New Japan Pro-Wrestling 2021: Protect Naito and Ibushi's Necks

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Figured I'd start this thread too since it's a new year and Wrestle Kingdom is coming up.

maura, Friday, 1 January 2021 22:01 (three years ago) link

WK Night One (5 p.m. Japan Time, January 4):

WK Night Two: (5 p.m. Japan Time, January 5):

maura, Friday, 1 January 2021 22:02 (three years ago) link

There was an incredible hype video with a Japanese don king singing at okada through coronavirus plexiglass

a hoy hoy, Friday, 1 January 2021 22:12 (three years ago) link

I made the mistake of checking Twitter to find out about lockdown and to only see clips and comments of day one. If you wanna go spoiler free and follow wrestling Twitter, watch out.

Every year I forget the different time difference. I’m used to not looking the morning after American shows and just assumed it would be tonight.

Gonna try and watch it tomorrow/Wednesday. One highlight clip of a super rana off the apron and I’m hooked back in.

a hoy hoy, Monday, 4 January 2021 20:21 (three years ago) link

I have been sedulously avoiding all wrestling-related media for precisely that reason. these are always the best shows of the year so I'm going to treat myself and take it slow. just seen on my vid that night 1 alone is 5 hours! probably gonna take me all week to get through both nights.

i am 10 minutes into the opening battle royal (the New Japan 'Rambo'? is that what we're going with?) and aside from trolling the audience by presenting Chase Owens in the number one spot, so far they have sent out Tomohiro Ishii, Minoru Suzuki and BLUE JUSTICE Yuji Nagata, which is a frankly ludicrous run of guys to be able to send out for this kind of throwaway opening number

Windsor Davies, Monday, 4 January 2021 22:54 (three years ago) link

previous post didnt age well.

oh nvm Riki Choshu is in the building. he's tremendous. i watched some of his mid 80s stuff with Fujinami and Tenryu recently and enjoyed it far more than I had expected to. the energy levels in the building always seemed to go through the roof whenever he was involved.

oh i had forgotten that Kojima was gonna be challenging KENTA, that should be cool.

Windsor Davies, Monday, 4 January 2021 23:16 (three years ago) link

Watching now, the first of many viewings I’m gonna need this week to get through it. I love that KENTA is taking on a bit of an old bastard role, with douchy blonde hair

a hoy hoy, Tuesday, 5 January 2021 17:30 (three years ago) link

Who the fuck is Great O Khan and why does this look like something wack from 1995 new generation wwe?

a hoy hoy, Tuesday, 5 January 2021 17:53 (three years ago) link

he's one of the post-excursion Young Lions. and yes lol Great O-Khan and Master Wato are both pretty eyebrow raising at first glance aren't they. i'm quite happy to see where it goes tbh, nice to have a change of pace.

Windsor Davies, Tuesday, 5 January 2021 19:02 (three years ago) link

which reminds me that a while back I decided to start watching through "modern" NJPW starting with WK6 as the jumping off point (I didn't get far with this project) but omg I had never actually seen Okada's big return from excursion vs Yoshi Hashi before, which has to have been deliberate misdirection given what came next. still v funny tho

Windsor Davies, Tuesday, 5 January 2021 19:04 (three years ago) link

you guys had me find night 1 of Wrestle Kingdom #14... two matches in and it's okay? I haven't watched wrestling since high school though. Is there something special i should know about this league?

the serious avant-garde universalist right now (forksclovetofu), Tuesday, 5 January 2021 19:45 (three years ago) link

in some respects it is gleefully OTT but they take the in ring stuff seriously. they generally treat it as an actual pretend sport. they showcase very athletic guys hitting each other hard, moving very fast and doing lots of cool moves.

when they get it right (which is often) they temper the cool moves with story beats - wrestlers facing each other multiple times will pepper their matches with callbacks to previous encounters, find new ways to counter particular moves, devise new strategies, introduce new moves to get an edge, and so on.

the stories are told pretty much entirely in the ring. they are often extremely slow burning, with particular rivalries playing out over a number of years and multiple major matches. when done correctly it's about as satisfying as wrestling can be.

and unlike in the US (where there may be a bit more of an ebb and flow to the shows) New Japan shows usually start slow and gain intensity with each passing match, building to the final match or two which are usually much longer than the others with crazy finishing stretches full of ridiculous moves and exciting near falls.

all of which I guess is to say that New Japan is p much the best if you can find time for it, but not necessarily the easiest thing to just pick up from scratch? idk i definitely wouldn't recommend starting to watch night 1 of what was eventually a 10 hour show spread over 2 nights, because as i say, these things usually start slow and pick up steam

Windsor Davies, Tuesday, 5 January 2021 20:18 (three years ago) link

WK14 was last year's big show forks. It was very good, NJPW has been a consistently great wrestling company for a while, but it was also a struggle for them, having just lost a bunch of stars to the AEW start up and a lot of wrestlers returning from injury/bad form. If you can enjoy it, then there will be so much more for you to find after it.

It was also the first time they ever did a 2 night event, so the special matches were more spread out. If you feel like skipping a couple of the 8 man tags to iirc naito-white or takahashi-ospreay, you'll go straight to the good stuff. There is a decent divide between fans who like the big tags that fill out shows and people who skip over them. New Japan often pad out events with these type of matches to make sure everyone gets paid and they can progress peoples stories a little bit without them having to work hard hitting long matches every time, generally helping people stay fit and healthy. Its why most wrestlers belong to a faction/group, so they can support each other when they arent in a big match.

