AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door 2022 match grades, results: Jon Moxley, FTR, PAC win gold, Claudio Castagnoli is ‘All Elite’


Before the COVID-19 pandemic, there was talk of All Elite Wrestling and New Japan Pro Wrestling teaming up. Many expected it would be a success, considering the talent that would have most likely been involved at the time. Sunday night, the dream finally became a reality with AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door at Chicago’s United Center. The show delivered, and then some.

The crowd was on its feet the entire night, cheering for their favorites from both organizations. It marked a great time to be a pro wrestling fan.

Jon Moxley beat Hiroshi Tanahashi to become the interim AEW world champion. He now has a date with champion CM Punk, who could not make the show because of an injury.

Also on the card, FTR added to their incredible resume by becoming IWGP tag team champions. They now hold the IWGP, Ring of Honor, and AAA tag team titles. PAC won his first singles gold in AEW, becoming AEW All-Atlantic champion. Thunder Rosa retained the AEW women’s world title. Jay White defended the IWGP world heavyweight title. Adam Cole may have gotten hurt in the process.

The biggest news of the night was that Claudio Castagnoli, the former Cesaro from WWE, made his AEW debut. He recently left WWE and replaced Bryan Danielson in a match against Zack Sabre Jr.

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The Sporting News provided live updates, match grades and highlights from AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door. Here’s how it all went down.

AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door 2022 live results, highlights

7 p.m. ET: The Buy-In is live! Taz, Kevin Kelly (of ROH and English-language NJPW commentary fame) and Excalibur are on commentary. We have English- and Japanese-speaking ring announcers tonight.

Hirooki Goto and Yoshi-Hashi def. QT Marshall and Aaron Solo

QT Marshall and Aaron Solo vs. Bishamon (Hirooki Goto and Yoshi-Hashi) opens the Buy-In for Forbidden Door.

Solo and Yoshi-Hashi are starting things off. The Factory have actually been invading NJPW shows, so there is a story to this match. Following a test of strength, Yoshi-Hashi takes down Solo. Marshall and Goto then get tagged in and the crowd boos Marshall throughout his time in the ring. Goto and Yoshi-Hashi team up against The Factory. Marshall mocks his opponents, allowing Goto to tag in Yoshi-Hashi, who cleans house. Marshall eventually teases the Diamond Cutter, then lands two kicks and a Cutter, but only for two. The Factory members both miss splashes and Yoshi-Hashi tags in Goto. Solo runs into a superkick. Yoshi-Hashi and Goto then take care of Marshall for the win. A solid start to the show, with NJPW having the edge in wins already.

Grade: B-

Lance Archer def. Nick Comoroto

It is The Factory vs. Suzuki-Gun. Archer attacks Comoroto right away. Both big men try their best to outdo the other. Comoroto attempts to keep Archer down, but Archer tries to recover at various points. He manages to buy himself time by slamming Comoroto down to the floor. Both trade shots, to the delight of the crowd. Archer walks the ropes and hits a moonsault. Comoroto climbs up the ropes, but Archer kicks him in the face. He then lands the Blackout on Comoroto for the win.

A serviceable match that highlighted the skills of both wrestlers. Comoroto to New Japan would be an interesting move to make, if possible.

Grade: C-

Keith Lee and Swerve Strickland def. El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru

Keith Lee and Swerve Strickland vs. El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru is up next. Can Swerve and Lee co-exist? Kanemaru and Lee face off in the ring first. Lee uses his size to overpower Kanemaru, so the latter tags in Desperado. Desperado and Swerve now face off. The crowd loves Lee and Swerve as Desperado tries for a submission. He lands it on the outside as Swerve’s knee is in trouble. Lee is in and Desperado works on his leg. Kanemaru is now confident enough to face Lee and works on his leg as well.

Desperado and Kanemaru try to attack Lee together, but Lee chops them both down. As Lee gets Kanemaru up, Desperado attacks Lee’s knee, and Kanemaru lands a DDT. On one leg, Lee kicks Desperado off him, and Swerve attacks the NJPW star. Swerve lands a brainbuster but Desperado kicks out. Spinebuster by Desperado. Lee is taking his time to recover. Swerve on his own lands a backbreaker and a facebuster. Lee is finally up and gets tagged in. Kanemaru goes for Lee’s knee and has Lee down for the Figure-Four. Desperado has Swerve in a submission but Lee grabs Desperado and throws him onto Kanemaru. Sunset flip attempt, and Lee attempts a double-team move. Desperado stops Swerve from performing it. Desperado distracts the ref and Kanemaru spits whiskey to Lee’s eyes. Swerve cleans house, Lee recovers and hits his finisher on Kanemaru for the win.

