By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW-NJPW Forbidden Door
Aired live June 25, 2023 live on pay-per-view and B/R Live
Toronto, Ontario at Scotiabank Arena
Zero Hour Pre-Show Results: Swerve Strickland, Toa Liona, Bishop Kaun, and Brian Cage defeated Rocky Romero, Trent Beretta, Chuck Taylor, and El Desperado in 12:30, ROH Women’s Champion Athena defeated Billie Starkz in 7:50 to advance to the semifinals of the Owen Hart Cup tournament, El Phantasmo over Stu Grayson in 7:15, and Shingo Takagi, Hiromu Takahashi, and Bushi beat Kyle Fletcher, Jeff Cobb, and TJP in 7:30…
Pyro shot off on the stage. Excalibur checked in on commentary and noted that 14,826 fans were in attendance. Excalibur was joined by Kevin Kelly and Taz on commentary (Taz replaced Chris Charlton, who called the pre-show)…
Hiroshi Tanahashi made his entrance for the opening match to a strong crowd reaction. Maxwell Jacob Friedman entered the loud boos. He turned around and revealed that his robe read “New Japan Is An Indie.” Justin Roberts and Takuro Shibata served as the dual ring announcers and delivered in-ring introductions for the title match…
1. MJF vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi for the AEW World Championship. Bryce Remsburg was the referee. There were dueling chants for both wrestlers. MJF took an early powder and teased leaving. Tanahashi got the crowd to chant “coward.”
MJF stormed back to the ring and asked the fans if they thought he was a coward. MJF offered Tanahashi a handshake while claiming sportsmanship. Tanahashi accepted and then blocked MJF’s kick before spinning him around and slapping him. The broadcast team noted that the match was being fought under AEW rules.
MJF caught Tanahashi with a knee to the gut and then flipped off the crowd. MJF put Tanahashi in an abdominal stretch and held the ropes for leverage while the referee couldn’t see him. The referee became suspicious and caught him on the second try. MJF didn’t release the hold and asked the referee what he was going to do. Rather than disqualify MJF, Rebsburg kicked his hand off the top rope.
Tanahashi took offensive control and went up top for his finisher, but MJF cut him off and joined him on the ropes. Tanahashi shoved MJF to the mat. Tanahashi struggled to get his footing while the broadcast team explained the differences between the turnbuckle pads in both companies. Tanahashi performed a crossbody block for a two count.
MJF went up top moments later, but Tanahashi caught him and tossed him to the match. Excalibur said MJF scheduled a tweet that had just one live in which he claimed he would have beaten Tanahashi by now. Tanahashi went to the ropes for his finisher again, but MJF bounced into the ropes to crotch him. MJF superplexed Tanahashi and picked up a two count.
The dueling chants started again with the Tanahashi chants winning out. MJF set up for his Heat Seeker piledriver, but Tanahashi tossed him back into the ring. MJF grabbed his knee. MJF went for a shoulder breaker and then sold the bad knee before covering Tanahashi for a two count.
MJF got to his feet first and spat at Tanahashi and then toyed with him. Tanahashi fired up after MJF pie-faced him. A “Go Ace” chant broke out. Tanahashi no-sold a punch and called for more, but MJF poked him in the eyes.
Tanahashi came right back with a dragon screw leg whip. Tanahashi put MJF in a Texas Cloverleaf. MJF eventually reached the bottom rope to break it. Tanahashi performed a Twist and Shout neckbreaker followed by a sling blade clothesline. Tanahashi went up top and performed his High Fly Flow (frog splash) finisher. MJF put his knees up. MJF sold his knee while Tanahashi also stayed down.
MJF went to ringside and brought back his title belt. The referee took it away from him. Tanahashi rolled up MJF and got a visual pinfall while the referee was passing off the title belt to ringside. Tanahashi stood up and protested. MJF shoved Tanahashi into the referee and then hit Tanahashi with the Dynamite Diamond Ring and got the three count.
MJF defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi in 15:30 to retain the AEW World Championship.
After the match, a security guard helped a limping (selling) MJF to the stage. MJF held up his title belt before heading backstage…
Powell’s POV: A good, basic wrestling match. Tanahashi struggled in the match against Swerve Strickland the night before on AEW Collision. This was better and I liked some of the simple old school heel work from MJF. I never bought into the possibility of Tanahashi winning, nor did they spend a lot of time trying to convince fans that it might happen,.
