The joint effort with NJPW was seen by some as cursed before the lights went down and the pyro went up. CM Punk, Bryan Danielson, and Kenny Omega were all injured prior to the show. The NJPW title was put on Jay White just two weeks before the show, and AEW had to contend with that. The curse extended to both sides of the Pacific as both Tomohiro Ishii and Hiromu Takahashi had to pull out of matches just days before the show. The show felt thrown together, as any show involving two companies and a clash of interests would, but perhaps to an excessive degree.
There isn't a problem in wrestling that can't be solved by a series of great matches and great shows. If you can cut off the head of the main event scene through Omega, Punk, and Danielson, you can still find enough performers to match up with NJPW's. It's possible to argue that Forbidden Door was the best quality of AEW's offerings.
When do you go to urinate is a problem for someone in attendance.
I knew that it would be a challenge and that I would have to make some compromises. There were obvious openings in the pre show. The match that followed it was The Acclaimed and the Gunn Club vs. a group of young lions from LA Dojo. Max Caster's lyrics are always worth catching, regardless of the side of the line he dances on, and I'm not even going to try to explain how gratifying it is to hear Anthony Bowens scream for Billy Gunn to, "Scisor me DADDYASS!" Go with me. The first bathroom trip of the evening was completely comfortable.
It was difficult to negotiate from there. One doesn't want to get stuck in the john for the show's opening You have to attend an AEW show if you haven't already, or you have to sing "Judas" if you haven't already. Minoru Suzuki, Japan's leading murder grandpa, was allowed to roam the streets of Chicago without being watched for days. The adopted children of Jon Moxley and Bryan Danielson, Wheeler Yuta and Shota Umino were facing them. There is a unique connection between Kingston and the AEW crowd, as he looks, talks, and wrestles like he just hopped over the security barrier and no one bothered to stop him. He basically is. The performances from those five guys, plus whatever it is Sammy Guevara does, produced a great opener that the show steadily worked up from throughout the night. This match wasn't tense because of getting in a piss-trip before the game.
There was no break after the three-way tag match between FTR, Roppongi 3K, and Jeff Cobb and The Great O'Khan. FTR have been putting on something ridiculous for months now and this was no different as they claimed another title. We are in the show for about 45 minutes without being able to move because of fear.
It is at this point that you begin to debate whether or not you should catch most of the match or just miss the first few minutes. You begin to do some equations. The four-way for the All-Atlantic title was the third match and Malakai Black's entrance was half the fun. If he is going to make the devil come to life, you have to watch it. On the other side of the coin, you have to decide if Miro conjures the Lord himself to finally finish his fight with him that he has been having for a year now. I'm stuck in the seat and starting to feel a conflict in thebladder area.
The answer came from the equation, which said that the time to strike was after the four-way, in yet another humper of a match, and hopefully it would take long enough to get back before the next match. I missed Shingo Takagi's entrance because I was not the only one who worked out this match. It would have to be done.
I was able to get back to the seats just in time to see Sting jump from on top of the entrance way for a dive that he definitely shouldn't be doing but no one can stop him from. The real joy of Sting matches is seeing him still being able to hold his own, but also seeing those who get to be in a ring with him. They were too happy to work so hard to make him look good that they didn't want to do a match with someone they grew up watching. Shingo hit a Last of the Dragon, one of the best and most authoritative finishes going today. Getting to see that live, and the relief of not knowing if a couple different organs would explode in a fury of bodily fluids, was probably worth the trade of missing his entrance.
The women's match for the AEW Women's title followed the men's match, which left no gap because both are expert performers in the ring. I was safe for this because I took the break 20 minutes before the second half started.
I knew that I would have to face oblivion at some point. Ospreay rarely fails to deliver in the ring, and this was no exception, as he followed Orange Cassidy and OceanSpray. Ospreay has a problem with people like me because he takes himself seriously and has Cassidy call him and really wrestle on its bullshit style for fifteen minutes. You had a feeling that there would be a surprise to come in and make the save after the brawl. It ended with Katsuyori Shibata in Cassidy's sunglasses. It would never have been possible for me to forgive myself.
It only got worse. No fan could miss the moment as a mystery opponent was next and it was highly suspected to be the former Cesaro. You could make a reel of former WWE wrestlers who were underused and underappreciated, and their reaction to their first AEW entrance. They can see how blown away they are to be welcomed by a part of the industry that they couldn't help but wonder if it forgot about them.
Even though the pressure was rising from within, I still had to come to terms with the fact that I was in the same room with the same person. He was there. The bladder wasn't helped by rising out of my seat to do Rainmaker poses. The main event had to be soaked as Hiroshi Tanahashi, a Motorhead-loving glory-alien descended upon us.
I went to the bathroom at the end of the show because there was no break. I made it there. There were 12 matches, four and a half hours, with two of them flanking the show. Aew does this to you. They put you to your seat and force you not to move. You are willing to make that trade.
I hope Tony Khan pays for my transplant in 3 years.