Tag Archives: NJPW

Pro Wrestling is My Best Friend (Example 2)

This example is a more broad example than the one I gave in my last post. From the moment I started watching wrestling 31 years ago (I’m 36 now), I have not once considered not watching or taking a break. There were times where our household did not have cable so it was more difficult to watch, but I always kept up with what was going on. Furthermore, any time I had the means to watch wrestling, I always did and I always will.

Even now, I am several episodes behind on ROH. I am months behind on Impact/GFW/TNA/insert name here, there is no way I am going to watch all of World Tag League (I basically skipped to the finals) and I am a couple of episodes behind on NXT. I actually…well I kind of feel guilty. It’s similar to how I feel when I don’t answer a text from a friend or a client. I feel like I am ignoring a friend. As loyal as I am to the friends I have in real life, I feel that same loyalty (actually more) to wrestling.


Follow up on Tanahashi post

A few posts ago, I speculated on Tanahashi’s Wrestle Kingdom opponent. What NJPW decided to do was better than all of the options that I set forth. Certainly, there is some questioning about giving Switchblade Jay White such a big push (it’s the #3 match at worst for Wrestle Kingdom and it may be #2). At the same time, that is what companies should do. They should push new talent especially if they are…well talented. The match itself should be fun and White gains whether he wins or loses.

Also with the Omega-Jericho match, now we have a situation where the IC title match could in theory be #3, which is something that I did not take into account, because I figured Tanahashi had to be in the number 2 match.

How to Fix 50/50 booking…if they insist

50/50 booking is going to be a constant theme of this blog because it may be the biggest problem that WWE has in terms of getting people over. Also, knowing their patterns makes things more predictable than they should be. I would say this, I think it works better in other promotions than in WWE, because the only issue with 50/50 booking in promotions like NJPW and ROH is that it makes things predictable, but in WWE it not only creates predictability, it makes it difficult for people to get over.

With the above in mind, if 50/50 booking is going to be a reality, then there are two things that WWE could do to make it easier to digest for those in the audience who do see it as a problem.

The first is acknowledge the parity. Acknowledging the parity has to be more than “anything can happen in WWE.” It has to be treated like a sport where it is outright said that the wrestlers’ records are relatively even for the most part. I see why they would not approach things in the manner I just suggested, but at this point it is almost insulting the intelligence of the audience not to discuss the reality that 90 percent of the company is around the .500 mark (at least it seems that way). I do not always agree with Wade Keller, but one thing he often preaches that I do agree with is that companies should “own their booking”. If they want to book 50/50, then they should address it just like any other sports announcer would address parity in a league where there is obviously parity.

The second one is a bit more difficult to explain in terms of reasoning. I’ll start by saying that one thing I feel wrestling promotions should avoid (for the most part), is giving people a reason to remember that this is a “show.” When people talk about that, they usually talk about wrestlers “laying their stuff in” or not writing or producing a “hokey” segment. I agree with those sentiments. I would expand it and say that when a promotion does a match one week and then does the same match the next week…there needs to be a storyline reason for it. If Wrestler A beats Wrestler B on November 1, if there is a rematch on November 8…give us a reason. Even if that reason is on the company’s website or YouTube page. When you don’t give a reason, it makes some members of the audience think…”oh, they just want to give Wrestler B his or her win back.”

If you don’t want to give a storyline reason, go back to what I wrote in the above paragraph, just have the announcers say that the management of the show in question wanted to see if last week was a fluke or that the promotion believes that there is parity, so one match does not prove that one is better than the other and the next match is to make sure. Of course that does not explain why there would not be a third match, but this post is to make 50/50 booking work. I think it’s a poor way to book, but there are ways to make it manageable.

Revisiting My Top 10

Last year, I posted my top 10 favorite wrestlers. Now that I am more into NJPW, that list has changed. So here are my top 10 favorite wrestlers right now.

  1. Naito
  2. A.J Styles
  3. Kenny Omega
  4. Okada
  5. Dalton Castle
  6. Young Bucks
  7. Asuka
  8. Usos
  9. Minoru Suzuki
  10. Depends on the Day…it could be Miz, Roman Reigns, John Cena, LIJ’s Takahashi, Will Osperay, Zack Sabre, Sasha Banks,  Sami Zayn, Ibushi, Brock Lesnar or anyone of a number of other wrestlers.

