Facebook Twitter Instagram Pinterest LinkedIn

AEW Forbidden Door 2023 HOT TAKE

June 23, 2023

For·bid·den - /fərˈbidn/ - not allowed; banned.

Door - /dôr/ - a hinged, sliding, or revolving barrier at the entrance to a building, room, or vehicle, or in the framework of a cupboard

Over the last several years, the framework of professional wrestling has shifted irrevocably. The sanctity of borders has dissipated, tradition replaced by evolution. Indeed, since 2019, everything that was once assumed has been assassinated, replaced by new conventions and expectations. What was once no longer exists. Now, professional wrestling fans look to what can and should be.

This Sunday evening, international FITE fans will once again seek greatness and insanity as the most unique, unexpected event of the year will take place for the second year in a row. Once more, the Forbidden Door has been kicked open. Once more, the stars of All Elite Wrestling and New Japan Pro Wrestling will share the same stage, competing against each other in purists' dream matches, exploding rivalries and unconventional alliances that will forever change the trajectories of the lives and careers of all involved.

An event this massive can only take be hosted on FITE, the destination place for the greatest combat sports can provide and with the leaders of professional wrestling greatness charging headlong at each other, FITE is proud to bring every second of this vivid fever dream of grappling greatness to every corner of the world via your FITE devices.


If there are two men who have defined the greatness of a professional wrestling match for the 21st century and beyond, it is the two competitors who will face off for the first time ever when FITE presents The Forbidden Door this Sunday - NJPW's Kazuchika Okada, the measuring stick for what it means to be the "Ace" for New Japan against AEW's American Dragon Bryan Danielson, who has battled the best for decades, raising the bar for what combat sports can be inside a professional wrestling ring.

They have all battled and defeated the best in the world, using their superior grappling skills, keen strategic might and ability to pull from their very soul to carry themselves past the worst of injuries and obstacles to stand tall. Okada has gone to war with Kota Ibushi, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kenny Omega and scores of other internationally acclaimed stars across the world. Bryan Danielson has stood toe to toe with MJF, Paul Levesque, Nigel McGuinness, Roman Reigns, Low Ki and so many other celebrated fighters across many different realms.

But for these two men who are always at the top of the list when fans and pundits debate the best of all time - they each have one opponent they've never faced: each other. That changes this Sunday when these two generational talents step into the greatest game of physical chess that can ever be imagined and test their mettle against the other, seeking to prove their supremacy in the ring as well as their place in history.

It's Cattle Mutilation and The LeBell Lock against The Rainmaker and Red Ink. It's CHAOS vs. The Blackpool Combat Club. It's AEW vs. New Japan Pro Wrestling. It's Man vs. Man. Will vs. Perseverance. Excellent vs. Greatness. It's Okada vs. Danielson and it can only happen for the first and possibly only time, this Sunday, live on FITE.


At New Japan Pro Wrestling's Wrestle Kingdom 17, Kenny Omega returned triumphantly to the Tokyo Dome to capture the IWGP United States Championship. In doing so, he humiliated NJPW's most brazen, cocksure star, the former Champion Will Ospreay and now Ospreay and his entire United Kingdom has come for revenge.

With the Forbidden Door opened, Ospreay has used every bit of his scheming, his stardom and his spectacular in-ring skills to claw and fight his way back into contention, capitalizing on the momentum to take his title back, take Omega out and embarrass all of AEW at the same time. With Omega on the crossroads of his career after his long-time mentor Don Callis has turned on him, if there was ever a moment where the shining armor of the One-Winged Angel could be discovered, it might be right now, the worst possible moment for the Canadian star.

Toronto this Sunday should be a defining moment for Omega before his native country, but instead, the Champion is the hunted. His past and present have united in an attempt to decimate Omega's future. To battle back against all of this, Omega will have to tap into what has made him one of the most beloved competitors of the modern era - his unique natural abilities, accentuated by an insanely imaginative brain that has designed his path to victory against the sport's most celebrated fighters.

Ospreay is in many ways the second coming of Kenny Omega. He soars through the air and lashes at opponents with an insanely driven aggressive series of offensive maneuvers. He's crisp in his attacks and his defenses are always articulated from the perfect place at the perfect time. He hits all the benchmarks that Omega perfected and same may argue that the British star may have even improved upon them. He's also coming to Forbidden Door this Sunday with one thing that not even Omega carries on his resume - a desire to overcome someone who has become his greatest obstacle.

