Former WWE stars open banned doors while AEW gives them a chance to shine – Bleacher Report

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AEW x NJPW: Forbidden Door was a classic, matching the emphasis of expectations that reached incredibly high levels with respect to names and matches.

And in a funny twist, that couldn’t have happened without WWE.

In a sense, at least. Although the well-appointed special event had nothing to do with WWE given the collaboration between the promotions, the company’s ubiquitous presence hung throughout the evening.

That’s a good thing and a compliment to AEW because, like Forbidden Door themselves, it creates great opportunities in the professional wrestling industry for former WWE Superstars.

Those stars shone brightly all night. Chris Jericho has been in the spotlight several times. Keith Lee was involved in a fun game early on. Pac achieved a huge victory in a four-way match for the inaugural AEW All-Atlantic Championship, surpassing the top performances of fellow WWE teammates Mira and Malakai Black. Adam Cole was the penultimate and played a prominent role.

Then there was the FTR, with the stunning, organic rise of Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood to the top of the hearts and minds of the entire AEW fan base marked by a triumph in the Three-way Winner Takes All team match for ROH and IWGP title titles.

Uncle Dax FTR @DaxFTR

I shaved the back of this man 3 years ago.

We are now the IWGP World Team Heavyweight Champions.

Thank you all for being with us.

7-star FTR.

Best guys, out.

Jon Moxley, already a former top AEW champion and one of the first big names to come out of the WWE, also stood high in the main event. Not only was the long-sought-after Moxley against Hiroshi Tanahashi finally watched, but the fact that Moxley was the guy AEW anointed as interim AEW world champion as he laid the groundwork for an argument with CM Punk – another WWE guy.

And if all that wasn’t enough, the former WWE superstar’s debut took the center stage late on the map, then he was the absolute center of attention after Moxley’s title won.

We are talking, of course, about Claudio Castagnoli, a man formerly called Cesaro. He was a surprising addition to Daniel Bryan in the showdown against Zack Saber Jr. and, as well-informed fans know, one can read the map and simply know that she stole the show given the talents involved.

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Claudio was then the main boarder after the main event on the show, where he killed Jericho and Co. and one of its cult swings at a pace of 20 before the show faded into black.

Appropriate, given that Claudio is a great example of the type of former WWE talent fans who just begged to see in other promotions. He was rarely well booked in the WWE despite it being clear that he had top potential for the guys and like many, he was lost in the purgatory tag-team before splitting from the company.

The story is similar for most of the former WWE guys who shone on Sunday night. Pac did mostly the same while his heavyweight category focused on Enzo Amore. Keith Lee got a weird repackage just before leaving. Malakai Black mostly sat thinking in the room without direction. Miro was everywhere. In a company desperately looking for good teams, FTR has wasted. Hell, even Moxley spent his last days as Dean Ambrose stupid, shocking segmentslike when they made him cut a promo as he prepared to take the needle in the back.

Admittedly, not all of these guys will continue to do amazing things in the incredible brawls the headlines show. But Sunday night was a good example of what they can do when given the opportunity. It was an obvious display given their talents and a surprisingly good portrayal of AEW, which has been feeling a bit bloated lately and flirting with not having enough time for screens for everyone.

It’s also impressive that AEW also doesn’t allow ex-WWE guys to overwhelm things. There’s an uncertain history for that kind of thing in professional wrestling (sorry, WCW fans), and on Sunday night AEW simply changed its ability to balance many things at once, including former WWE guys who have spread all over the map.

It would be wrong not to mention that WWE should see this performance from everyone involved and play around a bit. The said guys were under their leadership at one point and the company had ample opportunity to open the forbidden door on its own.

In any case, it must be nice for fans to know that AEW can and will balance these things so well, that the company will really respect the talents that jump on board regardless of past promotions and cleverly deploy them in interesting ways that fans maintain. they’re coming back for more.

The fact that AEW succeeded during its collaboration with the NJPW, no less, makes the feat even more impressive.

There will come a time when we will stop thinking about guys like Moxley and even Claudio as former WWE guys and just real AEW guys. But we’re not there yet, not with a name like Cody Rhodes who swims back in the other direction and looks like the guy getting ready for the WrestleMania main event once healthy.

Until then, however, it’s a win for everyone – including industry superstars who are potentially looking at their capabilities – to know that AEW will do the right thing, even at the inaugural international super show. And not only that, the show, from top to bottom, included those former guys from the WWE as it put what will justifiably remain as the first or second pay-per-view that AEW has so far placed in the minds of fans.

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