VOW Flagship: Zayn & Owens, Power Struggle, Bound for Glory, Dragon Gate & more!

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Rich Kraetsch
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VOW Flagship: Zayn & Owens, Power Struggle, Bound for Glory, Dragon Gate & more!

Post by Rich Kraetsch » Fri Nov 10, 2017 8:45 pm

Another busy week in the world of wrestling as Joe and Rich talk about the developing story with Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens, NJPW's Power Struggle, Wrestle Kingdom 12, World Tag League lineups, Impact Wrestling's Bound for Glory PPV, Dragon Gate's Gate of Destiny and some surprises along the way.

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Stitchell
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Re: VOW Flagship: Zayn & Owens, Power Struggle, Bound for Glory, Dragon Gate & more!

Post by Stitchell » Sat Nov 11, 2017 1:56 am

Liked the Zayn/Owens talk. Agree that if they've gone into business for themselves it is unprofessional but in WWE, of all places, I'm looking forward to guys acting like stars again. Guys SHOULD be vocal if they feel they are being used wrong. It's clear the presentation is all wrong when no one stands out as a star. Those who have worked on (and been a success on) the indies will know how important being over is to their appeal to draw. But then this is a company where the brand itself is pushed as being the real star.

A few weeks back I was shaking my head at them yet again running an angle on Raw where Stephanie McMahon comes out to scold the entire roster as they're lined up on stage like an underperforming workforce. 'Top' guys shoulder to shoulder with the Goldusts and Curtis Axels. And the goofy 'brand' t shirts they're using for the Survivor Series gimmick. It's rote to hark back to the Attitude Era but can you imagine Austin and The Rock standing on stage with Gangrel and the Headbangers while they're being told to up their game?

The reaction online was interesting and kinda shows what a good job WWE have done in conditioning the 'universe' into believing they are the be all and end all. As with the BC invasion and the Aries/Neville departures, fans seemed to be taking the side of the huge corporation over actually wrestlers. It's like watching people in a casino cheer on the dealer. Not sure what will be next for Zayn/Owens. Doubt they'd want to leave. And wouldn't be great optics for WWE.

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suplexberry
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Re: VOW Flagship: Zayn & Owens, Power Struggle, Bound for Glory, Dragon Gate & more!

Post by suplexberry » Sat Nov 11, 2017 12:37 pm

One of my former colleagues said of the place we used to work at: "Good ideas are always welcome! Just never implemented." I don't blame anybody for feeling frustrated at WWE.

I think at this point your top ten NJPW matches of the year come down to pure personal investment in characters and certain stories. Ibushi is one of my guys, so that Ibushi vs Tana could easily make my top 10.

I really like the idea of a Jay White mega push. I'll be interested to see the execution of it. Gedo's boldness keeps reaching new levels, it's been a wild ride, but there is no reason not to build on a young guy who is one of their own to begin with. I saw him live this past year and you can really tell the experience at the dojo in just the way he moves. Plus he's the first young lion I've followed from first young lion match to the main roster push, so just that in itself will be very special for me. (And I doubt I'm the only newer fan for whom this is the case.)

I am in total disagreement with you guys about Hiromu. Rather than argue around in circles about different perspectives, I would just encourage you to watch the backstage promo NJPW kindly subtitled for us at Power Struggle:

I'm in the business of paying attention to all things Kawato so not only did he not eat the pin at PS, he also did a whole two moves and got massive pops for both moves. He was the sizzle on a match where the veterans played the steak and potatoes. That's pretty significant, in my eyes.

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Re: VOW Flagship: Zayn & Owens, Power Struggle, Bound for Glory, Dragon Gate & more!

Post by Bloodbuzz Bunk » Sat Nov 11, 2017 3:02 pm

While Hiromu's goofy get up would not have been the pay off I imagined for his little angle of being made to look like a chump for a couple of months( I really thought he was gonna snap and be serious Hiromu again), I do think that he isn't a lost cause in terms of being a serious star.

You guys make an apt comparison to Ambrose being channeled away from his serious edgy persona into the rando goofball he sorta was and has been distancing himself from over the last year. But the key difference is the core audience. The Japanese fans love Hiromu and he was by far the most over of the four guys in the ring at Power Struggle. I think it's easier for the Japanese fans to accept some comedy and goofiness in their stars( Omega dressed up as a Disney princess and got over huge on a Road To show and Tanahashi literally has to do the 10 minute air guitar act after every one of his main events). American audiences seem to be more cynical about comedy in wrestling because the stigma attached to being a wrestling fan is so pervasive.

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suplexberry
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Re: VOW Flagship: Zayn & Owens, Power Struggle, Bound for Glory, Dragon Gate & more!

