Bryan Danielson Announced He's Not Medically Cleared
There have been rumblings for a few weeks that Danielson was sidelined with a concussion, and while he didn't confirm here that's what it was, he did make it clear he's not currently medically cleared. The timing is terrible with Forbidden Door on Sunday and Blood and Guts next Wednesday, but hopefully he'll be back soon, especially since he's in the midst of one of his best runs ever. He mentioned that he already has a replacement set to face Zack Sabre Jr. at the pay-per-view, and based on what he said, I'm thinking it's Claudio Castagnoli f.k.a. Cesaro.
Orange Cassidy and Roppongi Vice def. United Empire (IWGP United States Heavyweight Champion Will Ospreay and Aussie Open)
I hate that Ospreay's team lost in their AEW debut two weeks ago and I wasn't a fan of them losing here, but I understand they wanted to make Cassidy somewhat of a threat to Ospreay before he unsuccessfully challenges for the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship at the pay-per-view. It was a well-worked six-man tag team affair and the crowd was into the action. United Empire's post-match face-off with the babyfaces and FTR left me looking forward to the Winners Take All three-way tag team match more than anything.
Christian Cage Addressed Jungle Boy
Christian's heel turn has been in the works for a while and I really liked how he tied it back to Jungle Boy eliminating him from the Casino Battle Royal at last year's Double or Nothing. He also explained that he hitched his wagon to Jurassic Express for as long as he did to make money. He had the crowd in the palm of his hand the whole time and it was fantastic. Luchasaurus coming out to confront Christian only to leave the ring with him was very compelling. This program is off to a strong start.
Malakai Black def. Penta Oscuro to Qualify for the AEW All-Atlantic Championship Four-Way Match at Forbidden Door
Anyone with a working internet connection was probably already aware that The Lucha Brothers will not be at Forbidden Door because of the AAA/CMLL connection or whatever it is. Nonetheless, this was the entertaining outing I expected it would be. If Tomohiro Ishii ends up qualifying as well, that's going to be a hell of a four-way for the All-Atlantic title. My money is still on Miro becoming the inaugural champ.
"Hangman" Adam Page def. Silas Young
I popped big for Young, who I haven't seen since Ring of Honor closed its doors in December. He even came out to his entrance music from ROH, which was a really nice touch. This match gave me ROH 2015 vibes and that's a compliment. They had a really solid match and Young had a standout performance before eating defeat. Post-match, Jay White and Adam Cole attacked Page only for Kazuchika Okada to make the save. I've been waiting for Okada to arrive in AEW for a long time, so the fact it finally happened was an awesome moment. That four-way for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship at Forbidden Door should be tremendous.
Toni Storm def. Marina Shafir
I know Shafir and Storm went at it two weeks ago and thus this match made sense, but as I've said before, Shafir bores me to tears and shouldn't be on television as often as she is. Yes, she's improved from her WWE NXT days, but that's not saying much. I found it funny that Nyla Rose was at ringside for Shafir because Shafir has no personality of her own. This was decent and the crowd was behind Storm, but it was a pretty basic bout. Storm vs. Thunder Rosa at Forbidden Door has a ton of potential.
Hiroshi Tanahashi and Jon Moxley def. Lance Archer and Chris Jericho
Excalibur calling this one of the biggest Dynamite main events ever was a bit much, but all four men do have history and Tanahashi wrestling on Dynamite for the first time was certainly an attraction. That said, Archer felt out of place in there because he's been directionless for months, but at least he was the one to eat the pinfall loss. It was enjoyable enough. I applaud the effort they put into trying to make Moxley vs. Tanahashi feel as important as possible, but I absolutely would not have closed the show with the brawl that we got. They tried to promote too much stuff at once and it came across like an absolute mess.
Just as I feared, the build for Forbidden Door was very rushed at the last minute. I realize injuries got in the way, but there's no excuse why so many of the other matches had to be announced days before the pay-per-view as opposed to a week or two ago. If you're not familiar with the talent from New Japan Pro-Wrestling, then it might be more difficult to care about any of this. I'm excited for Forbidden Door and most of the matches should be top-tier, but the hype has been all over the place and I imagined it being better considering this inter-promotional event has been three years in the making.