NJPW (Discussion)

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AlphabetJones
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Re: Strong Style Spirit - New Japan catch all thread

Post by AlphabetJones » Fri Jan 05, 2018 2:16 pm

Great showing for Jay White tonight, the Omega angle did way more to get his character over than the entire Tanahashi feud did.

New Beginning shows look stacked, and most impressive of all is the seeming lack of WK rematches. Everything feels really fresh right now.

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Garuda
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Re: Strong Style Spirit - New Japan catch all thread

Post by Garuda » Fri Jan 05, 2018 3:25 pm

As far as the Okada victory, I'm glad to see that there's a larger "let's wait and see" block of reactions than usual. For my part, I would remind people of WK9 when EVERYONE thought Okada was winning and Tanahashi defended - allowing them to stretch it out for another year.

I think I was in the minority of not liking it as a creative decision. It may have been worth it for the post-match alone, but the following year had be kind of bored with New Japan from the rematches and the main event holding pattern. After Okada won and we saw the exodus, things really freshened up.

I guess what I"m rambling towards is that the decision, in hindsight, appeared to be a business success even though it was a bit of a creative snoozer for me. Okada wasn't hurt. We'll still have to wait and see, but I think at least what they're going for is the same thing that worked last time - extending a huge program for the sake of business while doing little to no damage to their stars for the effort. The difference is that if they want the Aces to always win at the Dome, they're going to probably have to put it on Naito soon anyways only to build a reclamation at WK13.

I'm curious, but I wanted to remind people of this exact thing happening two years ago. It's different though, so we'll see if those differences make the difference.

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Garuda
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Re: Strong Style Spirit - New Japan catch all thread

Post by Garuda » Fri Jan 05, 2018 3:42 pm

Also, and not to double post, but I wouldn't worry SO much about Jay White. Some people are reacting like he's radioactive or something after that match. It for sure exposed the guy as "Not at that level," but I wouldn't say the dude's contaminated in some major way. I'd say he's at a small disadvantage now. But with time and slower booking I don't think this represents some difficult perception to overcome. It just represents that he wasn't ready THAT NIGHT, both in performance and in kayfabe. I'm still super turned-off by what I think is an ultra derivative gimmick, but even I don't think that it's impossible to work if he has time to work on it.

And one more note about the booking overall, in the form of me retaking my W: I was confident that Okada and Omega were retaining. Not only does it fit the Dome booking patterns, but I was also assuming their thoughts went like this: Wrestle Kingdom 12 is drawing record numbers for this era here and abroad. Okada's our Ace and Omega's our Western Ace (or however they think about it). We're NOT going to introduce these huge stars to a new casual audience by beating them at the Dome. And in Kenny's case you add on top of that the optics of a WWE guy moonwalking in and beating their top US guy on this day of all days? That's anathema.

Besides the fact that I think they're naturally disinclined to do that, I think the primary objective of "retain these new eyeballs" would make them even less likely to want to introduce their stars by beating them. If I'm in that business, I'd think that way - they already have us as NJPW fans, the best thing to grow the business is to appeal to the fresh audience, not the lifers. The new fans ought to see their stars being dominant. And depending on how the follow-up is booked, they can make this work, too.

In fact, it's telling that even sticking to those ideas the results were even MORE conservative then I predicted, not less, with Tanahashi retaining against White, which I didn't see coming. I figured that that would be their one allowance.

Also there's something to be said about having a little more faith in Naito. He's ultra charismatic, especially when he's pissy. I'm not sold on the booking, but the more I think about it the more I think that this is something that's going to end up being at least fine in the long run. And part of it is having faith in Naito to get over regardless of this loss.

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Re: Strong Style Spirit - New Japan catch all thread

Post by Bloodbuzz Bunk » Fri Jan 05, 2018 5:06 pm

Garuda wrote:Also, and not to double post, but I wouldn't worry SO much about Jay White. Some people are reacting like he's radioactive or something after that match. It for sure exposed the guy as "Not at that level," but I wouldn't say the dude's contaminated in some major way. I'd say he's at a small disadvantage now. But with time and slower booking I don't think this represents some difficult perception to overcome. It just represents that he wasn't ready THAT NIGHT, both in performance and in kayfabe. I'm still super turned-off by what I think is an ultra derivative gimmick, but even I don't think that it's impossible to work if he has time to work on it.

