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matt925

NJPW Fighting Spirit Unleashed 9/30/18

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Meltzer claimed Juice/Cody is the main event. I hope he's wrong because that's a disaster waiting to happen and I say that as somebody who thinks the world of Juice.

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As opposed to one of the actual stars main eventing in an unannounced match.

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I don't think that we are getting anything else asides of multi-man tag teams.

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With the exception of the GL/Bucks match, pretty much everything NJ has booked for America since the original G1 special has been underwhelming at best.  They really don't seem to understand what it takes to draw consistently over here.

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Well their USA shows are very focused around Bullet Club. And there are some obvious benefits and negatives attached to that.

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Cody/Juice could put together a perfectly good 12 minute “we’re in some small town, halfway through the G1” style match; but the tension between Cody’s sloooooow heeling and the Bullet Club die hards cheering him will be really awkward, and a bad fit for Juice’s best traits. It also won’t draw a lick. Something big for Kenny, Kota, Tana, Okada, Naito, or Ishii would, but of course that’s ultimately not a sustainable model. 

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I don't think that's really the problem.  They just don't understand that they need to be booking these as must-see events with attractions American fans can't see anywhere else.  The first G1 special was a great example of that (the US title tournament felt big and consequential at the time), as was the GL/Bucks match (though the Elite just giftwrapped that one for them).  On the other hand, Omega/Cody just felt like a retread of a match a lot of people already paid a bunch of money to see in April (and nobody thought Cody could win, to boot).  And Cody/Juice is just the biggest bunch of blah imaginable (sure to have weird crowd dynamics as Cody is treated like a king despite playing heel and just fucking up Juice's babyface act).

I think if this show was being headlined by a big multi-man Elite/OGs match, something like a War Games-style match of Kenny/Cody/Bucks vs. Fale/GoD/Haku (even though that's not NJ's style), the reaction would be a lot different.

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Agree with all of that; I’ve just seen too many grumpy tweets about the lack of famous native talent announcements to think it doesn’t also play a pretty big factor. (In that regard, the call for uniqueness is right on: fans want to see things and people they wouldn’t otherwise.) That, combined with the fact that I don’t think the American audience will come around on the idea of being a “road to” level show, where said stars are mostly making an entrance and hitting a couple spots in a faction tag, are what I meant regarding an unsustainable model. There’s just not room for 2-4 supercards in the States, plus the UK shows and Australia. 

For as big of a hit as GL/Bucks was, there were still a lot of “one match show” complaints out there; so I’m not sure how many creative Bullet Club adjacent matches they can spin forward. And though selling out MSG is huge, we’ve learned already that initial novelty can only do so much. 

I don’t have any great ideas, though—maybe they should pull from CMLL a little, and really lean into some WAR-level tags? Maybe they should use guys like Kojima and Nagata for some one-off singles matches, just because?—other than to suggest they should focus more on having fewer, bigger shows. Don’t have a card just to have one; no one is gonna forget about you. 

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10 hours ago, EVA said:

The first G1 special was a great example of that (the US title tournament felt big and consequential at the time), as was the GL/Bucks match (though the Elite just giftwrapped that one for them).

Or maybe that show happened in the first place because The Elite had that match in mind? Are we really thinking that if not for The Elite then NJPW would just have simply ran White/Page as main event of that show?

Ideally I'd also prefer annual G1 Special and nothing else, but something tells me that The Elite are the ones pushing for these shows where they get spotlight all the time.

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I think Dave mentioned that New Japan sees the live specials on AXS every three months as a key to their expansion. So I’d say running small venues and then having the g1 special be the annual big show that travels would be the way to go, but MSG changes up the format. 

I think it’s clear that they still don’t understand what it is about their product that western fans like. And it’s dissapointing they haven’t been able to learn more since they’ve been running shows for over a year here. We aren’t navigating the clunky site to subscribe, and staying up all night for big events because of hangman page and Cody. 

It makes me nervous about MSG too, because even though Dave says the main event will be a big IWGP title match, it’s clearly an ROH event and they took the risks to book the building. The trailer clearly states ROH vs NJPW and “what happens when two companies go to war?!?” Are we really confident Jay Lethal isn’t going to be forced into that main event?

If they announced that Okada vs Tanahashi match for Long Beach tickets would start moving again, much more than any other match they could realistically book. They’ve shown they want to put big matches to help smaller shows (what everyone expected on kopw is happening before) but once again Long Beach gets the white guys. They see bullet club as a draw but to me it feels past it’s peak, and that perhaps All In is the final icing on the cake for that storyline. Maybe that’s just my own personal interest though. 

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47 minutes ago, matt925 said:

I think Dave mentioned that New Japan sees the live specials on AXS every three months as a key to their expansion. So I’d say running small venues and then having the g1 special be the annual big show that travels would be the way to go, but MSG changes up the format.

I don't doubt that New Japan thinks that, but I can't help but disagree. The US is huge, and their fans are thinly spread all over it--attempting to slowly build a habitually ticket-buying audience in Long Beach... well, it really only makes sense to me if AXS is overpaying for live specials, so they need a comfortable landing spot to film more than any other considerations. Otherwise, they need cards people are willing to travel for, or to travel to them. (I guess if the idea is to use AXS to get a better TV deal, that would also make sense, because being on a channel people actually have is going to be crucial if they really want something close to mainstream attention.)

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15 hours ago, matt925 said:

It makes me nervous about MSG too, because even though Dave says the main event will be a big IWGP title match, it’s clearly an ROH event and they took the risks to book the building. The trailer clearly states ROH vs NJPW and “what happens when two companies go to war?!?” Are we really confident Jay Lethal isn’t going to be forced into that main event?

Wouldn't surprise me if by that time Cody is RoH champ again.