Hope you enjoy!

a hoy hoy, Tuesday, 5 January 2021 21:11 (three years ago) link

Last year was also the Liger Retirement special, which is a nice thing to ease into if you remember Liger from his WCW days.

I totally came here to start this thread with the title "I AM BECOME GOD" but I see that I was beaten with something even better. I stayed up for both nights. Not sure I can do it for New Year's Dash, but that's always where everything kicks off, so I might nap from after work until 11:30pm, which is when it comes on over here.

forksclovetofu: How long ago was high school for you? If you have favorites from then, maybe we can suggest modern-day counterparts?

I'm a big NJPW mark, so I love it all, but it definitely isn't the easiest promotion to just jump in to, especially with how long their story threads can be sometimes. I really got into it about 5-6ish years ago, and had to play some catch up for some things that were going on, but seeing the stories that started around then coming to fruition has absolutely been worth it. I'm so interested with where certain people go from here.

hourspass, Tuesday, 5 January 2021 22:11 (three years ago) link

I was into the old Tennessee NWA and then into the WWF when McMahon took it national and big. The guys i remember loving were the hart brothers, HONKY TONK MAN, big john studd, junkyard dog, hillbilly jim (we all loved the southern guys), george the animal steele, brutus beefcake, terry funk, koko b warebruno sammartino (really at the end there), jake the snake, rowdy roddy piper, fabulous moolah, british bulldogs, iron sheik, nikolai volkov, "little tokyo", macho man and mrs elizabeth, hogan, andre, king kong bundy, classy freddy blassy, jerry the king lawler, dusty rhodes, sgt slaughter, big boss man (i actually hated that guy), ted dibiase, tito santana, bobby the brain heenan, ravishing rick rude, jimmy superfly snooka, the rock n roll express, hacksaw jim duggan, ricky the dragon steamboat, bambam bigalow... basically 1980 to 1989 i guess? it's been thirty years since i thought about this! And holy shit billy corgan owns NWA now!!!

I never really liked the stories outside the ring so i can see this being something I can find some enjoyment with.

the serious avant-garde universalist right now (forksclovetofu), Tuesday, 5 January 2021 22:42 (three years ago) link

While some of my suggestions won't be quite so similar in style as they are in character strength, I'll try to make a few suggestions for current/recent wrestlers in NJPW.

For people to watch out for in our current years (and references to their WK14 matches):
◦Hiroshi Tanahashi is always a good choice. He's probably the most feel-good wrestler in NJPW, and their Ace babyface. He's had matches in every Wrestle Kingdom event, and has kind of bridged the gap between the generations of wrestlers. I've heard more than one person compare him to how Dusty Rhodes made him feel. He had a special singles match against Jericho at WK14 night 2.
◦Tomohiro Ishii, Shingo Takagi, & Jeff Cobb are all good for satisfying that "big guy doing big guy things" in wrestling. Cobb throws in a bit more athleticism than normal, but is just fun in general to watch (though I am biased because he is from my state and we are proud). Ishii and Takagi were both in 8-man tag matches (Ishii in Bullet Club vs. CHAOS, Takagi in Suzuki-Gun vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon) match on night 1, and in the gauntlet match for the NEVER Openweight 6-man tag belts on night 2. Jeff Cobb was not part of last year's Wrestle Kingdom, but was in the year before in a NEVER gauntlet match.
◦Minoru Suzuki is another guy that has been wrestling for forever, and has been the bad guy for about as long. He has a kind of mythos around him, and had some killer matches last year. He was part of the aforementioned Suzuki-Gun vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon 8-man tag, as well as the NEVER gauntlet match.
◦Guerrillas of Destiny (Meng/Haku's sons, Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa) are probably the most successful current tag team in NJPW today. Good heel tag team, representative of the stable that they are part of. Their WK14 night 1 match was against FinJuice (Fit Finlay's son, David Finlay and Juice Robinson), who are fun to watch in a completely different way.
◦"Switchblade" Jay White, who has an insane amount of charisma, and is a heat MAGNET, can remind some people of a real old school heel. His WK14 match was against Tetsuya Naito for the Intercontinental Championship on night 1.
◦Hirooki Goto, Kota Ibushi, and SANADA are great for a sort of "underdog" feel. All of them are kind of quiet and reserved (though Goto and SANADA more than Ibushi), but all three bring big heart and energy into matches. Goto's pretty solidly midcard, though you'll always want him to achieve more. Ibushi and SANADA have both been RIGHT ON THE CUSP for the past few years. Goto was part of the CHAOS vs. Bullet Club match on night 1 of WK14, and had a singles match against KENTA for the NEVER Openweight championship on night 2. Ibushi challenged for the Heavyweight championship against Kazuchika Okada on night 1. SANADA was part of the Suzuki-Gun vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon 8-man tag on night 1, and challenged Zack Sabre Jr. for the British Heavyweight championship on night 2.
◦Hiromu Takahashi, arguably the face of the Jr. Heavyweight division for years to come is great for watching someone with seemingly relentless energy and a penchant for throwing himself around the ring. He had his WK14 match against Will Ospreay for the Jr. Heavyweight championship on night 1, and a tag team match against Liger on night 2.
◦Yuji Nagata and Manabu Nakanishi are great for a good "legends" feel. They both had a tag match last year against two other veterans, Tencozy (Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan) on night 1 of WK14, and while Nagata is still competing, Nakanishi retired in February of last year.

