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  • Connor Ewens

11 AEW x NJPW Dream Matches

We are mere days away from the granddaddy of wrestling crossovers, Forbidden Door. It's crazy to think that a throwaway line from a one sentence promo by Hiroshi Tanahashi has spawned a PPV that will probably remain a yearly tradition until the working relationship between AEW & New Japan ends or changes. We've already seen some amazing cross over matches because of the working relationship. We've seen the likes of Minoru Suzuki & Tomohiro Ishii appear on Dynamite, as well as stars like Jon Moxley and most recently Eddie Kingston making their way over the the land of the rising sun. Last year we had the inaugural Forbidden Door show and although it created some confusion with regards to existing storylines, we got a top to bottom card full of dream matches and excellent wrestling talent. This year, the Forbidden Door card is set to be another night of bangers with matches such as Bryan Danielson vs Kazuchika Okada as well as Kenny Omega vs Will Ospreay.

Both the AEW and NJPW roster is absolutely stacked full of exciting talent, meaning we have only skimmed the surface of potential dream matches we could see in the coming years. Let's talk about some of them shall we? Here is a non-exhaustive list of some potential amazing dream matches we could see between the stars of AEW & New Japan Pro Wrestling.

11) The Elite vs Bullet Club

I don't think it's too outlandish to say that Bullet Club has declined in effectiveness and popularity over the last few years. Due to some tumultuous booking since Jay White took over as leader, the stable has often felt disorganised and directionless. Recently, David Finlay has taken the reigns as leader of BC in Japan, seemingly with a new focus to push the stable with younger Western talent such as Gabe Kidd, Alex Coughlin & Drilla Maloney. Whilst I think a Bullet Club vs Bullet Club Gold match is more fitting with the story between current leader Finlay and former leader White, I would be much more interested with a clash between the modern day Bullet Club and some of the old guard who left the stable as well as New Japan. Whilst it could lead to a predictable outcome of The Elite going over due to there significantly higher status, I also don't think a shock victory for the newer, younger Bullet Club would damage the Elite too much and would cement the BC as a force to be reckoned with once again.

10) Blackpool Combat Club vs Strong Style

Staying on the topic of big multi-man matches, this is one that may not immediately jump to mind as a dream match but the potential for a violent, hard-hitting classic is high with this one. After the dissolution of Suzuki-Gun, Minoru Suzuki teamed up with El Desperado & Ren Narita to form Strong Style, a dominant faction mainly built around pushing Narita as a future star. We have already seen some brutal matches between Jon Moxley & Minoru Suzuki, but imagine what a Claudio Castagnoli vs Minoru Suzuki match could be like? A Wheeler Yuta vs Ren Narita or El Desperado match would also be a thrilling encounter. So why not wack them all together? A 6-man tag with maybe a No Holds Barred stipulation could generate some fantastic, bloody results between one of AEW's hottest factions and one of New Japan's hottest factions.

9) Danhausen vs Toru Yano

One of the biggest praises both AEW & New Japan have is the intense workrate of their roster, putting in max effort to produce bangers not only on PPV, but on weekly television also. They have a wide variety of high-flyers, technical masters, powerful hosses & iconic legends. Sometimes however, it's less about how good the wrestling is and more about how entertaining a match is. A well crafted comedy match has just as much of a place in wrestling as a 5 star classic. So why not pair two of wrestling's current comedy masters together and see what happens! Toru Yano has reliably been one of the most entertaining performers in New Japan's undercard, with perfect comedy timing as well as a more than average talent for wrestling. Danhausen is less credited for his wrestling ability, but is often praised as one of the most entertaining personas in modern wrestling. Whilst an Orange Cassidy vs Toru Yano match maybe the more popular choice, I think a Danhausen vs Yano match has equal potential to deliver a chorus of laughs to provide a nice intermission between the high intensity matches that are usually on a AEW x NJPW show.

8) Will Ospreay vs Adam Cole

These two have actually competed against each other before, 3 times in tag action and twice in a singles match. They had a BANGER of a match for PWG alongside the Young Bucks, Matt Sydal & Ricochet. They haven't faced each other since 2016 though, and both men have raised their game significantly since then. Adam Cole joined WWE as a part of NXT and led one of the greatest factions in company history, the Undisputed Era. In NXT Cole put on amazing matches against Kyle O'Reilly, Finn Balor, Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa to name but a few. Cole had built up his game to not only put on a phenomenal match but to tell captivating, emotional stories also. Will Ospreay has done the same. He was most well known for his insane agility and jaw-dropping high-flying offence in matches against the likes of Ricochet, Marty Scurll, Mark Andrews and KUSHIDA. Over time, Will bulked up and developed his game to compete amongst the Heavyweight division, increasing his power moves and ability to craft stellar matches whilst maintaining his aerial abilities. Ospreay has reliably churned out classic matches, possibly more than any other wrestler in the world right now. Both men have made great progress in their careers, I think their first match in 7 years would be a beautiful slice of wrestling brilliance.

7) Jeff Cobb vs Wardlow

Big boys. Big beefy boys. Big, bulky, beefy boys slamming big, bulky, beefy meat. A clash between two of the most entertaining powerhouses in wrestling today could be an epic encounter. Whilst the wheels have fallen off the Wardlow wagon a bit over the last year, it's not to late to save him from obscurity and catapult him back into the conversation as one of the best competitors on the AEW roster. Jeff Cobb has really made a name for himself as one of the premier talents across the globe, yet I still think he is underrated for how talented he is. Recently showing his wide range with a great programme with Zack Sabre Jr, Cobb has the capacity to work well with wrestlers of a variety of sizes and quality. Give Cobb & Wardlow 10-15 minutes to just leather the beefy piss out of each other with stiff strikes and massive slams and I'm sure it would generate an exciting contest from bell to bell.

