Tony Khan, Jay White, Jon Moxley, Kazuchika Okada, Claudio Castagnoli, Thunder Rosa, and FTR spoke to the media following AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door.
Below are notes and quotes from the press conference.
Khan spoke on the success of Forbidden Door, and said that anything over 100,000 worldwide pay-per-view buys he would consider a success, and that he felt confifdent based on streaming numbers that the show is on track to reach that mark.
As to putting the show together, Khan said he was more proud of Forbidden Door than any show since Double or Nothing 2020 and praised NJPW as partners.
“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,” he said. “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.”
Khan said that he reached out to Claudio on June 2 about the possibility of coming in to work for AEW or debuting in ROH at their next pay-per-view on July 23.
“It was June 2 I called, and there was definitely mutual interest. But I wasn’t sure if he would be coming in here, or [ROH] Death Before Dishonor, July 23,” Khan said.
“I asked him about coming in before I knew for sure that Bryan [Danielson] was out, but I had a pretty good idea [CM] Punk would be out… We already had a lot of injured people, I had no idea we’d have even more on the run up to the show,” said Khan.
Khan said he spoke to Danielson last weekend and Danielson said that he was not feeling 100 percent, and mentioned Castagnoli as a potential replacement. Khan said he then told Danielson that he had Castagnoli under contract, and that Danielson was the first person he had told. Khan said he made the call not to put Danielson on the show last weekend.
White answered questions in-character and spoke briefly about his career accolades.
Moxley said that he feels absolute joy in wrestling right now.
“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,” Moxley said.
Okada appeared and spoke largely through translator Chris Charlton.
Okada said that the crowd in Chicago was great and he hopes that as restrictions on crowds ease in Japan that the same sort of atmosphere will return there.
Okada said that there is no language barrier in pro wrestling, as long as he can say “Make it rain,” that the communication between the wrestlers and the audience is the language of pro wrestling.
Okada said jokingly that other than Tony Khan, that it’s up to the audience to clamor for who they want to see him face in AEW.
Castagnoli said that his familiarity with a large portion of the AEW roster and circumstances just made this the right time for his AEW debut.
“Sometimes the stars align for a perfect moment, and that’s what happened tonight. I hope Bryan [Danielson] is alright, I know he’ll be back, but this is just a perfect fit,” he said.
When asked about potential opponents, Castagnoli said that he is excited to face anyone and everyone.
“I’m always looking for new challenges. Here in AEW, I’m like a kid in a candy store,” Claudio said.
“There’s just so many guys that I’ve known for years. Orange Cassidy is one of them. To me, the thing that’s the most important is that the fans are excited. Who’s my dream opponent? I don’t care. Who do you guys want to see me wrestle? And here in AEW, all that stuff can happen.”
Thunder Rosa appeared and did some in-character comments on Jade Cargill. She also spoke about her gear choices, and how she chooses different gear or makeup based on different cosplay elements.
Rosa brought up the importance of having different looks so that a variety of action figures can be made for more income. Khan mentioned that he asked Rosa to wear green for the St. Patrick’s Day Slam episode of Dynamite.
She also spoke about Dustin Rhodes’ influence on her career, that she calls herself his wrestling daughter, and that he has allowed her to use some of his moves.
Both Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler spoke of their hopes to defend the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team titles in NJPW, that they have had their eyes on that for a while, but now it looks to be a reality with travel restrictions opening up.
Harwood spoke about being grateful for the opportunity to provide for his family in wrestling. He said that every week when he goes to work, he uses that as an example to his daughter of how she can be anything she wants to be.
Wheeler spoke about wanting to have “an FTR run” with the AEW Tag titles, years-long.
They spoke about their music change and how it worked out for them. Harwood said that Khan was a wrestling genius and the music change that Khan suggested worked in improving FTR’s presentation as babyfaces.
Khan said that FTR have become better and more confident wrestlers since CM Punk arrived in AEW.
Harwood and Wheeler spoke about their singles match and said that other than one or two spots, any Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart tribute spots were subconscious and that they were not looking to rip anyone off.
The full video of the scrum can be seen below.