If you're willing to go a few years back:
◦Takashi Iizuka retired in early 2019, but I think you might enjoy him, as he is reminiscent of George "The Animal" Steele.
◦Killer Elite Squad (Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith, Jr.) were a great tag team. Not as similar in style to the British Bulldogs as you might hope, but MAN does Jr. look like his daddy, and he does him proud in the ring.
◦Kenny Omega is a divisive choice, but it is undeniable that his NJPW run is what made him a real star.
◦Shinsuke Nakamura and KUSHIDA are less divisive choices, but if you were any bit interested in anything that they have done in WWE, you'll be blown away by the matches they had in Japan.
◦Katsuyori Shibata was similar to Hirooki Goto as far as place in the roster and sort of feeling he evoked. He preferred to be more simple in his attire and style, focusing mostly on striking power. Not a big guy, but not out of place in a big guy's match. He transitioned to training after a pretty serious head injury.

Sorry this is so long! I just love NJPW, and I've been lucky to find that there's a little bit of something for everyone (except for women's matches, since there are technically no women signed as in-ring competitors).

hourspass, Wednesday, 6 January 2021 00:03 (three years ago) link

innnnnnnnteresting. the big problem here is that there is no way i can get my gf into this so it's gonna be a guilty pleasure and go on forever... so i guess i'll get through this WK14 show with your notes in tow and see if it moves me. Thanks for the obsessive and neat primer, i'm a sucker for that stuff.

the serious avant-garde universalist right now (forksclovetofu), Wednesday, 6 January 2021 00:51 (three years ago) link

okay, i loved the "Dad match"

the serious avant-garde universalist right now (forksclovetofu), Wednesday, 6 January 2021 04:21 (three years ago) link

Forks, if you are starting to find interest in pro wrestling and want something a bit “easier” to watch with the girlfriend, AEW is in English and has a lot of stars from NJPW. It is run like an old territory (even some of the managers are four horseman) and the storylines are quite easy to follow, with feuds that really go somewhere, often to big old school fights like dog collar matches. The recent Winter is Coming episode is a good place if you felt like getting back into American pro wrestling, featuring a lot of people’s favourite New Japan star Kenny Omega in the title match.

Basically if you wanna dip your toe in, there is a lot to enjoy. Just don’t watch Raw. :)

a hoy hoy, Wednesday, 6 January 2021 05:47 (three years ago) link

heh, i think watching Magic Kingdom 14 over the next two months is gonna suit me just fine. I can't have more obsessions right now!

the serious avant-garde universalist right now (forksclovetofu), Wednesday, 6 January 2021 06:19 (three years ago) link

naito vs ibushi and (redacted) vs white were so good holy fuck wow

Kompakt Total Landscaping (Will M.), Thursday, 7 January 2021 03:36 (three years ago) link

Truly, so good. Props to all three of those guys for exceeding the hype.

The card was good from top to bottom, great in a lot of it, and downright incredible in those two main events. I also really enjoyed the special singles matches between Okada & Ospreay and EVIL & SANADA. Plus the tag matches. And the return of the New Japan Rambo/Rumble. And everything. I stayed up to watch both nights live and the lack of sleep was totally worth it. Genuinely feel very spoiled by NJPW as a wrestling fan. Two nights of WK at the dome, and some pretty fun tag matches at New Year Dash. Really excited for what is on the horizon for everyone.

hourspass, Friday, 8 January 2021 21:10 (three years ago) link

I’ve not finished it and will post more thoughts when I do, but fuck me, Cobb v Shingo is why I love wrestling, 6 stars

a hoy hoy, Friday, 8 January 2021 21:22 (three years ago) link

Was just coming here to say similar having watched it over dinner, exhilarating stuff

Backflip powerslam one-upmanship!

Shingo is a madman

hiroyoshi tins in (Sgt. Biscuits), Friday, 8 January 2021 21:29 (three years ago) link

I think it was the semi main but fuck me did I see someone (ishimori v hiromo?) do a baseball slide into a powerbomb? I’ve really fucking enjoyed pro wrestling today. (I watched aew today too so the fenix-omega match blurs into what I watched)

a hoy hoy, Friday, 8 January 2021 21:38 (three years ago) link

oh i forgot we had spoiler tags now! spoilers for main event night 2

for some reason i had kind of forgotten about murder ibushi but that was absolutely the best murder ibushi sequence i ever remember seeing. it is so impressive how much he can communicate by just going blank-faced and throwing those quick elbows back in exchanges. then he kinda took it to the next level turning into screaming murder ibushi -- which i guess in a vacuum is a typically "babyface fire" thing, but when he does it after going killer-mode, it feels like a new thing i've never seen before?

and now im talking abt main event night 1 again (w/ a little ref to ospreay-okada)

naito-ibushi blew me away with how _impatient_ it felt -- where the prevailing njpw thing for a while, as seen w okada-spray, is to start with more of a chess match, this one it felt like they were both playing for the win early, but still excellently holding back just enough to make the back half of the match feel more desperate and intense. had a friend who said he didn't care for this match that much and i demanded he go back and rewatch it because he was just so wrong. i might be overhyping it but for me it was one of the greatest WK matches i've ever seen, up there with... boy i am not sure i can think of one i liked more. (i've only been watching WKs since WK10.) Nakamura-Styles maybe from that one? naito-okada from last year maybe edges it for pure emotional catharsis but i definitely prefer this match from a minute-to-minute perspective.