A daily fantasy sports company’s ad aired…
Dasha Gonzalez replaced Roberts for the English ring announcing duties for the next match. Satoshi Kojima was cheered. The fans started booing even before Punk’s music played and continued to boo loudly once he made his entrance. Punk cupped his ear before kneeling down. Punk showed off his new CMFTR t-shirt. Once at ringside, Punk patted the Owen Hart Cup…
2. CM Punk vs. Satoshi Kojima in an Owen Hart Cup tournament first-round match. Excalibur plugged the Owen Hart Foundation website. Kelly said that neither man would advance in the tournament in the event of a draw. Early in the match, Kojima popped his pec muscles. Punk tossed him to the floor and returned the favor.
Punk went to ringside where Kojima chopped him over the barricade into the timekeepers area. Kojima returned to the ring to break the count and then went to the floor where Punk caught him with a kick and a chop. Punk went to the apron. Kojima swept Punk’s legs out from under him and then entered the ring and played to the crowd. A “f— you, Punk” chant broke out.
Punk came back and slammed Kojima to the mat and then cupped his ear before performing a leg drop. “Eat your vitamins and say your prayers,” Taz said. Punk mounted Kojima in the corner and counted his own ten punches before dropping down and winding up for a chop. Rather than throw the chop, Punk kicked Kojima’s thigh.
Punk taunted Kojima by performing his longtime tag team partner Tenzan’s Mongolian chops. Punk went for a corner splash that Kojima avoided. Kojima fired away with a series of chops. Kojima put Punk down and then hit him with a top rope elbow drop for a near fall.
Kojima hit Punk with a rolling elbow strike and then DDT’d him. Kojima played to the crowd. Punk shoved him into the corner and then blasted him with a running knee. Punk went up top and looked to the booing crowd before performing his own top rope elbow drop for a near fall. Punk immediately applied the Anaconda Vice, but he didn’t get the submission.
A short time later, Punk set up for the GTS, but Kojima escaped. Kojima threw Mongolian Chops of his own. Punk cut off Kojima with a lariat and then hit him with a series of elbow strikes and went for the GTS, which Kojima stuffed. Kojima put Punk down with a brainbuster for a nice near fall. Kojima went for a lariat that Punk ducked. Punk hit him with a roundhouse kick and the GTS for the win.
CM Punk defeated Satoshi Kojima in 13:40 to advance to the semifinals of the Owen Hart Cup tournament.
After standing on the ropes and mugging for the crowd. Punk went over and spoke to Kojima, who was still on his back. Punk helped Kojima to his feet and held up his arm before leaving the ring…
Powell’s POV: Wow, that was a lot more fun than I expected. I said going in that it was a dangerous match for Punk if they want him to remain a babyface, but Punk is clearly more than happy to be a heel whenever the crowd calls for it. While it was hard to imagine Kojima winning, this went much longer than I expected and there was never a dull moment thanks in part to the dynamic between Punk and the crowd.
A video package promoted AEW Dynamite on Wednesday for August 30 at NOW Arena, and AEW Collision for September 2 at United Center, and AEW All Out for September 3 at the United Center… Entrances for the AEW International Title took place…
3. Orange Cassidy vs. Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Katsuyori Shibata vs. Daniel Garcia in a four-way for the AEW International Championship. All four men met in the middle of the ring. Cassidy did his light leg kicks on all three challengers. Sabre caught his leg and then passed it off to the other two challengers in an early comedy spot.
Garcia did an over the top dance after his bigger moments. All four men threw simultaneous kicks, which resulted in all four staying down on the mat for a moment. Excalibur said Cassidy could tie Jade Cargill’s record of 25 title defenses with a win in this match.
Cassidy and Garcia put Sabre and Shibata in sleepers. Sabre and Shibata continued to throw strikes at one another, which drew laughs. There was a series of suplexes as the wrestlers tried to one-up one another. Cassidy performed a Stundog Millionaire and a big DDT on Garcia for a near fall. A “Freshly Squeezed” chant broke out.
Cassidy set up for an Orange Punch, but Sabre grabbed his hand and pulled him to the apron. Sabre bent Cassidy’s hand awkwardly and then slammed it against Cassidy’s ribs. Garcia hit Shibata with one of the title belts and got a near fall while the broadcast team reminded viewers that there are no disqualifications in a four-way. Garcia did his silly dance again.
