The Official New Japan Pro Wrestling Thread

Discussion in 'The Wrestling Archives' started by Bagpipes, Jul 10, 2015.

  1. Bagpipes

    Bagpipes Top Guys Out

    Aug 26, 2014
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    So I planned on doing this a few weeks ago but real life issues sort of got in the way. Regardless, I've seen a lack of any substantial NJPW coverage here on the forums and decided to startup a thread solely dedicated to New Japan and its going-ons. I'm still not 100% sure what exactly this thread is going to be (though I am open to suggestions) content wise. I plan on covering major shows/tournaments as regularly as I'm able, whether it's quick reviews, comments, or attempting to open up some discussion. So if you have anything in particular you'd like to see or know about NJPW, feel free to leave some feedback or suggestions. Hopefully there will be enough interest in this thread to keep it going for the foreseeable future.

    Welcome to the official thread for all things New Japan. For those not familiar with the promotion, here's a brief history:

    - NJPW was founded in 1972 by Antonio Inoki and has grown to become the largest Japanese professional wrestling promotion, and 2nd largest in the world (behind WWE) in terms of attendance and revenue.

    - NJPW's biggest event (akin to WWE's WrestleMania) is held annually at the Tokyo Dome on January 4th and is currently promoted under the name "Wrestle Kingdom". 1/4/16 will be the event's 10th installment under the WK banner.

    - The International Wrestling Grand Prix (IWGP) is the promotion's governing body.

    - The promotion currently has six IWGP championships: Heavyweight, Intercontinental, Junior Heavyweight, NEVER Openweight, Tag Team, and Junior Heavyweight Tag Team.

    - NJPW is also known for its annual tournaments, the largest and most important of which being the G1 Climax, held every August.

    - The G1 Climax is a round robin style, points-based tournament with winners from each of two blocks meeting in the finals to determine the champion, with the winner moving on to face the Heavyweight Champion at Wrestle Kingdom.

    - Other annually occurring tournaments include: World Tag League (tag team tournament where winning team receives a title match against the IWGP tag champions at Wrestle Kingdom), Best of the Super Juniors (junior heavyweight tournament where winner receives a title match against the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight champion), Super Junior Tag Tournament (junior heavyweight tournament where winning team receives a title match against the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team champions), New Japan Cup (single elimination tournament where winner receives a title match against a champion of his choosing).

    - NJPW released its online streaming service New Japan World earlier this year. Similar to the WWE Network, NJW includes live content of house shows and large "pay per view" events as well as documentaries, interviews, and an array of historical content. The service is currently available for a monthly subscription price of $8.19 USD.

    - "Rookies" in New Japan are referred to as Young Lions. They can often be seen at ringside observing matches, offering ice packs to the losers after the match, and escorting wrestlers from the ring area to the backstage area. Young Lions do compete in matches, either against themselves or a more veteran opponent, wearing nondescript attire (black boots, plain black trunks), using basic wrestling holds and maneuvers, never exhibiting heel tendencies or interacting much with the crowd. The Young Lions are one of the most unique things about NJPW, and are an example of how serious professional wrestling is taken in Japan. The Lions go through this sort of probationary period of learning and training for different periods of time, until they are deemed, in kayfabe terms, capable of competing in matches against any opponent, but in non-kayfabe terms, capable of getting their own gimmick over.

    Now for a little about the operations of NJPW matches.

    - All matches in NJPW have a time limit. Titles matches operate under a 60 minute time constraint, while most other important non title bouts use a 20-30 minute time limit. Some opening matches have a 10 minute time limit. Elapsed time is often announced over the in house sound system in 5 minute intervals during a match.

    - Contrary to WWE rules, a count out occurs after a 20 second count by the official, not 10.

    Moving on, let's take a look at the typical annual schedule for NJPW.

    January- Wrestle Kingdom (biggest show of the year, winner of G1 Climax receives title match)

    February- The New Beginning

    March- New Japan Cup

    April- Invasion Attack (winner of NJ Cup receives title match)

    May- Wrestling Dontaku

    June- Dominion

    July- Kizuna Road

    August- G1 Climax (the final night of the G1 Climax is typically the 2nd largest show of the year)

    September- Destruction

    October- King of Pro Wrestling

    November- Power Struggle

    December- World Tag League

    Let's move on to take a look at the major stables currently operation within NJPW. The typical babyface/heel alignment doesn't always hold true in NJPW (or in wrestling in general these days), but there are 2 major groups that typically don't wrestle their own members, except in tournaments like the G1 or New Japan Cup.


    CHAOS: Led by Shinsuke Nakamura, this is New Japan's top "babyface" group. Members of the group seem to fluctuate and as I mentioned earlier, so do babyface/heel alignments.


    Bullet Club: If you've read this far, you probably know what Bullet Club is, but here's a quick synopsis anyway. Bullet Club is the top heel stable in NJPW. They use underhanded, Americanized tactics such as interference and misdirection to win matches, gaining major heat from Japanese crowds. Founded by Karl Anderson and Prince Devitt (Finn Balor), now led by AJ Styles, they've become a pop culture sensation throughout the world.

    And finally, let's take a look at New Japan's current champions.

    IWGP Heavyweight Champion: Kazuchika Okada
    3 time IWGP Heavyweight Champion
    Defeated AJ Styles at Dominion in July 2015

    IWGP Intercontinental Champion: Hirooki Goto
    Fierce Warrior
    2 time IWGP Intercontinental Champion
    Defeated Shinsuke Nakamura at Wrestling Dontaku in May 2015

    IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion: KUSHIDA
    Time Splitter
    2 time IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion
    Defeated Kenny Omega at Dominion in July 2015

    NEVER Openweight Champion: Togi Makabe
    2 time NEVER Openweight Champion
    Defeated Tomohiro Ishii at Wrestling Hinokuni in April 2015

    IWGP Tag Team Champions: Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows
    Bullet Club
    3 time IWGP Tag team Champions
    Defeated The Kingdom (Matt Taven & Michael Bennet) at Dominion in July 2015

    IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champions: Matt & Nick Jackson
    Young Bucks- Bullet Club
    3 time IWGP Jr. Tag Team Champions
    Defeated RPG Vice & reDRagon at Wrestling Dontaku in May 2015​

    This year's G1 Climax is set to begin, stay tuned for some coverage of that as well as other happenings around the promotion.

    As I said, feel free to leave comments, feedback, suggestions here in the thread or PM me if there's something you'd like to see covered.
    Papa Pillman likes this.

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