Phil Schneider’s 3-Count – “Oops, All Forbidden Door!” Edition

Not a super memorable in-ring week for the WWE or the Indies, so I decided to go three deep on the kick-ass Forbidden Door PPV

Kenny Omega vs. Will Ospreay

This was two of the most maximalist wrestlers of all time having their biggest blockbuster. I am normally not a huge fan of these kind of “do five things, when three will do” type matches, but I am also a notorious vampire (buy Way of the Blade on Amazon), and coating this kind of bomb fest in a patina of plasma makes me tolerate the excesses a lot more.

Ospreay’s metamorphosis into a crowbar has warmed him to my heart, and there are some real huge violent moments where he is just trying to behead Omega, including that Tiger Driver 91, and multiple gross elbows and knees to his already damaged skull.

Omega is way better when his is embracing violent wrestling, and the spot where he is just driving Osprey’s skull into the stairs until it split open was my favorite spot of the match, it felt like something out of a grimy 70s brawl, like something Gypsy Joe might do to Rusher Kimura.

Ospreay comes off like such a dipshit, and wrestles like such a dipshit that the overblown escalation in this match worked, he doesn’t have the sense to know the moves he tries and the moves he takes probably should be tried. The same with him wiping his butt with the flag and doing a Beniot tribute spot on the anniversary  of his murder/suicide, brain dead stuff and turning your brain off is fine.

It is funny that Meltzer treats these kinds of matches like they are the apex of the pro-wrestling artform, this isn’t the Deer Hunter, it’s Extraction 2, and sometimes that is what you want to sit down and watch.

10 Man Tag

A styles clash which really delivered. This was a wild mix of a WAR vs. NJ 10 man and a Michinoku Pro 10 man. You had Kingston and Moxley having this violent slugfest full of catharsis and emotion, Takashita and Ishii having a pummeling Ishii-style slugfest, and the Bucks flying all over the ring hitting crazy spots. Lots of big highlights, Takashita laying Ishii out with a forearm should be the kind of thing which solidifies him as a star. I would have him winning matches with a single shot knockout, really put him over as a one hitter quitter. I am so happy to have Eddie back, he is basically the only wrestler I can watch do chop and elbow exchanges and not make me want to check Twitter on my phone, he puts so much passion and selling into every exchange that he just reinvigorates a sequence which has been completely wrung out of meaning otherwise. Claudio cheapshotting him to end the standoff was great, I love Claudio as a heel, for a guy who had such goodwill coming into AEW, they have done a great job making him hateable. I want Eddie to win the AEW world title, but if he gets the ROH belt it will feel like a huge deal.  I don’t normally like how Hangman Page puts together singles matches, but he is fun in multiple-man matches like this, and was just cracking Takashita especially with huge blows.

I didn’t love the Eddie saves Mox spot, I get what they were trying for, but a double superkick doesn’t seem violent enough for Eddie to sacrifice himself (especially because the Bucks throw 30 superkicks a match), and if you are going to do that spot it should lead to the finish of the match, rather than have 10 other moments ladled on top of it. Still that was a minor complaint in a match which I otherwise really enjoyed, the BCC have really come into their own as heels, I always dug the gimmick, but Claudio and Yuta especially work better as badguys, Claudio as an arrogant prick and Yuta as a grasping little weasel. Can’t wait for Blood and Guts and whatever they have planned for them at Wembley.

Bryan Danielson vs. Kazuchika Okada

Tremendously impressive performance by Danielson, who had to wrestle a big chunk of this match with a broken arm. I have never been a huge Okada fan, but I thought they did a nice job maximizing his strengths.  He is a tall guy with a really nice drop kick and some impressive height and speed on his moves, and everything he did looked good. I really like how each of Okada’s dropkicks were timed, all of them were big transitional moments, they are so impressive looking, but mean so much more when they are treated so importantly.

I sort of think that Danielson could have had just as good a match with Mark Jindrak, but that doesn’t mean this didn’t really work for me. I could have done without Dragon’s seizure spot, I am not necessarily morally opposed to it, but it did feel like it came at a weird point in the match. I imagine he was just audibling to figure out what he could do with a broken arm.

I have heard some complaints about the finish, but I loved it. We had this huge bombfest nearfall explosion with Omega and Ospreay and it would have been a fool’s errand to try to match what they did, instead we got Danielson trying to solve a problem, working Okada’s limbs into painful contortions without being able to put weight on his arm. It also fit really with the story of the match, where Okada was the bigger badder athlete, but Danielson was smarter and trickier.

Everyone expected Okada to get the ropes and break the hold, but Danielson just kept shifting his weight and adjusting the hold until he seemingly invented a leg assisted armlock which looked like he twisted Okada’s arm into putty. That broken arm will keep Danielson out for a while, hopefully he gets back in time for All-Out and All-In, he is working at such a high level right now, arguably the highest of his first-ballot hall of fame career, and every match we get is a treasure.

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