Kompakt Total Landscaping (Will M.), Friday, 8 January 2021 21:41 (three years ago) link

Otm on your night one, didn’t click night two. Also I don’t think I need to spoiler tag this, but I’ve not watched njpw in a year, why is Kevin Kelly calling Ibushi a literal God?

a hoy hoy, Friday, 8 January 2021 21:46 (three years ago) link

it comes from something that ibushi himself said -- where if he won both titles he would become god. it beccame a big part of the hype for the matches i think.

Kompakt Total Landscaping (Will M.), Friday, 8 January 2021 21:49 (three years ago) link

Ha ok, still wish they could get some subtitles. Hope he remembers ol fascist Vince has a 1-0 on him

a hoy hoy, Friday, 8 January 2021 22:08 (three years ago) link

a pal and i were laughing the other day about how ibushi lost to......... tj perkins in the CWC lol

Kompakt Total Landscaping (Will M.), Friday, 8 January 2021 22:31 (three years ago) link

Fucking hell, didn’t he win that? Of all the things to look terrible in hindsight.

a hoy hoy, Friday, 8 January 2021 22:33 (three years ago) link

he and zsj lost in the semis, probably because they knew there was no chance in hell they'd sign them and they might as well elevate guys who'd stick around. from that standpoint i see why they did it, shame they did vurtually nothing with gran metalik after that tho (even tjp had at least something resembling a run?).

anyway enough about the bad company I LOVE NJPW i gotta try harder to watch more this year

Kompakt Total Landscaping (Will M.), Friday, 8 January 2021 22:36 (three years ago) link

a hoy hoy: I love Shingo, but as someone from Hawai'i, I was required to cheer for Cobb, since he is, in fact, the Pride of Hawai'i. That match absolutely ruled. Also, re to Ibushi calling himself God: There was a long sort of story in early 2020 where Ibushi was tagging with Tanahashi, and talking about how much that meant to him since he considered Tanahashi to be a wrestling God (someone who he idolized, along with Nakamura). They had a relatively short run with the IWGP tag titles last year (Feb-July 2020), considering how they didn't run any shows from March-June. After they lost, their tag team sort of fell apart, with Ibushi becoming disillusioned with Tanahashi since he was the one that lost the titles for them. Tanahashi apologized for not living up to Ibushi's expectations, and told him that he needs to become the wrestling God that he thought Tanahashi was.

Will, which match are you referring to in your spoiler tag for night one?

Ibushi vs. Naito, or Ospreay vs. Okada?

I really liked both, but I found that Ospreay vs. Okada was not as popular as I thought it would be if for no other reason it was a non-title match. I don't really like Ospreay, but his shots at Okada were pretty good in the build to this match, especially with Will's history in CHAOS prior to branching off and starting The Empire/The United Empire. I found that some people were similarly disinterested in EVIL vs. SANADA, which blew my mind, because that storytelling has been SO GOOD, especially during the Road to Tokyo Dome tour when SANADA just snapped and whaled on EVIL.

Best part of Ospreay vs. Okada was that return of the RAINMAKER, BABYYYYYYYYYYYY.

Other highlights of night 1: G.O.D. becoming 7x tag champs & stealing Takashi Iizuka's iron hand, the return of the New Japan Rumble/Rambo, Mox's callout, Hiromu vs. ELP, and Yano being Yano.

And for night two, I really loved EVIL vs. SANADA, and not just because I'm a LIJ mark and I've been calling myself EVIL for years (because short+fat+Japanese+crazy hair+black circles under eyes). The story between the two has always been so interesting; they've been forced to fight each other a few times over the years, in G1 blocks, NJ Cup matches, etc, but they've always come back together as a tag team and as members of LIJ. When EVIL defected to Bullet Club, that was the match on everyone's mind. We got to see EVIL vs. Naito and EVIL vs. Hiromu, but never really got to see EVIL vs. SANADA since that, until night 2. Totally delivered.

Also, GUTTED that Cobb lost to Shingo, even though, again, I love LIJ. I really thought that Cobb would be the one from the Empire to succeed, since he's the only one that hadn't gotten pinned up to that point.

I was genuinely surprised that Ibushi retained on night 2. I really thought that they were going to swerve him again, but nope! I can sleep easily now that I know my main man, the Golden Star light of my life, will not be a one night champ.
Now the question is what does Jay White do from here? I've heard rumors that he might be off to WWE soon, (which I hope is not true).

hourspass, Friday, 8 January 2021 23:59 (three years ago) link

Oh god I'm sorry I thought I did the spoiler thing correctly, but it did not work!

hourspass, Saturday, 9 January 2021 00:00 (three years ago) link

hiroyoshi tins in (Sgt. Biscuits), Saturday, 9 January 2021 16:20 (three years ago) link

Next tour wave (The New Beginning shows) advertising SANADA challenging on night 2 of New Beginning in Hiroshima. Already hyped for this handsome battle.

hourspass, Tuesday, 12 January 2021 18:01 (three years ago) link

I’ve still not got around the the main event. Tomorrow!

Jeff Cobb is the monster from Lucha Underground right? Such a shame that him and Ricochet went from making that show so fucking good to not really making a name under their own name.* I’ve been thinking about that match since I saw it last week, and I hope Meltzer giving it 5 stars leads to more great big hoss battles fucking each other up.

