I’ve been a fan of Japanese wrestling for something like 10 years now and was wondering if you also like it, what about it and which promotion specifically.
For me NJPW stands on top now, but I have always also liked NOAH (when they actually had people that were interesting to me: KENTA, Marifuji, Kobashi etc) and Dragongate. DDT is the one I had the least exposure to, but having in mind their middle-of-the-woods matches, apartment matches etc, they have their niche and appeal.
With that said, what I like the most is the sports presentation. While it may at times seem stoic, performers get the chance to express themselves in the ring and they are all in some way special. In recent years promos have started playing a bigger part: Okada, Omega, Naito and KENTA (when he led his own faction in NOAH), but it is always settled in a kickass match. Of course there are some gripes: the referees being considerably “blinder” than their American colleagues, people kicking out of everything and having 15 finishers, straight on skull on skull headbuts and currently underperforming Junior division, but I have grown to accept these issues and still like the product.
What about you guys?
I have followed New Japan tangentially via John’s G1 reviews and Dan’s love of the product everytime it was brought up. I understood who the big names were. But this year I dove in head first, first with finding a way to get AXIS tv to watch the US G1 Special, and then by subscribing to NJPW World to watch the entire G1 and follow along with John’s reviews. I loved every minute of it and was a real highlight of my summer. I’ve enjoyed keeping up with it most recently with the Tag League and look forward to the New Japan Cup soon. Obviously WK is a highlight. I think what I love most about it is I enjoy the characters but they aren’t overexposed with awful monologues and bad acting. When I called in to the frmr Sunday night show after the US G1 Special I couldn’t stop raving to Mouth about how the guys oozed with charisma and made me buy into them as performers by their work ethic and presentation, not because somebody told me to cheer or boo them. When I saw a dual ROH/NJPW show in New York this past summer, I really took a liking to guys I hadn’t fully understood yet and I think that is what affirmed my liking of the product. That I could tell Naito was a star without any prior knowledge and then finding out he is the rising star over there made me feel like the product was easy to understand even with a language barrier. I am looking forward to more US shows from them and hopefully can attend anything they do in NY, especially when it’s with ROH.
One big takeaway for me has always been that you can clearly distinguish heels and faces without being spoon fed by the commentators and the commercials. It is masterful how they book their talent and make it easy even when you watch in Japanese!
I only really follow New Japan. I keep up to date with NOAH, Dragon Gate and All Japan but don’t watch them as much as New Japan. Also NOAH kind of lost me with Eddie Edwards won the GHC title.
I always watched the big NJPW matches but it was only a year ago i signed up for New Japan World. Since then i watched everything on offer, the NJ cup, every G1, BOSJ and world tag league match. I find there’s something for everyone on a New Japan card, and look forward to their events more than any other promotion.
I’ve recently started watching quite a bit of Japanese wrestling but I lost track over Autumn and have only really been keeping up to date with New Japan, although I’m a little behind on the shows and I don’t watch them all.
I’ll be picking up the ones I was watching again in the New Year, so that’s Dragon Gate and Stardom… and I also want to check out DDT, NOAH, and maybe All Japan. I’ve actually been to two NOAH shows when they visited the UK a few years back, and I went to a Dragon Gate UK show as well but because of train times I ended up having to leave half way through the show, which sucked.
I follow New Japan regularly and watch the AXS show every week (love the increased attention it’s been getting). Some of the absolute best wrestlers going today.
I used to follow NOAH and Dragon Gate a little via their partnerships with ROH (and later Dragon Gate USA). That’s about it, though. I always appreciated wrestlers from both promotions coming over here to wrestle.
Like many others, I started following New Japan in 2014 based on John’s G1 podcasts. When NJPW World made it easier to access the shows, I started following more regularly and really enjoy it.
Tangentially follow NOAH and DDT but not super close.
Yeah, Eddie has never been a champion, main title, in my mind. Having him hold the GHC and remembering previous title holders makes it even harder to accept.
I actually have to shout out the New Japan Purocast (Voices of Wrestling) for helping me get into NJPW. I started watching very casually in mid-2016, and then starting with the Road To Wrestle Kingdom 11 shows have been a devout follower since. It was so refreshing seeing a different product than WWE and ROH (and any other hodge podge indies I may have seen).
