By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW-NJPW Forbidden Door
Aired live June 26, 2022 live on pay-per-view and B/R Live
Chicago, Illinois at United Center
AEW-NJPW Forbidden Door Pre-Show results: Hirooki Goto and Yoshi-Hashi defeated QT Marshall and Aaron Solo in 8:55, Lance Archer beat Nick Comoroto in 6:10, Swerve Strickland and Keith Lee beat Yoshinobu Kanemaru and El Desperado in 12:05, and Max Caster, Austin Gunn, Colten Gunn, and Billy Gunn defeated The DKC, Kevin Knight, Alex Coughlin, and Yuya Uemura in 5:35.
Pyro shot off on the stage and then the broadcast team of Excalibur, Kevin Kelly, and Taz checked in. Ring entrances for the opening match took place. Justin Roberts served as the English ring announcer, while Takuro Shibata was the Japanese ring announcer…
1. Minoru Suzuki, Chris Jericho, and Sammy Guevara (w/Tay Conti) vs. Wheeler Yuta, Shota Umino, and Eddie Kingston. Jericho, Guevara, and Conti came out to Judas, while Suzuki received his own entrance. Footage aired of Jericho slapping Umino and putting him in the Walls of Jericho from a few years back. Kelly said Umino never forgot what Jericho did to him.
Jericho was cocky and pie-faced Yuta when they started. Yuta performed six German suplexes on Jericho, which got a big pop from the crowd. Yuta put Jericho in a crossface, but it was quickly broken up by Guevara. A brawl broke out with all six wrestlers and things eventually settled down with two men in the ring and the other four on the apron.
Jericho and Kingston ended up in the ring together, but Jericho tagged in Suzuki to avoid facing Kingston. Suzuki and Kingston traded chops, which had a lot of the fans opposite the hard camera standing on their feet. Kingston moved Suzuki back with some chops and then threw more rapid fire chops, which Suzuki no-sold before dropping Kingston with a rolling elbow.
Jericho tagged in once Kingston was down and worked him over in his team’s corner. Kingston came back and fired chops at Jericho. Kingston walked over and knocked Guevara off the apron with a chop. Suzuki put Kingston in a triangle hold over the ropes until the referee forced him to break it. Suzuki tagged back in and threw a kick at Kingston and then covered him for a two count.
Later, Umino had his time to shine, as he got the better of Guevara and fought off Suzuki’s attempts to interfere. Umino had Guevara pinned, but Jericho broke it up. Umino took out Jercho with a dive from the apron. Guevara ran up the ropes and performed a shooting star press onto Umino on the floor. Yuta followed up with a big dive onto Guevara. Kingston did a suicide dive.
Suzuki teased a dive and stopped in the middle of the ring. Umino went after Suzuki, who dropped him with a strike. Yuta tagged in and performed a crossbody block on Guevera. Yuta rolled Guevara into a pin for a two count. Guevara rallied with a standing Spanish Fly. Kingston, who made a blind tag, ran in and suplexed Guevera.
Suzuki went after Kingston, who dropped him with a spinning back fist. There was another series of rapid fire spots that resulted in Yuta top rope splashing Guevara, and then all six men stayed down. The crowd popped big and chanted AEW. A “this is awesome” chant broke out.
Umino tagged in and was greeted with a knee to the face from Guevara, who tagged in Jericho. Umino stuffed a Walls of Jericho attempt, but ended up taking a Codebreaker. Jericho made the cover for a near fall. Another brawl broke out with the others at ringside. Umino picked up a near fall on Jericho after Kingston interrupted his Lionsault attempt.
Umino ran the ropes. Guevara hit him with a baseball bat from the floor. The crowd booed. Umino fought it off and ended up hitting a series of moves on Jericho that he capped off with a brainbuster for a near fall. Umino put Jericho in the Walls of Jericho for a big pop. Guevera broke it up with a kick.