The distance from The Scotiabank Arena to The Tokyo Dome is 6,424 miles. On each of those miles, Omega and Ospreay have grown exponentially on their own unique paths, paths that have once again intertwined with the future of their careers and the IWGP United States Championship at stake in what can easily be considered the grudge rematch of the century.


AEW's World Champion MJF is one of the most arrogant men to ever enter the King of Sports, but it's not without good reason. With wins over plenty of legitimately tremendous athletes and fighters, Maxwell Jacob Friedman rules over all in AEW, more sure than ever that he is the greatest competitor who has ever walked the face of the Earth. This Sunday live on FITE, he will have to prove himself once again as against his initial wishes, he's tasked with battling one of the men who helped define the rebirth of New Japan Pro Wrestling, Hiroshi Tanahashi. One of the most versatile and inspirational Japanese stars of any era, Tanahashi is one of the true "Aces" of NJPW, carrying the promotion back to greatness on his back. Now, he seeks to carry the AEW World title back home, leaving MJF shocked in the process. This bout may be one of the great challenges of MJF's career, but it could also be one of the most crushing losses ever for Tanahashi if he is not successful.

On the other side of the coin, IWGP World Heavyweight Champion SANADA is just starting to hit the deep end of the endless ocean that is professional wrestling as The Great Muta's former protege celebrates his first ever reign as Champion. The proud member of the Just5Guys faction in Japan issued an open challenge to any AEW star to challenge him for the title, a gauntlet that was almost immediately accepted by Jungle Boy Jack Perry as soon as it was thrown down. One of AEW's most beloved athletes, Perry has risen through the ranks, entrancing fans with his wars against Christian Cage, The Lucha Brothers, MJF and many others. Now, he'll stand against Japan's top champion, seeking to once again ascend to the next level internationally.

The Championship matches don't end there. In a true dream match, NJPW Strong Women's Champion Willow Nightingale, hot off her shocking championship victory over the world renowned Mercedes Mone, will challenge The Outcasts' Toni Storm, who is putting her AEW Women's World Championship on the line. While Storm is met by global scorn for her actions against All Elite Wrestling, Nightingale's rise has been embraced with adoration and love - and a championship win could put that excitement towards her into overdrive.

The lackadaisical yet uber-talented AEW International Champion Orange Cassidy finds himself in one of the biggest championship matches of his unorthodox career, battling NJPW Television Champion Zack Sabre Jr., ROH Pure Champion Katsuyori Shibata and Daniel Garcia, one of the hardest hitting competitors of the Jericho Appreciation Society with the International title at stake. Cassidy has made the world fall in love with him by doing the least to accomplish the most but once he arrives in Toronto, it may be an entirely new battlefield for him.

These once in a lifetime championship fights can only be seen as they happen live on FITE this Sunday!


This Sunday will also see former AEW World Champion CM Punk return to the ring as the Owen Hart Foundation Tournament kicks off in Toronto. Punk will be facing Satoshi Kojima in his first AEW PPV appearance since his victory over Jon Moxley at All Out 2022. Kojima, the master of the lariat, has held the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, All Japan Pro Wrestling's Triple Crown Championship, the NWA Worlds Championship and the MLW Championship, among scores of other accolade but now he seeks to hold the Owen Hart Foundation Tournament Championship and trophy. To do that, he'll have to defeat a laser-focused CM Punk, who has returned to AEW full of bile and brimstone, seeking to once again return to his elite status as the Best in the World. This physical battle may be one of the true defining moments of Forbidden Door on FITE!

Even more internationally renowned combatants will enter the fray this weekend including Konosuke Takeshita, Eddie Kingston, Chris Jericho, Sting, The Young Bucks, Tomohiro Ishii, Darby Allin, Minoru Suzuki and scores of others, each carrying the banner for their respective promotions into battle for a war in which there can only be one victor - the fans watching live across the globe this Sunday, live on FITE!

Mike Johnson is the lead reporter for PWInsider.com and has been writing about professional wrestling since 1996. He can be found on Twitter @MikePWInsider and MikeJohnsonWrites.com.