And yeah, it is possible that AXS is paying them good money that they don't care that much about selling extra few hundred tickets in better/fresher market. But I find this idea a bit weird about how NJPW are using AXS to get better TV deal... why would then AXS pay good money for it if they didn't see it as a long term investment and partnership? But thats probably a bit too far into speculation territory just like my theory about The Elite pushing for more USA shows.

Either way I think it is clear that NJPW is not going to run big money matches in USA while many USA fans want to get at least one Dominion level show a year. Maybe things will change after couple more poor ticket sales, maybe they won't because NJPW is happy with AXS and Bullet Club superfans money.

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They have a potential drew in Jay White vs Josh Barnett. The way the crowd popped at the Cow Palace when Barnett chased White might as well run with it. Announce the match and see if it pushes ticket sales even slightly.

Any chance of Jericho vs Evil on this one lol.

You know where New Japan should try to run, Canada. Dead serious run a show in Toronto with Kenny as champ. Run Kenny vs Naito for the belt see if Kenny draws well in Canada. I'd also run Kenny vs Jericho 2 in Winnipeg. Run the Bell MTS Place and see if you can sell it out or not.

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1 hour ago, Web Conn said:

They have a potential drew in Jay White vs Josh Barnett. The way the crowd popped at the Cow Palace when Barnett chased White might as well run with it. Announce the match and see if it pushes ticket sales even slightly.

Any chance of Jericho vs Evil on this one lol.

You know where New Japan should try to run, Canada. Dead serious run a show in Toronto with Kenny as champ. Run Kenny vs Naito for the belt see if Kenny draws well in Canada. I'd also run Kenny vs Jericho 2 in Winnipeg. Run the Bell MTS Place and see if you can sell it out or not.

I'd be pretty surprised if that didn't sell out. They'd have to pony up some serious cash to get Jericho on contract though. I believe that was the only way he'd work North America outside of WWE. If they're serious about North American expansion and they see the less than stellar ticket sales for this fourth Long Beach show and that they couldn't sell out the Cow Palace, maybe they will. Would be neat to see him work in MSG and not in a WWE ring. 

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Signing Jericho to a contract would be there best bet I think if they are serious about a North American expansion.

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Most people here have no idea who Kenny Omega is. When he is home and works for the local indy, it's in a dumpy bar, with less than 200 people. If they sold out Winnipeg, it's 95% on Jericho.

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So I’m assuming this show isn’t going to sell out...

NJPW’s tickets for the US Shows have gotten pretty expensive and the interest for these shows have been rapidly dwindling as US fans have realized they aren’t gonna get really big matches.

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https://www.f4wonline.com/japan/axs-tv-air-njpw-fighting-spirit-unleashed-delay-264516

Quote

New Japan Pro Wrestling's next show in the United States will be airing on AXS TV a few days after taking place.

AXS announced today that Fighting Spirit Unleashed, which will be held at the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, California on September 30, will be premiering on the channel at 8 p.m. Eastern time on October 5. The show is taking place on a Sunday and then airing on AXS on Friday.

Jim Ross and Kevin Kelly will be the broadcast team for the event, with Kelly filling in for Josh Barnett due to Barnett having a scheduling conflict.

“I had a conflicting event with one of my fighters in Japan,” Barnett said, “otherwise I’d be there to call this event and have my partner Jim Ross’ back, as always. I’ll be back next time!”

“While I will miss working with my normal broadcast partner Josh Barnett, I am excited for the opportunity to work again with Kevin Kelly, whom I broadcast with for the first time 20 years ago," Ross said. “Kevin has great knowledge from working on NJPW World, so he’ll bring another perspective to the broadcast and, as we all know, anything can and usually does happen. It should be a heck of a night.”

Cody Rhodes challenging for Juice Robinson's IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship, The Young Bucks defending their IWGP Tag Team titles against Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa, and Will Ospreay vs. Marty Scurll in an IWGP Junior Heavyweight title tournament semifinal match have been announced for Fighting Spirit Unleashed.

KUSHIDA vs. BUSHI is the other semifinal match in the eight-man tournament, with them facing off at Destruction in Kobe on September 23. The finals are scheduled for King of Pro Wrestling on October 8.

 

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Well, at least one of the announcers will know what's going on then.

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39 minutes ago, Raziel said:

Well, at least one of the announcers will know what's going on then.

So is this show gonna draw well? The main event looks terribly unexciting and it’s in the same month of All In and just two weeks after BOLA.

The tickets are ridiculously expensive considering these are basically lower-tier shows. The novelty has worn off and American fans have recognized that they aren’t gonna get strong cards.

None of the excuses for the Cow Palace exist here. They are back in the LA market and in an arena half the size of Cow Palace. They sold out the Walter Pyramid in 10 minutes last time they were there. Now it looks like they won’t come close to selling it out. 

NJPW isn’t learning their lesson and they are still booking gaijins exclusively at the top of the US shows.

Here is the ticket map.

http://www.longbeachstate.com/njpw/

Tickets aren’t moving much at all. I would be surprised if they get more than 3500.

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I don't want to say "the only thing that will save this show" but if the announced Jericho vs Evil for the IC belt and ran it as the main event they'd push some tickets.

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Harold Meiji will continue to push NJPW in the west until sales improve. Still they need better and more TV.

The more western flavor is intended to attract western fans not into puroresu.

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37 minutes ago, Web Conn said:

I don't want to say "the only thing that will save this show" but if the announced Jericho vs Evil for the IC belt and ran it as the main event they'd push some tickets.

If they could Jericho on a US show, they would’ve put him on one. There’s no way that they didn’t try to get him on the Cow Palace with the weak ticket sales. It’s his call. He doesn’t wanna work outside of WWE in America.

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