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  • NJPW Superthread


    New Japan Pro Wrestling was founded by Antonio Inoki in 1972, serving as one of Japan's top promotions from then to the present day. In 2016 NJPW is the biggest promotion in the country, becoming a national phenomenom in the 2010s when puroresu as a whole was in a down period. Many factors contributed to this, such as the rise of enigmatic superstars and exciting stables such as Hiroshi Tanahashi, Shinsuke Nakamura, Kazuchida Okada, The Bullet Club, Kenny Omega and Testuya Naito. Another big factor is the Western-influenced booking of Gedo, making NJPW the first Japanese promotion to heavily feature Western pro-wrestling tropes such as cheating, interference and gang beatdowns. The start of 2016 saw the loss of several of NJPW's top stars, namely Nakamura, AJ Styles, Karl Anderson, and Doc Gallows, as well as the gradual decline of former Ace Hiroshi Tanahashi. However, the company still thrives, with Kazuchida Okada defeating Tanahashi to become the new Ace at Wrestle Kingdom 10, and new talent being pushed to the top, such as Katsuyori Shibata, Tetsuya Naito, and Kenny Omega. The latter became the first ever Western wrestler to win the G1 Climax. His reward is main eventing the Tokyo Dome when he challenges Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.

    This thread will serve as the general discussion thread for all things NJPW, with the exception of special occasions such as Wrestle Kingdom and the G1 Climax tournament which merit their own threads.

  • #2
    Re: NJPW Superthread

    The last big event was Power Struggle, when two titles switched hands: KUSHIDA regained the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship against BUSHI, and EVIL upset Shibata to take the NEVER Openweight Championship. Another big result was Kenny Omega pinning Okada in the CHAOS vs Bullet Club semi-main event tag team match.

    Since then, NJPW have run a couple of big shows. First, two joint shows with Revolution Pro Wrestling in the UK. Shibata main evented both shows, first capturing the RevPro British Heavyweight Title from Zack Sabre Jr., then defending it against Chris Hero the following night. Shibata's busy schedule continued four days later, in Singapore, when he succeeded in his rematch against EVIL, regaining the NEVER Championship.

    I'm going to check out these three Shibata matches, he is a must-watch wrestler for me. Speaking of which, let's get some discussion going. NJPW watchers: who are your favourite NJPW wrestlers? My top three are Shibata, Naito, and Omega. Shibata is the embodiment of puroresu tropes to the point of almost being a parody, but it somehow works. The things I am sick of seeing other wrestlers doing, such as no-selling and long strike exchanges for some reason are incredibly entertaining when done by Shibata. Naito and Omega are two of the best characters in the business, they are exciting workers with incredible movesets.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: NJPW Superthread

      The last big event was Power Struggle, when two titles switched hands: KUSHIDA regained the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship against BUSHI, and EVIL upset Shibata to take the NEVER Openweight Championship. Another big result was Kenny Omega pinning Okada in the CHAOS vs Bullet Club semi-main event tag team match.

      Since then, NJPW have run a couple of big shows. First, two joint shows with Revolution Pro Wrestling in the UK. Shibata main evented both shows, first capturing the RevPro British Heavyweight Title from Zack Sabre Jr., then defending it against Chris Hero the following night. Shibata's busy schedule continued four days later, in Singapore, when he succeeded in his rematch against EVIL, regaining the NEVER Championship.

      I'm going to check out these three Shibata matches, he is a must-watch wrestler for me. Speaking of which, let's get some discussion going. NJPW watchers: who are your favourite NJPW wrestlers? My top three are Shibata, Naito, and Omega. Shibata is the embodiment of puroresu tropes to the point of almost being a parody, but it somehow works. The things I am sick of seeing other wrestlers doing, such as no-selling and long strike exchanges for some reason are incredibly entertaining when done by Shibata. Naito and Omega are two of the best characters in the business, they are exciting workers with incredible movesets.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: NJPW Superthread

        Can't wait to see who Naito's partner will be at the World Tag League tomorrow night. Meltzer believes it could be Rush, which would be fantastic as that was really the genesis of Naito's new character. Their work in CMLL was fantastic together and along with La Sombra (NXT's Almas) may have been my favourite act of 2015. Also curious to see how War Machine perform in their excursion of NJPW. Apparently they've been finding their groove of late in ROH and I get the feeling that they can take their work to the next level like Elgin managed to in the 2015 G-1.

