Forbidden Door weekend kicked off in style with a diverse match card that featured AEW v. AEW, AEW v. New Japan LA Dojo, AEW v. Jobbers and AEW v. New Japan to close the show and essentially open The Forbidden Door. So without further ado here’s how I ranked ’em!
Honorable Mention: Everybody in the back. Tully Blanchard introduced us to Tully Blanchard Enterprises for the first time since the trio of Kaun, Toa and Brian Cage was formed back in April at Supercard of Honor. He later interrupted Lee Moriarty attempting to challenge ROH World Champion Jonathan Gresham which led to Gresham challening Tully’s boys to a match against he and Moriarty which Tully accepted. The Gunn Club was up to their usual antics when Billy broke the news of the Buy-In match and Austin and Colten got really excited to get their passports and head to the Tokyo Dome! Caster said “Yo. Listen.” and Bowens asked how they keep getting the locations wrong with their “Woody and Buzz Lightyear looking asses” before telling them they were going to Chicago and doing a group scissoring session. Swerve tried to hype up the recent success of he and Keith Lee and their Buy-In match Sunday but Lee said anyone can watch Dark Elevation and see they’re not on the same page but they can get can get there. Swerve butched the word “indubitably” to which Lee responded “Like I said we can get there” and walked off.
5. Eddie Kingston. “The Mad King” didn’t have a match tonight but he did have a fight. In a backstage segment he said that Forbidden Door is a big match but Blood and Guts was more important to him. He won’t be satisfied until he tastes Chris Jericho’s blood. He wants to see if Jericho’s heart pumps Kool-Aid. He wants to taste a coward’s blood. A coward dies a thousand deaths but soldiers like Eddie, Moxley, Yuta, Santana and Ortiz they only die once. Then to close the show Kingstons tried to make “The Wizard” suffer a few of those deaths when he ambused Jericho on commentary and tried to stab him with a pen before brawling with him all around the crowd. Eventually they made their way back to the commentary table where Kingston got his hands on Jericho again as he tried to talk into his headset. Kingston demanded more pens which led to the line of the night from Taz “WE RAN OUT OF PENS!” Guest commentator and ROH representative Caprice Coleman had a gem of his own when he said “You pour gas on somebody, as expensive as gas is, you hate that person!” Eddie also bit Jericho’s nose. Kingston’s just an old school savage in the best way possible!
4. Hook. “The Cold Hearted Handsome Devil’s” opponent tonight was no Celebrity in New Japan L.A. Dojo student The DKC and with The 20/20 Experience of having taken a beating at the hands of Hook maybe DKC would have chosen a different career path and become a Man of the Woods instead of a pro wrestler. Hook got another quick win with No Strings Attached to run his record to 9-0 in singles action after a high crotch throw followed by crossface strikes and a Redrum for the submission. Jericho pointed out Hook never even stopped chewing his gum. Hook continues to be one of the minute for minute best acts in the business.
3. Serena Deeb & Mercedes Martinez. Right off the bat I knew these 2 were getting a top 3 spot because they had a tag match AND HAD MATCHING GEAR! Nobody will ever understand hoe much that matters to me. Tag teams that don’t have matching gear are my biggest pet peeve in all of wrestling. This was a fun match with Martinez and Deeb essentially playing the traditional dysfunctional tag team role but rather than getting heated at each other taking their anger out on their opponents Laynie Luck and Sierra. Deeb blind tagged in early on and as she had Luck in an inverted Indian Deathlock Martunez caught Sierra trying to break it up and slammed her on to Luck, still in the hold. Deeb bridged back but Luck was able to grab the ropes. Martinez bumped into Deeb on the apron as she ran off the ropes to deliver a falling forearm strike. Martinez started to lock in the Brass City Sleeper when Deeb cut off Sierra again and locked in the Serenity Lock and both women tapped simultaneously. This duo is now 4-0 and while logic would indicate Deeb challenging Martinez for the ROH Women’s Championship them becoming essentially the female version of the BCC without any students is a fun avenue that I hope they go down for a while.
2. Jeff Cobb. The 2004 Olympian representative of Guam showed he didn’t need anybody else when he beat Cash Wheeler in a clean match without their respective tag partners at ringside. During the pre-match interview Cash reminded us that singles wrestling isn’t his forte but he was going to do his best to hurt Cobb tonight and send him into Forbidden Door at less than 100%. To a degree he succeeded despite the loss as he spent most of the match working over the heavily taped leg of Cobb. Despite Cash being the less experienced singles guy in FTR he carried his weight here. He also carried Cobb’s when he reversed Cobb’s attempt to suplex him from the apron inside off the second rope into a sunset flip powerbomb that he turned into a traditional powerbomb when he walked Cobb half-way across the ring. Cash also showed off some of his athleticism as prior to that exchange he vaulted out of the ring and on to Cobb on the floor and after it hit a hurricanrana. Cash almost got the win late when he reversed a Tour of The Islands attempt into a roll-up but it was only good enough for 2. After working over Cash’s back most of the match with a slam and whip into the ring post, plus a standing surfing pose on it Cobb eventually got the win with the Tour of the Islands. After the match pure chaos (no pun intended) ensued with United Empire brawling with members of Chaos and FTR and Jericho and Kingston tearing through the crowd. This felt like a much better closing than what they did on Dynamite which I think could have worked if it wasn’t two well liked faces in the stare down.
1. Andrade El Idolo. Again, when I saw he and Fenix on the card I was pumped to watch it but terrified to take notes. And once again I had a full page of notes for this match. This was a sensational showing of what both men are capable of and evidence of why, in my opinion they are both in the top 10 of bell to bell in-ring guys in the business today! I’ll try to limit it to the really big/important spots but there were so many; Andrade tried for a 3 Amigos early on but Fenix stopped the third attempt and landed a 3 Amigos of his own. Fenix, in a spot only Fenix…and maybe Dante Martin…can do lept to the top rope and stalled for a couple of seconds before flattening Andrade with a dropkick. His balance is something better compared to famed hire wire walker Philippe Petit than any pro wrestler. But even the best high wire acts can fall with an unstable cable and that’s what happened when Fenix attempted his rope run kick but Andrade pulled the rope out to crotch him on the top. Fenix was then put in the corner on the apron but he ducked as Andrade’s doible knees crashed into the ring post which allowed Fenix to fly off the top with a dounle stomp to the back of a leaning Andrade on the floor. Fenix hit a Spanish Fly inside the ring but couldn’t score the 3 as Jericho and Taz talked about the importance of hooking the leg which Fenix did not do. Jose, Andrade’s assistant then slid him the tablet but referee Aubrey Edwards stopped him allowing Andrade to try for a lowblow behind her back as she clashed with Jose. But Fenix blocked the low blow kick and Andrade instead poked the eye of Fenix. Fenix tried his rebound heel kick but Andrade kicked out his leg. El Idolo tried for a Figure 4 but Fenix kicked him into the corner and followed up with his 2nd rop spinning heel kick and a tope con hilo to the floor. At this point Jose got in the ring and he and Alex Abrahantes started getting heated distracting Aubrey again but this time so Rush could come down and low blow Fenix on the floor. Back inside Andrade followed it up with his El Idolo hammerlock DDT for the win. After the match Rush and Andrade put on La Faccion Ingobernable shirts and raised their fists and Rush unmasked Fenix which brought out Penta with a shovel to run them off. Lucha Bros. v. Rush & Andrade is absolute must see for me and so was this match! A hell of a way to kick off a big weekend for AEW!