All Elite Wrestling and New Japan Pro-Wrestling are teaming up to bring us Forbidden Door. This year’s cross-promotional supershow comes to us from Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena on Sunday night (June 25, 2023).

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

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.


Kenny Omega (c) vs. Will Ospreay for IWGP United States championship

Sean Rueter: While I don’t think the military grade personal security Don Callis lent him will get involved, I do think this furthers the story of Callis’ family while setting us up for one more round. Pick: Will Ospreay

Claire Elizabeth: Kenny’s only had the one title defense, and while New Japan titles have been known to ping-pong back and forth here, and beyond just that, Omega has got to prove to the world that he can still get it done without Don Callis. And I think he’ll do it with a vengeance here. Pick: Kenny Omega

Cain A. Knight: I think the idea is to do a trilogy, with Ospreay winning the gold in Wembley Stadium. That means Kenny beats him again here. Pick: Kenny Omega

Manolo H. Pizzazz: Don Callis will have his revenge. Having an invisible hand in Omega’s defeat will be the next step in the greater plan. Pick: Will Ospreay

Marcus Benjamin: I’m going to ride with the people much smarter than me and who pay more attention to NJPW. If they say Kenny en route to a bigger match in London, then I’m going Kenny. Pick: Kenny Omega

Kyle Decker: Not knowing the New Japan aspect of this feud leaves me a bit at a loss in a guess with a match like these. Normally I’ll pick for no change so I’ll go with that. Pick: Kenny Omega

Kazuchika Okada vs. Bryan Danielson

Sean Rueter: There are no losers here, especially among us in the audience. But I’m going with the guy who’ll likely be back in his company’s main event scene by the end of the year. Pick: Kazuchika Okada

Claire Elizabeth: The American Dragon is the best wrestler in the world, period, end of sentence. I don’t think he’ll humiliate the Rainmaker like he’s been saying he will— it’ll be a long, hard fight that will probably scrape the time limit (and believe me I’m tempted to pick a draw here), and Danielson will walk away with newfound respect for Okada... and with the win. Pick: Bryan Danielson

Cain A. Knight: Danielson has enough enemies on the AEW roster that one of them will ensure he loses this dream match. Pick: Kazuchika Okada

Manolo H. Pizzazz: Danielson doesn’t have many weaknesses in his game, but one is taking shots to the head. Okada’s Rainmaker lariat is a perfect finisher for this opponent. Pick: Kazuchika Okada

Marcus Benjamin: Bryan has to win this one if only for it being the main reason he’s in AEW. Everything for him built to this moment and I’m happy it’s happening. These two will tear down the house. My only hope is that the pressure and hype don’t get to them. Pick: Bryan Danielson

Kyle Decker: I think that Danielson in general is less protected than Okada (again, recently blindspot of NJPW not withstanding) so I think Okada is more likely to take this one. Pick: Kazuchika Okada

MJF (c) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi for the AEW World title

Sean Rueter: A brief Tanahashi run with AEW’s top prize would actually be pretty slick, IMHO. But the Forever Ace is all about putting over the next generation at this point in his career, and I bet changes his tune real quick about the Japanese indie fed after he’s got a win over one of the biggest stars in its history. Pick: MJF

Claire Elizabeth: See this is the one where I think shenanigans will be thick and heavy, between MJF’s own “do literally anything to win” attitude and Adam Cole’s presence looming, and I’m gonna go a step further and say that somehow the result will be a disqualification victory for the 1/100 Ace. Pick: Hiroshi Tanahashi

Cain A. Knight: There’s no doubt about the winner, but there is a potential style clash here that should be interesting to see play out. Pick: MJF

Manolo H. Pizzazz: MJF has all the physical advantages over the aging legend. Pick: MJF

Marcus Benjamin: MJF retains the championship, no doubt. He’s not getting a clean victory by any means, but he does retain. There’s also a world where Adam Cole intervenes on Hiroshi’s behalf but MJF still keeps the championship. In fact, I’m going that route. Pick: Hiroshi Tanahashi