*I know they have both done some stuff, and Ricochet had that Ospreay match that meme-d all around, but I feel like they should both be bigger names

a hoy hoy, Tuesday, 12 January 2021 18:18 (three years ago) link

Yep, Cobb was Matanza from LU. I'm hoping that he continues to work with NJPW and at least gets to hold the NEVER Openweight a few more times, or even become a challenger for the other belts. I am always quick to rep for Cobb since he's from Hawai'i, and I have friends who have gotten to work with him when he was still in our independent scene.

I feel you, though. I'm surprised that Cobb hasn't come up more, but I think with the issues that many of the talents of Lucha Underground had to deal with, along with the unfortunate handling of ROH talent once The Elite left, it's been a hard road for him to gain as much traction as he could have. I was stoked when he was on AEW once, but I'm so happy that he gets to work more in NJPW (and also that Elgin does not hahaha). Cobb has definitely been built as the strongest member of The United Empire, and I can only hope that he eventually decides to branch off from them.

hourspass, Tuesday, 12 January 2021 18:27 (three years ago) link

I don't know who may be caught up or who no, but MAN, the next batch of shows (The New Beginning in Nagoya/Hiroshima) looks like it'll be a lot of fun! Some exciting title defenses coming up!

hourspass, Tuesday, 19 January 2021 18:08 (three years ago) link

two weeks pass...

Anyone been following along? I confess that I haven’t really cause tbh the lineup of this tour has looked pretty meh. The Road To.... shows are rarely essential viewing but this batch has seemed particularly uninspired.

Otoh I did check out the New Beginning in Nagoya show and largely enjoyed it.

Shingo vs Tana was as incredible as you might expect, heartiest recommendation for that.

Also I am finding myself unexpectedly into Great O’Khan, looking forward to seeing more from him. Shame he’s stabled with Ospreay, who besides being a creep is also extremely dislikeable as a wrestler. I hate being of the same mind as Jim Cornette on any subject but Ospreay’s style really does do my head in.

Windsor Davies, Thursday, 4 February 2021 15:32 (three years ago) link

I always enjoy the Road to... shows because they have fun little tag matches, and I've really liked seeing Okada in tag matches, lately. He looks like he's having a blast!

Tana/Takagi was even better than I expected it to be, and I'm EXTREMELY hyped for the two-night show in Hiroshima. SHO vs. Hiromu is going to be great, G.O.D is going to retain, and the handsome battle will be on!

hourspass, Thursday, 4 February 2021 21:59 (three years ago) link

Yep really excited to see what Sho can do in that spot. And loving how Hiromu being such a star is elevating the junior championship.

I’m also taking advantage of / making the best of intermittent insomnia and have started a late night project of working my way through NJPW 2012. I tried this a while ago and it didn’t quite stick but I’m really enjoying it.

Interesting to see them trying to push Karl Anderson as the top gaijin when Giant Bernard left to go and be Tensai in WWE. Im on the G1 atm and I have already spoilered myself a bit so I know he makes the final. I’ve never especially rated Anderson and you can absolutely see here that he’s not on the level of Devitt, AJ, Omega, Switchblade, even when he’s put in that position.

Goto also getting a big push early in the year (intercontinental champ and NJ Cup winner) but just not quite big enough to carry him to the title. Think this might have been one of the times he came closest tho? Idk he seems v over at this point, the fans were really buying him against Okada.

Also did not realise that the big Kishin Liger angle from a year or two ago was step-for-step a retread of an angle they did at Invasion Attack 2012, the spike through the table, the whole bit (although this time Taichi and Taka were the Suzuki-gun members on the receiving end).

Windsor Davies, Friday, 5 February 2021 10:29 (three years ago) link

SHO is so great! It has been a treat to see him grow from when he first returned with YOH as Roppongi 3K. I really thought that YOH was going to be the one that was pushed to the moon, but SHO has had some great standout moments, especially over this past year (though partially because poor YOH got injured).

NJPW 2012 seems so weird now, when I look back on it. Karl Anderson has always been an interesting figure, pushed as on the same level of other BC leaders (and I'm also including Tama Tonga, who steps in to be the main person to support the new leaders), and I just never ever really felt that either. I acknowledge his part of Bullet Club history (as one of the founding members), but he just didn't have that same sort of...spark? I can't quite articulate what he was missing, there.

This Goto push is my favorite thing to look back on, because I love Goto now. I kinda liked Goto back then, but then one day I realized he reminded me of my dad when he was younger, so then I had to love him. He also happened to be the first Japanese wrestler that my dad ended up really liking (his match against Suzuki at WK12 is the first match I saw him really, really get into). If I remember correctly, 2012 was his history-making third New Japan Cup win? I think Goto has a better chance now than he did back then, mostly because of how the title was either on Okada or Tanahashi then, and those two have insane title runs.

OH MAN, back before most of current Suzuki-gun were in the stable! I think Taichi is the only OG left. That's interesting to note, though. I wonder if they did it again more recently because Liger wanted to revisit it before he called it a career? It was a great way to wrap things up for Liger and Suzuki.

hourspass, Friday, 5 February 2021 18:26 (three years ago) link

a bullet club leader needs to have hair. it sounds like nonsense but search your heart, you know it to be true

Kompakt Total Landscaping (Will M.), Friday, 5 February 2021 18:53 (three years ago) link

as a prematurely balding man myself I resent that observation while recognising its fundamental rightness

tbf to Machine Gun I probably did him a disservice by listing out the BC leaders like that, cause this 2012 push of course pre-dates Bullet Club - he is in fact being pushed as a babyface and honestly I am not feeling it.

