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Old 07-13-2020, 08:48 PM   #1961
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Holy fucking what. This is insanity.
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Old 07-13-2020, 09:00 PM   #1962
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Sanada and Shingo are obvious contenders to EVIL. You don’t need to quickly launch them. People are already talking about Sanada winning the G1. It may or may not happen, but that is more exciting than EVIL winning the G1 and going against Sanada. Or the predictable conveyor belt logic where Sanada wins and goes against Okada and loses.

This is the most interesting booking going on during the pandemic. Good for New Japan.
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Old 07-14-2020, 06:20 AM   #1963
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EVIL was consistently the least interesting member of LIJ for me (Other than BUSHI, but nobody expects great things from BUSHI) so it's really bizarre that he made it to the top of the card like this. Still liked his run as darkness boi but I never had him down as being the same level as Naito, Hiromu, Shingo or SANADA. And that's just the guys he was in a faction with.

That said, I'm really liking this angle and it has me very interested in what's going to happen in a title scene now that somebody unexpected has broke through. Hiromu following that main event was so good, sad that hes going to lose and get the Naito treatment but his work is stellar. Sucks to be Naito and SANADA though.

Last edited by Ultra Mantis; 07-15-2020 at 06:48 PM.
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Old 07-14-2020, 08:47 AM   #1964
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The mind fuck continues when you realize that this was likely to be KENTA and not EVIL. If you look at the back booking then this was likely the direction, and with KENTA not available (anyone know why btw?) they put EVIL in that big spot.

I could be wrong but seems like this is the case.
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Old 07-14-2020, 08:50 AM   #1965
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and with KENTA not available (anyone know why btw?)
KENTA still lives in Florida from his NXT/WWE days.
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Old 07-14-2020, 08:53 AM   #1966
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One thing I do like is that LIJ are clearly now a proper babyface stable, no blurring the tweener lines anymore.

Moreover, they're a babyface stable that actually acts like a stable. Notice how the rest of the group ran out to try to save Naito. That's been a running joke of CHAOS for years, they rarely help each other during beatdowns. CHAOS is practically irrelevant now since they've been essentially merged with the NJPW Main Unit.
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Old 07-14-2020, 02:30 PM   #1967
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jordan X View Post
The mind fuck continues when you realize that this was likely to be KENTA and not EVIL. If you look at the back booking then this was likely the direction, and with KENTA not available (anyone know why btw?) they put EVIL in that big spot.

I could be wrong but seems like this is the case.
I doubt KENTA would have won the titles even if the coronavirus hadn't screwed up NJPW's plans for the year.

Supposedly EVIL had been planned for a big push and breakaway from LIJ this year. Assuming it was always planned to happen at this point, Gedo simply decided to not sidetrack from it when NJPW returned from their break, especially considering all of his other plans this year got messed up. It did come at a huge cost of Naito's title reign losing months worth of build and same for EVIL's big rise feeling rushed in the end.
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Old 07-15-2020, 01:11 AM   #1968
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Fucking least interesting member of the group gets the big push because TRUEBORN.
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Old 07-15-2020, 06:25 PM   #1969
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Sanada and Shingo are not the sort of acts you need to flash into the main event right now. They will get their time and they now have someone they want to chase. This sets up lots of crazy shit for the G1. I'm thinking that Naito ends up in the same block as EVIL and another member of LIJ -- either Sanada or Shingo. I think they do a rock, paper, scissors thing between them. Whoever is not featured in that block of the G1 -- Sanada or Shingo -- would likely be EVIL's Wrestle Kingdom opponent.

It's just a way of making all that more interesting.
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Old 07-15-2020, 06:35 PM   #1970
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Block A:

* EVIL
* Jay White
* Jeff Cobb
* Juice Robinson
* Kazuchika Okada
* Minoru Suzuki
* Sanada
* Sho
* Tetsuya Naito
* Will Ospreay

Block B:

* KENTA
* Kota Ibushi
* Hirooki Goto
* Hiromu Takahashi
* Hiroshi Tanahashi
* Shingo Takagi
* Taichi
* Tomohiro Ishii
* Toru Yano
* Zack Sabre, Jr.