        Top 3?

        Blue Justice Yuji Nagata continues to deliver fantastic performances at 48 and was central in Shibata's evolution as a character. I like how Shibata was able to mature over the year, and I think it was the Nagata program that allowed that to happen.

        I don't like everything he does, but Ishii is a stand out performer and before guys like Elgin and Ciampa starting aping his bits, was a genuine breath of fresh air. He continually gets great matches out of people and he's usually the one generated the most buzz out of each show - it's difficult not to respect that.

        Finally, Ricochet is a star. Everytime I see him perform, I'm just blown away by the man's athleticism and ability to grow as a performer. NJPW needs to take the lessons they learned from Prince Devitt and Kenny Omega and push this man pronto. They missed out on Ibushi (for now...) and Ricochet would easily fill that void.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: NJPW Superthread

          Can't wait to see who Naito's partner will be at the World Tag League tomorrow night. Meltzer believes it could be Rush, which would be fantastic as that was really the genesis of Naito's new character. Their work in CMLL was fantastic together and along with La Sombra (NXT's Almas) may have been my favourite act of 2015. Also curious to see how War Machine perform in their excursion of NJPW. Apparently they've been finding their groove of late in ROH and I get the feeling that they can take their work to the next level like Elgin managed to in the 2015 G-1.

          Top 3?

          Blue Justice Yuji Nagata continues to deliver fantastic performances at 48 and was central in Shibata's evolution as a character. I like how Shibata was able to mature over the year, and I think it was the Nagata program that allowed that to happen.

          I don't like everything he does, but Ishii is a stand out performer and before guys like Elgin and Ciampa starting aping his bits, was a genuine breath of fresh air. He continually gets great matches out of people and he's usually the one generated the most buzz out of each show - it's difficult not to respect that.

          Finally, Ricochet is a star. Everytime I see him perform, I'm just blown away by the man's athleticism and ability to grow as a performer. NJPW needs to take the lessons they learned from Prince Devitt and Kenny Omega and push this man pronto. They missed out on Ibushi (for now...) and Ricochet would easily fill that void.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: NJPW Superthread

            Ishii is a wrestler of the year candidate basically every year, and that's in wrestling as a whole and not just NJPW. The guy just cannot have a bad match, although the closest he came were the never ending series with Makabe. Makabe sucks though, and even a couple of those matches were fucking great

            Tanahashi is simply the greatest of all time

            Shibata is the fucking man and deserves to be champion sooner than later

            Naito is one of the most entertaining characters in the business and a hell of a worker to boot

            I love Honma but he's really had a very bad 6 months. He's not that over anymore for some reason, maybe it's the allegations made by his ex wife

            Okada and Omega, enough said. Going to be an epic main event.

            Yoshi Hashi used to be a guy I couldn't give two fucks about, but this years G1 showed us all that when given a chance he's actually a hell of a worker.

            SANADA is going to be a star. This is not the same guy who floundered around in TNA.

            KUSHIDA is stale as fuck in the lightweight division and needs to move up. That guy can freaking go

            ( ?_?) - 97% of PW suddenly think Michael Cole is awesome. If you're part of the 3% that still thinks he is an annoying tool, copy & paste this into your sig.