Suzuki entered the ring and headbutted Umino. Kingston returned and was put in a sleeper and then hit with a Gotch style piledriver by Suzuki. Guevara and Suzuki put the boots to Umino before picking him up. Umino fired up and knocked down both men with punches, but Jericho dropped him with the Judas Effect elbow and pinned him…
Minoru Suzuki, Chris Jericho, and Sammy Guevara defeated Wheeler Yuta, Shota Umino, and Eddie Kingston in 19:00 to give Jericho Appreciation Society the man advantage in the Blood & Guts match on AEW Dynamite.
Powell’s POV: A fun match that blew away anything on the forgettable pre-show. The added stipulation of the winning team getting the man advantage in Blood & Guts made this feel even more predictable since heels typically have the advantage in WarGames style matches. Even so, the crowd was hot for this and everyone worked hard. I liked the story they told with Umino going for revenge on Jericho.
A video package spotlighted the three-way for the ROH and IWGP Heavyweight Tag Titles…
2. ROH Tag Team Champions “FTR” Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler vs. IWGP Heavyweight Tag Champions Jeff Cobb and Great O Khan vs. Rocky Romero and Trent Beretta in a three-way for both tag titles. Caprice Coleman sat in on commentary. There was a loud FTR chant once the bell rang. Two men were allowed in the ring at once.
Harwood tagged in for the first time and dropped an elbow on Romero. Harwood held his left arm at his side before tagging out and rolling to the floor where he was examined by the trainer. Harwood was eventually taken to the back, leaving Wheeler to fly solo. Wheeler was worked over by Cobb and Khan, and had a cut inside his mouth. Wheeler eventually tagged in Beretta since his own partner was backstage.
Beretta picked up a near fall on Khan. Beretta set up for a piledriver, but Khan backdropped him. Wheeler tagged himself into the match again and was double teamed by Khan and Cobb. The crowd cheered and then the camera cut to Harwood returning with his shoulder wrapped. Harwood tagged in and worked over Cobb and Khan. Harwood performed three German suplexes on Cobb, who stuffed a fourth by backing Harwood in a corner.
Harwood set up for a superplex. Beretta joined him on the ropes. Wheeler tagged himself in. Harwood and Beretta double superplexed Cobb and then Wheeler hit him with a top rope splash for a nice near fall. Romero and Wheeler teamed up for a spike piledriver on Cobb. Romero took out Wheeler, and then he and Romero hit double knees on Cobb, who came back and ended up hitting a standing moonsault on Romero. Khan slammed Beretta to the mat, then picked him up and tossed him into a suplex from Cobb for a near fall. A “this is awesome” chant broke out.
Romero performed a suicide dive onto Harwood and Khan on the floor. Beretta and Romero performed a double team move that essentially spiked Cobb with a Deadeye, but Wheeler was able to break up the pin. Moments later, FTR hit Romero with the Big Rig and then Harwood covered him for the three count while Wheeler stood guard.
“FTR” Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler defeated IWGP Heavyweight Tag Champions Jeff Cobb & Great O Khan and Rocky Romero & Trent Beretta to win the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Titles in 16:25 in a three-way.
Powell’s POV: Assuming the Harwood injury spot was a work, it didn’t really seem to serve much of a purpose. Cash Wheeler just didn’t feel sympathetic enough before Harwood returned to the match. The match was entertaining, but it felt fairly predictable both in terms of which team went over and which team took the pin, so perhaps that’s why they added the injury spot? Either way, the crowd loved FTR and were hot for them going over. The match was well worked and entertaining, though I doubt it will stand out as memorable by the time the night is over.
Backstage, Tony Schiavone interviewed Juice Robinson and Jay White. Robinson had the IWGP U.S. Championship and White noted that Robinson never lost the title. White also spoke about winning the four-way.
3. Pac vs. Miro vs. Malakai Black vs. Clark Connors a four-way to become the first AEW All Atlantic Champion. Black was clotheslined over the top rope during the opening seconds. Black and Pac fought on the floor while Miro squared off with Connors inside the ring. Connors was able to send Miro to the floor. Connors went for a dive, but Miro caught him and slammed him on the floor.