Shibata no-sold Garcia’s strikes and then hit him with a series of rapid fire forearms in the corner. Shibata followed up with a dropkick on the seated Garcia, who rolled to the floor. Cassidy and Shibata squared off and then sat down crosslegged and exchanged chops. They continued to throw chops as they got to their feet and the fans chanted “this is awesome.”
Cassidy put his hands in his pockets and avoided a charging Shibata. Cassidy threw an Orange Punch and then sold his hand injury. Shibata came back for a moment, but Cassidy put him down with Beach Break for a near fall. Sabre returned and stomped Cassidy’s hand. Cassidy cried out in agony.
Sabre set up for a submission hold, but Garcia returned and pulled him off. Sabre cleared Garcia from the ring. Sabre stuffed a Stundog Millionaire from Cassidy and put him in a submission hold. Shibata returned and was rolled into a pin by Sabre. They countered moves and Sabre had him pinned, but Garcia broke it up.
Garcia caught Sabre in a backslide for a two count. Garcia followed up with a piledriver. Shibata hit the PK on Garcia. Cassidy cleared Shibata from the ring and then pinned Garcia…
Orange Cassidy defeated Daniel Garcia, Katsuyori Shibata, and Zack Sabre Jr. in a four-way in 11:15 to retain the AEW International Championship.
After the match, Sabre took Cassidy’s title and then knelt down and called him a lucky boy. Shibata entered the ring and stood with Cassidy. Sabre said something about “next time” and left the ring. Cassidy and Shibata shook hands and posed together…
Powell’s POV: This was a blast. The early comedy was over with the live crowd even if it wasn’t for me. They got that out of the way and then had a strong four-way match that was over big with the fans in the building. By the way, Garcia’s silly dance is ridiculous and yet I could totally see it catching on.
A video package set up the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship match…
4. Sanada (w/Douki) vs. “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry (w/Hook) for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. NJPW’s Red Shoes was the referee. Perry performed an early suicide dive and then ran Sanada into the barricade. Perry threw Sanada back inside the ring and covered him for a two count. Kelly explained that the match was being fought under NJPW rules and mentioned some of the differences.
Sanada came back and put Perry is the awful Paradise Lock (ugh). He played to the live crowd and it was cheered. Sanada dropkicked Perry to free him from the asinine move. Have I mentioned how much I despise the stupid Paradise Lock? Anyway, both men traded chops. Sanada got the better of it and knocked Perry off his feet.
Perry came back with a lariat and followed up with a Tiger Driver for a near fall. Sanada came right back by draping Perry’s legs over the top rope and then followed through with a neckbreaker. Both men traded chops. Sanada sold one of Perry’s chops for a moment before firing back with one of his own. They moved on to trading uppercuts. Perry caught Sanada in a backslide for a two count.
Perry went for a crucifix hold and countered into setting up for something else, but Perry countered into Sanada’s own Skull End finishing hold. Sanada got his foot on the bottom rope to break the hold. Sanada came back with a TKO for a near fall. Kelly spoke about Sanada’s new Deadfall finisher.
Sanada went for a moonsault that Perry avoided. Perry put Sanada down with a Poison Rana. Sanada came right back with a Skull End head vice and swung Perry around. Sanada executed his own Poison Rana and then blasted Perry with a knee strike that led to a near fall. Sanada went up top and performed a Great Muta style moonsault and scored the pin.
Sanada defeated Jack Perry in 10:45 to retain the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship.
Sanada headed to the back first. Perry and Hook walked up the ramp. Perry dropped to his knees. Hook helped him up and held up his arm. Perry blasted Hook with a clothesline. Perry taunted the live crowd by doing the swaying that the fans do to his entrance theme. The crowd chanted “You f—ed up.” Taz said he sure did. Perry picked up the FTW Title belt and tossed it toward Hook before heading to the back…
The broadcast team was shown talking. Taz once again said that what the crowd chanted was true. A “Taz” chant broke out. Taz said not to chant his name. He promised that Perry had hell to pay…
Powell’s POV: Meh. It wasn’t a bad match, but it didn’t seem like anyone bought into the possibility of Perry winning. It also seemed like the crowd was surprised by Sanada’s moonsault ending the match. The post match angle was better. I’m surprised they did it here rather than save it for television, but I’m not complaining.
Tony Schiavone replaced Taz on commentary and then entrances for the ten-man tag match took place. The crowd sang along when the Young Bucks came out to “Carry On Wayward Son.” The heel group entered through the crowd and had a new instrumental theme rather than the crowd-pleasing “Wild Thing” (it’s about time!)… Correction: A reader let me know that they actually entered to Moxley’s NJPW theme.