            Currently Playing: Suikoden 1, Max Payne 1, Beyond Good and Evil, MGS Peace Walker

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: NJPW Superthread

              Ishii is a wrestler of the year candidate basically every year, and that's in wrestling as a whole and not just NJPW. The guy just cannot have a bad match, although the closest he came were the never ending series with Makabe. Makabe sucks though, and even a couple of those matches were fucking great

              Tanahashi is simply the greatest of all time

              Shibata is the fucking man and deserves to be champion sooner than later

              Naito is one of the most entertaining characters in the business and a hell of a worker to boot

              I love Honma but he's really had a very bad 6 months. He's not that over anymore for some reason, maybe it's the allegations made by his ex wife

              Okada and Omega, enough said. Going to be an epic main event.

              Yoshi Hashi used to be a guy I couldn't give two fucks about, but this years G1 showed us all that when given a chance he's actually a hell of a worker.

              SANADA is going to be a star. This is not the same guy who floundered around in TNA.

              KUSHIDA is stale as fuck in the lightweight division and needs to move up. That guy can freaking go

              ( ?_?) - 97% of PW suddenly think Michael Cole is awesome. If you're part of the 3% that still thinks he is an annoying tool, copy & paste this into your sig.

              Currently Playing: Suikoden 1, Max Payne 1, Beyond Good and Evil, MGS Peace Walker

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: NJPW Superthread

                Thanks for reminding me, Big Pete. The World Tag League starts in a few days. It's the tag team equivalent of the G1 Climax: same structure, same rewards. Two blocks each compete in a round robin tournament. The winners of each block advances to the finals, and the winner of that match will face the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions, the Guerrillas of Destiny, at Wrestle Kingdom 11. It lacks the appeal of the G1 Climax mainly because we know many tag teams aren't going to win, such as tag teams featuring guys already scheduled for a match at Wrestle Kingdom.

                A Block
                Manabu Nakanishi & Henare
                War Machine
                Brian Breaker & Leland Race
                Yujiro Takahashi & Hangman Page
                Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima
                Tama Tonga & Tanga Roa (c)
                Hiroshi Tanahashi & Juice Robinson
                Tetsuya Naito & Mystery Partner

                B Block
                Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI
                Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma
                SANADA & EVIL
                Katsuyori Shibata & Yuji Nagata
                Bad Luck Fale & Bone Soldier
                Hirooki Goto & Tomohiro Ishii
                Kenny Omega & Chase Owens
                YOSHITATSU & Billy Gunn

                Many interesting pairings to consider. ROH's War Machine make their NJPW debut, hoping to make a big impression as colleague Michael Elgin did in the G1 Climax. As Big Pete mentioned, Naito's partner has yet to be revealed, likely a new Los Ingobernables de Japón member. Okada and YOSHI-HASHI are going to be a formidable force given YOSHI-HASHI's recent rise to the upper midcard. Shibata and Nagata is a very exciting team. I don't know who Bone Soldier is. Bullet Club sneaked in a new member! Is it Cody Hall or someone else? Finally, YOSHITATSU and Billy Gunn is a very random yet intriguing pairing.

                I like Goto's and Ishii's chances to win the whole thing. Don't think either man has a match scheduled for Wrestle Kingdom, and this seems like the right slot for them. Makabe and Honma are in the same position, but I believe they've already feuded with the Guerrillas so that's less interesting. War Machine and TenKoji look like the favourites from the A Block besides the champions.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: NJPW Superthread

                  Thanks for reminding me, Big Pete. The World Tag League starts in a few days. It's the tag team equivalent of the G1 Climax: same structure, same rewards. Two blocks each compete in a round robin tournament. The winners of each block advances to the finals, and the winner of that match will face the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions, the Guerrillas of Destiny, at Wrestle Kingdom 11. It lacks the appeal of the G1 Climax mainly because we know many tag teams aren't going to win, such as tag teams featuring guys already scheduled for a match at Wrestle Kingdom.

