Jim Cornette believes AEW could have done more to protect a New Japan legend at AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door.
After a series of pre-show matches, Forbidden Door properly got going with the clash between AEW World Champion MJF and Japanese legend Hiroshi Tanahashi.
While MJF is arguably at the peak of his powers, the 46-year-old Tanahashi is showing the wear and tear of a man who has been wrestling a stunningly hard-hitting style since 1999. The match also came just 24 hours after Tanahashi wrestled Swerve Strickland on Collision.
Although the crowd stayed with the match, and the commentary put over the legend of Tanahashi for those watching at home, his physical limitations occasionally came to the fore during the 15-minute match.
Looking back at the event and this match in particular on his Jim Cornette Experience Podcast, the legendary manager explained how AEW could have done more to protect Tanahashi and make him seem special. Cornette said that not having him wrestle the night before, and making the bout with MJF shorter would have helped a great deal.
“At least MJF mocked the whole presentation of everything and Tanahashi’s air guitar, which I guess is the thing and the way he walks bow legged, which is obviously a thing. And again, we talked about this on the, what show did we just do, the experience a couple of days ago?
Tanahashi is a legend in Japan and so people obviously are forgiving. Because when you see him for the first time over here, some person sees him without context. He’s like, What the f*ck? Is he injured is he broke down? He walks by. Yes, it’s from a lifetime of becoming a legend in Japanese wrestling.
But right now. If you get a legend that can’t go anymore, but the people still want to see him, protect him. Don’t make him go 20 minutes and singles matches where all the shit that he does your job guys in your company on free TV every Wednesday, do it better and higher and quicker and faster, and whatever the f*ck.
And if the legend can’t connect verbally by speaking to people, then that takes that away. So now you’ve got this guy that you’ve heard about, you’ve always wanted to see, and he comes in and he’s broken down and he’s trying to do sh*t that he did how many years ago, and it doesn’t work and you don’t have any emotional connection to him as a person. You know, I’m not saying every legend has to be in a tag team match, don’t have it go so long.”
Jim Cornette Full Of Praise For MJF
Although Jim Cornette felt that tweaking the presentation of the match would have helped, he also moved to praise MJF for working hard to make the most of the situation. However, his own performance was limited by Tanahashi’s obvious limitations in the ring.
“I mean, MJF did the best he could here with what he had to work with, but my God, it was a tribute to him that this was as good as it was he worked as a heel. It wasn’t just a collection of meaningless spots. And MJF was using all the tricks. But a tonne of the punches are horrible.
He can’t get to the top rope, but he kept doing it. He can’t get up there and then he can’t stand up there. And the announcers were blaming the difference in the New Japan ring turnbuckles. Well, yeah, or it could have been gravity. They could have explained it that way. He was doing sh*tty cross bodies off the top rope. And then I mean, just again, and I’m thinking where is f*cking Nigel, goddamnit who probably knows more about Japanese wrestling than anybody except Kevin Kelly and old sock face there.
And MJF would try to delay, he hit the shoulder breaker, but he sold his knee too, so that it would try to give it to show him some weakness so that the other guy could legitimately take it but their World Champion is working with a guy who is not impressive. And unless you’re a Japanese wrestling fan, you got no idea how he would ever become a superstar. And that’s why I’m saying protect the legends.”
AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door has been praised across the board, and Tony Khan has since revealed that it was the largest live gate in All Elite Wrestling history.
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