And one more note about the booking overall, in the form of me retaking my W: I was confident that Okada and Omega were retaining. Not only does it fit the Dome booking patterns, but I was also assuming their thoughts went like this: Wrestle Kingdom 12 is drawing record numbers for this era here and abroad. Okada's our Ace and Omega's our Western Ace (or however they think about it). We're NOT going to introduce these huge stars to a new casual audience by beating them at the Dome. And in Kenny's case you add on top of that the optics of a WWE guy moonwalking in and beating their top US guy on this day of all days? That's anathema.

Besides the fact that I think they're naturally disinclined to do that, I think the primary objective of "retain these new eyeballs" would make them even less likely to want to introduce their stars by beating them. If I'm in that business, I'd think that way - they already have us as NJPW fans, the best thing to grow the business is to appeal to the fresh audience, not the lifers. The new fans ought to see their stars being dominant. And depending on how the follow-up is booked, they can make this work, too.

In fact, it's telling that even sticking to those ideas the results were even MORE conservative then I predicted, not less, with Tanahashi retaining against White, which I didn't see coming. I figured that that would be their one allowance.

Also there's something to be said about having a little more faith in Naito. He's ultra charismatic, especially when he's pissy. I'm not sold on the booking, but the more I think about it the more I think that this is something that's going to end up being at least fine in the long run. And part of it is having faith in Naito to get over regardless of this loss.
I'm gonna reply to you again because you make a great point that a lot of us hardcores miss if we aren't careful. Every show is some fan's first show or last show( that's a comic book adage that applies to wrestling perfectly) and it makes sense that if this is someone's first show that biggest star is triumphant.

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Re: Strong Style Spirit - New Japan catch all thread

Post by dancecab » Fri Jan 05, 2018 6:01 pm

I'm going to sound crazy but I got this feeling that Okada is going to be beat by Sanada. Okada got lucky to beat Naito. Naito got cocky and that was his undoing but I felt Naito was way more dominate in that match towards the end. Okada looked worn down from defending the title for a year and a half. With each title match it seems as it's getting harder and harder for him to be the dominate champion. I think Sanada might shock the world and win the title. I'm not super behind Sanada but I think it might be them creating a new star for the company. Okada is a megastar. Omega and Naito are pretty big deals. I think they want Sanada to be the fourth in that chain right now. Just a feeling I have. I also feel like they are going to hold off putting those three against each other because they know those three are the biggest stars of their company right now especially with Tana in the twlight of his main eventing days. It just makes so much sense that they pair each of the biggest stars with their own program. So you theoretically can draw a house with any of their matches.

I could also see Gedo doing something like Sanada beats Okada, Okada tries again and looses. Naito wins the title off of Sanada after G1 or at Dominon or something. Then Naito beats the G1 Climax winner Okada at WK 13. But that may be too similar to Tana Vs. Okada.

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Re: Strong Style Spirit - New Japan catch all thread

Post by rollup » Fri Jan 05, 2018 6:07 pm

Garuda wrote: And one more note about the booking overall, in the form of me retaking my W: I was confident that Okada and Omega were retaining. Not only does it fit the Dome booking patterns, but I was also assuming their thoughts went like this: Wrestle Kingdom 12 is drawing record numbers for this era here and abroad. Okada's our Ace and Omega's our Western Ace (or however they think about it). We're NOT going to introduce these huge stars to a new casual audience by beating them at the Dome. And in Kenny's case you add on top of that the optics of a WWE guy moonwalking in and beating their top US guy on this day of all days? That's anathema.

Besides the fact that I think they're naturally disinclined to do that, I think the primary objective of "retain these new eyeballs" would make them even less likely to want to introduce their stars by beating them. If I'm in that business, I'd think that way - they already have us as NJPW fans, the best thing to grow the business is to appeal to the fresh audience, not the lifers. The new fans ought to see their stars being dominant. And depending on how the follow-up is booked, they can make this work, too.
I think from Okada's closing speech , it revealed to me that this was risk (that LIJ fans will be turned off by the result and lose faith) that could happen and they were willing to take this risk.