Black returned to the ring and kicked Miro when he tried to return. Black and Pac fought inside the ring with Back getting the better of the brief exchange before Miro returned briefly. Connors returned and was rolled into a leg lock by Black. Miro grabbed the back of Connors head and pulled him out of the ring to break it. Miro put Pac down with a fallaway slam. Connors returned and hit Miro with forearm shots that Miro no-sold. Connors dove at Miro, who put him down with a uranage slam.
Later, Connors speared Miro through a table at ringside. In the ring, Connors power slammed Black. Pac returned and threw strikes at Connors, who ended up spearing him and slamming him. Connors covered Pac, but Black broke up the pin. The wrestlers set up a tower of doom spot with Miro on bottom and Pac taking the top spot. Miro tossed Connors and Black from the ring, then delivered a kick to the head of Pac.
Miro stomped the back of Pac and put him in his Game Over finisher. Black returned and sprayed mist in the face of Miro. Connors followed and was rolled into a submission hold by Black. Pac went up top and hit a 450 splash on Black. Pac put Connors in the Brutalizer and got the submission win. The crowd chanted “You deserve it” afterward…
Pac defeated Clark Connors, Miro, and Malakai Black in a four-way in 15:05 to become the first AEW All Atlantic Champion.
Powell’s POV: A hot four-way match with a bit of a surprise outcome, as it seemed like most of us had Miro pegged as the first champion. I’m not a fan of AEW adding another title, but if nothing else this should lead to Pac having more singles matches, which is a plus. Meanwhile, Connors was in the match due to Tomohiro Ishii’s injury and was therefore the most likely person to take the loss, but he made a good showing for himself before doing so.
Entrances for the next six-man tag match took place. Sting didn’t come out with his team. The heels entered second and stood on the stage. Sting was shown on the catwalk in a terrible camera shot. Sting then appeared on top of one of the entrance tunnels and dove onto all four heels. Sting’s teammates ran up to the stage and brawled with the heels…
4. “Dudes With Attitudes” Sting, Darby Allin, and Shingo Takagi vs. El Phantasmo and “The Young Bucks” Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson (w/Hikuleo). Tony Schiavone sat in on commentary after being introduced before the wrestlers. The match started once the wrestlers made it to the ring.
Allin ended up being isolated. The heels did a bunch of comedy while working him over. When Allin showed signs of life, Hikuleo pulled Sting off the apron. Allin hit a Code Red and was able to tag out.
Takagi took the tag and put Nick down with a move. Takagi pointed at the camera just in time for the production crew to cut to another camera. Nick came back briefly, but Takagi put him down with a Death Valley Driver. Sting tagged in and roughed up all three opponents. Phantasmo hit String from behind. Sting no-sold it and ended up hitting him and Matt with corner splashed. Nick went for his own at Sting, who moved, causing Nick to splash his brother.
Sting set up for his finisher on Matt, but he and the referee were distracted by Hikuleo climbing onto the apron. Phantasmo hit Sting in the balls. Allin hit a nice Cutter, but the Bucks took him out with a double superkick. The Bucks hit another superkick on Sting, who no-sold it and pounded his chest before double clotheslining the Bucks. Sting fell to the ground to sell.
The Bucks and Phantasmo hit rapid fire moves on Allin and had him pinned, but Takagi broke ti up. The Bucks performed dives onto Allin and Takagi on the floor. Phantasmo walked the ropes and performed a moonsault onto the pile at ringside. Sting ran the ropes, but the heel trio hit him (kinda) with a triple superkick, which drew boos from the fans who wanted to see the dive. The Bucks went for a BTE Trigger, which Sting avoided.
