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NJPW Destruction Tour 2018

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27 minutes ago, Archibald said:

Well pretty much everyone goes for around 30 minutes main events outside of G1 so I think that might be some sort of requirement set by NJPW. Otherwise it would be a bit of a coincidence that everyone just decide, on their own, that they need 25-35 minutes.

But yeah, I think that Suzuki's match really works only when he wins. Lots of people hate his New Beginning match against Okada, but praised to heavens his match against Tanahashi this year. Whats the main difference? Suzuki won against Tanahashi. I think that Naito tried to sell his leg to the finish in their IC title match and due to that he did absolute minimum of his moves (and some had weird variations), but it didn't really work in the end either because "Naito came back too easy and out of nowhere", well alternatively you have "Naito stopped selling" now just like Okada stopped selling against Suzuki in New Beginning.

Edit: There are obviously some exceptions (like Suzuki/Goto from last WK) and I'm generalizing here a bit.

Here is all the 30+ minute main events in NJPW in the Bushiroad era. The clear jump shows that there has to be influence from higher above. The roster isn’t that different. I also left out a lot of matches were like 29:50 in both 2017 and 2018. I just went for over 30.

2012 - 0

2013 - 4
 
2014 - 1
 
2015 - 4
 
2016 - 4
 
2017 - 10
 
2018 (so far) - 16
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I'm not convinced, honestly. Gedo's been the booker since, what? 2011? There isn't an increase until years later.

Honestly, I think it's mostly three things: 1) Okada increasingly working really methodical main events; 2) Kenny Omega becoming a heavyweight main eventer; 3) Their matches influencing the standard for match length in the company.

In 2017, Omega had five singles matches that exceeded 30 minutes. Take those away, and you're left with five--which is to say, not a significant increase over previous years.

He's got four of the 16 in 2018, which still leaves us with a substantial increase. But again, I don't see how we can attribute that to Gedo alone, when the increase doesn't coincide with his arrival as booker. More likely, I think, is a combination of subconscious and explicit influence on the wrestlers and the office (Gedo included). That is, "Hey guys, we're getting unprecedented hype and doing better business than ever thanks to our long singles matches, so everyone do that, thanks." But if that's true, I think that only suggests that Gedo has his finger in the wind, not that he's always liked and demanded this sort of thing.

The necessary caveat to all of this, of course, is that we have no idea, and no way of getting one.

 

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Who was in all those main events?

I did once read that Tanahashi wasn't happy with Omega influencing NJPW style to change. Escalation will increase over time. 

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19 minutes ago, D.Z said:

I did once read that Tanahashi wasn't happy with Omega influencing NJPW style to change. Escalation will increase over time. 

He's been on that warpath for a long time, and it's only increased now that they're actually feuding.

 

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I assumed that because nobody challenged Kenny after the Ishii match in Hiroshima, that the winner of Naito/Suzuki would challenge him for KOPW but that wasn’t the case. Kenny is off for the rest of the Destruction tour which means his next appearance is Fighting Spirit Unleashed on September 30. King of Pro Wrestling is October 8, just 8 days later. I guess that confirms that we aren’t getting an IWGP Title defense at KOPW this year. I seriously don’t see them announcing their main event for one of their biggest shows of the year just one week out. Sumo Hall isn’t an automatic sellout and they will want to start moving tickets soon.

I guess Jericho attacks EVIL in Kobe this week and that main events KOPW.

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12 hours ago, Beech27 said:

I'm not convinced, honestly. Gedo's been the booker since, what? 2011? There isn't an increase until years later.

Honestly, I think it's mostly three things: 1) Okada increasingly working really methodical main events; 2) Kenny Omega becoming a heavyweight main eventer; 3) Their matches influencing the standard for match length in the company.

In 2017, Omega had five singles matches that exceeded 30 minutes. Take those away, and you're left with five--which is to say, not a significant increase over previous years.

