With the Forbidden Door Now Open, Are AEW and NJPW in a Working Relationship?

Published 02/11/2021, 7:15 AM EST


A pipe dream of fans vying for an alternative wrestling product is finally shaping into a reality. The forbidden door has been opened by Tony Khan, Jon Moxley and Kenta.

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At AEW Beach Break, Kenta made a shocking appearance in Jacksonville, attacking the IWGP US Heavyweight Champion Jon Moxley after the main event.

While this isn’t the first time a NJPW star has appeared in AEW, it has served as the beginning of a new working relationship.

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The forbidden door between AEW and NJPW is open

In 2020, Jeff Cobb made his AEW debut, fighting Jon Moxley on Dynamite. While he wrestled for AEW, he was still under his NJPW contract. He soon returned to New Japan after suffering a defeat in his debut match.

Another AEW star who wrestled in NJPW is Chris Jericho. Jericho carried the AEW World Championship to the Tokyo Dome and faced Hiroshi Tanahashi, who he defeated via submission.

Jericho’s main rival, Jon Moxley, defended the IWGP US Heavyweight Championship against Lance Archer at Wrestle Kingdom.

While passage between NJPW and AEW existed, the forbidden door remained firmly shut. Apart from Cobb, Moxley and Jericho, who were already under New Japan contracts, no other wrestler featured in New Japan. With Kenta coming to AEW, they have blasted the forbidden door wide open.

AEW CEO Tony Khan changed his Twitter location to ‘the Forbidden Door,’ which sparked even more speculation about this new working relationship.

If the door is indeed open, one can expect the IWGP Heavyweight Double Champion Kota Ibushi, or the longest reigning champion, Kazuchika Okada, to wrestle in AEW.

Will AEW’s talent compete in NJPW?

Apart from Jon Moxley, who will defend the IWGP US Heavyweight Championship at New Beginning USA, we might look at more cross-promotion matches. Kenta made his AEW debut by teaming up with Kenny Omega against Lance Archer and Jon Moxley.

At IMPACT Wrestling’s Hard to Kill, Kenny Omega and the Good Brothers appeared, donning the original Bullet Club shirts. The Bullet Club is a New Japan exclusive faction, with the Elite coming to All ‘Elite’ Wrestling.

This might anger the Bullet Club members in Japan, who include a bunch of mean wrestlers, including Kenta, Jay White, Tama Tonga, Bad Luck Fale and Taiji Ishimori.

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Jay White even warned the Elite against any ‘cheap rip off’ of the real Bullet Club.

“I’m still Bullet Club, I’m real Bullet Club. This is real Bullet Club right here. We’re not a cheap ripoff trying to recreate the past, trying to regain some relevance and doing corny reunions just so you could sell s**tty t-shirts.”

A Bullet Club vs Bullet Club match would be off the charts and would only expand each promotion’ reach into the other market. AEW would benefit from being exposed to a Japanese market, and New Japan would obviously reap the benefits of being in a working relationship with an American promotion.

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Nathan Fulgado

1001 articles

Nathan Fulgado is a WWE and AEW author at EssentiallySports. Having published close to 1000 professional wrestling articles, Nathan is currently pursuing his Journalism degree from Xavier's College. He has previously worked at Free Press Journal as a local journalist.

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