Kyle Decker: The champ wins a match like this. Pick: MJF

SANADA (c) vs. Jungle Boy Jack Perry for the IWGP World Heavyweight championship

Sean Rueter: MJF is getting the more impressive addition to his resume, but neither company’s top champion is losing tonight. Pick: SANADA

Claire Elizabeth: Ah, two men that I know I like in theory but are kinda boring in practice. Really all I care about here is that Jungle Boy and HOOK kiss, somehow. Pick: SANADA

Cain A. Knight: Boy’s loss here will help move along his upcoming heel turn, especially because he can blame HOOK for whatever goes wrong. Pick: SANADA

Manolo H. Pizzazz: Jungle Boy is losing grip on his emotions in the ring, and that’s when mistakes happen. Pick: Sanada

Marcus Benjamin: If the plan is for Jungle man to turn heel, he takes the L here on the road to evil intent. Pick: SANADA

Kyle Decker: Again, I’m not picking against title holders and this one feels much safer than the Ospreay/Kenny one given Jungle Boy isn’t part of New Japan in the way Kenny is. Pick: SANADA

CM Punk vs. Satoshi Kojima

Sean Rueter: This pick is so easy it doesn’t even distract me from eating bread. Pick: CM Punk

Claire Elizabeth: This is gonna be good solid wrestling fun and I’m glad to see it, but yeah... it’s clobberin’ time, baby. Pick: CM Punk

Cain A. Knight: Let’s see, do I go with CM Punk? Or do I go with Not KENTA? The answer seems obvious. Pick: CM Punk

Manolo H. Pizzazz: The important part is this match shouldn’t give Punk any reason to complain after the show and instigate Brawl Out 2. Pick: CM Punk

Marcus Benjamin: Seriously? Pick: CM Punk

Kyle Decker: C’mon now. Pick: CM Punk

Blackpool Combat Club, Konosuke Takeshita & Shota Umino vs. The Elite, Eddie Kingston & Tomohiro Ishii

Sean Rueter: This probably won’t happen. It probably shouldn’t happen. But I want my man Big Tom Ishii to get a PPV win. Pick: The Elite, Eddie Kingston & Tomohiro Ishii

Claire Elizabeth: Umino is 100% on this team to take a pin. Sorry, Shooter, if your wrestle dad really loved you he’d adopt you all the way into the BCC. Pick: Eddie Kingston, Hung Bucks, & Tomohiro Ishii

Cain A. Knight: Eddie Kingston doesn’t work well in this team, so his presence will surely backfire on The Elite. Pick: Blackpool Combat Club, Takeshita & Umino

Manolo H. Pizzazz: It is BCC’s turn to win as this feud continues on. Pick: Blackpool Combat Club

Marcus Benjamin: I think this is more about Eddie and Mox than anything else. Eddie can’t stand Claudio but he also has issues with the Elite. That plays into the results somehow but I’m not sure for which side. Pick: Blackpool Combat Club, Takeshita & Amino

Kyle Decker: It feels like the BCC is going to continue winning until they get the grouping that is going to eventually enter a Blood & Guts match. That team more likely has Kota Ibushi and not Eddie Kingston. Pick: Blackpool Combat Club & friends

Toni Storm (c) vs. Willow Nightingale for the AEW Women’s World title

Sean Rueter: I’m still processing the last AEW Women’s title change. It’s not time for another one yet. Pick: Toni Storm

Claire Elizabeth: The Outcasts are in disarray, Saraya is off god knows where, but still, I can’t see the title chance here. Willow will fight hard and she’ll fight well and she’ll open even more eyes to how talented she is, and then Toni will walk off with the belt. Pick: Toni Storm

Cain A. Knight: Willow already has a championship belt. Pick: Toni Storm

Manolo H. Pizzazz: The Outcasts are better at cheating than Willow and pals are at stopping it. Pick: Toni Storm

Marcus Benjamin: One day, Willow gets this belt. That’s not today. Pick: Toni Storm

Kyle Decker: A match to get the women’s title on the card. They will likely use this to elevate Willow, but that elevation will be in a loss. Pick: Toni Storm

