It’s safe to say that the road to Forbidden Door has been a lot rockier than AEW President Tony Khan would’ve liked.
Among the litany of injuries that have hampered the card, the long-running rivalry between Mexican promotions AAA and CMLL has bled into AEW and NJPW’s crossover show. While New Japan has a partnership with CMLL, AEW does business with AAA.
Caught in the crossfire was Will Ospreay’s original Forbidden Door opponent, Andrade El Idolo. Andrade, like many AAA talents on AEW, has been removed from the upcoming crossover show. On last night’s edition of Rampage, the former NXT Champion was booked by Tony Khan to go to war with fellow AAA star, Rey Fenix.
During Friday’s media call, Tony Khan revealed his reasoning behind putting the match together. Citing politics preventing the pair from making it onto Forbidden Door, Khan decided to provide them a showcase on the go-home edition of AEW’s Friday night show.
Praising the duo’s abilities, Tony Khan called it a “pay-per-view-quality match.” Khan further noted that, “because of the politics of pro wrestling, it didn’t make sense in the pay-per-view necessarily. But that’s okay.”
Andrade defeated Rey Fenix in a well-received, highly athletic bout. Given his history as La Sombra in New Japan, it’s a shame Andrade can’t be a part of the show. The former IWGP Intercontinental Champion would have no doubt worked an exciting bout with ‘The Aerial Assassin’.
More interesting still was Andrade’s impact on longtime NJPW fan favourite Tetsuya Naito. After being rejected by the NJPW faithful in his initial main event push, Naito relocated to Mexico and joined Andrade’s Los Ingobernables faction. In 2022, Naito’s Japanese offshoot of the group is considerably more famous at the global level.
Considering the interest in making Forbidden Door an annual extravaganza, perhaps politics will subside in the years to come and Andrade can re-connect with New Japan down the road.