The latest major event on the pro-wrestling calendar is here, and will see two of the world’s top wrestling companies engage in an interpromotional spectacular.
AEW is arguably North America’s hottest wrestling commodity right now, and New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) presents the cream of the crop on the other side of the Pacific Ocean.
The two powerhouses are teaming up for ‘Forbidden Door’, which will pit America’s top stars against their Japanese equivalent.
But how can you watch it in the UK, and what’s on the card?
Here is everything you need to know.
What’s on the card?
By opening the ‘Forbidden Door’ (the name given to a metaphorical, political block between wrestling companies that rarely allows the contracted performers of one promotion to appear on the programming of another), NJPW and AEW have opened up the possibility of some matchups fans thought they might never see.
While the finalised card isn’t perhaps the dream-match heavy blowout many expected to see when the event was first announced, there are still plenty of intriguing combinations of wrestlers, and the evening is certain to feature some top quality wrestling.
Here’s everything that’s taking place:
Zack Sabre Jr. vs. ???
For a long time, it was expected that New Japan’s (own England’s own) Zack Sabre Jr. would take on AEW’s Bryan Danielson, a dream matchup that was sure to showcase each competitor’s technical, submission heavy styles.
Unfortunately, Danielson revealed this week that he’s not medically cleared to participate, and so will be fielding a mystery opponent in his stead.
Who that could be remains to be seen; fan speculation suggests former WWE names like Johnny Gargano or Cesaro could step up, but only time will tell.
AEW Women’s World Title - Thunder Rosa (c) vs. Toni Storm
The AEW Women’s title will be defended between Mexican champion Thunder Rose and relative AEW newcomer Toni Storm.
This match stands out a little for not having any NJPW involvement: New Japan does not have a women’s division, although its parent company does own sister promotion Stardom, an all-female company.
IWGP United States Heavyweight Title - Will Ospreay (c) vs. Orange Cassidy
Essex boy Will Ospreay is currently one of the most impressive wrestlers in the world, with a high-flying style that is sure to leave many mouths agape.
AEW’s Orange Cassidy may seem a strange choice for him to go up against, but though Cassidy is more of a comedy character with a slacker gimmick, he can deliver impressive, technically sound matches when the time calls for it.
Expect that to happen here.
Darby Allin, Hiromu Takahashi, Shingo Takagi & Sting vs. BULLET CLUB
In true NJPW fashion, in an effort to get as many names on to the card as possible, this mostly throwaway eight-man tag will likely produce some memorable moments, but carries no real storyline stakes.
Eddie Kingston, Shota Umino & Wheeler Yuta vs. The Jericho Appreciation Society
Similarly, while Eddie Kingston and the Jericho Appreciation Society have their issues in AEW’s current narrative, that all looks set to be wrapped up with the ‘Blood and Guts’ match scheduled for Wednesday (29 June).
This match may be fun, but seems to have been hastily thrown together.
ROH World Tag Team Title/IWGP Tag Team Title - FTR (c) vs. United Empire (c) vs. Roppongi Vice
This triple threat tag has a little more meaning to it, with two promotions’ tag belts on the line in the form of the ROH World Tag Team Titles and IWGP Tag Team Title.
Hard to call which way this one may go, but it’d be great to see FTR adding to their impressive collection of titles with yet another championship win here.
AEW All-Atlantic Title - Malakai Black vs. PAC vs. Miro vs. Clark Connors
AEW already has enough championship belts for viewers to try to keep track of, and the introduction of this geographically confused belt (allowing competitors from Japan etc to compete for the ‘All-ATLANTIC’ title) only muddies the waters further.
That said, this could be a fun little four-way match. Though Clark Connors is young with a lot to learn, putting the title on him could allow an AEW belt to have a regular presence on NJPW, and seems the smartest move from a business perspective.
IWGP World Heavyweight Title - Jay White (c) vs. Kazuchika Okada vs. Adam Cole vs. Adam Page
NJPW’s top prize is put on the line between two of NJPW’s top talents, and two of AEW’s.
Okada is one of the all-time greats, and recently crowned champ Jay White will be looking to keep a hold of his belt as he carves out a name for himself as the ‘Wrestling Catalyst’.
For AEW, the Adams step up to represent. But remember there are no alliances in this match. It’s anyone’s game, though if White were to be dethroned so soon after winning the IWGP title, that would be a surprise.
Interim AEW World Title - Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Jon Moxley
CM Punk’s fairytale return to pro-wrestling was capped off with an AEW World title win just a few weeks ago, which cemented him back at the top of a wrestling company, where many believe he always belongs.
Unfortunately, Punk sustained an injury, and has been unable to compete ever since. In his place, AEW has established an Interim title, over which NJPW’s Hiroshi Tanahashi and AEW’s Jon Moxley will battle.
The winner of this match is expected to go on to face Punk for the ‘proper’ title when he is healthy enough to compete again.
We’re expecting Moxley to walk away with this one: he has previous experience as AEW champ, and having a home talent hold the title leverages the travel headaches that would come with having to book a Japan-based wrestler on a weekly basis.
When is it on in the UK?
The event is taking place live from the United Center in Chicago on the evening of Sunday 26 June.
Due to the time difference between the US and the UK, those who wish to watch Forbidden Door live will have to prepare to put in a late shift, staying up until the early hours of Monday morning to catch it all.
AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door 2022 begins with the ‘Buy-In’ preview show, which will kick-off at 12am BST and will be free to stream on YouTube.
The main show will start an hour later at 1pm, and is available through Fite TV.
Forbidden Door is expected to last around four hours in total, so you may be going to bed at 5am if you want to enjoy the whole thing.
How can I watch it?
To pre-order the pay-per-view, head to Fite TV.
Of course, if a 5am bed time doesn’t sound enticing, you can always catch up on the event the next day - also through Fite.