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Re: Strong Style Spirit - New Japan catch all thread

Post by Lawsoncomedy » Fri Jan 05, 2018 7:03 pm

Ckkj14 wrote:Saw this posted online. Heat Naito up worldwide with the Jericho feud and then have him dethrone Okada. Makes complete sense to me now.
This wouldn't surprise me.

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Lawsoncomedy
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Re: Strong Style Spirit - New Japan catch all thread

Post by Lawsoncomedy » Fri Jan 05, 2018 7:09 pm

i thought this was the weakest Dome show since Wk 8, and by that I mean it was just great, not a slam dunk show of the year. Went ****1/2 on the two mains, ****1/4 for the Jr. 4-way and **** on the Jr tag. I had several matches at ***3/4, though, including the Ibushi, Never and IC matches.

I think the reason Okada won is simply because he is the best. He is the Ace. He draws the houses. He wins at the Dome. For now. My only concern is that they're running out of challengers.

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Re: Strong Style Spirit - New Japan catch all thread

Post by stienerontheforklift » Fri Jan 05, 2018 7:28 pm

dancecab wrote:I'm going to sound crazy but I got this feeling that Okada is going to be beat by Sanada. Okada got lucky to beat Naito. Naito got cocky and that was his undoing but I felt Naito was way more dominate in that match towards the end. Okada looked worn down from defending the title for a year and a half. With each title match it seems as it's getting harder and harder for him to be the dominate champion. I think Sanada might shock the world and win the title. I'm not super behind Sanada but I think it might be them creating a new star for the company. Okada is a megastar. Omega and Naito are pretty big deals. I think they want Sanada to be the fourth in that chain right now. Just a feeling I have. I also feel like they are going to hold off putting those three against each other because they know those three are the biggest stars of their company right now especially with Tana in the twlight of his main eventing days. It just makes so much sense that they pair each of the biggest stars with their own program. So you theoretically can draw a house with any of their matches.

I could also see Gedo doing something like Sanada beats Okada, Okada tries again and looses. Naito wins the title off of Sanada after G1 or at Dominon or something. Then Naito beats the G1 Climax winner Okada at WK 13. But that may be too similar to Tana Vs. Okada.
I agree with you dude. They are going to push the guy at some stage, and he showed some character development just by talking after the post match promo at NYD. Okada's got the neck bandaged up which fits perfectly with the dragon sleeper. They did do a similar thing with Suzuki at New Beginning last year with Okada also bandaged up but realistically Suzuki is never winning the main belt. Sanada's also got the Tanahashi link by being trained by Mutoh, it gives Okada a new Tanahashi to overcome, when he has everyone else's number. Okada will be cocky and complacent since he's already beat Sanada a few times, and one of Sanada's first matches in NJPW was a random singles match with Okada. Okada's run is getting to a point where I don't know if the two obvious choices in Omega and Naito would really do much for them since they are both already incredibly over. They can make somebody else by ending this run, and Sanada has everything NJPW want as a star.

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Re: Strong Style Spirit - New Japan catch all thread

Post by suplexberry » Sat Jan 06, 2018 7:30 am

I wanted to really sit on the Dome show for a moment before putting anything of significance down and not participating in any discussions or debates, because frankly I didn't care. I came away very disappointed, not because of one or two little things, but due to a pattern of booking that continued throughout the night that didn't sit right with me, and truth be told still doesn't. I feel like I could ramble on for ages so I will try and keep this to short bullet points.

1. RPG3K vs Bucks was an amazing match, some of Bucks' best work, SHO & YOH completely bringing it like I knew they would, great story that had me completely immersed and on the edge of my seat. I absolutely loathed the result. I know RPG3K are going to be fine in the long run, but I absolutely hated the result, emotionally, logically, on just about every parameter you could come up with. I knew this is heading to a trilogy of matches which will all be amazing. I still hate it, because this was a shot at something fresh & a powerful statement about the future but alas, Bucks win the titles they are not even in Japan to defend unless it's to lose them.

2. Goto vs Suzuki was a great fucking match, possibly the best match on the entire card. Bold story that had me legitimately worried for Goto's well being, incredible post-match stuff, just a great execution all the way through. Suzuki elevated in loss, Goto elevated by looking like the incredible warrior he always is.