A tournament set-up like that would be pretty fucking sick.
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Old 07-16-2020, 03:31 AM   #1971
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Old 07-16-2020, 03:36 AM   #1972
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Old 07-17-2020, 10:26 PM   #1973
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Filthy Tom Lawlor's choice of attire for his match on tonight's Lion's Break Collision episode opens up a bunch of questions.

Think he's legit wearing jeans-style hot pants as his gear. Also its gradually scrunching upwards as this match progresses.
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Old 07-17-2020, 10:38 PM   #1974
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Lawlor vs. Rocky Romero was pretty good overall. Wouldn't be surprised if Lawlor ended up signing a side deal with NJPW since that match was a nice showcase for him.

These Lion's Break Collision shows have been pretty enjoyable overall. Also have been a nice replacement for 205 Live on Fridays after I stopped watching that show months ago.
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Old 07-23-2020, 07:13 PM   #1975
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Still a couple of days to sign up for Survivor JAPAN. Would love to see you there.
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Old 07-24-2020, 10:39 PM   #1976
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Put Clark Connors on the list of people who can do a spear better than Edge.

After years of making this same joke, think like only 2-3 people have pulled off a spear just as bad or worse as Edge.
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Old 07-24-2020, 10:58 PM   #1977
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Fredericks vs. Cobb match was good.

Another enjoyable show overall from NJPW's weekly Young Lions series. An extra stuffed episode with 4 matches and three of them being entertaining to watch.

Guess this past month was just pilot episodes based on Kevin Kelly's show closing statement and the real weekly series doesn't actually debut until 2 weeks from now.
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Old 07-26-2020, 10:13 PM   #1978
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Seems NJPW and Championship Wrestling from Hollywood recently formed a partnership for NJPW's US branch.

CHFW revealed that they are helping NJPW on the production of NJPW's upcoming new NJPW Strong series and previously had helped with NJPW's Lion's Break Collision mini-series.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Post Wrestling
David Marquez noted on Twitter that he and the Championship Wrestling from Hollywood crew will be involved in the new NJPW Strong series. The show is being produced by the C.W.F.H. production team and Marquez along with Logan Chegg and co-directing the series.
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Old 07-26-2020, 11:30 PM   #1979
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I heard someone talking about who the smartest guy in wrestling is, and they threw David Marquez out there as a name. Probably good to get him involved.
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Old 07-27-2020, 05:57 AM   #1980
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EVIL vs Hiromu wasn't great. Not terrible, but didn't do a damn thing to convince me that EVIL is IWGP title material.
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Old 07-27-2020, 07:37 AM   #1981
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Similarly, despite all the Gedo fuckery, at no point did I ever think Yujiro was actually going to beat Okada. Yujiro's done nothing for years on end, Bullet Club having most of its members unavailable doesn't mean Yujiro is suddenly a credible threat in a major singles match.
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Old 07-27-2020, 04:07 PM   #1982
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Quote:
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EVIL vs Hiromu wasn't great. Not terrible, but didn't do a damn thing to convince me that EVIL is IWGP title material.
Even if it would have messed up plans later in the year, Gedo really should have let EVIL's big push simmer for a couple more months before the trigger got pulled.

Missing out on several months worth of shows has hurt NJPW a lot and EVIL isn't the type to do long drawn out style IWGP title matches, especially with BC shenanigans included.
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Old 07-28-2020, 03:40 PM   #1983
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During a press conference held earlier today, NJPW introduced a new championship title called the KOPW Championship which won't be a physical belt and instead will be something that is a lot more gimmicky and seasonal in nature than NJPW's other traditional belts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Post Wrestling
On top of the two title matches that were announced during the press conference for NJPW’s ‘Summer Struggle’ show at Jingu Stadium, another announcement was made in the form of a new championship being introduced in the company. This title is being called the “KOPW Championship” but there will not be a physical title belt for said champion to hold. This title will also reset at the end of every year as far as who the champion is.

The inaugural KOPW Champion will be decided after matches are held on August 26th at Korakuen Hall and the finals take place at Jingu Stadium. Eight wrestlers are going to compete in four singles matches on 8/26. For the first round, each wrestler will get to decide their own match rules which can be two-out-of-three falls, ladder, steel cage etc.