I think Goto has a better chance now than he did back then, mostly because of how the title was either on Okada or Tanahashi then, and those two have insane title runs.

I know what you mean but I don't think that was clear at the time. Okada was still basically an unknown quantity when he went up against Goto, even following the unexpectedly excellent first defence against Naito in March. Still feels like a first trial run, one-defence-and-done must have seemed totally possible to the fans. You can hear that in the Okada / Goto title match, the fans are overwhelmingly rooting for Goto and I think really believed he might do it.

I'm pretty agnostic on Goto tbh, I think he is fine without being someone I'm ever that desperate to watch. Definitely looking forward to getting to the Meiyu Tag stuff with Shibata tho, if this little watching project continues.

on Goto's title chances then and now: the field was a lot thinner in 2012 than it would be even a year or two later, let alone today. I don't think Goto's time will ever come now.

Windsor Davies, Saturday, 6 February 2021 21:44 (three years ago) link

I will probably get a lot of hate for this, but Anderson has always been, like, the Trent Beretta to me, as far as his role in tag teams/teams in general. Solid dude, not totally boring, but easily overshadowed compared to his partner (similar to how Trent tended to get less attention than Rocky in Roppongi Vice and less than both Chuck Taylor AND Orange Cassidy in Best Friends). My favorite call, though, is still, I think Kevin Kelly shouting "MACHINE GUN WANTS ANSWERS" at NYD 2016 when BC kicked out Styles.

on Goto's title chances then and now: the field was a lot thinner in 2012 than it would be even a year or two later, let alone today. I don't think Goto's time will ever come now.

You're totally right about the field being much thinner back then, but hey, if EVIL (who I LOVE and identify with) can be a double champ, so can Goto! He's been getting some interesting attention lately, and I'm hopeful that it leads to some good stuff! I would love to see him or SANADA win it off of Jay after Jay eventually gets the double gold (since I think it's only a matter of time).

Any Shibata stuff is always worth holding on for, as I know you know, but MAN, it's so bittersweet to watch now.

Also, they did another Noritake Kinashi video, except this time, with RIKI CHOSHU.

hourspass, Monday, 8 February 2021 19:00 (three years ago) link

hahaha wtf?! Riki Choshu the happy dancing goof

speaking of wonderful NJPW vids, Hiromu has published his own hype package for the Sho match:

【100% Voltage】

— 高橋ヒロム / Hiromu Takahashi (@TIMEBOMB1105) February 9, 2021

Windsor Davies, Tuesday, 9 February 2021 20:25 (three years ago) link

God, I love both Hiromu and SHO so so much.

hourspass, Tuesday, 9 February 2021 21:12 (three years ago) link

I know not technically NJPW, but sort of related since he used to be part of NJPW:


— 武藤 敬司 (@muto_keiji) February 12, 2021

hourspass, Friday, 12 February 2021 20:10 (three years ago) link

transitional move only, presumably? i keep being half tempted to check out some of the big matches from the other Japanese promotions but idk if it's really the right time with COVID restrictions.

gotta say I've not been hugely impressed with the final New Beginning shows. Hiromu / Sho was the one I was most excited for and it ended up being far, far longer than it needed to be. I think if you boil down the top matches from all 3 of the main New Beginning shows into a single event then you've got a show worth seeing.

Castle Attack is also going to be two nights. the card for the first night is....yikes:

Hiroshi Tanahashi and TenCozy vs. United Empire (Great O-Khan, Will Ospreay, and Jeff Cobb)
YOSHI-HASHI vs. Tanga Loa
Hirooki Goto vs. Tama Tonga
Provisional KOPW 2021:Toru Yano(h) vs. Chase Owens
Tomohiro Ishii vs. Jay White
Kazuchika Okada vs. EVIL

Ishii vs Switchblade will rock of course but there is a whole lot of nothing on that show.

bit of a slow run for them atm. part of that is unavoidable given wider circs, but it's been feeling a little uninspired

with that said I like that Naito has decided that he loves the IC title after all and is trying to fuck up Kota's plan to unify the belts

Windsor Davies, Saturday, 13 February 2021 20:57 (three years ago) link

Might be. I am so far behind on NOAH, honestly. I love Shiozaki and was sad to see him lose, but he had a pretty good reign.

I really liked the New Beginning tour as well, though I didn't keep up with it as much as I would have liked. I agree that Hiromu vs SHO was SUPER long, but I also love both of them so much, so I enjoyed the match a lot.

I'm a big, big fan of Guerrillas of Destiny, so I am actually really excited to see the two of them in singles matches. EVIL vs. Okada will probably be fun, but full of Bullet Club interference, which in Okada matches, I actually really like. Also, am hyped to see Jeff Cobb throw some people around.

Can't wait for Naito to win that IC title back and then immediately treat the belt like garbage again.

hourspass, Tuesday, 16 February 2021 18:19 (three years ago) link

Man, we should have added a subtitle to protect Hiromu.

BREAKING: After medical assessment, Hiromu Takahashi's left pectoral injury will leave him out of action for an estimated six months. More information will follow.

LIVE: #njcattack

— NJPW Global (@njpwglobal) February 22, 2021

hourspass, Monday, 22 February 2021 19:39 (three years ago) link

Hiromu Takahashi has officially vacated the IWGP Junior Heavyweight title.