5. Jon Moxley, Claudio Castagnoli, Wheeler Yuta, Konosuke Takeshita, and Shota Umino vs. Hangman Page, Tomohiro Ishii, Eddie Kingston, and “The Young Bucks” Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson. Claudio teased starting with Kingston, but tagged out once the bell rang. There was an early exchange of rolling elbows from Ishii and Takeshita that was essentially a draw. They followed with running shoulder blocks and eventually fell over simultaneously. The Bucks checked in and hit some fast paced offense.
Kingston and Moxley tagged in and the crowd fired up. Moxley blasted Kingston with a forearm shot. Kingston lowered his straps and fired away with a chop. Moxley returned the favor and then they went back and forth. Eventually, all of the other partners ran in and fought around Kingston and Moxley, who continued to exchange chops.
Eventually, only Kingston and Moxley were left the ring. The Bucks performed stereo dives onto a few opponents at ringside. Page followed up with a moonsault onto opponents on the floor. Castagnoli entered the ring and spun Kingston around before hitting him, which drew boos because it ended the chop-fest between Kingston and Moxley.
Castagnoli drilled Kingston with a short-arm lariat and then tagged out. Yuta put Kingston against the ropes. Moxley stood on the floor and glared at Kingston. Castagnoli booted Kingston while Kelly pointed out that Moxley wasn’t the one who took the cheap shot.
Takeshita checked in and put Kingston in a Camel Clutch. Ishii came in and threw jabs at Takeshita, who released the hold and then absolutely blasted Ishii with a rolling elbow. Ishii sold it like he was shot. Awesome. The babyface team sold it by checking on Ishii. The isolation of Kingston continued.
Moxley tagged back into the match and jawed at Kingston, who got back to his feet and stumbled. Kingston fired a chop at Moxley, who returned he favor. The chop-fest resumed and then they put one another down with simultaneous lariats. Ishii tagged in and quickly got the better of Unimo and Yuta. Claudio checked in and ended up taking a brainbuster from Ishii.
Takeshita approached Ishii. Umino hit Ishii from behind. A “this is awesome” chant broke out. Takeshita and Umino double teamed Ishii while Page just awkwardly watched from his corner. Moxley ran in and ate a suplex from Ishii, who followed up with another on Umino.
Page tagged in and drilled a charging Takeshita with a forearm. The Bucks held up Takeshita at ringside and then Page performed a moonsault off the apron onto him. Back in the ring, Page and The Bucks worked over Takeshita. The Bucks hit a series of double team moves on Takeshita, whose teammates were down on the floor.
The Bucks threw double superkicks at three opponents and tried to do the same to Moxley, but Kingston shoved Moxley out of the way. Takeshita performed a Blue Thunder Bomb on Matt for a near fall.
Later, Moxley and Yuta teamed up for a Hart Attack clothesline on Matt. Claudio followed up with the Swing. Yuta kicked Matt to end the swing and then covered him, but it was broken up by multiple teammates. Ishii checked in and placed Yuta on the top rope and then superplexed him and covered him for a two count.
There was a series of rapid fire spots that included Kingston hitting a back fist on Claudio, which was followed by Moxley taking out Kingston with a cutter. It concluded with Bucks moves and then Yuta avoided a Buckshot Lariat. Ishii hit a big lariat on Yuta and then powered him up for the vertical drop brainbuster and scored the pin.
Hangman Page, Matt Jackson, Nick Jackson, Tomohiro Ishii, and Eddie Kingston defeated Jon Moxley, Claudio Castagnoli, Wheeler Yuta, Konosuke Takeshita, and Shota Umino in 21:25.
After the match, Kingston bickered with Page and the Bucks. Kingston dropped an F-Bomb and then Ishii came over and hugged him. Kelly said Kingston didn’t get his hands on Claudio like he wanted to. Schiavone said that if Kingston was conflicted about Moxley, then he shouldn’t have taken the match…
Powell’s POV: A wild match with a lot to keep track of in terms of storyline issues. Kingston saving Moxley was an intriguing spot that needed more time to breathe so that it could have registered more than it did. That said, I dig the dynamic between those two and Claudio. Takeshita was awesome early on and that shot he hit Ishii with was fantastic. One issue is that the crowd didn’t seem to view the finish as the peak of the match. I think they were waiting for someone to break up the pin because it had happened so many times throughout the match. A match like this could fall apart so easily, but everyone involved contributed to its success.
