AEW & NJPW’s Forbidden Door annual collaboration should be a two week event, with a show in both North America and Japan.
Last Sunday, AEW & NJPW once again teamed up for Forbidden Door 2, and it was a significant improvement over the previous year’s event.
The card, from top to bottom, was stacked and, for the most part, delivered—or even over-delivered in some cases. The IWGP US Championship match between Kenny Omega and Will Ospreay was truly a match for the ages, earning a prestigious 5-star rating from us here at Wrestling Republic.
However, despite the event’s greatness, there was one issue: it was too long. The show lasted four hours, five if you include the ‘Buy In’ pre-show. Even though the crowd was one of the loudest and most active AEW has ever had, they began to lose steam by the end and were near silent at times during the dream match main event featuring Kazuchika Okada and Bryan Danielson.
So What Was The Problem With AEW Forbidden Door?
Many fans have suggested that the match order was to blame. Realistically, it would have been impossible for anything to top Kenny Omega and Will Ospreay, yet there were still two matches scheduled after it. However, even if the matches were swapped around, I don’t believe it would have solved the issue.
Some have proposed opening the show with Danielson vs. Okada, as the technical style of the match would have likely engaged the crowd when they had more energy. This is certainly true, but the problem is that the first two matches of the night—MJF vs. Tanahashi and CM Punk vs. Kojima—were also slow-paced. If these matches were scheduled later in the show, the crowd might have been less invested.
The main problem with the show, in my opinion, was simply the number of matches. A four-hour event, including the one-hour pre-show, is too long for this style of show.
What’s The Solution To The Problem?
Initially, when I started writing this article, I considered suggesting a two-day event, creating a wrestling festival of sorts. However, after discussing the idea with fellow Wrestling Republic writer David Sheldon, he raised the obvious issue of AEW’s new weekly show, Collision, airing on Saturdays.
While I had thought of this before, my solution was to have night one of the show on Saturday afternoon, followed by a pre-recorded Collision in the evening. This would allow night one of Forbidden Door to air at a more suitable time for Japanese viewers. However, logistically, this would be a struggle and could potentially impact the viewership of Collision, which would make TNT unhappy.
David proposed a much better solution: making it a two-week event. Initially, I was uncertain about this idea as well. However, under this plan, one week could be held in North America, while the other took place in Japan. AEW could air their normal Collision show live on a Saturday at its regular time, have Forbidden Door from the same location on Sunday, Dynamite on Wednesday, a Collision taping on Thursday, and then fly over to Japan in time for night two of Forbidden Door on the following Sunday.
This two-week format would give the event a global feel, with both shows lasting three hours and no matches on the pre-shows. It would make it much easier for fans to watch and would include the same number of matches, if not more when considering both week’s shows. Additionally, this approach would allow the slower-paced, technical matches, which would likely be appreciated more in Japan, to receive the audience appreciation they truly deserve.
By adopting a two-week structure, AEW Forbidden Door could become a monumental wrestling event that embraces the global reach of professional wrestling.