                  A Block
                  Manabu Nakanishi & Henare
                  War Machine
                  Brian Breaker & Leland Race
                  Yujiro Takahashi & Hangman Page
                  Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima
                  Tama Tonga & Tanga Roa (c)
                  Hiroshi Tanahashi & Juice Robinson
                  Tetsuya Naito & Mystery Partner

                  B Block
                  Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI
                  Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma
                  SANADA & EVIL
                  Katsuyori Shibata & Yuji Nagata
                  Bad Luck Fale & Bone Soldier
                  Hirooki Goto & Tomohiro Ishii
                  Kenny Omega & Chase Owens
                  YOSHITATSU & Billy Gunn

                  Many interesting pairings to consider. ROH's War Machine make their NJPW debut, hoping to make a big impression as colleague Michael Elgin did in the G1 Climax. As Big Pete mentioned, Naito's partner has yet to be revealed, likely a new Los Ingobernables de Japón member. Okada and YOSHI-HASHI are going to be a formidable force given YOSHI-HASHI's recent rise to the upper midcard. Shibata and Nagata is a very exciting team. I don't know who Bone Soldier is. Bullet Club sneaked in a new member! Is it Cody Hall or someone else? Finally, YOSHITATSU and Billy Gunn is a very random yet intriguing pairing.

                  I like Goto's and Ishii's chances to win the whole thing. Don't think either man has a match scheduled for Wrestle Kingdom, and this seems like the right slot for them. Makabe and Honma are in the same position, but I believe they've already feuded with the Guerrillas so that's less interesting. War Machine and TenKoji look like the favourites from the A Block besides the champions.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: NJPW Superthread

                    I doubt I will ever see eye to eye with you guys on Ishii. He's not bad, but I don't find him especially interesting. Maybe he doesn't have many or any bad matches, but I find him pretty dull, very skippable. I certainly don't think he has as many great matches as you guys do. Shibata does the tough guy shtick in a far more interesting and exciting way, and he's way more versatile.

                    Originally posted by Big Pete View Post
                    Blue Justice Yuji Nagata continues to deliver fantastic performances at 48 and was central in Shibata's evolution as a character. I like how Shibata was able to mature over the year, and I think it was the Nagata program that allowed that to happen.
                    I don't think it was exclusively the Nagata feud that made Shibata into a top tier performer. He's gradually been improving over the past couple of years. He was one of the highlights of the 2015 G1. The NEVER title reign gave him a bigger platform to demonstrate how good he is against a variety of opponents. I think his lengthy feuds with Ishii and Nagata helped him more grow than his directionless run pre-NEVER, but he's been improving for a long time. Within the next year he should be moving up to challenge for the top two titles, but he's fine in his own little bubble for the moment.

                    Originally posted by Big Pete View Post
                    Finally, Ricochet is a star. Everytime I see him perform, I'm just blown away by the man's athleticism and ability to grow as a performer. NJPW needs to take the lessons they learned from Prince Devitt and Kenny Omega and push this man pronto. They missed out on Ibushi (for now...) and Ricochet would easily fill that void.
                    I'm not so convinced by Ricochet. He can flip better than most of the other flippy guys, but I don't see anything beyond that. What's his personality? His character? I don't see it. As hokey as Ospreay is, at least there's something to latch onto. Ricochet comes across as robotic.

                    Originally posted by HilaryFan View Post
                    Yoshi Hashi used to be a guy I couldn't give two fucks about, but this years G1 showed us all that when given a chance he's actually a hell of a worker.

                    SANADA is going to be a star. This is not the same guy who floundered around in TNA.

                    KUSHIDA is stale as fuck in the lightweight division and needs to move up. That guy can freaking go
                    Agreed on these three points (and everything else you said apart from Ishii and Tanahashi). I'm not massive on SANADA right now but his potential is limitless. Great look and a freak athlete who's already a pretty solid worker. I could see him challenging Okada to become the next Ace a few years down the line.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: NJPW Superthread

                      I doubt I will ever see eye to eye with you guys on Ishii. He's not bad, but I don't find him especially interesting. Maybe he doesn't have many or any bad matches, but I find him pretty dull, very skippable. I certainly don't think he has as many great matches as you guys do. Shibata does the tough guy shtick in a far more interesting and exciting way, and he's way more versatile.