Orange Cassidy (c) vs. Katsuyori Shibata vs. Daniel Garcia vs. Zack Sabre, Jr. for the AEW International championship

Sean Rueter: Speaking of things I’m still processing... it’s a Shibata match! This would be a show stealer on a lot of cards, but [peers at the top two matches on the card]. Anyway, yeah, the epic OC reign ain’t ending just yet. Pick: Orange Cassidy

Claire Elizabeth: I’m really sour that this is a four-way and not two singles the way it seemed like it was going. I am also sour that ZSJ looks like he’s starring in a made-for-TV remake of The Man Who Fell to Earth with his hair bleached blonde. I am not sour about Orange Cassidy’s title reign continuing through four-way shenanigans. Pick: Orange Cassidy

Cain A. Knight: When Cassidy eventually loses the belt, it will be in a singles match. Pick: Orange Cassidy

Manolo H. Pizzazz: Cassidy will find a way to win, as he had done throughout this title reign. Pick: Orange Cassidy

Marcus Benjamin: They’re slowly building to Cassidy losing the belt. He’s defending at a rapid pace and it’s wearing on him. But like Cain said, that comes in a singles match with the proper build and story. Pick: Orange Cassidy

Kyle Decker: Orange Cassidy is never going to lose this title. Pick: Orange Cassidy

Sting, Darby Allin & Tetsuya Naito vs. Chris Jericho, Sammy Guevara & Minoru Suzuki

Sean Rueter: Even if the face paint guys had picked Gillburg, I’d still pick ‘em. We should get a big beat in the Guevara face turn story here. Pick: Sting, Darby Allin & Tetsuya Naito

Claire Elizabeth: The tension between Chris and Sammy is what to look out for here, and I think it’ll come to a boil and cost them the match while Sting jumps off something a man his age really shouldn’t jump off of. Pick: Darby Allin, Sting, & Tetsuya Naito

Cain A. Knight: I don’t think Sting has ever lost a match in AEW. Pick: Sting, Darby Allin & Tetsuya Naito

Manolo H. Pizzazz: Sammy doesn’t seem to be on the same page as Le Sex Grandpas. Must be a generational thing. Pick: It’s Sting!

Marcus Benjamin: Another brick in the foundation for Sammy vs. Jericho. Pick: Stick, Darby Allin & Tetsuya Naito

Kyle Decker: Sting remains undefeated in AEW and this isn’t where that’s going to change. Pick: Sting, Darby Allin & Tetsuya Naito

Adam Cole vs. Filthy Tom Lawlor

Sean Rueter: Filthy Tom, BAY BAY! I dig him and this is a cool gig for him to get, but he’s still here to do the job. Pick: Adam Cole

Claire Elizabeth: Filthy Tom! I haven’t seen him work in ages! He’s not gonna win, but I’m happy to see him! Pick: Adam Cole

Cain A. Knight: Adam Cole can’t lose this match if the idea is to stay in the AEW world title mix. Pick: Adam Cole

Manolo H. Pizzazz: Lawlor is so filthy that MJF’s blind partner will be forced to enhance his senses to earn victory. Pick: Adam Cole

Marcus Benjamin: Adam Cole maintains his momentum to an eventual clash with MJF. Pick: Adam Cole

Kyle Decker: This could be really fun. Pick: Adam Cole

Athena vs. Billie Starkz

Sean Rueter: No catchphrase remixes, but everything else I said about the previous pick applies here too. Pick: Athena

Claire Elizabeth: Nice nod to give Billie a featured spot, but she ain’t ROH Women’s World Champion level quite yet. Pick: Athena

Cain A. Knight: The champ isn’t losing on a pre-show. Pick: Athena

Manolo H. Pizzazz: Starkz is now a high school graduate, which means she’ll be available more often for AEW. And so begins her underdog rise in the tournament. Pick: Billie Starkz

Marcus Benjamin: Another seriously pick. Pick: Athena

Kyle Decker: I don’t know enough about AEW ROH to know if Billie has any upset chance. Pick: Athena

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

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Cageside Seats Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your pro wrestling news from Cageside Seats