After, Powerhouse Hobbs and Ricky Starks call out Swerve and Lee. Very solid match that sold the story of Lee and Swerve having problems with one another. The leg work against Lee was very well done.

Grade: A-

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Billy Gunn and Max Caster def. Alex Coughlin, The DKC, Yuya Uemura and Kevin Knight

The Gunn Club (Billy, Austin and Colten Gunn) and Max Caster face off against NJPW LA dojo stars Alex Coughlin, The DKC, Yuya Uemura and Kevin Knight. Danhausen distracts Gunn Club and the dojo kids attack the heel team. It is only Billy Gunn and Caster in the ring since Billy’s sons went to look for Danhausen.

Caster takes care of the dojo kids after a few minutes of struggling and then tags in Billy Gunn, who cleans house. Billy lands the Fameasser and Caster lands the Mic Drop for the win. Without Billy’s sons, Billy and Caster win the match against four guys. Interesting way to present the talent. AEW and NJPW are now tied 2-2 heading into the main card.

Grade: C-

8 p.m. ET: The main card has started and the Forbidden Door is no more.

Chris Jericho, Sami Guevara and Minoru Suzuki def. Eddie Kingston, Wheeler Yuta and Shota Umino

Chris Jericho, Sami Guevera and Minoru Suzuki vs. Eddie Kingston, Wheeler Yuta, and Shota Umino opens the PPV. The winning team will have an advantage for Blood & Guts this week. The fans are happy to sing “Judas” and KAZA NI NARE. It is Jericho vs. Yuta to start. Jericho dismisses Yuta and Yuta slaps Jericho. He then lands a number of German Suplexes. Everyone decides to attack one another.

Yuta then faces Guevara and tags in Umino. Jericho and Umino then face off, with Umino attacking Jericho. Kingston and Suzuki face off and just chop one another until their chests are red. The crowd loves it.

Jericho then takes advantage by beating up his enemy, Kingston. Suzuki is by the ropes and lands an armbar onto Kingston. The heels land submission moves against the faces but Kingston falls into the ropes for the break. Kingston fights back and finally tags Umino back in. He cleans house, even when Suzuki comes in. Shooting Star Press by Guevara, but Wheeler hits back with a top rope move. Kingston then lands a suicida from the middle rope. Kingston is back in and lands a spinning backfist to Suzuki. It is chaos as everyone is down.

Jericho goes for the Walls of Jericho but lands a Codebreaker instead to Umino, but only for two. Umino lands a middle rope avalanche slam to Jericho. Yuta gets distracted by Tay Conti. Umino gets hit with a bat by Guevara, Jericho misses a Judas Effect, and Umino lands a DDT and a brainbuster, but only for two. Who needs a breath? Umino goes for the Walls of Jericho but he gets kicked and head-butted. Suzuki tries to submit Kingston and lands a piledriver instead. Everyone beats up on Umino but he fights back. Judas Effect by Jericho and the match is over.

What a match. Everyone played their parts well. A lot of action and great storytelling. Jericho’s team will now have an edge at Blood & Guts.

Grade: A+

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FTR retain the ROH tag titles, win the IWGP tag team titles

AEW’s pacing is non-stop. There are no breaks in the action.

FTR (Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler) defend the ROH world tag team titles against United Empire (Great-O-Khan and Jeff Cobb) and Roppongi Vice (Trent Beretta and Rocky Romero). The IWGP tag team titles (held by United Empire) are also on the line.

Harwood and Beretta start things off. Now Cobb comes in to face Harwood. Romero and Harwood now face off. It appears that Harwood, who has a history of injuries, is hurt. He leaves the ring with the doctor.

Wheeler is alone right now as all the other teams attack him. The crowd is a bit deflated as a result. Wheeler then tags in Beretta, who attacks O-Khan. Trent and Romero then land a few moves on O-Khan. Harwood might have separated his shoulder, but he is back out, to the delight of the crowd. He attacks O’Khan and lands a big clothesline and suplexes Cobb. Trent and Harwood suplex Cobb from the top rope and Wheeler lands a frog splash to Cobb, but only for two. O-Khan is back in but he gets neutralized. Spike piledriver to O-Khan. Romero and Trent team up against Cobb. Cobb lands a powerbomb.

