While Forbidden Door is officially finished, the afterglow of the AEW x NJPW co-promotional Pay-Per-View is very much still alive and well for the fans who either watched along from home or were lucky enough to make it out to the United Center in Chicago.
The card had long-term storytelling, newfound rivalries, and made more than a few NJPW talents, most notably, Clark Connors, El-Phantasmo, and Shota Umino, who transformed themselves into legitimate names to watch for stateside fans of professional wrestling. The main events worked, even if the four-way for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship had a slight audible at the end, and ultimately, many of both promotion’s stars showed up and showed out in what should go down as a signature moment of many a career.
But there was one NJPW performer who was notably absent from both the card and the show who many a fan of both promotions was hoping to see, a man who knows a thing or two about putting on big-time bouts on the North American continent: Tetsuya Naito.
That’s right, Tetsuya Naito, the trucker cap-wearing leader of Los Ingobernables de Japon who has torn up rings across TNA, Ring of Honor, and CMLL, in addition to being one of the biggest stars in all of NJPW over the past half- decade. On a show where American fans received the sincerest pleasure of watching the likes of Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi, and Shingo Takagi deliver impressive bouts of athleticism against the best talents AEW has to offer, why didn’t Naito make it into the ring or at at least make it onto the ramp to set something up for the future?
Maybe it’s because the American iteration of his faction, La Facción Ingobernables, were unable to perform at an event co-promoted by NJPW despite debuting two days earlier on the go-home edition of AEW Rampage, Or maybe it was because Naito has long been a favorite to win the G1 Climax later next month and NJPW wanted to better guarantee his health heading into their biggest tournament of the year.
2 reasons why Naito may have been absent from AEW x NJPW’s Forbidden Door,
2. No La Facción Ingobernable
The original plan for Forbidden Door Tony Khan, Gedo, and Rockey Romero ultimately put together.
Now granted, that shouldn’t be too surprising, as TK discussed during his media scrum, any wrestling promotion could field an incredible Pay-Per-View just using the performers who were hurt for the two promotions, but the reason performers like Rey Fenix, Penta, Rush, and Andrade El Idolo weren’t at United Center had nothing to do with Doc Sampson. No, that quartet was out because of good old-fashioned inter-promotional beef, in this case between NJPW and CMLL, with the latter holding out their performers from the show, and dashing what could have been a very interesting match between Andrade and Will Osprey.
Now granted, there were members of the Los Ingobernables de Japon on the Forbidden Door card, with Shingo Takagi becoming a Dude with Attitude, and Hiromu Takahashi initially scheduled for that match too before falling victim to a pre-show fever, but the real money pairing from the fact, at least in the eyes of AEW and NJPW fans, would have been Naito and La Sombra, which is the name Andrade used before taking his talents to The Fed.
With La Facción Ingobernable now a part of AEW, the Forbidden Door should remain open for Naito to make his way onto dynamite, Rampageor maybe even All Out 2022.
1. Naito has to prepare for the G1
If Los Ingobernables de Japon wasn’t going to be a featured part of the show, why risk putting Naito in a mid-card match and risk him getting hurt, especially when the G1 Climax is less than three weeks away?
That is the theory Super J-Cast suggested a few days before the show, it became fully apparent that Naito wasn’t going to be a last-minute addition to the show, and actually makes a ton of sense; Naito has been one of the featured performers in NJPW so far this calendar year and after suffering a knee injury that kept him out of the G1 in 2021, why risk having to completely rework a massive 28-person tournament if he is unable to go, especially if he is being booked for a prolific run?
Re: Naito not working Forbidden Door – wouldn’t surprise me if NJPW wanted to wrap him in cotton wool before the G1 starts considering what happened last year. He has a 6-man and two 10-man tags between now and G1. Lots of people think he’s the favorite to win it.
— Super J-Cast (@thesuperjcast) June 25, 2022
Better to play it safe and save Naito’s Forbidden Door appearance for a special occasion, be that a choice episode of Dynamite, another Pay-Per-View, or Forbidden Door II than take a massive risk for a minimal return.