                      Originally posted by Big Pete View Post
                      Blue Justice Yuji Nagata continues to deliver fantastic performances at 48 and was central in Shibata's evolution as a character. I like how Shibata was able to mature over the year, and I think it was the Nagata program that allowed that to happen.
                      I don't think it was exclusively the Nagata feud that made Shibata into a top tier performer. He's gradually been improving over the past couple of years. He was one of the highlights of the 2015 G1. The NEVER title reign gave him a bigger platform to demonstrate how good he is against a variety of opponents. I think his lengthy feuds with Ishii and Nagata helped him more grow than his directionless run pre-NEVER, but he's been improving for a long time. Within the next year he should be moving up to challenge for the top two titles, but he's fine in his own little bubble for the moment.

                      Originally posted by Big Pete View Post
                      Finally, Ricochet is a star. Everytime I see him perform, I'm just blown away by the man's athleticism and ability to grow as a performer. NJPW needs to take the lessons they learned from Prince Devitt and Kenny Omega and push this man pronto. They missed out on Ibushi (for now...) and Ricochet would easily fill that void.
                      I'm not so convinced by Ricochet. He can flip better than most of the other flippy guys, but I don't see anything beyond that. What's his personality? His character? I don't see it. As hokey as Ospreay is, at least there's something to latch onto. Ricochet comes across as robotic.

                      Originally posted by HilaryFan View Post
                      Yoshi Hashi used to be a guy I couldn't give two fucks about, but this years G1 showed us all that when given a chance he's actually a hell of a worker.

                      SANADA is going to be a star. This is not the same guy who floundered around in TNA.

                      KUSHIDA is stale as fuck in the lightweight division and needs to move up. That guy can freaking go
                      Agreed on these three points (and everything else you said apart from Ishii and Tanahashi). I'm not massive on SANADA right now but his potential is limitless. Great look and a freak athlete who's already a pretty solid worker. I could see him challenging Okada to become the next Ace a few years down the line.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: NJPW Superthread

                        I still can't believe YOSHITATSU & Billy Gun are going to be in the World Tag League.

                        Love that War Machine are going to be in it & I hope they have a good showing.
                        surrender

                        First Ever PW Heavyweight Champion!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: NJPW Superthread

                          I still can't believe YOSHITATSU & Billy Gun are going to be in the World Tag League.

                          Love that War Machine are going to be in it & I hope they have a good showing.
                          surrender

                          First Ever PW Heavyweight Champion!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: NJPW Superthread

                            Shibata does the tough guy shtick in a far more interesting and exciting way, and he's way more versatile.
                            Character > Performance, especially when it comes to toughness. Shibata's offence maybe more spectacular but it's tough to build a connection with his character when he purposefully sticks to the same 'dickhead' persona he's carried since 2012. Which is why the Nagata series was so valuable because it provided Shibata with some much needed character development that had been sorely lacking. The fans genuinely cared about the outcome of the matches and Nagata was a great foil for Shibata.

                            Meanwhile Ishii is such an understated and humble performer, it's difficult not to root for him. In a lot of ways, he's the NJPW equivalent of Daniel Bryan (or at least the WWE version) where he's the perrenial B+ player but he continues to find ways to catch opponent's off-guard. There's a sense of unpredictability when it comes to Ishii's matches that I find exciting and I find he lays his matches out better than Shibata who relies more on cheap thrills to illicit a reaction. Admittedly I am coming down from that Guerillas of Destiny v Ishii/YOSHI-HASHI match which made me respect Ishii's ability to get the best out of his respective opponents.

                            Don't get me wrong, Shibata is still a world-class performer and would easily make a Top 20 of 2016 list if I was to put one together. However, there are issues with the total package that work against him style-wise in respect to Ishii.

                            Plus, it's my favourite's list god dammit.

