AEW has filed two trademarks recently, one for the term “Forbidden Door” and another for a similar term, the “Forbidden Portal”.
AEW filed the two trademarks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on 2/8 and they were entered in the trademark database on 2/11. The trademarks filed for the two terms were for merchandise as well as entertainment services.
The term “Forbidden Door” has long been used to refer to the fact that Japanese wrestling promotions, such as NJPW don’t really work with American promotions.
The term was supposedly first used by NJPW’s Hiroshi Tanahashi in an interview back in 2019. Tanahashi and Chris Jericho previously had a few well-received matches in Japan, but at the time Jericho had signed with AEW and was in fact their World Champion.
Tanahashi had been asked about facing Jericho for the AEW Championship to which the former implied that he would be open to the idea but the “forbidden door” would need to open. The implication was that “higher-ups” in both companies needed to agree to the idea.
While the “forbidden door” remained firmly shut to Jericho vs. Tanahashi, it has definitely been at least cracked open for AEW’s Dean Ambrose and NJPW’s KENTA who are feuding over the IWGP United States Championship.
The trademark filings is a big indication that AEW at least has long term plans that will involve NJPW and even other American wrestling promotions such as Impact.
During the last episode of Impact, AEW President Tony Khan featured in a paid ad aired on the show. Khan called himself the “forbidden door” who needed to approve potential crossovers with AEW and other promotions.
While “Forbidden Portal” has yet to be used, it’s similar to “Forbidden Door” that it might be in consideration to be used as an alternative if AEW can’t trademark “Forbidden Door”.