IWGP World Champion SANADA Recalls Forbidden Door Backstage Interaction With CM Punk

AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door 2023 was undoubtedly one of the biggest pro wrestling events of the summer. The cross-promotional event featured several key matches, with both the AEW and IWGP World Heavyweight Championships being relegated to the first half of the card. SANADA, the reigning IWGP Champion, spoke about his experience at Forbidden Door in a recent interview with NJPW's website, recalling a conversation he had backstage with CM Punk at the event. SANADA, a long-time midcarder in NJPW, finally captured the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship from Kazuchika Okada earlier this year, and has been a prideful champion for the company ever since.

"When I was over with AEW, I felt how important that IWGP label is," SANADA recalled, "I got to chat with CM Punk, and he was like 'that belt is the coolest'." Punk, who wrestled NJPW veteran Satoshi Kojima on the show, reminded SANADA just how world-renowned the IWGP Title truly is. "For [someone like] CM Punk to know who you are and what you're doing, that speaks to how widely the IWGP Champion is known," SANADA remarked.

The IWGP World Heavyweight Champion also briefly touched on his bout against "Jungle Boy" Jack Perry, a match he won in just ten minutes in the fourth match of the card. "It was my first time in AEW," SANADA reminded, "The most important thing was being able to show who I am in that environment and in that atmosphere. Where you are on the card, that's important sure, but it was my job to show who SANADA is within that environment." Following his successful title defense at Forbidden Door, SANADA now looks forward to the G1 Climax 33, where he is a headliner of this year's A Block.