Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks, referred to as The Elite, left New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) back in late 2018 to start their own wrestling company, All-Elite Wrestling (AEW). With Tony Khan, the Jacksonville Jaguars’ co-owner as their backer, and Cody Rhodes, former WWE superstar, as their fellow Vice President, the group would find success in their new and risky venture. However, despite this success, The Elite’s departure from NJPW was considered rocky, their relationships strained, the chances of the two promotions working together seemed slim to none.
At the NJPW ‘s most lucrative event, WrestleKingdom 14, Chris Jericho, the AEW World Heavyweight Champion, would call this barrier between the two promotions the Forbidden Door; A door he would hope would one day be open. Even his Wrestle Kingdom opponent, Hiroshi Tanahashi, considered the Ace of NJPW, spoke of breaking down this door, promising that he would challenge the former AEW Champion if he defeats Jericho for his belt. Unfortunately for wrestling fans around the world, Jericho defeated Tanahashi, and the door remained closed.
Now, while this “Forbidden Door” existed it was not like the two promotions had no connections. Chris Jericho, who at the time was AEW champion, was wrestling in NJPW. Jon Moxley, NJPW’s current International Wrestling Grand Prix (IWGP) United States Champion, the late Brodie Lee, and others were also allowed to wrestle for both promotions. AEW added exemptions to their contracts allowing their performers to wrestle for both promotions. NJPW would not allow any bad blood between themselves and The Elite from preventing profitable business. However, this was one-sided. We could see AEW stars in NJPW, but we would not see NJPW stars in the AEW ring. And despite being one of their champions, current traveling restrictions have prevented Jon Moxley from defending his NJPW championship belt. It seemed like this was the extent of their relationship, but last night’s show saw that forbidden door kicked open.
The February 3rd show titled AEW Beach Break was fascinating. The main event consisted of Death Triangle (PAC & Rey Fenix) & Jon Moxley (Former AEW Champion) vs. Good Brothers (Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson) & The Current AEW Champion Kenny Omega in an intense back and forth with Kenny and the Good Brothers taking the victory. It’s a well-earned victory in a must-see match, leaving our current champion Kenny Omega in no condition to fight. A frustrated Jon Moxley hones in to take out his anger on the man who beat him for his AEW Championship before a masked intruder blindsides him. The intruder unmasks and reveals themselves as KENTA! A member of the Bullet Club and a current member of the NJPW roster. The forbidden door is open.
The show ends with KENTA delivering his signature GTS on Jon Moxley. His goal, Moxley’s IWGP USA Championship, and with that, we now have the beginnings of a working relationship between two great wrestling promotions. The possibilities are endless; with both sides’ potential borrowing talent, we may see some Dream matches come true. Penta El Zero Miedo and Rey Fenix in the G1, perhaps? Even better yet, how about the revival of Kenny Omega and Kazuchika Okada’s epic feud? Despite all the trouble going on in the world, wrestling is still in a fascinating place.
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