Fans will be the deciding factor on which wrestler’s stipulation[s] stand. The winners of those respective four matches are going to advance to a four-way match at Jingu Stadium under traditional four-way match rules and a first-ever champion will be crowned.

The KOPW Title can be defended until the end of the year and match stipulations will be voted on by fans. The individual who is the KOPW Champion at the end of the year is going to receive a trophy and the entire process will restart in 2021.
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Old 07-28-2020, 06:15 PM   #1984
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That sounds TNA as fuck. Awful.
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Old 07-29-2020, 08:23 AM   #1985
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Because NJPW clearly needed more titles and tournaments.
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Old 07-29-2020, 08:59 AM   #1986
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This all seems like a big meta troll job from Okada because hes not champion, right down to whole fan vote aspect. He's going to keep asking for submissions matches and keep using his shitty cobra clutch. Preparing for Okada vs Taichi in a loser must wear pants match.

Also it's pretty frustrating how theres a limited roster, a huge faction betrayal angle and SANADA is still just there doing absolutely nothing. Even Gabriel Kidd has an angle going right now.
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Old 07-30-2020, 06:53 PM   #1987
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I did a better write-up on a better wrestling forum, but this could be one of the most brilliant concepts introduced into wrestling in some time. Gedo is a fucking genius and I trust him with this. It allows completely fresh takes for old rivalries and allows the psychology of the wrestlers to extend into the strategy for their matches -- provided they get to choose which matches get voted on in their defenses.

Ex. 1: Okada vs. Tanahashi could be Iron Man (Okada) or Submission (Tanahashi). Okada wants to beat Tanahashi as many falls as he can in one showing. Tanahashi wants to make Okada submit as well as get more submission training for his rivalry with ZSJ or whatever. Tanahashi can win and then Okada has a submission loss he desperately wants to avenge and the idea of an Iron Man Match has been introduced to the New Japan audience. At some point, their rivalry can come full circle to the point Okada wants a Submission Match with Tanahashi and Tanahashi wants to prove he can do the Iron Man with Okada.

Ex. 2: Tanahashi and Ibushi can have a match lined up for the title at WK. Tanahashi can choose Traditional Rules -- because it's WK and its sanctity is important. Ibushi chooses a Ladder Match, because he's the reckless younger guy who watched VHS tapes of Shawn Michaels growing up. You can either have a classic Ladder Match that has some sort of purpose behind it, or you can at least introduce it as a concept that is stirring around in people's brains.

Ex. 3: You can build up a wrestler's speciality match through this concept. Suzuki can constantly win matches where there are No Holds Barred, for example. This allows you to eventually knock him off in that stipulation.

It's potentially a fresh coat of paint for a lot of guys and a lot of programs that have been done to death. It also gives top guys something to do when they can't be the champion because you've got to see this Naito story through or whatever. Allows you to tell some pretty clear and dramatic stories, which would have this unique feel to them.

Look, I love gimmicks coming out of the feuds themselves. Suzuki beats the piss out of Tanahashi so you get a No DQ Match between the two. But in New Japan that leads to a regular match anyway. Which isn't a bad thing, but these guys exist in a world where all these ideas exist, but there is just not that justification to grabbing them and bringing them into the New Japan realm. This appropriates them in a way that it almost feels like a comic series or RPG game, where each wrestler comes equipped with a speciality match type that trumps another guy or his speciality match type.

Seriously, you could make a New Japan trading card game out of this stuff. You have the base wrestlers and their values or whatever, but then you have a King of Pro-Wrestling "power" you activate. Great for engaging kids and hardcore wrestling nerds.

This could actually be an "evolution" of pro-wrestling psychology. Not that fucking bullshit Orange Cassidy stuff where the whole genre of what wrestling is supposed to be is subverted. This takes existing ideas and places them in a context which is, at least potentially, somewhat innovative.
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Old 07-30-2020, 06:59 PM   #1988
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There's also a history of fan involvement being consequential in New Japan. Naito's whole run is based on the fans voting him out of a WK main event. This is a way to take that potential influence and weave it into the fabric of your storytelling. You can have the fans boost babyfaces, hinder heels, and even provide authentic reasons for turns and/or evolution of character. Over time you can develop patterns. The fan vote could skewer one way most of the time (preferably favorable, of course), which means that fans have got the power to basically "vote" on a champion, without completing blowing kayfabe. And it doesn't completely box you in anyway. But those losses where the fans can't help the babyface or whatever can really stand out this way.