6) Mayu Iwatani vs Jamie Hayter

Iwatani has been widely considered one of if not THE best female wrestler on the planet. She has been absolutely killing it in Stardom for many years, putting on classics against the likes of Io Shirai, Meiko Satamura, KAIRI and most recently Mercedes Mone. The AEW Women's division has always felt a beat off when it comes to it's booking but there is no denying the amount of talent they have available. There are plenty of contenders for a classic against Iwatani. Hikaru Shida & Thunder Rosa are two that immediately come to mind. However, I've chosen one of the fastest growing stars in the last year, Jamie Hayter. Debuting in AEW in the second half of 2021, Hayter has quickly gained popularity and ascended from Britt Baker's lackey to world women's champion. She has been the best thing about the women's division possibly since AEW first began, I have no doubt that a match between her and the ace of Stardom would have fans foaming at the mouth.

5) Darby Allin vs Hiromu Takahashi

Seriously why have I not heard more people ask for this match? Two guys renowned for throwing their body as hard and as fast as people as they possibly can. I know that Takahashi has softened his style slightly ever since he broke his neck but he still goes out and puts on blinding performances, the most recent BOSJ tournament was a testament to that. Darby is AEW's resident daredevil, he is a modern day Jeff Hardy for his risk-taking offence and alluring personality which makes him a fan favourite. Imagine the sequences and spots these two maniacs could piece together if they were given 30 minutes to work with? Hell even cut that time in half and we would still have a match for the ages I'm sure. This is my personal top dream match I want to see more than anything.

4) CM Punk vs KENTA

This one has been talked about and teased for a long time. They day after Punk's last WWE match (Royal Rumble 2014) KENTA had a tryout for WWE. Since gaining popularity as Hideo Itami, many fans speculated at the possibility of a Punk match for one reason. The GTS. A finishing move pioneered by KENTA but popularised by Punk. Since his return to wrestling in 2021, CM Punk has had a plethora of dream matches suggested and requested but a match with KENTA still hasn't materialised. It has even been teased recently, with reports that a match was scheduled to take place at this year's Forbidden Door show. For some reason, those plans have seemingly fell through. I imagine as long as the AEW x NJPW relationship continues and Punk sticks around for a while longer, a match between these two veterans is inevitable. A battle to determine who is the true master of the GTS.

3) Kazuchika Okada vs Malakai Black

I think this is another match that may have not been considered by many but OH MY GOD HOW GOOD THIS COULD BE. Black's run in AEW has been hit and miss at times but he seems to have found his footing with the House of Black. However, we should never forget how fantastic of a singles wrestler Black is. His time as Tommy End pre-WWE churned out insane matches across the indies like WxW & Progress. Within WWE as a part of NXT he put on captivating matches including facing Andrade Cien Almas, Adam Cole & Buddy Murphy. He has such a charismatic personality with a visually appealing moveset. The same can be said for the Rainmaker. Arguably the best wrestler to ever have existed, Okada could have a 5 star match with a mop bucket. Okada could make the Bushwackers look like the Brainbusters. He is THAT good. He drips with charisma and he drips with pure talent. These two sound like an odd pairing on paper, but imagine how stuff those strikes could be. The only thing stiffer would be me watching the match.

2) Mercedes Mone vs Dr Britt Baker DMD

The artist formerly known as Sasha Banks sent shockwaves when she walked out of WWE, taking her friend Trinity (FKA Naomi) with her to tour around fashion shows and movie premieres. Mercedes then rocked up at Wrestle Kingdom where she made her intentions very clear. She has only been featured in Japan for a cup of coffee, but the matches she's had already have been excellent displays that should have those at WWE weeping with regret. She could be paired with almost anyone in AEW, but I think there's only one true deserving opponent. Dr Britt Baker DMD is AEW's ace woman. The women's division has floundered for years, initially due to lack of depth and star power but now just weak booking. One of the constants though has been how great Britt has been for business. The dentist has been a great worker, a great talker and a great ambassador for the company. These two could have a bout of epic proportions. Some may choose to have a Thunder Rosa, Hikaru Shida or a Toni Storm in this slot but I think Britt has more than earned her spot as the top dog in AEW's women's division, and Mone should face the best.

1) Bryan Danielson vs Zack Sabre Jr

I mean, yeah. Pretty obvious right? It's a match pretty much everyone as been asking for. We thought we're getting it this year, but hey I'm never going to complain about a Danielson vs Okada match. Bryan Danielson is one of the best ever. He is so good at wrestling that the Wrestling Observer has an award named after him. The Bryan Danielson Award goes to the best technical wrestler of the year. Bryan won it 9 years in a row from 2005 until 2013. Who won it after that? Zack Sabre Jr, for 7 years straight. His 7 year streak was ended by who? Bloody BRYAN DANIELSON. These two are regarded as the best technical wrestlers on the planet for near enough the past 20 years. The story writes itself. Danielson has been having a career renaissance for the third time now, still putting on some of the best matches in his entire career in his final active years. Zack has been New Japan's finest technic wrestler for years, seemingly able to have classic matches with anyone. It seems like only a matter of time before these two meet in the ring, when that finally happens I don't think we're ready for how proficient the wrestling will be.

That's a list of dream matches, I'm sure there are a million more. Let me know what dream matches you have in mind. Enjoy Forbidden Door. Thanks for reading. Until next time, see ya.


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