On a scale 0 to 10, how would you rate NJPW?
Storylines & Feuds-
- CandleLv 74 weeks agoBest Answer
Wrestling- 8. Not everything's going to be a five or six star match on the card, but the matches that need to be great will be great while the rest will be transparently going through the motions six man tag offerings at the start of the show. They've started toning down the New Japan "dad" aspect of things, which really does help the average go up, it also helps that a lot of their young lions are starting to come into their own. I think 8's a fair overall card number though.
Continuity- 10. For a company that conveys a vast majority of hit's storytelling through in-ring action, they know how to write a great narrative and keep it going. Gedo isn't booking from week to week. He maps out New Japan's future in a way that I'm forced to believe means he roughly knows what's going to happen for the next few years. It's a slow burn company that depends heavily on long rivalries, faction drama, and star building.
Diversity: 4. This is where New Japan kind of waffles. Are there diversity in characters and in-ring styles? yeah, but if there's one complaint I've had about Gedo's booking from the word go, it's that outside of maybe the IC, Heavyweight, and Junior belt, the rest of the divisions are often neglected. When you're a company with eight titles, along with one or two foreign titles that you recognize and book regularly, and you can't make time for half of them, then you've got a problem. I'd love for the NEVER Openweight belts to get some shine because they offer variety in in-ring style. I'd love the tag belts to be treated well in both weight divisions because New Japan has a handful of great tag teams. I'd love for the U.S. belt to be more than a Juice Robinson consolation prize, or something to brandish around when a new gaijin comes in to carry it for a month, but it remains the bastardized white boy title. Most criminal maybe is the fact that New Japan is a faction driven promotion with plenty of talented factions with great in-ring chemistry that could give the 6-Man tag belts a great warring faction story complete with some great matches if given time or spotlight, but instead the belts are on the most obsolete faction in the company. I'll cut this tangent here by simply saying New Japan could have more diversity on their cards if they highlighted the divisions they have in play.
Gimmicks- 8. Mostly gone are the days of black trunk wearing badasses with zero other character traits. I think the big reason I've overcome the language barrier with New Japan is the fact that I can actually tell talents apart, get a feel for their characters through booking, and with a glance know what they're about. If you watch one Naito match, you'll understand who Naito is. The same's true of Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, Toru Yano, Evil, Sanada, Okada, Ishii, and so many others on the roster. Are there a few lost souls like Yoshi Hashi and Mikey Nicholls in the mix? Yeah, but they also get very little in-ring time. Are Bullet Club a shell of their former selves? Yeah, but they're still acting like Bullet Club. Is Kota Ibushi still a gorgeous anomaly of a man who wrestles great but keeps his motivations fairly basic and close to the chest? Yeah, but he's also one of the greatest wrestlers in the world so it's forgivable that he's sort of a tortured artist who doesn't blossom in the public eye.
Storylines & Feuds- 8, I kind of tackled this in continuity, but New Japan runs off of rivalries and dissension in the faction ranks. If there's a flaw in the formula it's that things can get repetitive in 'road to' events. I know people were complaining a bit about Okada vs Sanada at King of Pro Wrestling because the match went too long, they've had seven other matches leading up to that one (some of which were too close to the event to make their bout exciting or fress), and the fact that Okada was like 6 and 1 against against Sanada. Tack on the fact that they're heading down the road to WrestleKingdom and the rivalry becomes a bit too linear and predictable. The same was true about Kota Ibushi vs Evil on the same card for the Wrestle Kingdom contract. Everyone knew Kota was going to win, and that these obligatory G1 contract matches are kind of pointless since the contract guarantees the main event's set in stone. New Japan gets a lot of heat for being overly predictable, but I personally enjoy the linear form of storytelling. When something deviates from the predicted path of progression, it feels exciting. It might be better for me because I do skip the 'road to' loops that are designated to build toward the event with multi-man bouts and whatnot, and instead hit up the main big shows and tournaments. Outside of the occasional turn or big event happening, those in between shows are skipable, which is a big reason I give them an 8 and not a 9 or a 10. New Japan's formula has it's flaws, but they're avoidable.
Tag Teams: 5. In New Japan right now, barring hodgepodge faction tandems, there are roughly 13 tag teams that work together consistently. Of those 13, maybe 7 of those tandems regularly vie for tag gold. If this were a one tag division company, that wouldn't be a problem, but there are two tag weight divisions. Of those 7 regular tag teams, I'd call 4 of them great and cohesive tag teams, and to New Japan's credit, those four are the usual faces of their respective divisions, but that also means there's a lot of repetition. As good as the matches were, I could go another lifetime without having to see GoD vs Evil and Sanada ever again. RPG 3K vs The Young Bucks almost got to that point with me also, and thank goodness Roppongi rose into heavyweight action because I don't know if I could've stomached another match between them and Desperado and Kanemaru. Therein lies the problem in New Japan's booking, especially when it comes to midcard divisions Repetition + Creative Neglect = A Problem. New Japan has the bones of a good tag division, but the slapdash booking of the undercard kind of kills it.
- Anonymous4 weeks ago
Definitely a 9. Antonio Inoki created a badass company in 1972 and it’s still awesome!