AEW x NJPW: Forbidden Door 2023 preview: This is why Bryan Danielson left WWE to join AEW

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All Elite Wrestling and NJPW return to pay-per-view tonight (Sun., June 25) with Forbidden Door 2023. The show comes our way from Scotiabank Arena in Toronto at 8 pm ET.

A Zero Hour pre-show will stream live and free starting at 7 pm ET on All Elite’s YouTube channel, Bleacher Report, and right here at Cageside Seats.

In the U.S., the main card is available on Bleacher Report. Internationally, depending on where you are, you can buy the show from Fite or

This is why Bryan Danielson left WWE to join AEW

The main event of Forbidden Door is a dream match pitting AEW star Bryan Danielson against NJPW star Kazuchika Okada. They are two of the greatest wrestlers in the world, and now they finally get to fight each other.

This match would have never been possible if Danielson didn’t leave WWE to join AEW in 2021. Vince McMahon almost never allows one of his wrestlers to take an inter-promotional match like this, so the only way for Bryan to make it happen was to leave WWE.

You don’t have to take my word for it. Danielson spells it our pretty clearly in this quote from a recent interview with Sports Illustrated:

“I wanted this match for so long without ever thinking it was a possibility. I started watching him while I was in WWE, but there was no place to go work where that match would ever be possible. Then AEW started. That’s why this is so special to me. I wanted it for so long, and it’s now actually going to happen.”

Danielson and Okada are going to deliver a hell of a match, because they are better at doing this than just about anyone else on the planet.

The most pressing question regarding this match is, how will the finish be booked? Will it be a clean win for one of these men? Will a third party take matters into their own hands and ruin the match with blatant interference? Could it be another draw?

Give us your best guess in the comments below on how the finish of Danielson vs. Okada will be booked, Cagesiders.

The rest of the main card

These nine matches are also currently advertised for the main card of Forbidden Door:

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

Omega defeated Ospreay for this belt in January at NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 17 in what many fans say is the match of the year. It’s not a lock that Ospreay will get his win back here, especially if the idea to go for the trilogy at Wembley Stadium in August. Ospreay just laid out Omega with the Hidden Blade on Dynamite, so I reckon Kenny will pay him back at Forbidden Door.

SANADA (c) vs. Jungle Boy for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship

Jungle is determined to win singles gold in 2023, so he answered SANADA’s open challenge for this title fight. Boy asked HOOK to be ringside for this match, so if things go awry, Jungle can throw the blame at his closest ally.

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

MJF wants nothing to do with wrestling on an NJPW card, but he was duped into accepting this fight by Adam Cole. Meanwhile, Tanahashi did the job in an AEW world title match at last year’s Forbidden Door, and that’s probably happening again tonight.

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

Nightingale has been undefeated since she won the NJPW Strong Women’s Championship last month in a match against Mercedes Mone. However, The Outcasts’ numbers game is working against Willow here, even if Skye Blue shows up to watch her back.

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

Nobody has found a way to beat Cassidy for this title ever since he won it last October. Orange has already defended the gold in singles matches against Shibata and Garcia. So if any of these men are going to upset the champ, it will probably be ZSJ. But let’s face it, his technical prowess is really no match for Orange’s devastating kicks.

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

So, how exactly do you follow up on The Elite vs. BCC in Anarchy in the Arena on the next PPV? The answer is to remove Kenny Omega and Bryan Danielson from the match, and replace them with Eddie Kingston, Tomohiro Ishii, Shota Umino, and Konosuke Takeshita.

Kingston doesn’t like The Elite or Ishii, but he’s willing to team up with them if that’s the best way to take out his most hated enemy, Claudio Castagnoli. I don’t think Eddie’s plan is going to work out too well, especially now that Takeshita is aligned with Don Callis. Who will land the first blow when best friends Kingston and Jon Moxley inevitably face off?

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

It was just a couple weeks ago when Chris Jericho said he’ll never wrestle Sting, so of course now they are wrestling against each other on pay-per-view. Sting and Jericho both wield bats as weapons, and I bet they will each find a way to use those weapons in this match. There’s escalating tension right now between Jericho and Guevara, and that may very well be their team’s downfall.

CM Punk vs. Satoshi Kojima in the Owen Hart Foundation tournament

CM Punk is a Bret Hart superfan, and he may very well win this year’s Owen Hart tournament. He’ll kick off the men’s bracket as a heavy favorite in this match against a wrestler who is most certainly not KENTA.

Adam Cole vs. Tom Lawlor

Adam Cole and MJF are being forced to team up in AEW’s Blind Eliminator tournament. Before that gets underway, though, MJF booked Cole in this singles match against former UFC fighter “Filthy” Tom Lawlor. If Adam plans to remain in the mix for MJF’s AEW world title, he better not lose this match.

Zero Hour pre-show

For those of you who crave even more AEW x NJPW action, you can check out the following four matches on the pre-show:

Athena vs. Billie Starkz in the Owen Hart Foundation tournament

Stu Grayson vs. El Phantasmo

Best Friends & El Desprado vs. Mogul Embassy

Shingo Takagi, Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI vs. United Empire (Jeff Cobb, Kyle Fletcher, TJP)


You know a PPV card is loaded when Shingo Takagi is stuck on the pre-show. Last year’s Forbidden Door was regarded as one of the very best wrestling shows of 2022, and this one should follow suit. How can it not be a great show when the top two matches are Danielson vs. Okada and Omega vs. Ospreay?

What will you be looking for at Forbidden Door?

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