THE RANT: I'm Not "All In" on the "Forbidden Door"

Posted By James Walsh on 02/16/21

The "Forbidden Door" concept is basically just the concept that made "All In" special. It was everyone that is not WWE joining together to show the world that wrestling exists outside of WWE and can be better than WWE. The thing was, All In WAS better than WWE. It WAS special. And, it felt like anything was possible. We've seen AEW for over a year and a half now and we've kind of come to realize its pros and cons, or Khans.

While All In was not all my kind of wrestling, it was a variety of styles and talent doing a variety of different things for a common goal. It was, in all honesty, a good wrestling show. It was put together with the fiscal backing of ROH and with ROH's structure so it would run logically while featuring many of the minds currently behind AEW - Namely Cody Rhodes, The Young Bucks, and Kenny Omega. But, because it was just one show, their many flaws did not become as obvious in that one night. Or, our appreciation for something new and different was so high going in, we overlooked certain flaws.

What flaws? Lets start here.

The current AEW roster is not growing or adding new names that could advance the brand. Aside from a few exceptions (Matt Hardy, the late Brodie Lee, FTR), most of the AEW roster is the same roster theys tarted with when they launched on TNT in October of 2019. Some of that roster has risen to the occasion and become stars even if I don't know if they should be - Orange Cassedy, for example. And, some stars came in with the ability to be used to help ignite and teach new stars and instead those talents have faded into the background to the point that they're almost unknown on the show - Frankie Kazarian, Christopher Daniels, Billy Gunn.

When talent became available, GOOD talent that could potentially move the needle, they were NOT signed. Eli Drake, for example, was available on TWO different occasions during the run of AEW and was signed neither time. I guess this Southern California talent is besties with the wrong group of talent and not the Young Bucks' crew? How about John Morrison/Mundo/Impact? He was available coming out of TNA in 2019 and works that high flying style AEW flooded its roster with. But, he ended up returning to WWE to assume a very boring role as The Miz's sidekick to the delight of absolutely nobody except perhaps those two talents themselves. Were Eli Drake and John Morrison too physically appealing and ready for prime time for the AEW executives to bring in and potentially upstage them? How about Karrion Kross AKA Kevin Kross AKA Killer Kross? Anyone who watched Impact from 2017 to 2019 saw that Killer Kross and his girlfriend Scarlett were destined to be big things. They became available. And, they didn't go to AEW. Why?

Jim Cornette calls it "All Friends Wrestling" and there's a reason for that. The above talent that was not signed aren't their long time personal friends. They shouldn't have to be! This is a business and it takes stars to make people want to watch the show! I think most of my above ranting was pointed more at the Young Bucks than anyone else.

Kenny Omega's biggest flaw is his attraction to the Japanese female wrestlers. Aside from the fact that they work a style foreign to the United States audience which Americans don't relate to and as a result don't pop for, they also don't speak English! I remember Riho, the American bracket AEW Tournament member for the love of God, stood there smiling when supposedly kidnapped by Pac to get even with Kenny. Why was she smiling? She clearly had zero idea what the story was. None. Unacceptable.

When American or at least English speaking female talent became available to fix the horrible women's division in AEW, none were signed. Tessa Blanchard, Taya Valkyrie, Deonna Purrazzo, and Tenille Dashwood were all available for signing during AEW's brief history. None were signed. Why? They would upstage, with ease, the entire Japanese gal pal contingent. Each one of them would have.

Cody Rhodes has been the one guy who has put on the most compelling TV. But, it is herky jerky as well. Looking beyond this Shaq match which is so weirdly booked and promoted, it makes me question everything I've ever known about life, Cody has had multiple good things happen with him on TV. And, multiple train wrecks. I fear he is sometimes too eager to go along with the rest of the group and doesn't stand and fight for what he knows is logical.

THe "Forbidden Door", which sounds like a pet name a couple would use for ass play, is just the "All In" concept. But, the concept worked for ALl In because All In had its future and potential all in front of it. And, for a year and a half, our dreams for a true competitor to WWE have been dashed by bad decisions and terrible, lazy, nonsensical booking.

I still love AEW. But, I'm being honest. I'm telling the truth. No one ever got better at math if their teacher gave them an A on a test where they wrote that 2+2=22. They have to be told when they're pissing off the people who are on their side and when they're making mistakes that make us all angry and want better. In lamens terms, we cannot be lemmings. The "Forbidden Door" is a good concept and if the show was ready for it and the promotion in charge of it, AEW, was run in such a way that it could be the champion working with everyone fed up with the WWE's Evil Empire approach, it would be great. But, it isn't that. It is a weakened product by herky jerky decision making. Fix up and clean your own house before you start having everyone over for dinner.