                            As for Ricochet, it's all about charisma and the way he carries himself. When I see him in the ring with guys like Romero, Barreta, Sydal, Finlay, Ospreay etc. he stands out and the crowd responds in kind. He may not be the best in-ring performer, I can think of at least five guys who have had better career years, but I'm somebody who enjoys watching performers with an upside. With guys like Omega, Naito, Elgin, YOSHI-HASHI, they maybe having great years but ultimately I feel like we're going to be talking about Ricochet more in three-five years time than most of those guys.

                            ------------------------------------------------------
                            Rush has no bookings coming up in Mexico so it all but confirms his team with Naito.

                            What matches are you guys looking forward to?

                            My list:

                            11/18
                            Hiroshi Tanahashi & Juice Robinson vs Tetsuya Naito & X

                            11/19
                            Yoshitatsu & Billy Gunn vs Kenny Omega & Chase Owens
                            EVIL & SANADA vs Yuji Nagata & Katsuyori Shibata
                            Kazcuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI vs GBH

                            11/20
                            Hiroshi Tanahashi & Juice Robinson vs War Machine

                            11/26
                            Tetsuya Naito & X vs Leland Rice & Brian Breaker
                            TenKoji vs War Machine
                            Hirooki Goto & Tomohiro Ishii vs EVIL & SANADA

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: NJPW Superthread

                              Shibata does the tough guy shtick in a far more interesting and exciting way, and he's way more versatile.
                              Character > Performance, especially when it comes to toughness. Shibata's offence maybe more spectacular but it's tough to build a connection with his character when he purposefully sticks to the same 'dickhead' persona he's carried since 2012. Which is why the Nagata series was so valuable because it provided Shibata with some much needed character development that had been sorely lacking. The fans genuinely cared about the outcome of the matches and Nagata was a great foil for Shibata.

                              Meanwhile Ishii is such an understated and humble performer, it's difficult not to root for him. In a lot of ways, he's the NJPW equivalent of Daniel Bryan (or at least the WWE version) where he's the perrenial B+ player but he continues to find ways to catch opponent's off-guard. There's a sense of unpredictability when it comes to Ishii's matches that I find exciting and I find he lays his matches out better than Shibata who relies more on cheap thrills to illicit a reaction. Admittedly I am coming down from that Guerillas of Destiny v Ishii/YOSHI-HASHI match which made me respect Ishii's ability to get the best out of his respective opponents.

                              Don't get me wrong, Shibata is still a world-class performer and would easily make a Top 20 of 2016 list if I was to put one together. However, there are issues with the total package that work against him style-wise in respect to Ishii.

                              Plus, it's my favourite's list god dammit.

                              As for Ricochet, it's all about charisma and the way he carries himself. When I see him in the ring with guys like Romero, Barreta, Sydal, Finlay, Ospreay etc. he stands out and the crowd responds in kind. He may not be the best in-ring performer, I can think of at least five guys who have had better career years, but I'm somebody who enjoys watching performers with an upside. With guys like Omega, Naito, Elgin, YOSHI-HASHI, they maybe having great years but ultimately I feel like we're going to be talking about Ricochet more in three-five years time than most of those guys.

                              ------------------------------------------------------
                              Rush has no bookings coming up in Mexico so it all but confirms his team with Naito.

                              What matches are you guys looking forward to?

                              My list:

                              11/18
                              Hiroshi Tanahashi & Juice Robinson vs Tetsuya Naito & X

                              11/19
                              Yoshitatsu & Billy Gunn vs Kenny Omega & Chase Owens
                              EVIL & SANADA vs Yuji Nagata & Katsuyori Shibata
                              Kazcuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI vs GBH

                              11/20
                              Hiroshi Tanahashi & Juice Robinson vs War Machine

                              11/26
                              Tetsuya Naito & X vs Leland Rice & Brian Breaker
                              TenKoji vs War Machine
                              Hirooki Goto & Tomohiro Ishii vs EVIL & SANADA

                              Comment

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