3. A lot of the card whizzed by me without eliciting much emotion. Cody vs Ibushi was so boring I googled nutritional facts while my favorite wrestler was on screen, which is the definition of unacceptable. I did like the heavy tag match because it made complete babyfaces out of EVIL & SANADA, which is precisely what those two needed right now. NEVER Gauntlet was just there. Junior match was incredible in the moment but didn't really have enough to hang my hat on to remember in like, 6 months - I feel really harsh saying that but it's just the fact. Will overcoming his arch nemesis was an incredible story but really the story were reactions for Hiromu.

4. Tanahashi vs White had me flipping my fucking shit. This is some unacceptable booking, where they seem to have self-created a problem by giving Jay a character he is obviously not that comfortable in playing yet, not giving him much time to get comfortable, booking Tanahashi into a match at the Dome where he should lose but then realizing Tana losing at the Dome two years in a row may be a bad look for him. I don't know what happened here. On top of this mess the match sucked. I feel for Jay White, I know he will recover, but I'm not happy. I don't get it. Why do this at all?

5. Jericho vs Omega is a tough match for me. It was longer than sin, but didn't really overstay its welcome in the moment and I absolutely loved the closing stretch, Omega doing his usual best and Jericho making sure he brought his A game, too. But goddamn, I'm just not that invested in any of this. No problem with the result, though, and I did pop for the Lionsault. #notmymainevent - at least in terms of emotional investment.

6. What was my main event absolutely emotionally crushed me. I'm not exaggerating. If you loved the result, bully for you, please don't take this as invitation to debate my emotional reaction, because this was the most severe one I've had in all my years of watching pro wrestling - emotions aren't up to debate. The thing about emotional reactions is that you can't logic your way out of them - you simply feel what you feel and you can either try to escape the feeling or sit with it, and feel it. I sat with it. I felt it. I hated it.

Feelings can, and do change, but you can't feel things in advance. Ask me how I feel about this again in six months, or a year, or two years, and I might argue this was the best move the company could have made, or totally fine, or the beginning of a significant downfall. I don't know the future, none of us does. Ask me what I thought of the match in 8 months, when the emotion has passed and I can rewatch it. In the moment it felt like a classic, an utter masterpiece of pro wrestling but as I look back on it now, I don't really rate it very highly, mostly due to the slow beginning and the result.

7. New Year Dash!! featured some interesting developments, some less exciting ones. I felt like I was too emotionally bruised to care about some of it, but I liked the White stuff and since I am Golden Lovers mark for life I will see where Kenny protecting Kota from a post-match beatdown actually goes from here. Jericho vs Naito is going to be the most psychologically interesting match all year, but since I am so critical of what Naito's role in the company is going forward, I'm only hesitantly excited for it. Suzuki vs Tanahashi will rule, in all likelihood. What's my boy Juice doing in 2018?

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Tigerkinney
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Re: Strong Style Spirit - New Japan catch all thread

Post by Tigerkinney » Sat Jan 06, 2018 12:24 pm

Not joined in on the Wrestle Kingdom discussions yet, because of changing jobs recently (I was unable to have the day off to watch the show live this year- so been playing catch up) and a lot of people have said what I wanted to say already- primarily the points that disappointing as it was Naito not having his crowning moment at the Tokyo Dome is not the end of the world and we need to give Gedo the benefit of the doubt.

Fans had the same reaction at Wrestle Kingdom 9, when everyone though for sure Okada was going to dethrone Tanahashi and we can safely say the decision to delay Okada's coronation as the 'Ace' of the promotion for another year worked out in the end.

Quick thoughts on each match:

Rambo: An adequate battle royal with a surprise 'emotionally uplifting' winner. Thus far the Rambo has alternated between it being something to build someone for an undercard title shot (Nagata/Elgin) and the winner being a gimmick surprise (Jado/Kakihara).

IWGP Junior Tag- Roppongi 3K vs Young Bucks: Very good opener, with some solid psychology worked around the back injuries of Yoh and Matt. Whilst I don't hate 'comedy' Bucks, when we get 'big match' Bucks, it's so much better. Would have liked to see R3K retain but on the upside we should get a decent early year programme between these two teams- that hopefully will see the Bucks put R3K over in the long run, before moving up to the Heavyweight tag division.

