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AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door 2023 results: MJF uses familiar tactics to beat Tanahashi

Bleacher Report

The PPV portion of Forbidden Door, AEW and New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s second-ever joint show, got started on June 25 with Maxwell Jacob Friedman defending his World title against the Ace of the Universe.

MJF only agreed to the match against Hiroshi Tanahashi last Wednesday, goaded into it by his reluctant tag partner Adam Cole. Friedman acted as if Tanahashi and the “indie fed” he represents are beneath him. He even had it embroidered on the back of his robe.

When the early going wasn’t as easy for Max as he thought it would be...

...the AEW champ went to walk out of on the match and take a countout loss. But Tanahashi got the Toronto crowd to chant “co-ward” (the same thing Cole did last week) to get MJF to continue with the match.

This was a slower paced affair. At 46 years old and decades of Strong Style matches under his belt, that’s par for the course with Tanahashi these days. But he still has an amazing connection with the audience — something he has in common with the 27 year old Friedman. Both men had plenty of chances to play to the Scotiabank Arena crowd.

MJF did it by disrespecting the One, True Ace, calling him a joke and even spitting on him. Tanahashi did it by firing up from that, getting fans who were cheering both men early on to chant “Go Ace” in unison. That comeback saw Tanahashi hit Slingblade, but when he went for High Fly Flow the AEW champ got his knees up. Problem is, Max had been selling a knee injury for most of the match, so both men were down after the spot.

Familiar MJF tactics followed. He retrieved his belt, and when referee Bryce Remsburg took it from him he missed Tanahashi covering Friedman for more than a three count. While the New Japan legend argued that, Max used his Dynamite Diamond Ring to clock Tanahashi, and pick up the win.

Get complete Forbidden Door results and coverage of the entire show here.

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