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Thread: New Japan Pro Wrestling General Discussion

  1. #41
    Senior Member Oliver's Avatar
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    Ishii vs Naito! Hurrah! Really looking forward to that one.

  2. #42
    Remember me? Degenerate's Avatar
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    That's the matchup I'm looking forward to the most in this card, since I really dig both of these guys. Like I said, I'm sure the Okada / EVIL and Kushida / Ospreay matches will deliver some good quality. But I'm 99.9% confident that Okada won't be dropping the title to EVIL. And although Kushida and Ospread did deliver a five-star match at the Best of the Super Juniors finals and I can appreciate Ospreay's work I'm not a super-huge fan of his style. That's more of a personal preference more than anything else.

    I'm also curious to see if there's going to be any type of set up for the IC title for Power Struggle (more selfishly since I have tickets for the show). It's interesting that Tanahashi is teaming with Makabe to go against Kota Ibushi and Juice Robinson. Sounds like Ibushi gets the pin on Tanahashi to set the match up, which would add to the story that Ibushi beat Tanahashi during the G1 tournament. That'll be a great matchup to see.

  3. #43
    Senior Member Oliver's Avatar
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    Yeah, I can see Ibushi vs Tanahashi being set up. Given that they already did the other G1 winner against Tana it seems like the most likely route to take with it.

  4. #44
    Remember me? Degenerate's Avatar
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    Just saw this pic of the current crop of Young Lions just ahead of next week's Lion's Gate Project show:



    Ever since I saw Kitamura, he's been the one that has interested me the most out of this group. The little I've seen of him seems decent for the little experience he has. He's obviously jacked which seems to be a rarity in Japanese wrestling, so I'm curious to see if he'll be able to put that to good use or if he'll just be hampered / pigeonholed by it. Besides Kitamura, the other two I'm keeping my eyes on are Oka and Kawato.

  5. #45
    A Professional Macho Mourn's Avatar
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    Kitamura... never meet Vince. He has a chance to be great. The look, his charisma's off the charts.and the athletic background. Sucks he's already 32. But, if he makes the transition as well as I think he will, it won't matter. I originally saw Oka as the big star out of this group. Kawato/Kitamura will be. Oka will take a bit to get up the card.

    Shame Henare's still out. He'd have been in the mix to win this as well.



  6. #46
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    I didn't realize Kitamura was 32 years old. He'll probably be 34 or 35 by the time he's back from his excursion, so hopefully he'll be able to have a run of a few years on the roster after that.

    I totally forgot about Henare. I didn't realize he's been out since February, so that injury must have been a lot worse than expected. New Japan hasn't had a good year when it comes to serious injuries.

  7. #47
    A Professional Macho Mourn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Degenerate View Post
    I didn't realize Kitamura was 32 years old. He'll probably be 34 or 35 by the time he's back from his excursion.
    I see his excursion lasting less than a year. He's gonna get a rocket strapped to his back. He was an Olympic level wrestler. Same with Oka. There have been real rumbles of them being a long term tag team. That would be amazing.



  8. #48
    Senior Member Oliver's Avatar
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    Kitamura - is he the one that got banned from the Olympics for steroid use? I seem to remember he took something accidentally, some kind of foreign supplement, or at least that was his story.

    I like Kawato. I can't believe he's only 20. I don't mind Oka (and I like the team of Oka and Kitamura a lot) but he hasn't grabbed me in the way Kawato has. Interested to watch the cup.

    On another note - Okada is now 11 days off of having the longest single run with the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in history. If he makes it to WK without losing the title he will (by my maths, which might be one day out either way) tie with Tanahashi to have the joint longest combined time with the title around his waist in history.

    So, two questions - is Okada the best modern era wrestler (let's say someone who broke through in the last 20 years) at the age of only 29?

    And what's next for him should he lose the title at WK? My understanding is that rematches are not contractural in NJPW, so you would assume he doesn't get an instant redo of the title match. Does he need to win one of the New Japan Cup or the G1 Climax to get a shot back? Could he drop down and give the IC title (a belt he's never held) a bit more shine? Or what about a challenge for the new US title to really establish that following Omega's run (especially if he's on his way out of the company after January)?

  9. #49
    Remember me? Degenerate's Avatar
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    I read Kitamura's wiki page and that's what it says - in 2011 he got busted, and said that he unknowingly took them from supplements bought from abroad. He didn't appeal either, for what it's worth. I've only been looking at Kitamura from a singles perspective, but he does have good chemistry with Oka in the few times I've seen them team up so there can be something good there, especially since the heavyweight tag team scene in New Japan has been dominated by foreigners for seemingly a long time. It could use some local blood in there.