Sting performed a double inverted DDT on both Bucks. Allin took out Hikuleo with a Coffin Drop. Takagi and Phantasmo squared off in the ring. Takagi hit the Pumping Bomb lariat for a near fall. Takagi followed up with Enter The Dragon and then pinned Phantasmo…
“Dudes With Attitudes” Sting, Darby Allin, and Shingo Takagi beat El Phantasmo and “The Young Bucks” Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson in 13:00.
Powell’s POV: Sting nostalgia continues to be over in a big way. He’s working hard to maintain his popularity and while sometimes I worry that he’s doing too much, the crowd always pops big for his big dives. The finish felt a little underwhelming if only because the AEW wrestlers felt like the bigger stars in this match and didn’t factor into the pin.
A video package hyped AEW’s return to Queens, New York at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Wednesday, September 21. They will also tape Rampage. Tickets go on sale on Friday, July 22…
Tony Schiavone was backstage and wanted to speak with Shota Umino, but he was run off by Chris Jericho, Matt Menard, and Angelo Parker. Jericho told Umino that he earned his respect. Menard and Parker echoed what Jericho said. When Umino turned around, Jericho threw a fireball at him…
Powell’s POV: The fireball adds to the story of Jericho and Umino. It may take some time to get back to it, but I assume they will continue this feud on future joint shows or if Jericho does a tour of Japan.
5. Thunder Rosa vs. Toni Storm for the AEW Women’s Championship. There were dueling chants for the champion and the challenger at one point. Storm slapped Rosa a few minutes in. Rosa returned the favor. They followed with forearms. Rosa chopped Storm. Rosa kicked Storm and put her down with a Stunner. Storm ended up in the corner. Rosa charged her and clotheslined her and then hit her with double knees.
Rosa performed running kicks on Storm against the ropes and then suplexed her into a bridge for a two count. Rosa ended up at ringside and stuffed a tornado DDT attempt and suplexed Storm. Rosa was knocked off the apron when she tried to return, but then she caught Storm on the ropes hoisted her onto her shoulders. Storm slipped away and suplexed Rosa on the apron. Storm put Rosa down with a tornado DDT on the floor.
Back inside the ring, Storm played to the crowd before hitting her hip attack in the corner. Storm followed up with an in-ring tornado DDT for a two count. Rosa came back with an inverted piledriver for a two count. Rosa followed with her Fire Thunder Driver finisher and only got a two count. Storm blocked a kick and then suplexed Rosa. Storm wanted to go for her Storm Zero finisher, but she sold a shoulder injury. Rosa hit The Final Reckoning and scored the pin.
Thunder Rosa defeated Toni Storm in 10:40 to retain the AEW Women’s Championship.
Storm sold her shoulder injury afterward while sitting on the mat. Rosa and Storm shook hands…
Powell’s POV: A good match that didn’t live up to my admittedly high expectations. They never convinced me that Rosa was at risk of losing the title through the in-ring storytelling. I get that Rosa is tight with Dustin Rhodes, but her own finisher is much more impressive looking than his, so it was a bit of a flat finish even though Storm had the out of a shoulder injury.
Jim Ross made his entrance to the Oklahoma fight song and joined the broadcast team…
A video package set up the IWGP U.S. Championship match…
6. Will Ospreay (w/Kyle Fletcher, Mark Davis) vs. Orange Cassidy for the IWGP U.S. Championship. Ospreay took control early. Cassidy gave him a thumbs up and a smile, which aggravated Ospreay, who went right back on the offensive. Ospreay put Cassidy in an abdominal stretch. While applying the hold, Ospreay put his hand in Cassidy’s pocket and then pulled his hand out and held up his middle finger. Ross said Ospreay isn’t nearly as good as he’s eventually going to be.
Ospreay set up or his finisher, but Cassidy fell over. Ospreay toyed with him by putting his foot on Cassidy’s neck and then mugging for the crowd. Cassidy showed signs of life. Ospreay threw kicks at him. Cassidy shot up and then put his hands in his pockets. Ospreay looked into the camera and smiled, then hit Cassidy. Ospreay ran the ropes and was hit by a dropkick from Cassidy, who had his hands in his pockets.