Kelly introduced the Japanese broadcast team of Haruo Murata, Miki Motoi, and El Desperado, who were also seated at a ringside desk…
A video package set up the AEW Women’s Championship match and then entrances for the match took place…
6. Toni Storm (w/Ruby Soho, Saraya) vs. Willow Nightingale for the AEW Women’s Championship. Willow went on the offensive early and flashed a smile to the receptive crowd. Willow dropkicked Storm, who rolled to the floor. Willow followed, but Soho and Saraya blocked her path. Willow kicked Soho, punched Saraya, and then banged their heads together.
Willow tried to return to the ring and was hit with a Storm hip attack. Storm distracted the referee while Soho and Saraya put the boots to Willow. Storm dominated the offense for a couple of minutes. Willow turned things around with a Death Valley Driver on the apron. She performed a running DVD in the ring and got a near fall.
Willow went up top and then dropped down when she noticed that Soho and Saraya had rolled a can of spray paint into the ring. The referee ejected the duo from ringside. Willow fought off Storm’s attempt to take advantage of the distraction. Willow went for a moonsault that Storm avoided. Storm DDT’d Willow and followed up with a hip attack in the corner. Storm covered Willow for a near fall.
Storm bled from the nose. Willow no-sold her punches. Storm ran the ropes and was put down with a Willow spinebuster. Willow put Storm in an Indian Deathlock. Willow and Storm traded strikes while Willow maintained the hold. Storm bit the knee of Willow to break the hold, which drew some boos.
Storm went for another hip attack, but Willow hit The Pounce instead. Storm fell to ringside. Willow rolled her back in the ring and roughed her up in the corner with standing clotheslines. Willow lowered her straps and the crowd cheered. Willow charged Storm, who pulled the referee in front of her. Willow stopped short of the referee, who ended up having his back turned when Storm gouged the eyes of Willow. Storm hit Storm Zero and scored the pin.
Toni Storm defeated Willow Nightingale in 10:30 to retain the AEW Women’s Championship.
After the match, Soho and Saraya came out to celebrate with Storm. Skye Blue was shown looking annoyed while watching the heels on a backstage monitor…
Powell’s POV: They had the unviable task of following the wild ten-man tag. They pulled it off as far as I’m concerned. The crowd was clearly drained, but they were responsive. Willow’s charisma continues to be off the charts. More than anything, I’m happy we didn’t get lame interference or a spray paint finish.
A video package set up the IWGP U.S. Championship match…
Will Ospreay made his entrance with Don Callis and two members of Callis’s personal security team. The security guards were both bald and had half their faces covered. Ospreay cussed out fans at ringside. Kenny Omega came out alone and slapped hands with some fans on his way to the ring…
7. Kenny Omega vs. Will Ospreay (w/Don Callis, security guards) for the IWGP U.S. Championship. Paul Turner was the referee. There were loud “Kenny” and “holy shit” chants once the bell rang. Schiavone recalled a DDT on an exposed turnbuckle being the turning point of the Omega vs. Ospreay match at Wrestle Kingdom back in January. Excalibur acknowledged the “Ole” chants and said there was a large group of international fans who were supporting Ospreay.
Ospreay stuffed an early One Winged Angel attempt. Omega then stuffed an early OsCutter attempt. Omega went for a snap dragon suplex, but Ospreay landed on his feet. Ospreay thumbed Omega in the eye. Schiavone actually said he doesn’t mind it because if it gives you an advantage, then it gives you an advantage. Kelly said apologize later. Ugh.
Omega executed a moonsault from the middle rope and got a two count. Ospreay rolled to the floor. Omega got the Terminator clap going. Omega ran the ropes and was distracted by Callis reaching inside the ring and trying to trip him. Omega left the ring. The two security guards blocked Omega’s path. The referee ejected Callis. Ospreay dove onto a distracted Omega and then ran his knee into the ring steps.
The two security guards remained near the bottom of the entrance ramp despite Callis having been ejected. Omega drove Ospreay’s head onto the mat and followed up with a big kick to his ribs. Omega dunked Ospreay’s head onto the mat and covered him for a two count.
Ospreay rallied with a flip off of Omega’s chest and a big kick. Ospreay placed Omega over the top rope and then went up top and performed a shooting star press onto Omega’s back. Ospreay followed up with an OsCutter on the apron. Ospreay brought Omega over to the English broadcast table.