    It's still insane that Okada has achieved all of this before the age of 30. I don't know about the best modern era wrestler, but this last run is definitely one of the best runs anyone has had ever. Just the quality of work that he's put out in the last year and a half is amazing. Just about every single championship match he's had has ranged from great to stellar. I don't remember ever seeing anyone put on quality match after quality match like he has since winning the belt from Naito last year.

    Part of me doesn't want him to lose the title at Wrestle Kingdom, though, but if he retains, what will become of one of their hottest stars in Naito? I'd hate to see someone with the momentum he's been building for so long get shoved down. I don't think there's a better time to put the belt on Naito. But then the question remains about what to do for Okada - maybe chase for the title again, which I'm not too high on since it's been done already.

    That does bring an interesting observation with how New Japan has booked the top of the card. The only people I can see holding the IWGP Heavyweight Championship for good runs are Okada, Naito and Omega. They need to build some others because that pool is kinda limited. I wonder if giving others at least a short run with the belt like Suzuki or Ishii would serve well.

  10. #50
    The Brain
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    Okada is charismatic with very protective booking, and is a great wrestler, so you could argue he's the most all around successful wrestler of the modern era. He's certainly not the best for my money but that's highly subjective, and if you just go by general acclaim he does have an argument. I'd like to see how his work ages though, we're right in the midst of things and there's a big recency bias going his way.

    Naito should absolutely win the title at WK. That will at least shake things up a bit because yeah, that Okada/Naito/Omega merry go round is looking a bit stale at this point, so at least they can go at it from some other angles and try to mix a couple more people in the mix.

  11. #51
    Senior Member Oliver's Avatar
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    Does a Naito win really freshen the scene up? I mean, it's hard to see who else actually comes and challenges for that title that hasn't challenged recently, and NJPW hasn't really worked on elevating anybody greatly over recent times (the exception, sadly, being Shibata with his NJC win).

    I mean, the only two guys they've really worked on elevating besides that are Naito, who'll have the title, and Omega, who's in the merry go round.

    I'm not for a second advocating that Naito shouldn't take the title at WK - in fact, quite the opposite - but I'm just wondering where the new challengers (serious challengers) come from for him if not from the handful of guys who we're familiar with as threats - Okada, Omega, possibly Tanahashi if he drops the title. Where is the new main event blood coming from? I suppose EVIL might cement himself there off the back of his performances recently, but Suzuki's doing bloody Yano matches again for the NEVER title, Ishii seems to be constantly missing his opportunities or not getting them (although he is at least 2-2 against Naito, so a chance for a rubber match) and others seem to have an uncertain or temporary future in NJPW. Perhaps the best they could do is continue the elevation of Juice, but I don't think they do that without him going via the IC title first or, at least, taking a couple of losses on the Heavyweight title.

    Who would you guys consider as alternatives?

  12. #52
    A Professional Macho Mourn's Avatar
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    One huge name that never gets talked about is Fale. He's close to being something special. His work this year, for a large guy, has been fantastic. I could easily see him get the New Beginning match. He beat Naito in the G1 and hasn't got a rematch. We know how NJPW works, and that's right up their alley.

    Sanada's close as well. They're slow burning him. They didn't want to waste his first major look in a loss to Okada. He doesn't have the charisma that EVIL does so he would have been hurt by a loss there. He doesn't have the ability to talk his way back up. EVIL does.

    I think they wanted to elevate the character of EVIL but knew he was no where near ready for the main event scene full time. He'll get a look next year in the Never or IC lane.

    Ishii's getting rewarded. May not be with the main belt, but he's on the list of those who could go after the IC at WK. They rewarded Goto. They'll reward Ishii. Evil's gonna maybe fit his roll.

    Wouldn't surprise me one bit if Suzuki's man is EVIL at WK. He's facing his bud Yano. Ishii IS the NEVER man. Him and Suzuki could legit get a 5 star match on a show where two or three could happen.

    Omega faces Ibushi. Ibushi has been rumored to be close to signing with the company. If so, he gets his match with Omega. He's a name who could easily be added to the top of the card. One of the most over people with their audience and they never wanted him to leave. They're lucky to have him around. He'd be huge for whatever company he settles down with.

    Lastly, and a name that may seem weird, is KUSHIDA. He's made it clear he wants to try his hand against the heavys. Someone like Naito, a former Jr himself, would be a great test to see how the audience reacts. Won't even need to win, just get the match. That would do huge business.