Cassidy kipped up with his hands still in his pockets. He kept one hand in a pocket while delivering the light kick to the head of Ospreay, who stood up and hit him with a forearm shot. Cassidy put Ospreay down and then threw fast kicks at him for a pop. Ospreay came right back with a superkick. Ospreay went for an OsCutter, but Cassidy avoided it. Cassidy went for a pin, but Ospreay kicked out.
Cassidy performed a Stunner and a Michinoku Driver for a near fall. A “this is awesome” chant broke out. Cassidy performed a DDT that sent Ospreay to the floor. Cassidy dove onto him. When Cassidy tried to return, Davis grabbed his foot, but Cassidy kicked free and performed an Asai moonsault on Fletcher and Davis. Cassidy returned to the ring with a top rope leap into a DDT for a near fall.
A short time later, Ospreay caught Cassidy on the ropes and threw a kick at him. Ospreay went to the ropes. Cassidy climbed up behind him and wanted a suplex, but Ospreay avoided it. Cassidy shoved Ospreay’s head into the television camera that was filming them in the corner. Cool spot. Ospreay knocked Cassidy away. Cassidy laid down on the mat and acted like he was injured. Ospreay did a flip off the top rope and another before performing a standing moonsault.
Cassidy came right back with a Big Bang Theory for a great near fall. Cassidy removed his elbow pad and signaled for his Orange Punch finisher. When Cassidy went for the move, Opreay dropped him with a cutter. Ospreay hit a springboard cutter for a near fall and acted shocked when Cassidy kicked out. Cassidy avoided the Hidden Blade. Ospreay went for a Storm Breaker, but Cassidy countered into a Frankensteiner for another great near fall. Ospreay came right back with a lariat that turned Cassidy inside out. Ospreay hit the Hidden Blade for a near fall. Cassidy held up his thumb. Ospreay stood up and hit the Storm Breaker and scored the pin…
Will Ospreay defeated Orange Cassidy in 16:45 to retain the IWGP U.S. Championship.
Juice Robinson was shown holding his version of the IWGP U.S. Championship in a luxury box while El Phantasmo and Hikuleo stood by. In the ring, Ospreay instructed Fletcher and Davis to take out Cassidy. The Aussie Open duo set up for a move. Trent Beretta and Rocky Romero ran out for the save, but they were cleared from the ring.
Katsuyori Shibata’s entrance music played and he walked out to a good reaction. Davis and Fletcher went to the ramp and were take out by Shitbata, who then entered the ring. Shibata dropped Ospreay with a pump kick and then worked him over in the corner. Shibata dropkicked Ospreay in the corner and then put him in a sleeper, but Aussie Open pulled Ospreay to ringside.
Cassidy approached Shibata. They went face to face. Cassidy teased putting his sunglasses on, but instead put them on Shibata and struck his thumbs up pose while his entrance theme played. The crowd cheered. Shibata kept the glasses on as he made his exit…
Powell’s POV: The best match of the night thus far. Ospreay is one of the best in the world and can make anyone look good. But that’s not meant to take away from the performance of Cassidy, who did a hell of a job in this match too. The post match angle with Shibata was over with most of the crowd, though it did seem like there may have been some fans who weren’t familiar with him because he hasn’t appeared on AEW television. Again, though, those who did know gave him a hero’s welcome.
A video package aired on Zack Sabre Jr., who then made his entrance. Claudio Castagnoli (f/k/a Cesaro) made his entrance as the surprise wrestler and was wearing a Blackpool Combat Club jacket. The crowd popped huge…
7. Claudio Castagnoli vs. Zack Sabre Jr. The bell rang and Castagnoli immediately hit Sabre with a running European Uppercut. He hit the Neutralizer and got a near fall just seconds into the match. Sabre rolled to the floor. Castagnoli followed and ran him into the barricade, then hit him with another running uppercut.