Romero lands a suicida and runs wild. Trent and Romero land Strong Zero against Cobb but Wheeler stops the ref from counting the three. After a few near falls, FTR lands the Big Rig for the win. They are double champions.

Great match that had the right team winning. It might have lost a few points because of the Harwood injury, but once he came back, things got very exciting. FTR continue to show why they are the best tag team in wrestling today.

Grade: A-

Juice Robinson and Jay White cut a promo talking about tonight’s matches.

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PAC wins the AEW All-Atlantic title

Clark Connors vs. PAC vs. Malakai Black vs. Miro is up next to determine the first AEW All-Atlantic champion. Connors replaced Tomohiro Ishii, who suffered a knee injury not long after being put into the match. PAC attacks Black right away while Connors looks on. Connors finally gets in on the action until Miro halts all his momentum. Connors gets taken out on the floor by Miro, who spots Black. PAC and Black continue their rivalry. Although things got sloppy early on, everyone recovered.

Black tries to get Connors to submit, but Miro drags Connors by the hair to stop the attempt. Miro punishes Connors. Black and Miro team up against PAC. Black and Miro then face off, to the delight of the crowd. Miro attempts to attack PAC but PAC kicks him away. PAC goes right after Black on the floor and finally has momentum. Dropkick by PAC to Miro, and now Connors lands a few suplexes.

Black gets a table and sets it up outside. Miro and Black attempt to put one another through it. PAC goes up top but Miro catches him. Connors ends up spearing Black through the table.

Connors is now running wild. He lands his finisher on PAC but Black intervenes. PAC goes to the top for the Black Arrow. Black stops it and a Tower of Doom spot commences. Miro cleans house and goes after PAC. He lands his submission, and although PAC makes it to the ropes he locks it back in. Black spits the black mist onto Miro. PAC lands Black Arrow onto Black, who had Connors in a submission. PAC then lands a submission on Connors and gets the win.

What a match. Once the table spot happened, things clicked. A great outing by Connors, who surprised many. PAC wins his first singles gold in AEW.

Grade: A

Darby Allin, Sting and Shingo Takagi def. The Young Bucks and El Phantasmo

The Young Bucks are back in Bullet Club, if only for one night. They team with El Phantasmo against Darby Allin, Sting and Shingo Takagi. Sting doesn’t come out, which doesn’t bode well for the face team. Instead, he jumps the heel team from behind.

Takagi and Sting take turns hurting El Phantasmo. Young Bucks then come in to attack Allin. Phantasmo does a few rolls and just backrakes Allin. Now the Young Bucks rake the back of Allin. All three attack Allin but he finally lands a suplex to Phantasmo. Allin lands the Code Red as Hikuleo (on the outside) attacks Sting. Takagi is in the match and attacks the Young Bucks. Takagi dismantles the Bucks, landing multiple kicks and a Death Valley Driver. Sting then cleans house. Phantasmo tries to take down Sting, but he lands a few splashes. Allin lands a stunner, and the Bucks start hitting superkicks. Sting no-sold it, to the delight of the crowd.

Coffin Drop attempt by Allin was avoided, followed by More Bang for Your Buck. The Young Bucks take out Takagi and Allin. Sting is left with Phantasmo, who walks the ropes and lands a moonsault to the outside. Sting teases going outside but a triple superkick lands against him. BTE Trigger misses and the Bucks hit each other. Scorpion Death Drop by Sting, he takes out Phantasmo and now it’s Takagi’s turn. Last of the Dragon by Takagi against Phantasmo for the win.

Sting is incredible at 63. A solid match featuring all the major players of AEW and NJPW.

Grade: A-

AEW is returning to New York for Grand Slam inside Arthur Ashe Stadium on Sept. 21.

Shota Umino is in the back and Chris Jericho blinds him with a fireball.

Thunder Rosa def. Toni Storm, retains the AEW women’s world title

Thunder Rosa defends the AEW women’s world title against Toni Storm. Both use technical moves to start, trying to dictate the feeling-out process. They now slap one another and land punishing blows. Storm has the edge until Rosa lands a stunner to get the momentum on her side.