Never Six Man Gauntlet: This has come the new get as many people on the big show as we possibly can match- replacing some of the 8 man tag's that would have occupied the undercard in earlier years. As what was essentially the 'filler' match of the show it was relatively entertaining and we got a nice moment with Beretta winning his first belt as a heavyweight. Unfortunately they did kind of ended up crapping on that feel good moment by having the CHAOS trio immediately drop the titles back to Fale/G.O.D at New Year Dash.

Ibushi vs Cody: Fans weren't high on the idea of this match coming into the show- as Cody has hardly been tearing it up in a New Japan ring, with his sporadic appearances where he is booked like a special guest star but delivers flat performances with flat reactions.

However what ended up being dubbed 'Handsome Battle' ended up exceeding expectations, with Cody's best in-ring performance in years. It of course helped that he was in the ring with Ibushi (who along with Omega, is one of the few people in wrestling, who genuinely could have an excellent match with a broomstick) but Cody also brought his A-Game here on the big-stage.

IWGP Tag- K.E.S vs EVIL & SANADA: I didn't love this match, nor did I hate it- which in all honesty is kind of how I feel about K.E.S matches all together and though this did end up being better than the Tag League Final- for me EVIL & SANADA are still a team that look better on paper, than they do in practice. The lack of cool tandem moves from them as a duo is rather disappointing.

NEVER Openweight: Suzuki vs Goto: Though I wasn't as high on this match as Lanza was in his review but I think he can chalk up the win here on this one. They did right thing here by going for the 'fighting spirit' formula with Suzuki dominating/bullying Goto for most of the match only for Goto to stubbornly dig deep and battle his way to victory. I also liked the fact that they teased 'Suzuki' breaking his promise by there being no interference only for it to be nipped in the butt pretty quickly.

I was hoping that the post match with Suzuki manfully excepting the post match stipulation and shaving his own head would lead to some character development (the seeds of a gradual face turn) but the next night at New Year Dash, he was the just the same old Suzuki- albeit with less stupid hair.

IWGP Junior- Scurll vs Ospreay vs Hiromu vs KUSHIDA: Whilst I still think that a 1vs1 match would have been better, this delivered what it pretty much promised to do, and that was to deliver a fun action packed match, anchored by the excellent chemistry all four men have with each of their opponents. It also did a great job of having the eventual winner of the match, Ospreay come off as the star of the match. Whilst I would love to see Hiromu win back the title eventually, I hope they give Ospreay a solid run with the belt this time round (at least until Dominion).

IWGP Intercontinental- Tanahashi vs White: A lot of the negative reaction for this match, comes from the fact, that New Japan did not go through with what the fans (even then that might just be western fans- does anyone know how that Japanese fans feel about this?) wanted from this match, which was for Tanahashi to put over 'Switchblade'. I think that the story they were going for here, is that even with the gimmick/ attitude change- White isn't quite ready to compete with the big boys and not everyone is an 'Okada' and can just waltz straight back from excursion and head straight for the top. White going after 'Omega' at New Year's Dash, shows that he still believes he has what it takes to compete with the very best but I think he will come up short again.

Outside of the trigger not being pulled on White, the match admittedly was merely just good as opposed to being excellent and probably would have benefited from being worked at a more urgent pace.

IWGP United States- Omega vs Jericho: I will fully admit to being much more excited about the Okada vs Naito match coming into this event and that my expectations for this match were not sky high. I thought Omega might just be able to drag Jericho to a 4-star level match but nothing more than that.

Well it's safe to say that this match exceeded my expectations, with Omega producing yet another MOTYC and Jericho producing his best in-ring performance in years. Jericho may well have a 'dad bod' these days but he was certainly winding back the clock and pulling off the kind of athleticism we would have seen from him in his prime.

Jericho is admittedly no longer in shape to work a high pace all match, that's where the No DQ stipulation, plunder and frequent Lion-Tamer spots came into play but it never came off as though they were using the stip as a crutch and that it would desintegrate into a tedious walk and brawl at any moment.

IWGP Heavyweight Championship:-Okada vs Naito: Another excellent match in the epic IWGP Heavyweight title run of Kazuchika Okada- a title reign that has to be in the discussion for being the greatest title run in wrestling history.