Ospreay called back to their previous match by asking if he remembered this. Ospreay aggressively slammed Omega’s head onto the table multiple times and then played to the booing crowd. Omega came up bleeding from the forehead. Ospreay placed the logo board from the broadcast team against the apron and ran Omega into it.
Ospreay rolled Omega back inside the ring while the crowd chanted, “You’re a wanker.” Funny. Kelly said Ospreay bled on January 4 while he’s now made Omega bleed this time around. Ospreay looked at some of Omega’s blood that ended up on his bicep. Ospreay licked the blood off his bicep, which triggered a “you sick f—” chant.
Ospreay blasted Omega with a rolling elbow that knocked him off his feet. Ospreay mocked Omega by mimicking his finger fun and then creamed him with a V-Trigger knee that put Omega on the apron. Ospreay went to the floor and jawed at some kids in the crowd.
Ospreay took a Canadian flag from a fan in the front row and then flossed his crotch with it. Ospreay entered the ring and stuck part of the flag in his nostril. Omega clotheslined Ospreay and then wrapped the flag around his neck and tossed him across the ring a couple of times. Omega played to the crowd and then wrapped the flag around Ospreay’s neck and tossed him over the top rope and temporarily hung him with it.
Omega went to the floor and handed the flag to the two young fans that Ospreay taunted (even thought it belonged to another fan – or a planted fan?). Omega hit a V-Trigger on Ospreay against the barricade. Omega jawed at Ospreay and then slammed his head on top of the ring steps multiple times. Ospreay came up bleeding from the forehead while a “F— ’em up, Kenny” chant broke out.
Omega turned the ring steps on their side and then climbed on top of them and pulled Ospreay up with him. Omega DDT’d Ospreay on top of the ring steps. A fight forever chant broke out once they returned to the ring. Omega went for a triangle. Ospreay powered him up and powerbombed him.
Ospreay followed up with a wicked German suplex. Omega popped up and returned the favor. Ospreay performed another. Omega hit a V-Trigger. Omega went for another, but Ospreay executed a standing Spanish Fly for a near fall. Ospreay put Omega in the Sharpshooter, which drew boos.
Ospreay released the Sharpshooter and immediately applied a crossface for more boos. Omega tried to roll out of it, but Ospreay rolled him all the way over and maintained the hold. Omega eventually got his feet on the bottom rope to break the hold. Ospreay threw Kawada kicks at Omega’s head along with a some chops mixed in. Omega tried to throw a chop of his own, but he had nothing on it.
Ospreay taunted him. Omega tried again and had nothing. Ospreay headbutted Omega. Ospreay threw kicks at the head of the kneeling Omega. Ospreay went for an OsCutter, but Omega caught him with a kick in midair. Omega executed two snap dragon suplexes.
Omega drilled Ospreay with a knee in the back and then performed a Poison Rana. Omega performed a piledriver for a near fall. Omega followed up with a neckbreaker and a V-Trigger. Omega placed Ospreay on the top rope and set up for an Avalanche One Winged Angel as Justin Roberts announced they reached the 30-minute mark. Ospreay slipped out and threw a kick that sent Omega to the floor.
Ospreay went up top and delivered a corkscrew moonsault onto Omega on the floor. Ospreay rolled Omega back inside the ring and hit him with a flying elbow strike to the back of the head. Omega avoided the Hidden Blade. Omega showed life, but Ospreay put him down with a powerbomb for another near fall. Ospreay went to the ropes and performed an OsCutter for close near fall.
Don Callis returned to ringside. Kelly said Callis was risking a disqualification for Ospreay. A loud “Piece of Shit” chant broke out. Schiavone said Callis would be fined for it and should be. Callis stood next to his security guards while Omega crushed Ospreay with knee strikes. Omega pointed at Callis, who hid behind one of the guards. Ospreay blasted Ospreay with another knee.
Omega set up for a V-Trigger. Callis climbed onto the apron and put his arms around Ospreay. Omega ran the ropes and hit the move while Callis dropped off the apron. Callis tried to pull Ospreay out of the ring. Omega tried to stop him and the referee got involved. Callis passed a screwdriver to Ospreay, who hit Omega with it. Ospreay performed a Storm Breaker and went for the pin, but Omega put his foot on the ropes.
Callis climbed on the apron and whispered to Ospreay. Omega got to his knees while a “F— you, Callis” chant broke out. Ospreay grabbed the arms of Omega and drilled him with a knee to the face and then hit him with his own One Winged Angel. Ospreay went for the pin, but Omega kicked out at one.