Post by suplexberry » Sat Nov 11, 2017 3:15 pm

I think all of these NJPW characters contain multiple facets. KUSHIDA is a serious killer and a happy go lucky babyface as much as he can be a goofball in Taguchi Japan multi-man tags. Hiromu is a weird, mental being who thinks he's on the Truman Show one minute, sings Lion King songs the next, has a mental breakdown backstage, gets a stuffed cat over but kills whoever he's up against next. These aren't contradictions, they're just different facets of his personality, and I think most fans, native or otherwise, are along for the ride, wherever it goes.

The problem is WWE kills your aura for a cheap joke, regardless of whether it's in character or not. NJPW lets you decide your own aura (for the most part anyway, based on what I've heard/read). Hiromu has decided these multitudes within him are all a part of him.

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Re: VOW Flagship: Zayn & Owens, Power Struggle, Bound for Glory, Dragon Gate & more!

Post by Leo C » Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:09 pm

Hiromu Ambrose is a perfect analogy. When you said it the image of Dean with that hotdog cart popped into my mind immediately. I remembered when he was in FCW and could be taken at least somewhat seriously as a crazy person but then WWE did what they did and he's just a guy who does wacky comedy now. Now, I do not think Hiromu's situation is as serious and irreversible as far as him being taken seriously, but there is a very very strong parallel. For example, I think there's a way to do the Daryl thing and have it be taken seriously, but him putting on the helmet and the gloves and stuff... I don't know. I guess if he did it and then absolutely murdered someone immediately afterwards it would be one thing but we're not really seeing that last part that often these days. Just the silliness.

It's funny how you guys mentioned Jericho might not be such a strong draw for Dome attendance specifically. When the match came about I figured that they didn't have anything to worry about as far as drawing people to the arena. Chris having been in NJPW is a minor factor that does help give him credibility with the japanese fans but it's not my main reason for thinking that, as I just feel WWE has a very strong presence in Japan that's normally not talked about. Am I wrong? Aren't there Japanese wrestling fans that mainly follow WWE?

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Re: VOW Flagship: Zayn & Owens, Power Struggle, Bound for Glory, Dragon Gate & more!

Post by Ckkj14 » Sat Nov 11, 2017 7:33 pm

Are you guys hinting at Ibushi v Omega on the Long Beach show?

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Re: VOW Flagship: Zayn & Owens, Power Struggle, Bound for Glory, Dragon Gate & more!

Post by armsofsleep » Mon Nov 13, 2017 5:01 pm

As much as I (probably) agree, I really want to see the results of NJPWorld numbers in terms of the Jericho bump. I think it will help them in certain respects, but I don't see some big surge in subscribers that you guys do. People underestimate how much his latest run hurt him in terms of workrate love, and that's generally the types of fans that NJPW grabs. Your best bet is maybe converting some ROH Bullet Club shirts that were gonna watch anyway for Omega/Cody/Bucks.

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Re: VOW Flagship: Zayn & Owens, Power Struggle, Bound for Glory, Dragon Gate & more!

Post by Joe Lanza » Mon Nov 13, 2017 5:20 pm

armsofsleep wrote:As much as I (probably) agree, I really want to see the results of NJPWorld numbers in terms of the Jericho bump. I think it will help them in certain respects, but I don't see some big surge in subscribers that you guys do. People underestimate how much his latest run hurt him in terms of workrate love, and that's generally the types of fans that NJPW grabs. Your best bet is maybe converting some ROH Bullet Club shirts that were gonna watch anyway for Omega/Cody/Bucks.
I agree with your disagreement.

I don't think the bump comes from workrate dorks, I think it comes from BC type fans, Jericho fans, and some trickle from Universe types who keep hearing about NJPW & Omega and have an excuse to check it out.

Not sure I see a "big" surge in subs, but I do think he makes a difference. I think the show will undoubtedly get more attention in the west because he's on it, similar to the Jim Ross effect.

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Re: VOW Flagship: Zayn & Owens, Power Struggle, Bound for Glory, Dragon Gate & more!

Post by armsofsleep » Mon Nov 13, 2017 5:34 pm

Also I wanted to include a picture of the Hiromu Takahashi playbook being used to completely ruin a superstar's career forever.

Image

No one knows what happened to this man. He's probably a jobber somewhere.

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Re: VOW Flagship: Zayn & Owens, Power Struggle, Bound for Glory, Dragon Gate & more!

Post by Speedy Bellerin » Mon Nov 13, 2017 5:54 pm

I enjoy all the goofy Hiromu stuff but can't deny that he doesn't have the aura that he did after he beat Kushida at Wrestle Kingdom. He looked like a mega star after that and I was having visions of Junior title matches headlining Osaka Jo Hall.

I do wonder if this would have happened regardless of Daryl. They seemed pretty set in having Kushida win BOSJ and get his redemption and because of the way they book the Junior division it leaves Hiromu with little to do. I was hoping he'd face Kushida 1 vs 1 again at the dome and hold the title for a year but that isn't happening.