Sabre eventually took control and used his signature submission moves. Sabre threw uppercuts at Castagnoli, who shot him a look. Castagnoli performed a couple of backbreakers an then hit him with a running uppercut in the corner before covering him for a two count. Castagnoli set up for a move, but Sabre rolled him into a triangle. Castagnoli powered up Sabre and tried to drop him over the top rope, but Sabre maintained the hold.
Castagnoli powered Sabre up again and walked up the ring steps while still in the hold, then tossed Sabre inside the ring to break it. Great stuff. Castagnoli set up for The Swing, but Sabre countered into a submission hold, which drew some boos. The broadcast team hyped Castagnoli’s involvement in the Blood & Guts match while a graphic displayed it for Wednesday’s Dynamite.
A short time later, Castagnoli gut-wrench slammed Sabre from the middle rope. When Sabre stood up, Castagnoli dropped him with a forearm shot. Castagnoli hit a couple of running uppercuts in the corner, then Sabre avoided a third and hit Castagnoli, who no-sold it and dropped Sabre with another uppercut. Castagnoli covered Sabre for a two count.
Castagnoli looked to the crowd again and then performed The Swing. Castagnoli released Sabre and sold arm pain. Castagnoli went for a Sharpshooter, but Sabre countered into a heel hook. Castagnoli kicked his way free. Later, Sabre motioned for Castagnoli to bring it. Castagnoli looked into the hard camera and then dropped him with another uppercut. Rinse and repeat with another.
Sabre regrouped and caught Castagnoli in a sleeper and then turned it into another submission that targeted his arms and shoulders. Sabre threw a kick at Castagnoli, who called for more. Sabre fired away with another. Castagnoli asked for more. Sabre gave it to him with a series of kicks. Catagnoli blocked the grand finale and hit another uppercut and picked up a two count. Sabre came right back with a pin attempt of his own.
Castagnoli popped up Sabre and hit him with an uppercut. Castagnoli followed up with a big lariat and followed up with a powerbomb before covering him for the three count…
Claudio Castagnoli defeated Zack Sabre Jr. in 18:30.
After the match, Castagnoli spoke into a ringside camera and said, “I don’t know.” He eventually added, “I love you guys” and then spoke about being in Blackpool Combat Club…
Powell’s POV: AEW advertised another surprise via Bryan Danielson’s promo on Dynamite and this time they delivered the guy that most fans were hoping for. Castagnoli was the logical choice as a new member of Blackpool Combat Club and a really good addition to the AEW roster. The match was enjoyable and I look forward to seeing more of Castagnoli in AEW.
A video package set up the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship match… Entrances for the match took place…
8. Jay White (w/Gedo) vs. Kazuchika Okada vs. Hangman Page vs. Adam Cole in a four-way for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. Both ring announcers delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. The crowd chanted “Holy Shit” once the bell rang. The wrestlers played into it and then White rolled to ringside. Cole followed. When Okada and Page squared off, Cole pulled Page to the floor and then White attacked Okada.
Okada and Page cleared White and Cole to ringside. White and Cole spoke on the floor and then the babyface duo ran out and attacked them. Page set up Cole for a move on the ramp, but White hit Page from behind. White and Cole teamed up for a delayed vertical suplex that dropped Page onto the ramp. White and Cole doubled up on Okada inside the ring while Page sold on the floor.
Page returned and fought White and Cole. Page knocked White off the apron with a clothesline and then performed a fallaway slam on Cole. Page dove onto White on the floor and then went up top and hit a flying lariat on Cole that resulted in a two count. Page went for a moonsault, but Cole superkicked him in the head in mid-air. Wow, the timing was perfect. Okada returned and eventually all four men ended up at ringside.
Okada ended up diving over the barricade onto White and Cole. Okada returned to the ring and went after Cole, but White quickly broke it up and suplexed Okada. Page returned and was dropped with a Flatliner by White. Page came back and rolled White into a pin, but Cole broke it up with a kick.
