Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Jon Moxley Smashes Open ‘Forbidden Door’ Once and For All

Hiroshi Tanahashi Jon Moxley

If you haven’t been living under a professional wrestling rock over the last two years, you have heard about the “Forbidden Door.” The “Forbidden Door” of pro wrestling is the working relationship between All Elite Wrestling (AEW) and New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW). The comment was made by NJPW ace Hiroshi Tanahashi when he was preparing for his Wrestle Kingdom 14 match versus Chris Jericho. Jericho at the time was the AEW World Champion. Tanahashi viewed this chance as a way to finally bring together the companies by defeating Jericho and getting a title match for the gold. Of course, it was Jericho who won the match and the talk of the “Forbidden Door” began to dramatically die down. Both promotions were separated and hope was seemingly gone for fans.

Then on Feb. 10, 2021, NJPW star KENTA shocked the world when he took out Jon Moxley on AEW Dynamite. It was at this moment that the “Forbidden Door” began to creak open once again. Since then, the “Forbidden Door” has been opening repeatedly between AEW, NJPW, and IMPACT Wrestling but never to the point where it established that this is as serious as fans hoped it would be. Sure, seeing former two-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion Yuji Nagata on Dynamite was great. Current NEVER Openweight Champion Jay White showing up in IMPACT shocked the world. But was it really what people were hoping? Nope. It comes down to the biggest names in NJPW and AEW appearing on each other’s shows and now we seem to be drawing near.

Here’s why the potential Hiroshi Tanahashi versus Jon Moxley match smashes the “Forbidden Door” open forever.

Setting the Scene for this Match

Hiroshi Tanahashi Lays Down The Challenge For The IWGP United States Champion

Hiroshi Tanahashi
Credit: AEW

At AEW Fight for the Fallen, Excalibur explained on commentary that AEW owner Tony Khan was opening the “Forbidden Door” once again prior to the match between Lance Archer and Bullet Club‘s Hikuleo even taking place. Telling off the bat, as it was something that has yet to happen before. Usually, when the “Forbidden Door” stuff has happened, it’s always been a surprise appearance with little to no warning. So the moment the cut to the recorded vignette, it felt like it was going to be bigger. And that it was, as the “Ace” Hiroshi Tanahashi appeared for the first time on AEW television. He laid down the challenge to whoever wins the IWGP United States Championship match later in the night, he wants next.

Tanahashi went into detail about how he’s accomplished everything during his time in NJPW except for holding that championship. To him, this is the final piece to the puzzle and one that seems to be coming back to AEW one way or another.

Jon Moxley Threatens NJPW and Tanahashi

Jon Moxley is not happy. After losing the IWGP United States Championship in which he held for 564 days, he’s angry at NJPW. The former champion would rant about how a multitude of countries could get into Japan to compete in the Olympics while he was held back from doing so. His anger was bubbling over, acknowledging how his calls to NJPW were going unanswered, his contract was left unsigned, and there seemed to be no way that Moxley could compete in NJPW despite being one of its champions. And yet, the moment he loses the title, Tanahashi is en route to compete for the IWGP United States Championship and he’s left with nothing. Rather than continuing to focus on NJPW though, Moxley switched gears to attack the “Ace.”

Moxley went in saying that Tanahashi was dodging him, running from him, and avoiding him. It was rather surreal, going as far as to say that Minoru Suzuki and Yuji Nagata got into Tanahashi’s ear to stay away after Moxley managed to successfully defend his gold against them.

“Screw you,” Moxley said. “You don’t get to wrestle me, you’re dead to me.”

“The Death Rider” of NJPW held nothing back and seemingly moved on, but we all know that there’s no chance that this man isn’t going to do what it takes to face off with Tanahashi. Moxley explained that he was sending a stack of unsigned contracts to NJPW, telling them to sign one so that he can take on a challenge. But this is all about Hiroshi Tanahashi versus Jon Moxley. As we know now, that potential matchup seems all the more likely and can be as long as all goes right at Resurgence.

Tanahashi Wins The IWGP United States Championship at NJPW Resurgence in Los Angeles

Lance Archer vs Hiroshi Tanahashi NJPW Resurgence
Credit: NJPW

As we continue to set the scene, it feels like that the potential match between Hiroshi Tanahashi and Jon Moxley will only feel right if Tanahashi is defending the championship against the former champion. That means that in his first match for the gold, the “Ace” should defeat Archer at NJPW’s Resurgence show in California. The IWGP United States Championship has yet to be held by any Japanese wrestlers despite being around since 2017. Having Tanahashi add that accolade to the legendary list that he already has wouldn’t be the worse decision. It also protects Archer, which is why some may be against switching the title again so soon.

Tanahashi and Moxley don’t necessarily need the added stakes. But for what is AEW’s biggest show of the year in Chicago, it feels right that the IWGP United States Championship is on the line. Of course, the match could be set up by Moxley costing Tanahashi the match but the smart decision by him would be to lay down the challenge the moment Tanahashi defeats Archer, giving Moxley a chance to regain his title while defeating the man that he claims is “dead” to him. It nearly writes itself and if this is what goes down at Resurgence, then these two will have the opportunity to break down the “Forbidden Door.”

Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Jon Moxley at All Out: The Final Step To Smashing Open The Forbidden Door

As we eluded to in the opening and throughout, the “Forbidden Door” has been utilized for a number of months now. Rocky Romero appearing on AEW Dark: Elevation, KENTA wrestling on Dynamite, Jon Moxley heading to NJPW Strong, Hikuleo competing for gold, and the IWGP United States Championship being repeatedly defended in AEW. All of these have been efforts by both AEW and NJPW to show that there is a relationship there, and while Moxley going to NJPW Strong is notable, it is not the defining moment to prove that this door is wide open for anybody. But Moxley facing Tanahashi at an AEW PPV? That smashes the door open forever and for good reason.

When we say smashing the door open, it makes anything possible. Los Ingobernables de Japon led by Tetsuya Naito could appear on Dynamite. Rey Fenix could enter the Best of the Super Juniors. Bullet Club could add a member from the AEW roster much as they have seemingly done with Chris Bey in IMPACT Wrestling. All these things become possible. Then, of course, there are the biggest of possibilities that people have been dreaming of since AEW was created.

A rematch between Kenny Omega and Kazuchika Okada or a match between Omega and former tag team partner Kota Ibushi. These two matches are what becomes possible once again if and when Tanahashi faces off with Moxley. It makes any surprise appearance of either companies top stars showing up in the other. The door is opened forever if this match happens. The possibilities become endless.

AEW and NJPW working together not only is best for both companies but helps change the world of professional wrestling for the better. That’s what this match can do. The “Forbidden Door” will be smashed open forever.

More from LWOS Pro Wrestling

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