At today’s Road to Castle Attack event, Hiromu came out to start the show. He said that for the sake of the junior heavyweight division, he would relinquish the title. He then asked BUSHI to wrestle in his place at Castle Attack on February 28 against El Phantasmo.


maura, Thursday, 25 February 2021 14:58 (three years ago) link

This is the SECOND TIME he's had to relinquish the Jr. Heavyweight title. I'm glad the injury isn't as serious as his last one, but I am devastated. It's been a while since BUSHI has held the strap. I do appreciate that he's wearing his combo regular/Kamaitachi mask. It would be kind of cool for him to use the mashup music that he has with Hiromu (which I just realized last week or earlier this week is an updated one from their old tag music, and says "B-U-S-H-I-R-O-M-U"), as long as it means that he wins, but I somehow feel they're really high on ELP now that he's returned to Japan.

I hope it manifests into a triple threat between ELP, BUSHI, and El Desperado, who had a KILLER BOSJ match with Hiromu. Really thought that it was going to be his tournament last year.

Castle Attack is coming up:
*Naito and Ibushi messing with each other's knees. It makes me nervous because, as you know, Naito's knees are pretty much held together by DESTINOS shouted by Kevin Kelly, at this point.
*Goto and YOSHI-HASHI having singles matches against Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa, respectively. Tama has gone on record saying that he's pretty excited for his first singles match in a while. Night 2 of Castle Attack has G.o.D. defending the titles against them.
*United Empire going against TenCozy (in which I hope Will Ospreay gets pinned and Jeff Cobb realizes he's better than the faction).
*Hope Yano retains the KOPW trophy. I can't imagine him losing it to someone like Chase Owens (the least loved member of Bullet Club).
*EVIL vs. Okada finally happening. Feels like it's long overdue, but at the same time, I've been enjoying Okada in goofy tag matches, so I'm not really as interested in watching him beat up EVIL, then get beat up by Bullet Club (even though we BC for life).

NJPW Strong things:
*Marty Scurll was apparently seen around backstage at NJPW Strong. Personally, I think he needs NJPW more than they need him and NJPW could do a mini-jr heavyweight thing with all the guys they already have in L.A. and the outreach to IMPACT (Chris Bey, MCMG, Ace Austin, Trey Miguel) and MLW (Lio Rush, Myron Reed, ACH, and Low Ki), not to mention the TONS of people from the indies. I imagine it'll be a bad look to have Marty back so soon, and honestly, for as much as I really did like Marty, there are so many new wrestlers to discover that I haven't even missed him. There are others that have easily filled that same sort of role.
*In happier, more exciting news, New Begnning in USA is Friday, and we'll finally get Mox vs. KENTA, in which I imagine that Mox drops to KENTA before he goes on paternity leave. But if not, who knows? I'm honestly not sure, as I thought that Mox would lose to DBS Jr. in Bloodsport (still counts to me as NJPW talk, since it feeds into his continuing weird relationship with Suzuki-Gun).

hourspass, Thursday, 25 February 2021 19:37 (three years ago) link

We're hitting the ground running in March. New Japan Cup 2021 matches start at the Anniversary show!

With first round byes for NEVER Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi and 2020 winner EVIL, this is your official New Japan Cup bracket!

Who do you have? The action kicks off LIVE and in English Thursday on @njpwworld! #njcup

— NJPW Global (@njpwglobal) March 1, 2021

hourspass, Monday, 1 March 2021 18:52 (three years ago) link

two weeks pass...

There was an earthquake during last night's New Japan Cup show.

Holy shit, an earthquake has happened in the middle of the match #njcup

— Ciaràn (@CiaranRH) March 20, 2021

hourspass, Saturday, 20 March 2021 19:06 (three years ago) link

two weeks pass...

Well, I'm devastated by the end of Sakura Genesis.

hourspass, Monday, 5 April 2021 18:46 (three years ago) link

really no desire to keep up with this promotion at all with ospreay at the top. not just that he's a piece of shit, i can't stand his obnoxious mannerisms and his general way of being, and i don't think he's a remotely good wrestler outside of like PWG. don't think he would have half the rep he does if he wasn't a precious meltzer source.

I think covid killed something in NJPW and it's going to take a lot to come back from it

, Monday, 5 April 2021 18:56 (three years ago) link

I have to agree; I'm glad that Ibushi got the double titles, and I'm glad he was technically the first one to hold the new belt, but I'm sad that Ospreay was the first one to win the new belt. Ospreay is the one thing I don't like about United Empire, and it's his own gd stable.

They do have some cool shows coming up, and Ibushi God knows that I am 100% 3000% stoked for the RPG3K return and title win, but man, I'm genuinely so disappointed in the upcoming main title scene, because I somehow get the feeling like they're going to geek out Shingo to further build Ospreay, and I'm just at a loss. This is going to sound mean, but Ospreay's ceiling, as far as being a performer, is mid, at best. He's not someone I would build a stable around.

hourspass, Monday, 5 April 2021 19:05 (three years ago) link

three weeks pass...

I kinda fell off after the results of Sakura Genesis, but my ichiban is back and we're getting really close to Wrestling Dontaku, which I'm hoping will be a Bullet Club party baybeeeeee

Monday in Fukuoka!

Day one of Wrestling Dontaku!

🗡️NEVER title: Jay White vs Hiroshi Tanahashi

🪜Iron Finger ladder match- Tama Tonga vs Taichi!