I feel like the company hit pause on his push because they were hitting play on Kushida. At the same time Hiromu unfortunately hurt his aura by going from creepy to silly. He brought down dolls and that was weird, he made a scrap book that was awesome and nobody talked about it. Then he brought down a cat and it got laughs so he ran with it.

I think he can heat up at any moment but concede that it feels like he's unlikely to become a massive super no vacancy draw. But I do feel like part of the problem is the division itself if your not the Junior champ what exactly is there for you?

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Re: VOW Flagship: Zayn & Owens, Power Struggle, Bound for Glory, Dragon Gate & more!

Post by rovert » Tue Nov 14, 2017 2:35 am

armsofsleep wrote:As much as I (probably) agree, I really want to see the results of NJPWorld numbers in terms of the Jericho bump. I think it will help them in certain respects, but I don't see some big surge in subscribers that you guys do. People underestimate how much his latest run hurt him in terms of workrate love, and that's generally the types of fans that NJPW grabs. Your best bet is maybe converting some ROH Bullet Club shirts that were gonna watch anyway for Omega/Cody/Bucks.
You could be right. But Jericho has 3.36 million followers on Twitter. That's double of Jim Ross's. Needlessly to say he has a lot of fans of every category/range of interest.

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suplexberry
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Re: VOW Flagship: Zayn & Owens, Power Struggle, Bound for Glory, Dragon Gate & more!

Post by suplexberry » Tue Nov 14, 2017 3:29 am

I think whenever we talk about NJPW World subs, the numbers are thousands, not tens of thousands. I'd guess they pick up 8-9k new subscribers for WK, from there it's the same old story: some people get hooked and become fans, others re-sub for G1 or Dominion but don't follow the not-so-big shows, and some either never re-sub or only return for the Wrestle Kingdom in 2019.

I've had my little experiment in a tea cup with my casual friend who went to Long Beach, loved it, but just hasn't been watching since because she'd love the convenience of an XBox or a Roku app or whatever. NJPW still has so many barriers, even though the fandom is super friendly and helpful to newbies and everybody does their best to explain and ease getting into it. But I think each Wrestle Kingdom they are more accessible, and stuff like this Jericho match may draw people in regardless of the initial scariness of signing up to a Japanese streaming service.

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Re: VOW Flagship: Zayn & Owens, Power Struggle, Bound for Glory, Dragon Gate & more!

Post by stienerontheforklift » Tue Nov 14, 2017 3:49 pm

rovert wrote:
armsofsleep wrote:As much as I (probably) agree, I really want to see the results of NJPWorld numbers in terms of the Jericho bump. I think it will help them in certain respects, but I don't see some big surge in subscribers that you guys do. People underestimate how much his latest run hurt him in terms of workrate love, and that's generally the types of fans that NJPW grabs. Your best bet is maybe converting some ROH Bullet Club shirts that were gonna watch anyway for Omega/Cody/Bucks.
You could be right. But Jericho has 3.36 million followers on Twitter. That's double of Jim Ross's. Needlessly to say he has a lot of fans of every category/range of interest.
No matter how popular Jim Ross is, a famous and popular wrestler is going to grab more eyes and subs than a famous and popular announcer. I'm fairly confident Jericho will do a better job than Ross ever did, or ever will outside of WWE.

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Re: VOW Flagship: Zayn & Owens, Power Struggle, Bound for Glory, Dragon Gate & more!

Post by rovert » Tue Nov 14, 2017 10:17 pm

stienerontheforklift wrote:
rovert wrote:
armsofsleep wrote:As much as I (probably) agree, I really want to see the results of NJPWorld numbers in terms of the Jericho bump. I think it will help them in certain respects, but I don't see some big surge in subscribers that you guys do. People underestimate how much his latest run hurt him in terms of workrate love, and that's generally the types of fans that NJPW grabs. Your best bet is maybe converting some ROH Bullet Club shirts that were gonna watch anyway for Omega/Cody/Bucks.
You could be right. But Jericho has 3.36 million followers on Twitter. That's double of Jim Ross's. Needlessly to say he has a lot of fans of every category/range of interest.
No matter how popular Jim Ross is, a famous and popular wrestler is going to grab more eyes and subs than a famous and popular announcer. I'm fairly confident Jericho will do a better job than Ross ever did, or ever will outside of WWE.
Twitter/Social media is pretty silly. But those numbers are quoted by WWE during their financials and other promotions make decisions around them.

Likewise the music charts aren't what they were but Jericho does have a top 5 hit currently:
http://www.billboard.com/charts/hot-mai ... ock-tracks

He does attract interest. To what degree we will see post Wrestlekingdom.

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