I have recently been trying to dive into Dragon Gate. I’ve got a couple more matches of Final Gate to watch. I keep an ear to the ground about NOAH, AJPW, DDT, and BJPW happenings, but seldom, if ever, watch. I’d love to be able to have more in depth discussions about NJPW, Dragon Gate, and other promotions on here!
I just started getting into NJPW after seeing the AXS episodes of Dominion. I really like the presentation and total focus on in-ring. The Purocast has helped get me up to speed/keep up on events throughout this year as I started out with going back to WK11 and trying to catch up.
I am little bit older but I been following Japan for a long time. It was harder back in the day. Would trade tapes and go to Japanese store buy magazines and rent videos. Always been fascinated by the style. One of the most exciting times in my life was going there and seeing it live. I have been to 2 Wrestlekingdoms. Did not go this year. Gone to a few All Japan and Noah shows in the past. Was a fan of the Wing as well. Look that up for those who don’t know. Had the honor of seeing Manami Toyota live in Tokyo. Best female wrestler of all time. So when New Japan world came out it was the best thing ever. I know it’s not for everyone but to me it’s the best. Everyone should try it. I know a lot new people have come aboard since Alpha vs Omega clash. Go back and look back at some of the older matches. Super juniors from the 90’s just awesome. Owen Hart had some of his best matches in Japan.
I’d almost say that for some promotions its harder now to follow them than it was previously. I used to get DVD’s from PuroresuDVDsource but most of those sites have long since shut down because of how accessible new japan is. But for the smaller promotions you really have to look hard. I love Dragon Gate for example (used to get the dvd’s all the time) but finding their stuff now is tough. So I dunno thats easier now, its easier for one company but I think its harder for others.
The real hero archive has most of the newer Dragon Gate as far as I can tell – check that out if you haven’t already.
Also AJPW have announced a streaming service too – starting March iirc. I’ve watched a few recent AJPW shows and they’re always pretty good, particularly the top 2/3 matches.
oh yea, I saw about the AJPW service and if its a reasonable price I’ll likely do it. They have been on the rise lately. And especially if their service has the old AJPW stuff. I mean people forget that the old AJPW stuff was the absolute best wrestling you could find. 90’s All Japan? Incredible.
Can’t wait for AJPW streaming service. I hope they have a good library. Looking forward to seeing Stan Hansen and Bruiser Brody. Not looking forward to seeing Johnny Ace. Never understood how over he was there.
Saw what John said about the catalog for AJPW. He might be right. It would be interesting if he is because man if NOAH were to do a streaming service…I would be all over that. NOAH has really been improving to and 90’s AJPW is worth every penny for that catalog.
Johnny Ace was over cause AJPW worked very hard to put over their foreign talent. Babba was very smart about how he booked them over there. Hansen and Brody were just incredibly beloved there. Ace was to, and he honestly wasn’t a bad wrestler. Just never on the level of say Hansen or Dr Death.
Im a fan of New Japan only. Its the best in the world. For all I know AJPW could be 2nd best but I’m satisfied with my japanese fill.
I believe Ace was involved romantically with someone related to Baba which is reason he was over. Just my opinion but I never saw him have a good match by himself. Not a fan of Ace. Maybe I am just hating but to me he was not good. Like I said just my opinion.
AJPW may well be the 2nd best in the world. But IF they have access to that old library, trust me even modern New Japan is tame compared to 90’s All Japan. Its actually a little scary how intense the 90’s matches were. I can only imagine that concussions were happening all the time but never properly documented. But the crowd heat was unbelievable. It was I would say the height of Japanese pro wrestling, even in the early 2000’s the NOAH (which spun off from AJPW) was selling out the dome. I looked up the gate for Destiny 05 and it was listed at 65,000. Not sure if accurate but it gives you an idea. The 90’s AJPW was running Sumo Hall for most of the shows I saw then Budokan for the big shows.
All this is to say that if they get the back catalogue for AJPW, its one of the best values for your money, more so even than NJPWworld. Thats a big “if” though.