One of NJPW’s most beloved main event stars is reportedly unhappy with his lack of an invitation to Forbidden Door.
Tetsuya Naito, arguably NJPW’s most popular domestic performer, took to his NJPW Diary to confirm he was never even considered for the show. While career-long arch-rivals Kazuchika Okada and Hiroshi Tanahashi performed in world title bouts, Naito never appeared on AEW screens at all.
Even more curious is the fact that Los Ingobernables de Japon stablemates Shingo Takagi and Hiromu Takahashi did get slots on the card. When Takahashi pulled out, no mention of replacing him with Naito or even teammates SANADA or BUSHI was brought up.
Instead, the eight-man tag match in question was simply reduced to a six-man bout.
Given Los Ingobernables de Japon’s runaway popularity over the years in Japan, it’s perhaps odd that they weren’t featured to the same level other New Japan factions like Bullet Club and United Empire were.
In his diary, Naito explained:
“Unfortunately I was not invited to the “AEW x NJPW” show that is being talked about all over the place. Not invited = not needed. Right? Because of that frustration, I haven’t watched any footage of this show. I’m genuinely upset about it.” [H/T Fightful]
Tetsuya Naito was one of two top-level main event attractions from New Japan to not make it onto the card. Inaugural IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Kota Ibushi has been missing in action since a catastrophic, botched Phoenix Splash at last year’s G1 Climax final.
In the months since, Ibushi has seemingly been at war with NJPW management, explaining his general absence from professional wrestling in 2022.