White and Cole spoke and did the too sweet hand gesture. Cole followed up by dropping White with a Backstabber. Cole performed a neckbreaker on his knee and covered White for a near fall. Cole jawed at White and went for the Boom, but White ducked it and performed a big uranage slam. White performed wicked suplexes on Okada and Page. Cole hit White with The Boom knee. Okada dropkicked Cole. Page hit a lariat on Okada and all four men were down temporarily.
All four wrestlers stood up around the same time. They did a yay/boo spot with forearm strikes. The heels gouged the eyes of Okada and Page. White took a shot at Cole. Page had an offensive flurry that he capped off with a sit-out powerbomb on White for a near fall. Page set up for his Buckshot Lariat finisher, but Cole grabbed his leg. Page kicked Cole, then performed a top rope moonsault onto Cole and Okada. Page set up for his finisher again, but Gedo stopped him.
Page eventually went for the Buckshot Lariat, but White ducked it. Page stuffed a Bladerunner attempt and then performed the Deadeye on White. Page hit the Buckshot Lariat and had White pinned, but Okada broke it up. Okada and Page squared off in the ring. Page avoided Okada’s dropkick and set him up for a Deadeye, but Okada avoided that. Page suplexed Okada and dropped him with a lariat. Page went to the apron for his finisher, but Cole pulled him to the floor and ran him into the ring post.
Cole went for a Panama Sunrise on Okada, who stuffed it and performed a neckbreaker on his knee. Okada slammed Page and then hit him with a top rope elbow drop. Okada looked to the crowd, which responded with loud applause. Okada struck the Rainmaker pose and the production crew did their part. Cole returned and stopped the move. Cole superkicked Okada and covered him for a near fall.
Okada dropkicked Cole. Okada set up for his Rainmaker clothesline, but Cole ducked it and hit him with an enzuigiri. Page returned to the apron and Cole kicked him off. Okada dropkicked Cole again and then slammed him. Cole avoided the Rainmaker. White returned and hit the Bladerunner on Okada, then covered Cole and pinned him…
Jay White defeated Adam Cole, Kazuchika Okada, and Hangman Page in 21:00 to retain the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship.
White jawed at referee Rick Knox and then headed to the back. The Young Bucks and Kyle O’Reilly jawed at him while walking past him. White and Gedo headed to the back. The Bucks and O’Reilly checked on Cole. The broadcast team recapped highlights from the match…
Powell’s POV: The broadcast team explained that Cole collapsed and wasn’t ducking the Rainmaker to explain why he was out when White pinned him (even though he was fixing his hair while lying on the mat). The explanation was solid on the fly, but something was clearly off and it deflated the crowd. A really disappointing finish to an otherwise entertaining match.
A video package set up the main event… Jon Moxley and William Regal were shown walking backstage and then they made their entrance to “Wild Thing.” Hiroshi Tanahashi made his entrance. Both ring announcers delivered in-ring introductions for the championship match…
9. Jon Moxley vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi for the Interim AEW World Championship. Paul Turner was the referee. There were dueling chants for the wrestlers as the match started. Regal was not in Moxley’s corner. Tanahashi went after Moxley’s knees early on. They also had an early strike exchange that Moxley got the better of.
Moxley ended up performing a piledriver on Tanahashi for a two count. The live crowd was distracted by something. Moxley walked around the ring for a moment and the camera cut to a shot of the interim title belt on a podium. The crowd was satisfied with whatever the saw and turned their focus back to the match. Moxley applied a leg lock. When Tanahashi inched closer to the ropes. Moxley release the hold and countered into another, but Tanahashi was able to grab the bottom rope to break it.
Powell’s POV: Reports on Twitter indicate that the crowd was caught up watching two fans get ejected from the building. I’ll bet they were classless Chicago Bears fans (kidding).
