AEW FORBIDDEN DOOR HITS & MISSES (6/30): Strickland vs. Ospreay, MJF vs. Hechicero, Moxley vs. Naito, Storm vs. Shirakawa, ZSJ vs. Cassidy, Danielson vs. Shingo

By Tony Donofrio, PWTorch contributor



Kazuchika Okada & The Young Bucks vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi & The Acclaimed

A fun match. I was a bit surprised to not see The Acclaimed not go over though. I doubt that they’ll be taking the Tag Titles from the Bucks so it would’ve been nice to see them get the win here to give them momentum before the tag title match occurs. I also hope this isn’t setting up some sort of match between Billy Gunn and Okada. Other than that though, this was a pretty enjoyable match.

Bryan Danielson vs. Shingo Takagi (Owen Hart Cup tournament)

Other than the idea that the outcome was a foregone conclusion this was a very good match. I still don’t like that Danielson does feel the need to oversell some injuries. I look forward to the story that is coming with Danielson in his final run as a full-time wrestler. However, I think most would like to enjoy it and not think that it’s going to be derailed at any given time with a serious injury.

Toni Storm vs. Mina Shirakawa (AEW Women’s Title)

A very solid match. Storm is one of the more consistent in-ring performers in the AEW women’s division. Shirakawa was a pleasant surprise during her run in the lead up to Forbidden Door for someone like me that hasn’t seen a lot of Stardom. I suppose the only route that practically nobody predicted could have been the best one for now. The fact that no one turned on each other and that all three women left together respectfully was a good non-twist. The Storm-Mariah May story has been one of the better stories on AEW TV in 2024 and I look forward to it continuing.

Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Orange Cassidy

Another strong match. What stood out most about this match was that it was one of the few on the evening that I didn’t have a strong feeling either way going in as to who was going to win. Sabre’s submission finisher was very unique and one I hadn’t seen before. I also don’t see Cassidy having much trouble bouncing back from this loss.

Samoa Joe & Hook & Katsuyuri Shibata vs. Chris Jericho & Big Bill & Jeff Cobb

I was a bit surprised at how well this match came off and gave it a minor hit. Chris Jericho and his Learning Tree schtick is very polarizing. I’ve read and listened to experts from different platforms that have completely different opinions on this new version of Jericho. Count me on the side that is still mildly amused by it and looking forward to seeing where it ends up. I think there’s something to Hook and Joe also but I’m hoping they focus more on them as a tag team going forward rather than a trio with Shibata. Having said that, I assume we still need to see Hook wrap up his feud with Jericho before that happens.

Konosuke Takeshita vs. Jack Perry vs. Dante Martin vs. Mark Briscoe vs. Lio Rush vs. El Phantasmo (TNT Title; Ladder Match)

This was a really fun ladder match and helped jump start the crowd at this point in the show. However, it was fairly predictable as most of the show was. I was really hoping to see a crowning moment for Takeshita but it wasn’t meant to be on this night. It appears as though over 10,000 in NYC felt the same way during the show. Putting that aside, I am interested to see what Perry can do with this title run.

Mercedes Mone vs. Stephanie Vaquer (TBS & NJPW Strong Women’s Title)

Yet another predicable match but the work speaks for itself. Both women worked really well together. At this point though, I hope Tony Khan realizes what he has in Mone as a heel and lets her lean into that. I’m not sure Mone has what it takes to come off as a genuine babyface. Her babyface promos often come off as scripted and disingenuous. She is a natural heel. With Britt Baker returning after the match I really hope that the booking doesn’t get too cute and we get a heel Mone vs. Baker.

Swerve Strickland vs. Will Ospreay (AEW Title)

Easily the match of the night and a match of the year contender. This was a huge night for Swerve and a defining win for him even if it’s still relatively early in his title reign. I could’ve done without the Don Callis screwdriver spot to give Ospreay a bit of an out but if it leads to Ospreay finally getting out of “the family” (and taking Kyle Fletcher with him) then I’m all for it. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ospreay is the one to eventually dethrone Strickland later this year, perhaps in November or December, and I definitely look forward to them running this one back.


MJF vs. Hechicero

This was a minor miss mostly because if MJF’s character doesn’t care about the match why should any of us? The hometown crowd was still behind him so it still had a good vibe to it. If this match had taken place in a town like Columbus, OH I don’t know that it would’ve gotten the same reception. I also don’t know if this match would’ve taken place anywhere else besides NYC though either given it’s MJF’s hometown.

Jon Moxley vs. Tetsuya Naito (IWGP World Title)

This was the shocker of the night for all the wrong reasons. I expected so much more out of this match and it just was a letdown from start to finish. I suppose it shouldn’t have been that big of a surprise since the buildup was subpar at best.


With the ledger being 8-2 above, you’d think this was a slam dunk “A” show. Not quite. It was still a very good show but sometimes less is more. Two or three of these matches could’ve been left off of the card. If I had my vote it would’ve been MJF-Hechicero, the Learning Tree trios match, and perhaps Sabre-Cassidy as a strong TV main event. Rather than the main card going four hours, it would’ve gone much closer to three hours and been a much better show for it. Another key issue with the show was that most of the matches had a highly predictable outcome (an AEW trope as well). Putting that all aside, it was still a fun show. The very strong main event was also good enough to help it grade out a bit better. If you read my column this past week over at you’ll know that I think that Forbidden Door has become a major albatross around AEW booking. That is now in the rear view mirror. Sadly, another collaboration with NJPW is coming this winter. Forbidden Door was a great concept 5 years ago. When it first debuted in 2022 it was still a fun idea. This concept needs to go away, at least for a few years. But, it doesn’t appear that is happening with the companies now doubling down on the theme. Hopefully these companies can find a way to make the booking go smoother with future iterations of Forbidden Door and the newly minted Wrestle Dynasty. Overall Show: B-plus

(Tony Donofrio is a Contributor for You can contact Tony at and follow him on X (formerly Twitter)/Threads @TonyDonofrio.)

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