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40 minutes ago, El-P said:

To be fair, Okada is apparently hurting pretty bad now. And he has a story going on, with him not giving any respect to Ibushi at all in the 6 men tag they are having together with Tana. I guess it could lead to Okada winning the G1, but he really should get some rest in the meantime.

Okada is hurt but I also think that's been a bit exaggurated by Dave, who bit every time Tana sold a new injury and has been reporting Naito on death's door for the longest time. I do think he wins G1 over Ospreay in the final and then the title over Naito in the Dome on the 5th. That's how I see the booking playing out this year.

 

4 minutes ago, NintendoLogic said:

The pandemic has obviously put a damper on things, but both NOAH and Stardom just outdrew them at Budokan. If that isn't cause for alarm, I don't know what is. I'm kind of worried that the whole deal with Ospreay and Priestley was a harbinger of more wild angles to try to heat things up.

In fairness to New Japan, they had Ibushi working El Desperado in the main event as an emergency replacement match after Hiromu got hurt. Not exactly marquee stuff compared to NOAH bringing in Mutoh and hyping the show as their biggest in years. I don't think NOAH or Stardom would even have booked the building if not for COVID.

I'm concerned about the increase of wacky angles and convoluted booking too. I hope the fact that the Ospreay and Bea thing died a death will cause Gedo to wake up a bit. EVIL is basically back to being midcard after his title reign went down like a lead balloon. But they shouldn't be making these errors in the first place to have to correct them.

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IIRC NOAH was promoting that Budokan show for a long ass time too. I think it's an apples and oranges situation in that sense. No clue about Stardom's build up and promotion for that show so I can't comment.

Regardless, it would really fucking suck if anyone, regardless of what company they are working for, gets any blame for how shows are drawing during these fucked up pandemic times.

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I blame Gedo for shitty booking.

I don't see Naito winning the belt this year. It would make more sense to me to have Okada get it back at the Dome from Ibushi. It would make even more sense to have Ibushi win the Never Openweight championship too and face Kenny Omega, AEW/IMPACT/AAA champion to determine the true God of Pro-wrestling ! 

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I wouldn't say the gates are much cause for alarm really, they ran a weak card that was only announced a week after their previous major event, while STARDOM had been hyping up their Budokan show for ages and had a stacked card, even bringing in Yoshiko and Nanae Takahashi (not sure how hyped NOAH's build was). The booking is definitely a cause for concern though, between the silly gimmicks, the Ospreay/Priestly thing, and the weird lack of momentum for certain wrestlers. The EVIL de-push baffles me frankly; even though I'm not a fan of it AFAIK the Japanese fans were really into the LIJ break-up angle.

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Look, you all know I've been down on Gedo's booking for years but I have a hard time attributing (does that word exist? sorry, having a brain fart with my english) current struggles to his same ol' same ol' formula when every building has a smaller capacity, there's been issues with booking talent and there's a pandemic still fucking things up.

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What this has really revealed is how dependent they were on outside talent to come in and freshen up the main event scene. Without the ability to just fly in a Mox or Jericho, they just don't have depth on top, and they've burned through a lot of story with their current top guys that are in the country. Add that to them running a million Korakuen shows to try to make up ticket sales on volume instead of quality and they feel really stale. The reason the 4/4 show is weak is that they need to save stuff for the 4 large shows they're running in late April/early May, plus the stadium shows, and oh by the way they're running like 8 Korakuen shows that need some kind of hook in April. It's too much. It might be making them a little money in the short term but it's really taking the luster off them, and I'm not sure it's going to be as easy as flipping switch when the restrictions are lifted.

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They really need Moxley or someone in to spice shit up once crowds or back. Or heaven forfend, Kenny Omega.

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Dave did mention that once travel gets back to some semblance of normal there was plans to have more cross pollination of AEW and New Japan. 

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They’re crying out for something to add some juice. If I were them I would be looking for Ibushi vs Omega and Okada vs Naito as the WK main events.

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I've been asking for interpromotional feuds within Japan for years now and not even a pandemic made New Japan act on it. It's really weird how they didn't even try to do it, I guess they didn't want to risk their talent catching COVID from another roster.

