TORONTO — As someone who has been watching AEW since the beginning and a big fan of NJPW for about four years now, Forbidden Door was the show to be at. With Scotiabank Arena being the host to the second AEW x NJPW show ever, you know I made sure to be there.

Toronto is iconic for having some of the best crowds in wrestling and last night was no different. From the moment the show began the crowd was constantly chanting “This is awesome”, “this is wrestling” and of course, there were many “holt sh**” moments.

There may be people that will question if NJPW has a big following in the city of Toronto, to those people I say hell yeah they do. The crowd was filled with some fantastic NJPW merchandise that only true fans would have. Two that stuck out to me were a SANADA shirt from his very early days in NJPW and there was also a gentleman sitting in my section rocking a replica El Desperado mask. (He wore the mask the entire show, without removing it once.)

The night’s opening bout was MJF defending his AEW World Championship against “The Ace” Hiroshi Tanahashi. The “Go Ace” chants were deafening and fans sitting front row were irate with referee Bryce Rensburg for missing MJF’s cheating tactics.

The crowd was majorly behind Ace, but a special shout-out to the guy sitting on the floor with a Burberry Canadian flag poster. That sign was definitely on the same level as the devil.

We must next talk about the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship match. Oh, but I won’t be talking about the competitors in the match. Instead, I will focus on the referee that stole the show, Red Shoes!

When the bell rang, the crowd exploded into Red Shoes chants honoring the iconic referee. He acknowledged the crowd, showing respect with a bow. That sent Scotiabank Arena into an even bigger frenzy, as they responded with “We love Red Shoes!”

You also can’t talk about an All Elite Wrestling show without mentioning The Elite. As soon as the lights went out and Hangman Adam Page and The Young Bucks were standing atop the stage, the crowd went electric. The arena sang along to “Carry on Wayward Son” word for word!

The match of the night was by far Kenny Omega against Will Ospreay. This was the loudest the arena got and the most insane crowd I’ve ever been a part of at a wrestling show. People were screaming “This is awesome” before these two men even locked up and the Kenny chants were deafening. Kenny was forced to miss the show last time AEW was in Toronto, so they made sure to make him feel the love this time.

The back-and-forth action in this match was ridiculous, I was on the edge of my seat the entire time and I personally lost my mind when Omega kicked out of the One-Winged Angel at one! There was tons of crowd interaction in this one as well, Ospreay ripped a Canadian flag from a fan and proceeded to rub it against his groin and blow his nose into it. That definitely lit a fire in the crowd, and they also gave Ospreay a “You sick Fu**” chant when he licked Omega’s blood off of his arm. However, nothing beat the moment Ospreay got the victory and seeing all the stunned fans in the crowd look on in complete awe over what they just witnessed.

The main event of the show was the dream match between Bryan Danielson and Kazuchika Okada, the entrances alone were enough to send the crowd happy. Danielson entered to the song The Final Countdown, his old theme song that Tony Khan recently bought the rights to. Then the fans had the delight of hearing an Okada coin drop before The Rainmaker blessed us with his presence. I don’t think many people expected to see Okada lose, so when he tapped out to Danielson it was the final jaw-dropping moment of the night.

Overall, I think this show was splendid from start to finish and I cannot think of one match that did not deliver. When you mix some of the best wrestlers in the world with one of the best wrestling cities, magic is bound to happen. I definitely feel lucky that I was able to be in attendance at this history-making show.

Now let me channel my inner Kenny Omega, this is where I must bid you adieu.

Goodbye. MWAH.

And goodnight, BANG!

TOP PHOTO: The crowd at AEW-NJPW Forbidden Door at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, on Sunday, June 25, 2023. Photo by Steve Argintaru, Twitter: @stevetsn Instagram: @stevetsn