Monday, July 20, 2020

An Introduction to New Japan

New Japan Pro Wrestling Announces Return Date and Teases ...
New Japan has been around for over 45 years. They call themselves the Kings of Pro Wrestling and many agree with that claim. Below is a quick run down of the promotion as it stands today along with links to content to aid in fully helping newcomers embrace them. This was made for one person in particular but I hope it's of use to others, too. Note that if you enjoy what you see, they have a streaming service called New Japan World that is well worth subscribing to. Here is a guide to sign up. Also, their YouTube which features loads of great content is worth checking out.

Here five matches that should serve well as a way to break into New Japan. There are dozens and dozens of matches I could have picked, but I wanted to focus solely on talent that are still on the roster for one and, for two, I simply thought these would be a good introduction since I picked stuff only from the past few years.

1.G1 Climax Finals: Kota vs Tanahashi
From G1 Climax 2018 Night 19
WON Rating: *****3/4

2.Best of Super Junior Final: Hiromu vs Ishimori
From Best of the Super Junior XXV Night 14
WON Rating: *****1/2

3.Best of Super Junior Final: Ospreay vs SHINGO
From Best of The Super Junior XXVI Night 15
WON Rating: *****3/4

4.SHINGO vs Ishii
From G1 Climax 2018 Night 16
WON Rating: *****1/2

5.IWGP HW, IC Titles: Okada(HW) vs Naito(IC)
From Wrestle Kingdom 14 Night Two
WON Rating: *****

The championships of New Japan are under the governing umbrellas of International Wrestling Grand Prix (IWGP) and NEVER Openweight. I've listed the titles in by general importance. The top two prizes were recently unified in January at New Japan's WrestleKingdom show (think NJPW's WrestleMania).

-IWGP Heavyweight/Intercontinental Unified: EVIL
-NEVER Openweight: SHINGO
-IWGP United States: Moxley (working for both AEW and NJPW)
-IWGP Junior Heavyweight: Hiromu

-IWGP Tag Team: Dangerous Tekkers (Sabre & Taichi)
-IWGP Junior Tag Team: Roppongi 3k (Sho & Yoh)
-NEVER Openweight Six-Man: LIJ (EVIL, SHINGO, BUSHI)

New Japan is largely broken up into units working together. Here is a list of the units, including a brief summary along with a list of members.

The main faces of New Japan, CHAOS started as a top heel unit formed around Shinsuke Nakamura. Now, they are united behind company ace, Okada.
-Roppongi 3k (Sho & Yoh)

Watch the history of CHAOS here.

Started behind Prince Devitt (WWE's Finn Balor), Karl Anderson, and Doc Gallows, the Bullet Club remains one of the most popular groups in the world and, in many ways, the modern version of the nWo. They're the cool dicks of New Japan, basically. Jay White is their current leader.
-G.O.D. (Tonga & Loa)
-Bad Luck Fale
-El Phantasmo
-Chase Owens
-Gedo & Jado
-Dick Togo

Watch the history of the BC here.

Tranquilo! This group is a splinter off of a faction from CMLL with Tetsuya Naito serving as the leader. They are anit-heroes and beloved by all! The biggest thing to know right now is that EVIL just broke off from the group, while still holding a championship with two of the LIJ members. Here is a clip of the turn. After, he beat Naito in a very polarizing move and claimed ownership of the two top prizes of New Japan.

Minoru Suzuki is a monster. When people say Brock Lesnar is the toughest dude in wrestling, it's because they don't watch anything outside of WWE. Suzuki-gun is a group of assholes united behind the king asshole.
-Dangerous Tekkers (Taichi, Sabre)
-El Desperado
-Taka Michinoku

Taguchi Japan is an open door, loose formed group and easily the most lighthearted unit of the bunch. They are irregular in frequency of uniting.

This is an umbrella grouping made up of talent that are not in any of the promotion's factions.
-GBH (Togi, Honma)
-Tiger Mask IV
-Master Wato

Young Lions
The young lions are the company rookies. They largely work multiman dark matches and openers alongside old vets. The company also sends select talents out on excursions to learn new styles. I won't list them here due to their status. Note that they do have special events for these talents that are help periodically under the banners Lion's Gate Project and Lion's Break Project and that each year a tournament titled the Young Lions Cup takes place, too.

New Japan has official partnerships with major feds around the world. Ring of Honor, lucha libre fed CMLL, and UK's Revolution Pro are the main three. They hold co-branded shows, share talent and championships, and help each other spread brand awareness. Note that New Japan's parent company also owns STARDOM.

Wrestle Kingdom is the biggest annual show New Japan has on their calendar, taking place on January 4th each year. This year, it was a two-night event. They also run a huge series style tournament each Summer called the G1 Climax where the winner gets the right to main event the next Kingdom event.

Here is a general list of the marquee events of New Japan:
Main Shows
Wrestle Kingdom
The New Beginning
NJPW Anniversary Show
Wrestling Hinokuni
Wrestling Dontaku
Wrestle Dynasty
Fighting Spirit Unleashed
King of Pro-Wrestling
Power Struggle
G1 Climax
Best of the Super Juniors
New Japan Cup
World Tag League
Super Junior Tag League
Super J-Cup
Young Lion Cup

Colaboration Tours/ShowsFantastica Mania (with CMLL)
G1 Supercard (with ROH)
Global Wars UK (with Revolution Pro)
War of the Worlds (with ROH)

Above, I suggested subscribing to their YouTube channel. One of their regular releases is a series called, "The Recount". I highly recommend watching these for short history lessons. Two such links are even included above in playlist form for CHAOS and BC. 

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