During an appearance on Grapsody for a new interview, Tony Khan reflected on the AEW x NJPW: Forbidden Door pay-per-view.
This was a crossover event between AEW and NJPW. It had its hurdles as then-AEW World Champion CM Punk went down with an injury early in the build.
Forbidden Door drew over $5 million on pay-per-view with a gate of over $1.1 million, the second-biggest number in AEW history behind Double or Nothing 2022.
“The show was so awesome, I wouldn’t change a thing. It was so great, I do wish we would have been able to do some of the stuff we hadn’t done, but the show ended up perfect and what a great event for AEW. It’s the most successful debut of any AEW franchise in every conceivable way.”
Khan brought up the challenges that New Japan Pro Wrestling also faced.
“All the changes going into Forbidden Door, it was challenging, but keeping cool and really making sure we had a great card and working with New Japan, I don’t think they’ve had the same experience in terms of producing American pay-per-views, and what you have to do in terms of getting people on the show. I made no secret that there was a point of, ‘We need to get the guys over here and get them on TV and start building the matches.’ It’s challenging because I can’t imagine how hard it would be for me to build a pay-per-view in another country while I’m trying to run my promotion here. For them, it was really hard, but they were great about it. When we got Tanahashi and Will Ospreay over, they did great things for us on the show and great numbers. That shows the kind of star power they have, and I think their top stars really are needle movers, and they’ve been great for us.”
Regarding the Punk injury, Khan pointed out how it also impacted other stars.
“That was a challenge coming out of it, realizing CM Punk had broken his foot because we had plans for CM Punk and FTR as a trio and plans going into Forbidden Door, there was a lot of stuff there. A lot of the build around Tanahashi and build around FTR with United Empire and Aussie Open and the involvement of Will Ospreay and how that led to Orange Cassidy and Best Friends. The whole map was drawn out differently and it was really cool, it just didn’t happen the way I thought it could’ve if people hadn’t gotten hurt. There’s nothing you can do about that.”