I feel this could have a lot of appeal to western audiences too. The sheer potential and intricacy of this division has me kind of wanting to spend my money on New Japan World. I'm not saying that the idea is going to be a huge draw or anything, but New Japan's booking recently has been a huge appealing factor to me -- a hardcore fan but someone that wasn't really willing to plug myself into New Japan for whatever reason. This has got me feeling stories for years.
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Old 08-06-2020, 10:53 PM   #1989
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Okada talking about the first stipulation and it’s a 3 vs 1 handicap match. Which just confirms my thoughts of this title being a stupid idea. If Okada loses, he looks like a fucking idiot for picking it. If he wins, the other guys look like garbage, and Okada gets nothing out of it because he’s already seen as the top wrestler in all of Japan
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Old 08-07-2020, 09:48 PM   #1990
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That is a bad stipulation.
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Old 08-07-2020, 10:29 PM   #1991
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Yeah I think the whole thing is stupid.

I mean in fairness two of the participants will be Jado and Gedo and who gives a fuck if they look like shit, Gedo is always meant to get his ass kicked and Jado can barely move.

But it also reinforces Yujiro being a disappointment and unless they are confident they can get some of the missing Bullet Club members back fairly soon it seems kinda silly to remind everyone that he's been a huge bitch.
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Old 08-07-2020, 10:43 PM   #1992
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Not sure if Chase Owens managed to get fatter during his time off or its been that long since I last saw him in an actual match that I forgot how chunky he was.
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Old 08-07-2020, 10:49 PM   #1993
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Tama Tonga looks a bit weird as a clean shaven guy.
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Old 08-07-2020, 11:05 PM   #1994
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Debut episode of NJPW Strong was pretty decent. Just like with Impact, the lack of an audience and reactions for matches really hurts these weekly shows.

Semi-finals matchups for New Japan Cup USA tournament:
SPOILER: show
KENTA vs. Jeff Cobb
David Finlay vs. Tama Tonga
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Old 08-07-2020, 11:06 PM   #1995
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I like NJPW because it’s different. I enjoy that it’s more grounded in reality, as well as the sports style presentation. This whole KOPW is the complete antithesis of that. It’s modern gimmicky western wrestling schlock that doesn’t really have any place in a company with the style of NJPW.
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Old 08-08-2020, 02:34 AM   #1996
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The KOPW is potentially brilliant.
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Old 08-08-2020, 12:23 PM   #1997
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Old 08-08-2020, 12:29 PM   #1998
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Well, Japan's still requiring a mandatory two-week quarantine for anyone coming into the country - so when you take that out it still gives them about a month to sort out who might be able to travel in for the G1. It's also very possible nobody will be allowed in, or if people are allowed in they'll be leery about doing it because they might not be able to go back after.

If they just have to roll with what they have, the G1 field looks something like:

EVIL
Hiromu Takahashi
Hirooki Goto
Hiroshi Tanahashi
Kazuchika Okada
Kota Ibushi
Minoru Suzuki
SANADA
Satoshi Kojima
Shingo Takagi
SHO
Taichi
Taiji Ishimori
Tetsuya Naito
Togi Makabe
Tomohiro Ishii
Toru Yano
YOSHI-HASHI
Yujiro Takahashi
Zack Sabre Jr

They'll invariably need to add some juniors into it again this year or else you're gonna be making someone like Honma work a brutal G1 schedule, or have Nagata walk back his previous retirement from G1 competition. Both points would apply to Tenzan as well. I don't think Kojima ever retired from G1, though throwing Desperardo into his spot is possible too.
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Old 08-08-2020, 02:58 PM   #1999
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I think Jay White should be able to get in. New Zealand has been very good with their virus protocols.
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Old 08-08-2020, 03:18 PM   #2000
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Unfortunately, Jay White moved to Florida sometime before this all happened so it would really depend on if Bushiroad can get some sort of exemption for international travelers.

The US has been a COVID-19 hell hole so I don't know if Japan would make an exemptions even though they could be immediately quarantined and tested, etc.
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