Rosa now slows things down by trying to form a submission. Storm puts Rosa through the ropes and tries a DDT. Rosa, however, lands a DDT on the outside. Storm recovers and tries to go up top, but Rosa catches her. German Suplex by Storm to the edge of the apron. Hip attack by Storm rocks the face of Rosa. Rosa lands a counter move to Storm’s arm and she lands a Death Valley Driver. She lands the Thunder Driver but Storm kicks out.

Kicks don’t affect Storm, who catches Rosa. Final Reckoning by Rosa, with shades of Dustin Rhodes, lands for the win.

Thunder Rosa finds another way to win a match. A great showing by both women, something that the division in general can do when given the time.

Grade: A-

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Will Ospreay def. Orange Cassidy, retains IWGP U.S. heavyweight title

Will Ospreay defends the IWGP U.S. heavyweight title against Orange Cassidy next. Ospreay and Cassidy start off hot right away, with Cassidy’s hands in his pockets. Cassidy then lands a hurricanrana while mocking Ospreay. Big kick by Ospreay. Ospreay runs around the ring and is springboarded by the United Empire members onto Cassidy.

Cassidy is injured and Ospreay mocks him. Spinning backbreaker by Ospreay and he continues to attack the back. He puts his hands in Cassidy’s pockets and mocks him. Cassidy with a hip toss and now he begins his attack. He lands a crossbody off the top rope, but as he goes for a high move, Ospreay just counters. Flipping kick by Ospreay connects and so does a diving elbow.

Hidden Blade attempt by Ospreay is nixed since Cassidy fell to the floor. Now mad, Cassidy gets up. With his hands in his pockets, Cassidy powers up. He lands relaxed kicks to the head of Cassidy and later lands legit kicks. Ospreay lands kicks of his own. Oscutter attempt by Ospreay blocked casually by Cassidy, who lands a stunner. Michinoku Driver by Cassidy and the fans have not stopped cheering. DDT by Cassidy, who dives onto the outside. Ospreay distracts the ref and United Empire attempt to attack Cassidy. A dive onto United Empire and a DDT by Cassidy to Ospreay connects for two. Spanish Fly by Ospreay only gets two.

Cassidy puts Ospreay through the camera on the top rope. An Oscutter lands, but only for two. Hidden Blade by Ospreay blocked, and a Stormbreaker is countered into a hurricanrana. Lariat by Ospreay, Hidden Blade by Ospreay connects, but Cassidy kicks out. The Stormbreaker finally lands and Ospreay retains.

What an amazing match, but that was expected. When he is motivated, Ospreay is one of the best out there. Cassidy is an excellent wrestler.

Grade: A+

Trent and Barretta come out to save Cassidy after the match, but United Empire are too much. Katsuyori Shibata comes out, to the shock of everyone. He helps Cassidy and then puts on Cassidy’s sunglasses. What a moment.

Claudio Castagnoli def. Zack Sabre Jr.

Who is replacing Bryan Danielson against Zack Sabre Jr.? It is Claudio Castagnoli, the former Cesaro. The fans are going crazy for him after he departed from WWE.

Claudio attacks Sabre right away. Neutralizer by Claudio, but only for two. Running uppercut by Claudio and the fans are loving this. Delayed suplex by Claudio after a few seconds of stalling. Sabre now recovers and lands a submission move to Claudio’s leg outside the ropes. He finally takes Claudio down and attacks the fingers and hand. Sabre then works Claudio’s arm. That man is a wizard. Double backbreaker by Claudio and uppercuts connect. Sabre rakes Claudio’s eyes and holds onto an armbar. Claudio tries to land on the outside to back Sabre let go, but the latter won’t do it. Claudio just holds Sabre, walks on the stairs and just chucks him over the top rope.

A swing attempt turns into a Sabre counter. Claudio lands a running uppercut from the ring to the top of the rope. An uppercut puts Sabre down, and another. Claudio tries for the swing, but he only lands six because Sabre hurt his arm. Claudio then tries a Sharpshooter but Sabre counters into a heel hook. A reversal happens, followed by a Sharpshooter. Claudio lands huge uppercuts but Sabre goes for the choke. Sabre with some kicks (like Danielson), but Claudio doesn’t budge. Springboard uppercut, spinning clothesline, and then a powerbomb gives Claudio the win.

What an epic match. Forbidden Door continues to impress. A great debut for Claudio, who looks happy.