NJPW and Predictable Booking

I think one of the flaws with NJPW is that their booking is too predictable. Being predictable is not always bad, in fact it is often a positive because people watching the show should see the clues towards angles. Moreover, as I said in another post, there are times when fans know what the result is going to be and it actually makes them more interesting in watching/paying for the Pay per View. At the same time, it can also be a positive to have more unpredictability.

I have not seen every New Japan show this year, but I have seen all of the major shows and I have followed the product closely. I do not think there has been a time this where where someone has beaten a champion in a non-title match (tag match or tournament match) and then beat that person in the subsequent title match. I think that needs to change because the patterns become too obvious. As an aside (that may or may not be an aside), I do not really think most champions should lose at all in any company…maybe once or twice a year for each championship (maybe). There are some exceptions, but for the most part champions should be protected.

An example of the point is Juice Robinson, he has pinned three champions this year and lost the subsequent title match every time. My point is not about Juice Robinson, I trust New Japan to make a story about the fact that he has fallen short in the title matches and it will be a big deal when he does win a title. My point is that as a general rule, if NJPW insists on beating a champion before a title match, then the challenger should beat the champion in the subsequent title match to make things less predictable.

I wonder…

what the Intercontinental title match at Wrestle Kingdom is going to be. I will assume that Tanahashi is still the IC champion.

I thought about Tanahashi versus Minoru Suzuki. There are a few problems with that match. Number one, it is unlikely to be the classic match people expect from Tanahashi at Wrestle Kingdom. Also if that is the Intercontinental title match, then Suzuki would be coming off losing the Never Openweight Championship…meaning he would not be coming in as strong as one would like going into the second biggest match on the biggest card of the year. I like the match. It’s fresh and I am a fan of Suzuki, but there are issues to work out.

Michael Elgin? It would certainly be a fun match. I am unsure of Elgin’s contract status and it would not be ideal to have such a big match with an obvious conclusion. As an aside, I only believe in obvious conclusions to matches when the setup is a popular face is going to beat a hated heel (and even then unpredictability is not necessarily bad). Elgin versus Tanahashi would be a match that is most likely built on near falls and it certainly does not look like it would be a morality play so I would want Elgin signed long-term so I could buy into those near falls.

Juice Robinson? I would be interested in that. It would be fun. I could see Tanahashi playing subtle heel to get Robinson over.

Kenny Omega? I don’t see it with Omega being U.S champion right now.

Ibushi? I think this happens in November and my guess is its just Tanahashi getting his win back from the G-1

Evil? It would be a rematch of the New Japan Cup in April….I like the idea.

Sanada? See above except it’s not a rematch of the New Japan Cup. That would be fun. It is time for NJPW to get more people into that top mix at a show like WrestleKingdom. The problem is second biggest match and I’m not sure that they can get Sanada there before January.



My Relationship with Spoilers

This is one of those post that is completely about me…which I hate doing, but I just wanted to put this somewhere besides my head so I could figure out my relationship with spoilers in wrestling. I don’t watch shows like Walking Dead or Game of Thrones, so I don’t have to worry about not watching the show as it airs and it getting spoiled. Obviously Raw and Smackdown are live and before my housing situation changed, I was able to watch the shows live as they happened. Now that I often do not know where I am going to be when the shows air, there are times where I have to watch them after they air. I do not watch the New Japan major shows live as they happen. Obviously GFW, ROH and NXT are taped…so what is my relationship with spoilers?

Raw/Smackdown: Now that I cannot always watch the shows live, my idea is to stay away from everything until I get a chance to watch the shows. In other words, they are live shows that I treat like they are live.

NXT: I read the spoilers from Jacob Cohen’s Twitter page (he does a great job by the way). Then just before I watch, I will skim through posts from the deathvalley.com message board about the NXT show from that week just to have an idea of what I am in for.

GFW: I used to go completely spoiler free for TNA, but last year I just decided to read spoilers. Now that I know I am going to be way behind, I will certainly read spoilers just so I have an idea of what is going on. Like I said, I am still watching Slammivesary so I am way behind on watching…but I still want to know what is going on.

ROH: I usually read the spoilers of their tapings once and do not read them again before I watch. I did that before and after my housing situation changed.

NJPW: I try to stay away from everything until I get a chance to watch the shows. NJPW is my number two promotion so I treat it like Raw and Smackdown. One of the biggest reasons for this is that a great deal of the fun of NJPW is the near-falls in big matches…so I do not want to know the end result because it would ruin those near-falls.