However for many this was supposed to the crowning moment for Naito- they seemingly had built Naito up all year, only for the Ingobernable to fall short on the biggest stage. Lanza gave excellent insight in his review of the match, that Naito regressed to being 'Stardust' Naito during the match and that is why he ultimately ended up choking.

Anyway this is certainly not the end for Naito, and I can honestly see him winning the title at some point this year and possibly going into the Tokyo Dome as champion. But winning the Tokyo Dome main event, seems to have a greater significance than anything else, it's where the true 'Ace' of the promotion is crowned. Naito may well be able to beat Okada on other days but on the biggest stage he still comes up short.

Overall I thought this years Wrestle Kingdom delivered a better undercard than last year's but that last year's delivered more in the main event matches - that final 4 match stretch from last year was always going to be hard to beat.

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Re: Strong Style Spirit - New Japan catch all thread

Post by stienerontheforklift » Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:02 pm

So this just kind of quietly slipped out there.
► Show Spoiler
If it's really only a short term thing then that's fine. The most disappointing thing about NYD was the complete lack of change to any of the stables. Most of them feel really bloated and stale, and if there's any promotion that needs a stable shake-up then it's New Japan. I've been spoiled by Dragon Gate and how many moving parts and constant changes there are to keep things interesting, and it serves their storytelling. NJPW factions still just feel like they are there to fill out undercard matches without any effort.

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Re: Strong Style Spirit - New Japan catch all thread

Post by Bloodbuzz Bunk » Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:03 pm

I have long gestating thought about the Suzuki v Goto match. At first I didn't hate it but I didn't love it either. It was in that weird middle ground of really good match that isn't connecting to me. But I had a friend who shared his feelings on the match and it has completely turned my mind around on the match. As my friend sees it Goto has been struggling kayfabe and otherwise as a performer since Shibata's injury. Considering how close those two are it makes sense that Goto has been hesitant and inconsistent in ring and not being the Goto who throws stiff shots. My friend thinks the whole match turns for Goto once Suzuki delivers that nasty shoot headbutt that is reminiscent of Shibata's. It's like that headbutt woke Goto up and freed him to be an ass kicker who honors his friend instead of mourning his career.

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Re: Strong Style Spirit - New Japan catch all thread

Post by Garuda » Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:07 pm

stienerontheforklift wrote:So this just kind of quietly slipped out there.
► Show Spoiler
If it's really only a short term thing then that's fine. The most disappointing thing about NYD was the complete lack of change to any of the stables. Most of them feel really bloated and stale, and if there's any promotion that needs a stable shake-up then it's New Japan. I've been spoiled by Dragon Gate and how many moving parts and constant changes there are to keep things interesting, and it serves their storytelling. NJPW factions still just feel like they are there to fill out undercard matches without any effort.

Glad it's temporary, I think that's a weird fit.

Yeah CHAOS more than anyone. If you count the Briscoes there are 14 (and now 15) CHAOS members. The Bullet Club has *only* a dozen and there's something tolerable about that because they all show up with consistency and there's a hierarchy where you understand everyone's place in the pecking order, (minus the overlaps that are leading us to a possible Bullet Club civil war).

CHAOS is totally bloated, and there's a lack of cohesiveness where they barely show up for each other's stuff, and there's a ton of part-time in-ring guys like Jado and Rocky and Gedo... Goto and Ospraey and even Beretta don't really fit or have their personalities accentuated by being in that faction, it's more of a cassarole of random misfits then even the New Japan Army. They don't even have a defining personality or agenda to their faction. Half of them are cocky?

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Re: Strong Style Spirit - New Japan catch all thread

Post by SamoKuma » Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:09 pm

Watching NJPW since WK 11 only, i was not really tripped when I saw him challenge Tanahashi for the IC. Don't like the look, don't like his face, felt him very not much intimidating, and not charismatic at all. My feeling was not better after WK12, since I disliked their bout.

But the segment with Omega and this promo are... Wow. Guy is just stellar. Huge presence, very good choice of word, seems like we made a 5 years jump and he's a full fledged star. Just what I wanted to see before and during WK.

As if, with the WK12 pressure gone, he finally can begin to really devellops. That's cool.

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