🔥Tanga Loa vs ZSJ with Dangerous Tekkers' future at stake!

LIVE on @njpwworld! #njpw

— NJPW Global (@njpwglobal) April 30, 2021

hourspass, Friday, 30 April 2021 18:47 (three years ago) link

Watching this first night of Wrestling Dontaku, and I appreciate how easily I'm able to forget that Ospreay is champ since the focus is, of course, on Bullet Club.

hourspass, Monday, 3 May 2021 18:05 (three years ago) link

two weeks pass...

Cursed. This belt is cursed.

Will Ospreay sustains neck injury; to vacate IWGP World Heavyweight Championship

— NJPW Global (@njpwglobal) May 20, 2021

hourspass, Thursday, 20 May 2021 17:48 (three years ago) link

four weeks pass...

Finally watching Dominion, and man, I'm really enjoying this show, and my grandpa's commentary over each match. I know I'm really late, but anyone else catch it already?

hourspass, Saturday, 19 June 2021 18:25 (two years ago) link

two weeks pass...

I think covid killed something in NJPW and it's going to take a lot to come back from it

Very true, their last big show before COVID was that amazing New Beginning in Osaka event that was a record breaking sellout with KENTA vs Naito, Moxley vs Suzuki, and Ryu Lee vs Hiromu. They had Hiromu vs Naito set up for the anniversary show a couple of weeks later, but that match never happened. COVID sucked all the fun out of the Naito title reign that fans had waited years for. But you can't blame it all on the pandemic, EVIL's run with the belt was horrible and the matches with Naito were big disappointments. Matchups involving the heel stables border on unwatchable with the same stupid interference and run-ins for every match. Ibushi's coronation was underwhelming due to pandemic restrictions but at least it was well deserved. I liked the decision to unify the belts and create some history. Then they gave the belt to Ospreay in another dumb booking decision. Ospreay is still great in the ring but knowing what kind of an asshole he is, I can't get excited about his matches in the least.

I did catch Dominion but it wasn't close to the quality of the last few years' shows. But I still haven't seen Tanahashi vs White or Ospreay vs Shingo from the Dentaku shows. Maybe Shingo's reign will turn the promotion around? I have hope. Shingo has been the best wrestler in the company for over a year and it's his time.

NoTimeBeforeTime, Thursday, 8 July 2021 09:27 (two years ago) link

If nothing else it’s refreshing that there’s a company out there whose instinctive reaction when the chips are down is to get the title straight onto the best wrestler they have who can guarantee excellent main events. It would have been very easy to go straight back to Okada.

Windsor Davies, Thursday, 8 July 2021 10:45 (two years ago) link

Not saying that Okada wouldn’t also deliver excellent main events but they’ve been there and done that. Shingo feels fresh.

Windsor Davies, Thursday, 8 July 2021 10:46 (two years ago) link

Shingo was a pleasant surprise. I wasn't entirely sure that they were going to give it to him, but that was probably me being gun-shy since my SANADA fandom has seen me get my hopes up so high so many times. I'm super behind on NJPW (been working a ton lately), but I got a ticket to Resurgence in Los Angeles, and I am HYPED.

hourspass, Sunday, 18 July 2021 20:12 (two years ago) link

four weeks pass...


NO-pongi 3K?!?@njpwShowT's Shock Arrow slays a nine year brotherhood with YOH!

Replay “SUMMER STRUGGLE 2021 Night13” (Aug 16th)
Watch on #njpwworld ▶︎ #njsst

— njpwworld (@njpwworld) August 16, 2021

hourspass, Monday, 16 August 2021 21:46 (two years ago) link

three weeks pass...

Has anyone watched Wrestle Grand Slam? It was a pretty fun pair of shows to lead into All Out.

hourspass, Tuesday, 7 September 2021 18:49 (two years ago) link


hourspass, Saturday, 18 September 2021 21:04 (two years ago) link

Really got no interest in NJPW at the moment. A combo of the bad booking and awful luck with injuries that seems to have completely derailed them, the lack of joy in the COVID clap crowds compared to stuff in the US and the ridiculous runaway momentum of AEW which is really the only wrestling I want right now

Otoh Shingo vs Ishii and Tana vs Okada pt. 127 are two fuckin huuuuuuuuge matches to be leading off with, which goes to show that Gedo can still do the simple stuff right. I’ll definitely give those a look; maybe they’ll pull me back in

Windsor Davies, Saturday, 18 September 2021 21:33 (two years ago) link

Shingo vs. Ishii was great. Night 1 was honestly a thrill.

hourspass, Sunday, 19 September 2021 02:24 (two years ago) link

Man, we were so busy worrying about Naito's neck that we forgot to protect his knees!

Tetsuya Naito suffers left knee injury, to withdraw from G1 Climax 31 competition. #G131

— NJPW Global (@njpwglobal) September 21, 2021

hourspass, Tuesday, 21 September 2021 08:38 (two years ago) link

one month passes...

Also forgot to bless Ibushi's shoulder. What a brutal G1.

At least my mans made it to the finals four times.

Kota Ibushi has undergone evaluation on an injury sustained during last Thursday's G1 final.

His diagnosis is a right anterior shoulder dislocation and joint lip damage. He is expected to make a recovery in around two months.


— NJPW Global (@njpwglobal) October 26, 2021

hourspass, Tuesday, 26 October 2021 18:40 (two years ago) link

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