Grade: A+

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Jay White retains the IWGP world heavyweight title

Jay White defends the IWGP world heavyweight title next against Kazuchika Okada, “Hangman” Adam Page, and Adam Cole. Okada got the loudest reaction of the night.

White leaves the ring to start things. Cole leaves next. Okada and Page are in the ring, which was meant to be the original match. Cole and White both attack Okada and Page, the latter two now working together. Tope Suicida by Page. White saves Cole from an outside attack. Cole and White then suplex Page on the stage. They shift their attention to Okada. Page recovers and takes care of White. He then cleans house of the heels. Cole hits a superkick while Page was ready for a moonsault. Okada fights the heels and lands his signature dropkick.

Okada with a diving crossbody into the crowd. White checks on Cole but Page attacks. Pin attempt by Page is stopped by Cole. Cole lands the backstabber onto White as they did a Bullet Club reunion. Cole and White go at it now, and White lands suplexes for him and everyone. Boom by Cole, dropkick by Okada, lariat by Page and all four men are down. Page with a powerbomb to White, and then a moonsault to the outside. Gedo tries to interfere on behalf of White but fails. Buckshot Lariat (Page) and Bladerunner (White) blocked, and now a Dead Eye by Page lands. Buckshot Lariat lands for Page but Okada stops the pin attempt.

Okada and Page square off with the crowd split. Dropkick by Okada misses. Cole is back in, and Okada sees the end. Okada goes up and lands a flying elbow. Rainmaker attempt misses, Buckshot by Page misses, and Cole hits Page and Okada with two superkicks. Okada then lands a dropkick but the Rainmaker misses. Cole hits multiple superkick. Another Rainmaker misses, and White hits the Bladerunner to Okada. He pins Cole to retain the title.

All four men gave it their all. It appeared as though Cole was injured at some point in the match. White winning was expected, but it was a weird ending sequence. Seeing Okada in a ring is always a special experience.

Grade: A-

The Undisputed Elite (Young Bucks and Kyle O’Reilly) come out afterward to check on Cole.

Jon Moxley def. Hiroshi Tanahashi, wins interim AEW world title

The interim AEW world title is on the line next. Jon Moxley faces Hiroshi Tanahashi. The crowd is still active and cheering as loud as it can. Both wrestlers start off slowly to test the other out. Tanahashi lands a dropkick and an air guitar. They trade blows and Tanahashi connects with a shot to Moxley’s knee. Moxley recovers and starts landing violent blows. A piledriver by Moxley, but only for two.

Crowd is distracted by a fight in the stands. During that time, Moxley lands a Cloverleaf. Fighting out of it, Tanahashi hits a summersault senton. Tanahashi skins the cat after being put outside the ring, but Moxley shoves him back out. Moxley puts Tanahashi through a table with a uranage, but Tanahashi beats the count. Moxley says he is the Ace of wrestling, not Tanahashi. Tanahashi takes exception and pummels Moxley. He lands a slingblade and now Moxley is bleeding. Tanahashi went to the top rope and flew on top of Moxley, who is bleeding badly.

Moxley is looking for the finish, but Tanahashi counters. Paradigm Shift by Moxley, but only for two. Tanahashi with a knee, and then a high-flying dive. Going for his High Fly Flow, Moxley kicks out and lands a submission hold. Cranking Tanahashi’s neck, Moxley is trying to win now. A rear-naked choke by Moxley almost gets reversed into a pin. Both trade clotheslines, Tanahashi kicks out at one from a big one. Moxley now hammers away at Tanahashi and lands a choke. Tanahashi fights back and gets out of it. Moxley lands the Death Rider, however, for the win.

An excellent match. Moxley and Tanahashi brought their A-games, as expected. Another solid match to end the show. Moxley now has a date with destiny against CM Punk.

Grade: A

After the match, Daniel Garcia and Chris Jericho attack Moxley and Tanahashi. Eddie Kingston comes out to help Moxley and Tanahashi. Now, all the participants of the Blood & Guts match come out to brawl. Claudio comes back out and attacks Jericho.

Sporting News show thoughts

Fans will look back on this show with great pride. Just about everything clicked, from the Buy-In to the main event. New Japan talent was showcased in the best way possible, in front of fans who could cheer for them. That was something the wrestlers haven’t had in a while. AEW and NJPW teaming up might have been the best thing to happen to pro wrestling over the last few years. This was also done with several injured stars not able to be a part of the event. If a Forbidden Door-like event happens again next year, just imagine the possibilities.

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