The recent collaboration between All Elite Wrestling (AEW) and New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) through the Forbidden Door event has garnered positive feedback from many wrestling enthusiasts. However, renowned WWE Hall of Famer Booker T remains skeptical about the pay-per-view's ability to resonate with casual viewers in the United States.
In a recent episode of his "Hall of Fame" podcast, Booker T shed light on the challenges he believes AEW faces in attracting a larger audience to this cross-promotional extravaganza. According to Booker, the majority of American television viewers, who primarily follow domestic wrestling content, are not eagerly anticipating pay-per-views featuring NJPW stars, regardless of their exceptional in-ring abilities.
While acknowledging the impressive performances of these wrestlers, Booker emphasized that they lack significant recognition in North America, ultimately diminishing the event's appeal to a certain extent.
Booker T's Doubts on AEW's Cross-Promotional Bridge
Despite acknowledging that AEW's focus on events like the Forbidden Door is not hindering its growth, Booker T remains unconvinced that the company can effectively bridge the gap between the American and Japanese wrestling markets.
Moreover, he believes that AEW might overestimate the popularity of Japanese wrestling within the United States. Booker elaborated on the language barrier as a significant factor. American audiences, he argued, are not inclined to watch Japanese television due to the linguistic challenges.
Comparing it to watching Spanish television, he emphasized that viewers are more likely to gravitate towards content they are comfortable with. In addition, Booker pointed out that while some Japanese stars such as The Great Muta have successfully made a name for themselves in the United States, they are the exception rather than the norm.
Consequently, many American viewers find it difficult to develop a vested interest in Japanese talent, making them less inclined to tune in and witness their performances. While Booker T's reservations shed light on the potential obstacles that AEW might encounter in expanding its viewership through cross-promotional events like Forbidden Door, it remains to be seen how the company will navigate these challenges and appeal to a wider audience in the future.