Home Hits, misses from AEW-New Japan ‘Forbidden Door’: Ospreay, weird three counts, Claudio!
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Hits, misses from AEW-New Japan ‘Forbidden Door’: Ospreay, weird three counts, Claudio!

Chris Graham
Claudio Castagnoli
Claudio Castagnoli. Photo courtesy All Elite Wrestling.

The AEW-New Japan “Forbidden Door” pay-per-view seemed snakebitten from the get-go, with injuries forcing Tony Khan to book and rebook and rebook again the card.

That being the case, it was a solid show that overdelivered, albeit on lowered expectations.

Hit: Will Ospreay-Orange Cassidy

This one seemed destined to be little more than an Ospreay showcase. Ospreay is one of the top five wrestlers in the world right now; Cassidy is a mascot and personal project of Khan.

Ospreay can make anybody look good in the ring, but credit to Cassidy for being more than just a broomstick for Ospreay to play with.

Miss: Weird three counts

Rocky Romero got a near-fall on Dax Harwood late in the three-way Ring of Honor-IWGP tag title unification match, the term near-fall not quite selling it.

The referee, Stephon Smith, counted to three, then continued, hoping no one would notice.

No such luck. The crowd catcalled Smith with a “you effed up!” chant, because he had.

AEW can actually make this work to its advantage by addressing the botched three-count with a title rematch for Roppongi Vice.

The other weird three count came in the IWGP four-way title match. It’s not clear who was supposed to win, but Jay White scored the anticlimactic fall on Adam Cole after referee Rick Knox counted Cole out.

Not only did it appear that Cole might have had his shoulder up, it was clear that Cole wasn’t supposed to take the fall.

Preceding the pin attempt, Cole had escaped an attempted Rainmaker clothesline from Kazuchika Okada, who fell victim to a Switchblade DDT from White.

White rolled Okada out of the ring and went to Cole for a pin attempt.

After Knox counted to three, White said something to him.

Not sure how pleasant it may have been.

Hit: Claudio!

Claudio Castagnoli, the former Cesaro of WWE, made his debut as the mystery opponent for Zach Sabre Jr., and the new member of the Blackpool Combat Club faction.

Castagnoli would seem to figure, sooner rather than later, into the AEW world title picture.

It would indeed be wise for Khan to move Castagnoli up the ladder in a similar manner as WWE moved former AEW star Cody Rhodes to the main event after Rhodes made the jump to the rival promotion earlier this year.

Miss: Thunder Rosa retains

Nothing at all against Thunder Rosa, but the crowd wasn’t into her match with Toni Storm, who had just scored a win over Britt Baker on TV earlier in the month, and the Rosa reign as AEW women’s world champ is starting to feel like the men’s world title reign of “Hangman” Adam Page.

Fans were into the chase for both – Rosa eventually dethroning Baker, Page defeating Kenny Omega – but once they were ensconced as the faces of their respective divisions, their status with fans diminished.

Khan needs to move Baker back into that role as quickly as possible. And then make a run at the former Sasha Banks as soon as her no-compete is up.

Hit: Max Caster is so-o-o-o-o-o-o over

Max Caster was relegated to a multi-man tag match on the pre-show, which continues to be a shame, because from my ears, anyway, the only performer to get a bigger pop from the live crowd was Castagnoli, the debuting mystery guy.

At some point soon, Khan is going to realize that Caster is more than a spot, and is somebody to build around.

Or he won’t, and Caster will move up to Stamford and make his money there.

Either way.

Miss: MJF

As in, we miss MJF.

Free Maxwell Jacob Friedman.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham, the king of "fringe media," is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].