After over a year of the Forbidden Door, the crossover event that once-seemed inevitable is finally set to take place, emanating from the United Center in Chicago, Illinois on Sunday, June 26th.
The Super-J Cast, a podcast hosted by Damon McDonald that focuses primarily on New Japan Pro Wrestling, was the first to report the news amidst speculation. You can listen to the most recent edition of their podcast here.
An affluence of AEW stars have made a name for themselves in New Japan, including The Young Bucks, who won the IWGP Junior Heayvweight Tag Team Championships on seven different occasions, Lance Archer and Jon Moxley, who exchanged the IWGP United States Championship on multiple occasions, including on an episode of AEW Dynamite. Former AEW World Heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega is perhaps the most pivotal name in New Japan Pro Wrestling history as they began to expand to North America.
The Forbidden Door has sent talents such as Jay White, Yuji Nagata, Minoru Suzuki and Satoshi Kojima to AEW previously. Adam Cole made the announcement. Cole is also set to face New Japan star Tomohiro Ishii this Friday on Rampage in an Owen Hart qualifier.
“As we have done for more than 50 years, the power of pro-wrestling can energize people by fulfilling their dreams.” New Japan President Takami Ohbari continues, “Now, it’s quite an important mission for us, the pro-wrestling industry as a whole. We are not only opening this door. We will show you NJPW’s genuine Strong-Style beyond the Forbidden door.”
All Elite CEO Tony Khan also commented on the partnership. “The United Center was home to one of AEW’s biggest events of all time, The First Dance, where CM Punk made his return to wrestling after a seven-year hiatus. This summer, fans of AEW and NJPW can expect the unexpected during this extraordinary, first-of-its-kind pay-per-view between our two incredible companies.”
The press release, which can be found on AEW’s website, noted the following about New Japan Pro Wrestling.
“Founded in 1972, New Japan Pro-Wrestling is the world’s premier professional wrestling organization. Proudly carrying the branding of ‘King of Sports’, stars like Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tetsuya Naito, Will Ospreay, Jay White and more bring fans worldwide the absolute best in-ring action worldwide. With a 50 year legacy stretching from Antonio Inoki through Tiger Mask and Jyushin Thunder Liger to Kazuchika Okada, NJPW is renowned for its Strong Style influence on the pro-wrestling landscape. Based in Tokyo, NJPW operates its U.S. business from Los Angeles, California.”
This seems to be the next step in New Japan enlarging their footprint on the pro wrestling market in North America. New Japan has been running New Japan Strong, with performers such as Moxley, Tom Lawlor, Josh Alexander and the recently signed Chris Dickinson. Furthermore, AEW also featured an ‘About AEW’ section.
“Founded by CEO, GM and Head of Creative Tony Khan, AEW is a new professional wrestling league headlined by Hangman Page, Thunder Rosa, CM Punk, Bryan Danielson, Chris Jericho, Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson), Adam Cole, Sting, Jon Moxley, Jungle Boy, Luchasaurus, Jade Cargill, Dr. Britt Baker, Scorpio Sky, Sammy Guevara, Matt and Jeff Hardy, Samoa Joe, Swerve Strickland, Miro, Lucha Bros., PAC, MJF, Darby Allin, Nyla Rose, Red Velvet, Ruby Soho, Toni Storm, Hikaru Shida, Malakai Black, Andrade El Idolo, Christian Cage, Eddie Kingston, Ethan Page, Orange Cassidy, Ricky Starks, Powerhouse Hobbs, Lance Archer, Keith Lee and many more. For the first time in many years, AEW is offering an alternative to mainstream wrestling, with a roster of world-class talent that is injecting new spirit, freshness and energy into the industry. ‘AEW: Dynamite’ airs every Wednesday from 8-10 p.m. ET on TBS and attracts the youngest wrestling audience on television. The fight-forward show ‘AEW: Rampage’ airs every Friday from 10-11 p.m. ET on TNT. AEW’s multi-platform content also includes ‘AEW Dark’ and ‘AEW Dark: Elevation,’ two weekly professional wrestling YouTube series, ‘Being the Elite,’ a weekly behind-the-scenes YouTube series, and ‘AEW Unrestricted,’ a weekly podcast series.”
The crossover event promises to be a happening and will likely feature some of the biggest names in professional wrestling. Tickets will go on sale two weeks from Friday at 10 A.M. local time. You can order them at AEWTix.com or Ticketmaster on May 6th.
Bodyslam will continue to update you on the AEW-New Japan extravaganza as more information becomes available.