Ospreay and Omega traded forearms and slaps while the crowd roared. Omega caught Osprey with knee. Ospreay landed a shot of his own. Omega performed a brainbuster. Omega followed up with a German suplex into a bridge for a near fall. Omega connected with a V-Trigger and set up for his finisher. Ospreay slipped away and set up for a Storm Breaker, but Omega avoided it.
Ospreay drilled Omega with an elbow strike and then dropped Omega on his head with another move, which only resulted in a near fall. Ospreay hit the Hidden Blade and another Storm Breaker and then got the three count…
Will Ospreay defeated Kenny Omega in 39:45 to win the IWGP U.S. Championship.
Powell’s POV: Wow, I hope Omega is okay after Ospreay dropped him on his head with one of those late moves. He finished the match and didn’t seem to be struggling, so hopefully he’s fine. The actual match was terrific. I preferred the Wrestle Kingdom match because it didn’t have the outside interference. But I get it for the story they are telling between Omega and Callis.
Renee Paquette and RJ City hosted a spot for AEW’s daily fantasy sports partner… Entrances for the six-man tag match took place…
8. Sting, Darby Allin, and Tetsuya Naito vs. Chris Jericho, Sammy Guevara, and Minoru Suzuki. Jericho sold Naito’s suit removal stalling while standing on the apron. Naito started the match wearing a t-shirt and ate a dropkick from Guevara, who then did a Spinaroonie style move and struck a pose. Naito sent Guevara to ringside and then struck his own pose.
Allin and Guevara tagged in and traded elbow strikes. Suzuki wound up and dropped Allin with one elbow. Allin stood up, blew Suzuki a kiss, and chopped him. Suzuki hit him again. Suzuki caught Allin in a sleeper, but Allin pressed him into a pin to break the hold.
Sting tagged in. Jericho begged Suzuki to tag him in. Suzuki teased going after Sting himself and then tagged in Jericho. Sting and Jericho jawed at one another. Suzuki ran in and hit Sting from behind. The corners emptied and the partners quickly ended up at ringside, leaving Sting and Jericho alone in the ring.
Sting and Jericho traded punches. Jericho shipped Sting into the corner and let out a howl and went for a Stinger Splash, which Sting avoided. Sting put Jericho in the Scorpion Leglock. Guevara leaped from the ropes and went for a Cutter, but he ended up driving Sting’s head onto the mat in a rough spot.
Guevara checked on Sting and then tagged in Jericho. Guevara, who was bleeding from the mouth, did his spin, which was followed by Jericho and even Suzuki posing behind him. Funny.
A short time later, Allin took out Suzuki with a cannonball style suicide dive. He tried to do another to Jericho, who caught him with the Judas Effect instead. The production team completely missed Sting being sent into the barricade. Jericho pulled a table out from underneath the ring.
Sting was placed on the table. Guevara performed a 630 splash that put Sting through the table on the floor. Jericho put Naito in the Walls of Jericho. He released the hold when Sting returned. Sting put Jericho in the Scorpion Death Lock, which Suzuki broke up.
Sting clubbed Suzuki. Naito performed an inverted atomic drop on Suzuki. Sting clotheslined Suzuki and then Naito rolled onto Suzuki and hooked his legs while getting the three count…
Sting, Darby Allin, and Tetsuya Naito defeated Chris Jericho, Sammy Guevara, and Minoru Suzuki in 15:10.
Powell’s POV: An ugly buffer match in between the two big matches. Yikes. It was a good call on paper because the crowd likes everyone involved (well, Sammy…), but the match was so rough that it seemed to lose the fans by the end. It’s really time to save Sting from himself. The fans will be just as happy seeing him perform his greatest hits.
A video package set up the main event… Entrances for the match took place. Bryan Danielson entered first to “The Final Countdown” in an awesome throwback moment. Kazuchika Okada came out next and Okada bucks fell from the rafters…
9. Bryan Danielson vs. Kazuchika Okada. Bryce Remsburg was the referee. A “holy shit’ chant broke out once the bell rang. A “both these guys” chant also started. Danielson set up Okada for an early surfboard while a “yes” chant started. Danielson stomped the back of Okada rather than roll him over. Okada ducked a clothesline and then dropped Danielson with an elbow.
