Last year’s IWGP World Heavyweight Championship match was one of the most exciting matches at Forbidden Door. This year, SANADA’s title defense is an afterthought.
During AEW Dynamite, a surprise video message saw IWGP World Heavyweight Champion SANADA issue an open challenge for Forbidden Door.
SANADA pledged to ‘show the world the strength of an IWGP Champion’, and said he ‘look(ed) forward to seeing who steps up’, but putting his title on the line against one AEW talent.
There were many AEW star free to wrestle at Forbidden Door. The likes of CM Punk, Jay White or Jon Moxley could have stepped up and faced SANADA, who beat Kazuchika Okada to win his title earlier this year.
Instead of one of these main event talents, Jungle Boy answered the call and accepted the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship match.
To say this wasn’t ideal would be an understatement. Jungle Boy is nowhere the level of a world championship. That much clear in the build up to Double or Nothing 2023.
He fought against MJF, Sammy Guevara and Darby Allin for the AEW Championship at the show, but was by far the weakest candidate of the lot.
His promos left a lot to be desired, and while he did perform well in the ring at the event, he was outshined by every other person in the match.
SANADA has also been overshadowed recently by the likes of Okada and Tanahashi, but he is still being built up as a credible world champion.
He should be facing a top star in his title defense. Last year, Jay White beat Adam Cole, Adam Page and Kazuchika Okada at Forbidden Door, an incredible star-studded match nobody could deny.
This year, Sanada is shuffled to the bottom of the pack, with a mid-card, bland babyface as his only challenger.
It’s clear Jungle Boy wont beat SANADA. The match up is disappointing, bur who knows? Maybe they’ll surprise us and put on a fantastic match.
Jungle Boy vs SANADA is just one of the match taking place at Forbidden Door 2023. Click below to read the full card.