Moxley threw Tanahashi over the top rope, but he skinned the cat. Moxley spotted it and clotheslined Tanahashi over the top rope to the floor. Moxley followed and cleared off the timekeepers table. Moxley uranage slammed Tanahashi through the table. Tanahashi beat the referee’s ten count. Kelly pointed out that Tanahashi normally has a 20-count in Japan, but he was clearly aware of the rules in AEW where wrestlers must beat the referee’s ten count.
Tanahashi avoided a submission hold and ended up stomping Moxley with a few kicks. Tanahashi put Moxley down with a sling blade clothesline. Moxley rolled to the floor. Moxley bled heavily from his forehead. Tanahashi went up top and performed a High Fly Flow style frog splash crossbody block dive onto Moxley on the floor.
A short time later with both men back inside the ring, Tanahashi did another crossbody block style dive at Moxley. Tanahashi performed a High Fly Flow top rope splash and got a two count. Moxley immediately applied a bulldog choke. Tanahashi escaped and both men traded near falls. Tanahashi slapped Moxley a couple times and ran the ropes, but Moxley blasted him with a bit clothesline. Moxley covered Tanahashi, who kicked out at one. A crimson mask wearing Moxley acted shocked.
Moxley threw repeated elbows to Tanahashi’s head. Some fans booed. Moxley applied a rear naked choke. A “Go Ace” chant broke out. Tanahashi struggled and got back to his feet while Moxley maintained the hold. Moxley gave it up and hit a Paradigm Shift and scored the clean pin.
Jon Moxley defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi in 18:20 to win the Interim AEW World Championship.
Moxley celebrated his win. Taz questioned what was going through the head of CM Punk. Ross said he thought he had a pretty good idea. Moxley sat in the corner covered in blood while holding the interim championship belt. The broadcast team hyped the Blood & Guts match for Wednesday’s AEW Dynamite. Moxley and Tanahashi stood up spoke to one another.
Chris Jericho and Daniel Garcia ran out and attacked Moxley and Tanahashi. Eddie Kingston ran out and went after Jericho, but Garcia put him in a sleeper. Wheeler Yuta, Santana, and Ortiz ran out and attacked Jericho and Garcia. Jake Hager, Matt Menard, Angelo Parker, and Sammy Guevara ran out to help Jericho and Garcia.
Claudio Castagnoli’s entrance theme played. Castagnoli ran out and went after Jericho, and put him down with a popup uppercut. Castagnoli hit the various members of Jericho Appreciation Society with running uppercuts. William Regal walked out with a smirk on his face. Castagnoli picked up Parker and gave him The Swing while the crowd counted along with each revolution.
The babyfaces stood tall while JAS jawed at them from the floor. The graphic for the Blood & Guts match was shown again. Ross said it had been a historic night and he said they haven’t done anything in their history better than what they were able to bring fans tonight. Moxley’s theme played again and he celebrated with Castagnoli. Ross closed the show with another plug for Dynamite…
Powell’s POV: A good main event. The vocal fans were pulling for Tanahashi at the end, but they didn’t seem to hold a grudge with Moxley afterward. I think the right call was made with Moxley going over. I appreciate Tanahashi and his legendary status, but the recent Dynamite and Rampage ratings tell me that it would have been a risky move to put the interim title on a New Japan star at this early stage of the working relationship. The post match stuff felt too much like the ending of the last two episodes of Dynamite and Rampage. Put the focus on the new champion, not on yet another show-closing brawl.
The pre-show can be skipped completely if you didn’t watch the show. It wasn’t bad, it’s just that the matches felt predictable and fairly meaningless. The actual show was mostly entertaining and they hit on their latest big surprise in Claudio Castagnoli. At the same time, all of the injuries really hurt the lineup, and one can only imagine that the next joint show will be much better if the crews stay healthy. I will be back with Jake Barnett and Will Pruett for a same night audio review for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons). Let me know what you thought of the show by voting for the best match and grading the overall event.