The forbidden door is no longer just a cool catchphrase.
Tony Khan announced last night on Dynamit that AEW and NJPW will hold a joint pay-per-view aptly titled Forbidden Door. The show is set for Sunday, June 26, at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.
AEW president Tony Khan and NJPW president Takami Ohbari appeared on stage to make the announcement but were interrupted by AEW’s Adam Cole and NJPW’s Jay White who filled in the blanks regarding the event’s details.
Khan noted to Sports Illustrated the show will feature matches with AEW squaring off with New Japan talent. Tickets for the event go on sale Friday, May 6 at 11:00 AM EST.
Several New Japan wrestlers have appeared in AEW as the once strained relationship between the two promotions improved. While several AEW wrestlers are contractually allowed to work for NJPW, Japan’s strict entry requirements made it nearly impossible.
Forbidden Door feels like what G1 Supercard was supposed to be in many ways. 2019’s Madison Square Garden collaboration between New Japan and Ring of Honor sold out in record time mainly due to the expectation of The Bullet Club wrestling on the show.
AEW wasn’t a thing in August 2018 when tickets went on sale. January 2019 was a different story when the AEW’s formation was announced. Promotional tempers flared as wrestlers from NJPW and ROH, including Bullet Club, signed with the upstart AEW in free agency.
Despite Tony Khan allowing members of his newly assembled roster to work the show, the two spurned promotions would have none of it. Meanwhile, some fans claimed false advertising, but the talent in question was never advertised.
G1 Supercard went on, and while it was more than an appreciable event for wrestlers and fans in the Garden that night, it rang hollow for a large portion of the wrestling community who wished for what was expected, for what could have been.
Three years and one pandemic later, fences were mended, AEW is thriving, and Tony Khan now owns one-half of the previous equation in Ring of Honor.
While many New Japan stars have made the trek to the All Elite shores of America, the big four have yet to appear. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tetsuya Naito, Kota Ibushi, and Kazuchika Okada are the elusive lion-marked unicorns, and all signs point to their arrival in the United Center come June 26.
Hopefully, the event isn’t a themed promotional war where invasion and conflict occur in a fight for brand supremacy. There is no money in trying to convince viewers that one company is better than the other, regardless of where any allegiance or fandom may reside.
Showcasing the best of what AEW and NJPW have to offer by letting the wrestlers do their thing is the best-case scenario for everyone. People paying to see a potential Kazuchika Okada vs. Bryan Danielson dream match could care less about promotional pride that is unworthy of the forbidden door