AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door Post-Show Media Scrum: Early PPV Buys, Claudio Signing, Stardom, More

AEW held a post-show media scrum following this past Sunday’s AEW & NJPW Forbidden Door event in Chicago, Illinois.

Some of the notable highlights included:

  • AEW CEO Tony Khan stated that Forbidden Door generated over 100,000 streaming pay-per-view buys based on early numbers and estimates. Khan stated “The show was a big success. We had ticket sales of over $1.1 million. I think it will be within literally thousands, just behind Double or Nothing, but right there, both over $1.1 million live ticket sales. The pay-per-view, I said if we hit 100,00 worldwide buys, I would feel it’s a big success and I feel very comfortable now, based on the early digital numbers, saying we did 100,000 buys and more. I feel great about that.
  • On the topic of putting together the event, Khan praised NJPW and stated that this was his most proudest event to put together since AEW Double or Nothing 2020. Khan stated “Other than the early shutdown, lockdown wrestling of 2020, this is probably the biggest creative challenge I’ve ever faced, but I think we’ve come through and did a great show. Probably since Double or Nothing 2020, I can’t remember being so proud of something that came together so quickly and changed a lot… So it was pretty special.
  • On the topic of Claudio Castagnoli’s signing with AEW, Khan stated “I asked him about coming in before I knew for sure that Bryan was out, though I had a pretty good idea that Punk would be out. I could tell there would be a lot of changes. We already had a lot of injured people, I had no idea we would have even more on the run-up to the show. It was the day after the Forum, so June 2, I called and had interest, there was definitely mutual interest. At that point, I felt there was a good chance. I wasn’t sure if it would be here or another thing or Death Before Dishonor, July 23, on pay-per-view in Lowell, Massachusetts. Ring of Honor’s return event. I figured there was a chance that if Bryan made it back, there was a good chance that he would have started at Death Before Dishonor and it would have been a great moment there. As long as Bryan is okay, that’s the most important thing. It was a great moment to have at Forbidden Door. I talked to Bryan on the phone last weekend and he told me that he wasn’t feeling 100%. As soon as he said that, we’re eight days from the pay-per-view, ‘if you’re not feeling 100%, don’t even think about wrestling on the pay-per-view or Blood & Guts’ because he had been feeling well. I talked to him in St. Louis and he was feeling great and he was so optimistic and was that fired up Bryan Danielson. He wanted to go. I didn’t want to take another chance as soon as he said (he wasn’t feeling 100%). He mentioned Claudio and I said, ‘that’s funny, I have Claudio under contract.’ I had told anybody. It worked out before for all of us.
  • On the topic of the lack of Stardom talent and why he decided to go with an all-AEW women’s match at Forbidden Door, Khan stated “I was interested in using Stadom, obviously they have a close relationship with New Japan, and all the wrestlers from Stadom were pretty much booked and they didn’t have visas. It was a big obstacle. There is definitely potential there. Certainly, Toni is one of the hottest and rising stars in AEW since she arrived in AEW. I thought it made great sense because she’s been a champion in Japan, has great experience at Stardom, and someone who has been on our TV. It was a great match we could build to. t was not a blood rivalry. I was forged in mutual respect and fought it with honor. It was a great wrestling match and it was cool. I thought Toni was the perfect choice given who was on our TV, who was pushed, and knowing that, while it would have been another challenge, in addition to many other challenges, to take people from Stardom and get them over on our TV, it would have been possible to do it, absolutely, but availability is the greatest ability of all in this business and most businesses. In this case, there was no availability. Toni, for many reasons, was a great choice and they had a great match.”
  • On the topic of his match against Hiroshi Tanahashi at the event, Jon Moxley stated “That feeling, when you’re doing what you were put on earth to do, like, the absolute pleasure of being dialed in, and the pleasure of wrestling… there’s no drug that can compare to this. What a feeling to just be out there with Tanahashi.
  • On the topic of his signing with AEW, Castagnoli stated “Sometimes, the stars align for a perfect moment. That’s what happened tonight. I hope Bryan is alright, I know Bryan will be back. It’s just a perfect fit. I just talked to Mox, we’ve been going back for 10-12 years, we’ve known each other for a long time. We used to ride together and work out together, we still do and still talk. It just fits. At the end of the day, I’m always looking for new challenges. Here in AEW, I’m like a kid in a candy store.”
  • Castagnoli also gave his thoughts about potential dream matches for him in AEW. Castagnoli stated “I was so excited to share the ring with Zack Sabre Jr. I wrestled him last time in 2009. There are so many guys that I’ve known for years like Orange Cassidy, we’re not talking about the one that yells and screams all the time like a little kid. What is most important is that the fans are excited. Who do you want to see me wrestling next? That was always the most important thing. Who is my dream opponent? I don’t care. Who do you want to see me wrestle? Here in AEW, all that stuff can happen. The last time I wrestled Kenny Omega was like 2008. We’ve grown a lot since then. That’s worth a mention. I could name literally every I ran into in the locker room and backstage. I can give you a shortlist of who I don’t want to step in the ring with and that is nobody. I don’t know if you can tell, I’m very happy. It fits. This is my first night here and I feel like I’ve been here for years. It’s awesome.”

Transcript h/t: 1, 2, 3, & 4,