Okada dropkicked a seated Danielson, who rolled to the floor. Okada followed and ran Danielson into the barricade before booting him over it. Danielson came back with a diving knee strike. Back inside the ring, Danielson used some mat wrestling and hooked Okada into a pin for a two count.
Danielson delivered some chops at Okada, who stood up straight and no-sold them. Danielson threw a kick at Okada, who barked back at him. Okada sold arm pain while firing back. Okada ended up putting Danielson down with a DDT and got a two count.
Danielson drilled Okada with a shot. Okada seated Danielson on the top turnbuckle and then dropkicked him to the floor. Okada went to ringside and was run into the ringside barricade. Danielson charged Okada, who sent him over the barricade. Okada ran and then dove over the barricade and performed a crossbody block.
Excalibur said that with no championship matches at stake, the match was being fought under AEW rules. Back in the ring, Okada applied the Money Clip. Okada followed up with an air raid neckbreaker and got a two count. Okada placed Danielson on the top turnbuckle and joined him on the ropes. Danielson threw a series of elbows to the back of Okada’s head.
Okada dropped off the ropes and then ate a missile dropkick. Danielson threw elbows once they got back to their feet. Okada returned the favor. Both men traded elbow strikes. Okada drilled Danielson with a great dropkick. Danielson came right back with a German suplex. Danielson performed a pair of running dropkicks in the corner. Danielson went for a third, but Okada cut him off with a dropkick of his own.
Danielson escaped Okada’s attempt to set up for the Rainmaker. Danielson ran the ropes and took another dropkick. Okada went up top and went for an elbow drop, but Danielson caught him in an armbar. Excalibur pointed out that Danielson was targeting Okada’s Rainmaker arm. Okada reached the ropes to break the hold and went to the apron.
Danielson knocked Okada off the apron with a kick and then went for a suicide dive. Okada stuffed it and went for a Rainmaker, but Danielson avoided it and dropkicked Okada on the floor. Danielson threw kicks at the kneeling Okada. Danielson threw a kick that Okada ducked. Okada performed a tombstone piledriver on the bottom of the entrance ramp.
Okada brought Danielson back to the ring and hit him with a top rope elbow. Okada struck the Rainmaker pose (the production team did the camera pullback). Okada went for Danielson, but he was dead weight. The referee stepped in and had AEW trainer Doc Samson check on Danielson. Schiavone said Danielson was convulsing.
Okada pulled Danielson to his feet and went for his finisher, but Danielson ducked it and hit him with his Busaiku knee strike. Both men stayed down while the broadcast team said Danielson knew exactly what he was doing. Okada went for a German suplex, but Danielson flipped onto his feet and hit him with another Busaiku knee, which resulted in a near fall.
Danielson grabbed the right arm of Okada and stomped him while selling his own right arm. Danielson set up for the LeBell Lock, but Okada rolled him into pin to avoid it and got a two count. Danielson dropped Okada with a rolling elbow and then drilled him with a big kick.
Danielson went to the corner pumped his arm while the fans chanted “yes”. Danielson charged Okada, who caught him with a dropkick. Okada followed up with a landslide slam and then hit the Rainmaker clothesline for a near fall. Okada held the right arm of Danielson and then knocked him down with a clothesline. Danielson got up and Okada put him right back down with another.
Okada went for a third clothesline, but Danielson ducked it. Okada avoided the Busaiku knee, but Danielson took him down and applied the LeBell Lock. Danielson used his leg to hook one of Okada’s arms. Okada reached out with his leg but missed the ropes. Danielson clubbed Okada’s head. Danielson maintained the hold and then Okada tapped.
Bryan Danielson defeated Kazuchika Okada in 27:40.
The Final Countdown played as both men stayed down in the ring for a moment. Danielson got to his feet and celebrated his win. Danielson held up his index finger as the show went off the air…
Powell’s POV: I didn’t buy into Danielson convulsing being a real thing, in part because Schiavone seemed to be selling it more than expressing concern. I’m sure that was a very frightening moment for anyone who thought it was real. I thoroughly enjoyed the match. With no titles on the line, it really felt like it could go either way. I wish there had been a dramatic near fall or two, but we saw so many of those in the Omega vs. Ospreay match that perhaps they set out to take a different approach.
Overall, I was sold on this event by the big two matches and they both delivered. The undercard of the main card was enjoyable and the only bad match was was the six-man tag match. I will have a lot more to say about this event in my same night audio review for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons). Let me know what you thought of the show by taking part in our post event polls below.