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It would be cool for us fans but none of the other companies are on New Japan’s level enough for it to be meaningful I don’t think 

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1 hour ago, FMKK said:

It would be cool for us fans but none of the other companies are on New Japan’s level enough for it to be meaningful I don’t think 

On a time were New Japan can't get foreigners? Let's not forget they had programs with Zero One and NOAH - at a time those two companies were already struggling like a motherfucker- while NJ was clearly on the rise (and by far the n°1 promotion in the country) and got good houses. And in the case of the NOAH feud, it was the perfect showcase for baby Okada.

And yeah, I do believe booking a guy like Kento Miyahara, Suwama and Shuji Ishikawa would do good business for New Japan. They are certainly more meaningful than 3/4 of other gaijin they book.

We also know NJ always comes out on top big in those programs so I don't see the downside for them. I also have a hard time believing any promotion in Japan would turn down a NJPW proposal given as how much more exposure they could get.

Lastly, they can even just book them for smaller programs just to boost their midcard and give younger/promising talent interesting shit to do and learn other workers. For example, guys from Big Japan are perfect to the NEVER title scene/status. Shit, the one time they booked Sekimoto he gave Shota Umino the best match of his career (at that point) and made him look awesome.

It's a moot point anyways as it's not going to happen. I just cannot be convinced it's not a good idea to do it, lol.

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On 3/31/2021 at 9:46 AM, El-P said:

Funny, I never thought the former design was all that great (that goes for the IC belt too). It's nowhere near as bad as the infamous "crown" belt.

And really, new belt haters is not what NJPW should worry about. They have drawn flies at Korakuen Hall and are presenting a totally subpar card for 4/4. The main event should be awesome. The rest of the card is pretty much nothing (yeah, the junior heavyweight tag team match should be good but nothing special and really redondant by now). And they have two stadium shows coming, which is complete insanity. Sure, the pandemic has hit them hard, but maybe just maybe one year of awful EVIL bullshit and now Great O-Khan push, with a super stale undercard, is finally biting them in the ass. Okada hurting as he is means he can't be shot back in the title picture for now. They sure need a shot in the arm from *somewhere*...

Isn't Korakuen operating at 50% capacity right now? I assumed that's why the attendance numbers were so low across the board, not just for NJPW. 

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12 hours ago, WingedEagle said:

Andrade doesn't have the marquee value of Moxley or top stars from AEW, but he can certainly go and would add a fresh face to the mix, if he's an option.

He's no stranger to them as La Sombra.

Besides, he's the original Ingobernable (alongside Rush). So he immediately has a programme with/against Naito.

 

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I saw they have 4 episodes of Lion's  Break Collision on their YouTube channel.  I watched the first one and enjoyed it. I didnt like how it started with a webcam interview hosted by Kevin Kelly, but that was only the first couple minutes and once they got to the actual matches it was fine. The first match was Alex Coughlin and Clark Connors and I liked it because it had more of a mat based style than I'm used to. The second match had TJP in it whom I like. It's weird they dumped 4 episodes on YouTube at once. It reminds me a bit of current ROH where it's just a couple matches and there is more focus on the in ring and it's taken more seriously instead of having the skits and humor of a lot of modern wrestling.

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6 hours ago, joeg said:

Isn't Korakuen operating at 50% capacity right now? I assumed that's why the attendance numbers were so low across the board, not just for NJPW. 

I believe Korakuen has been working with 400 or 500 people maximum capacity for most of the pandemic.

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I feel they're really going down the road of bad American wrestling tropes by introducing too many titles to heat their business. 

They have enough titles. Most of them aren't even really pushed or focused on. They don't need yet another title

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I would think this particular title is so the people on the New Japan Strong show have something to do instead of only having tournaments?

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Sucks there's no-one here to share my Sakura Genesis "Holy Goddammed Shit!" reaction....

 

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I was just on my way over here. The match was great, a shade below their G1 29 match but better than their WK match. The last few minutes were complete insanity.

Spoiler

Ospreay winning was a genuine shock I haven't felt since Jay White's win in 2019. Nice that there was no interference as well. Shingo next challenger and then Okada. NGL, I've missed Okada in the title scene so I welcome it, just hope his back injury isn't as bad as what's being said...

 

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It was a stunner. Really curious where they go from here with Ibushi.

I thought the match was great, not an all-time classic or anything. Probably about the best Ospreay is capable of (against a non-Okada opponent), felt like it lacked a little in emotional story from Ibushi, but very much worth seeing.

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