  13. #53
    Senior Member Oliver's Avatar
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    Naito vs Kushida could be excelllent.


    I hadn't thought of Omega vs Ibushi at WK. For the US title, or does Ibushi take the IC title from Tanahashi in their upcoming bout? Be interesting to see how that shakes out.

  14. #54
    The Brain
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    I love the idea of bringing KUSHIDA into the main event scene. I'm not much into Fale to be honest but I haven't seen him much this year. I would be willing to invest in SANADA or possibly EVIL getting more of a shot too, and certainly Hiromu down the line a little bit. Oh Ishii... poor guy. Yeah, if Ibushi does recommit he should be a lock for the top tier.

  15. #55
    Remember me? Degenerate's Avatar
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    I never thought about Kushida mixing it up in the heavyweight division, but he might be able to pull it off. I haven't been watching New Japan for as long as many others so the perception of someone who's been a mainstay in the Juniors for a long time like he has moving up to the heavyweight scene doesn't feel right to me. I know many have transitioned rather successfully, so it's just perception. I'd love to see it happen.

    One guy I forgot about is Michael Elgin. I don't know what his status with New Japan is since he seems to have been put on the backburner in the past few months, but he can be set up for a solid run with anyone in the main event. He's already proven he can put on great matches in those spots, and the Japanese crowd loves the guy. If Naito wins the belt, I can see him and Elgin putting on another five-star match for it.

  16. #56
    The Brain
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    Guys who transition often have an easier time than you'd expect. I remember when Kenny Omega did junior matches exclusively, if you can believe it!

  17. #57
    A Professional Macho Mourn's Avatar
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    Naito and Yujiro Takahashi were Jrs. Devitt was a Jr who moved up right before he left to WWE.

    Realistically, it is easier to move up than stay there. you get to have your own matches and ecposure before that Heavy push. People know who you are and can trust your abilities.

    Not a fool proof thing, but definitely not unheard of.



  18. #58
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    I know there's been lots of precedent to a junior heavyweight stepping up to the main heavyweight ranks. I was just mentioning since I haven't followed New Japan long enough to see anyone make that transition, that it was my perception that makes it seem like it's a tough thing to do. I guess all the years of WWE watching has conditioned me to do that. The last person seems to be Omega, and when I began watching he was the Intercontinental champ so he already had that transition.

    I'd definitely love to see someone like Kushida go to that level. Thinking about it now, I'd love to see Takahashi take that step even more since he's one of my current favs.

  19. #59
    Senior Member Oliver's Avatar
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    What's happening with Takahashi? They seem to be messing about with him a bit at the moment, and for me he's the best junior they've got.

  20. #60
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    I've been wondering the same thing. I guess they wanted to change up the Juniors a bit with Ospreay as the current champ, but that's kept Takahashi in a bit of limbo since he lost the title at Dominion. Even without kick-ass matches he's been staying relevant with Daryl. Just saying that he got a stuffed cat over speaks volumes about his charisma.

  21. #61
    A Professional Macho Mourn's Avatar
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    Kushida himself on wrestling Heavys:

    KUSHIDA: I’d like to be able to wrestle heavyweights in Japan, too. The last two years or so, I’ve had real confidence that if I had a singles match with a heavyweight, it’d be really good. I have a junior heavyweight’s body, and I can’t change that. I’ll always be a junior, but I’d still like to face heavyweights. There are all sorts of ways it can happen.

    I want to continue to help grow NJPW and I want, as a junior heavyweight, to prove myself more with the heavyweights. I want to give it my all in Japan and internationally. For me personally there are a lot of guys I’d love to have singles matches with ...Hiroshi Tanahashi, Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii, Minoru Suzuki, YOSHI-HASHI, SANADA, Tetsuya Naito, Kazuchika Okada, it goes on and on.


    On the topic of Takahashi. All guesses I've seen is having him crowned again at WK. Looks like, this time, as a face.



  22. #62
    The Brain
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    KUSHIDA is probably legit my favorite guy in New Japan right now so yeah, the more the merrier for him.

    Have they run Takahashi/Ospreay yet? I feel like that's an awesome match waiting to happen. Yeah, WK would be a great spot for that match.

  23. #63
    A Professional Macho Mourn's Avatar
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    Showbuckle put out a Naito video. This is probably the best way to understanding why Naito is the best thing going.




  24. #64
    The Brain
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    Really well made video. Anything to help more people know about Naito!

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