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    Friday, February 5, 2021

    #CafePuro: Love Is An Open (Forbidden) Door!

    How is everyone feeling? Are you feeling good? Because I AM PUMPED!

    Let's cut to the chase, KENTA just attacked Jon Moxley on AEW's Beach Break. That's right. The Forbidden Door has *supposedly* been knocked down!

    What is the Forbidden Door, some of you might ask? Basically, it's the metaphorical wall that restricts All Elite Wrestling and New Japan Pro-Wrestling from working with one another. The door is shut mostly on NJPW's end because Kenny Omega, former IWGP Heavyweight Champion, and other Western talent left the company to go form AEW.

    Despite the Door being closed, top wrestlers such as Chris Jericho, Hiroshi Tanahashi, and Jon Moxley have been attempting to open it and start some sort of working relationship between the two companies since 2019, to seemingly no avail. Now we don't know if the departure of Harold Meij played a role in the door finally being unlocked or what, but I'm just excited to see the possibilities that can come from a working relationship between AEW, IMPACT Wrestling, and NJPW. (Harold Meij's departure did actually play a role. More on this on today's Grapevine. —Ed.)

    Let's take a quick trip down memory lane to see how we got here:


    January 1: The Elite (Bucks, Omega, Cody, and Hangman Page) announce the launch of AEW right in front of the Tokyo Dome a few days before Wrestle Kingdom 13

    January 4: All members of The Elite lose in a clean sweep at Wrestle Kingdom 13.

    January 5: The Elite is nowhere to be found on New Year's Dash. NJPW proceeds with their schedule like normal.

    April 6: NJPW and ROH hold the G1 Supercard in Madison Square Garden. None of The Elite are present at the event, despite rumors that the show sold out with the expectation that the stable would be part of the show. 

    The rest of 2019 saw AEW form partnerships with a few promotions including: AAA, DDT/TJPW, Gatoh Move/Choco Pro among others. 

    November 3: Chris Jericho challenges Hiroshi Tanahashi at Wrestle Kingdom 14 in a special singles match. 

    December 29: Chris Jericho adds a stipulation to his match against Tanahashi: If The Ace can defeat Jericho at Wrestle Kingdom 14, then Tanahashi can challenge Chris Jericho for a shot at the AEW World Championship.


    January 5: Jericho defeats Tanahashi to keep the forbidden door closed. The Painmaker tells the Japanese Press that he still wants to unlock the door one day, whenever that may be.

    COVID-19 throws a wrench at everyone's plans for the rest of the year forcing every wrestling company in the world to adjust their plans until the pandemic settles down.

    August 7: KENTA wins the inaugural New Japan Cup USA and earns the right to challenge Jon Moxley for the IWGP US Championship. The question is... when?

    December 2: Kenny Omega wins the AEW World Championship against Jon Moxley and explains his nefarious actions on an episode of IMPACT Wrestling on AXS TV. 

    December 12: Chris Bey is announced to take part in the 2020 Super J-Cup, fueling rumors that the long-dormant NJPW-IMPACT relationship is active once again.


    January 4: Kota Ibushi defeats Tetsuya Naito to become double champion in NJPW. Fans clamor for a potential crossover match between The Golden Lovers. Jon Moxley appears on NJPW for the first time in almost a year at the NJPW Strong TV set. Moxley declares he will face the winner of the KENTA vs. Satoshi Kojima IWGP US Right to Challenge match.

    January 16: Kenny Omega teams up with The Good Brothers and defeats the team of IMPACT World Champion Rich Swann, TNA World Heavyweight Champion Moose, and IMPACT Wrestling legend Chris Sabin at the Hard to Kill Pay-Per-View event. 

    January 30: Jon Moxley attacks KENTA on NJPW Strong after KENTA's constant wave of teasing Moxley and his whereabouts. Their long-awaited US Heavyweight Title match is booked for NJPW Strong on February 26, 2021.

    February 3: KENTA attacks Moxley after the main event of AEW Beach Break fueling speculation that the Forbidden Door has been knocked down.

    The Club Connection and What Comes Next

    I honestly don't know what happens next. I'm as clueless as you are! What I do know is that there is one major factor that connects all of these companies: Bullet Club. 

    Think about it, Kenny and The Elite are in AEW. Machine Gun and Doc Gallows are on IMPACT. KENTA, Jay, and the rest of the BC are in NJPW. The faction has truly gone worldwide and is changing the wrestling world as we know it. We saw baby steps taken when Kenny appeared on IMPACT and Christ Bey participated in the Super J-Cup. 

    Moxley attacked KENTA on NJPW Strong and KENT retaliated by attacking him in AEW. Everyone is connected through the Bullet Club and I can't wait to see what's next.

    In Other News

    Speaking of crossovers, AEW announced the participants for their Women's Championship Eliminator Tournament. The winner of the tournament gets to face AEW Women's Champion Hikaru Shida. There will be two blocks of the single-elimination tournament. 

    One block of matches will be held in the US while the other block will be held in Japan. Joshi Legends Aja Kong and Emi Sakura will participate in the tournament along with Yuka Sakazaki of TJPW, freelance wrestler Veny, among many others. 

    The biggest surprise of the Japanese block is definitely the inclusion of Maki Itoh aka The Cutest Wrestler in The World. Her wrestling style and no-nonsense attitude are a perfect match for an American Audience.

    AEW's American block is no laughing matter either as it includes a mix of young guns and veterans in the form of Taynara Conti, Thunder Rosa, and inaugural AEW Women's Champion Riho, among others. 

    All in all, I can say that it's a very exciting time to be a wrestling fan. What are your thoughts on the Forbidden Door being unlocked?


    Steven Tan (@steviesaidyup) works for an e-commerce company by day and operates The Geeky Juans podcast and blog by night. He's a fan of the Anaheim Ducks hockey team, comic books, and the Moomin franchise. You can find more of his geeky thoughts on Twitter.

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    Item Reviewed: #CafePuro: Love Is An Open (Forbidden) Door! Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Steven Maxwell Tan
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