He's got four of the 16 in 2018, which still leaves us with a substantial increase. But again, I don't see how we can attribute that to Gedo alone, when the increase doesn't coincide with his arrival as booker. More likely, I think, is a combination of subconscious and explicit influence on the wrestlers and the office (Gedo included). That is, "Hey guys, we're getting unprecedented hype and doing better business than ever thanks to our long singles matches, so everyone do that, thanks." But if that's true, I think that only suggests that Gedo has his finger in the wind, not that he's always liked and demanded this sort of thing.

The necessary caveat to all of this, of course, is that we have no idea, and no way of getting one.

 

I think that "Gedo" is often used as synonymous to NJPW's office. We don't really know who is responsible for what, but we know that Gedo does booking so we kinda point at him whenever something strange (or something that we don't like) happens.

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6 hours ago, Archibald said:

I think that "Gedo" is often used as synonymous to NJPW's office. We don't really know who is responsible for what, but we know that Gedo does booking so we kinda point at him whenever something strange (or something that we don't like) happens.

That's fair. I suppose I'm conditioned by the WWE talk a little bit, where we sorta guess at which stuff is Vince, Triple H, etc., for better and (mostly) worse.

In any case, some fun(?) facts I found while looking into this a bit:

-Ishii's title challenge from this weekend is the second longest singles match he's ever had (behind his US title finals match against Kenny, by less than a minute) and only his third ever to go over 30 minutes.

-Looking at the previous Bullet Club bosses, Prince Devitt never had a 30 minute match in New Japan, and AJ Styles only had one. (And that was only 30:15, when he dropped the title to Okada.) (Random aside: I saw Styles work a match longer than that in the local national guard armory, a decade ago.)

-Kenny has had ten matches in excess of 30 minutes, including one over 45, and two at or over 60.

-He's still behind Tana and Okada, however, who have (if we count 30 minute draws) 12 and 21 matches at or exceeding 30 minutes, respectively. (So... maybe we can credit/blame Gedo a bit, insofar as Okada's his hand-picked guy.)

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3 hours ago, Beech27 said:

That's fair. I suppose I'm conditioned by the WWE talk a little bit, where we sorta guess at which stuff is Vince, Triple H, etc., for better and (mostly) worse.

In any case, some fun(?) facts I found while looking into this a bit:

-Ishii's title challenge from this weekend is the second longest singles match he's ever had (behind his US title finals match against Kenny, by less than a minute) and only his third ever to go over 30 minutes.

-Looking at the previous Bullet Club bosses, Prince Devitt never had a 30 minute match in New Japan, and AJ Styles only had one. (And that was only 30:15, when he dropped the title to Okada.) (Random aside: I saw Styles work a match longer than that in the local national guard armory, a decade ago.)

-Kenny has had ten matches in excess of 30 minutes, including one over 45, and two at or over 60.

-He's still behind Tana and Okada, however, who have (if we count 30 minute draws) 12 and 21 matches at or exceeding 30 minutes, respectively. (So... maybe we can credit/blame Gedo a bit, insofar as Okada's his hand-picked guy.)

I just realized that the reason that we are getting Okada/Tana at Destruction rather than KOPW like most people thought is because of their need to have their 35 minute main event epic which they couldn’t have gotten in the semi-main event at KOPW. Never change, Gedo. 

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Well, whoever wins will have to face Jay White too, so they couldn't put the match off until KOPW. Okada/Tana versus White is also not a match to sell out a big building, but would fit nicely enough under a Jericho IC title defense. 

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4 hours ago, Beech27 said:

Well, whoever wins will have to face Jay White too, so they couldn't put the match off until KOPW. Okada/Tana versus White is also not a match to sell out a big building, but would fit nicely enough under a Jericho IC title defense. 

In Kobe, they’ve run Naito/Elgin and Kenny/Juice in the last two years. Tana/White or Okada/White is definitely on that level.

In fact, Tanahashi/Okada is an outlier. It’s probably the biggest Destruction main event ever.

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What does Kenny do at KOPW if not defend his title? Here's hoping it's a great Golden Lovers tag because I need more of that in my life. They still don't seem 100% in sync yet, so the more the merrier before the inevitable singles match puts all of those possible tags on hold. 

Naito/SANADA vs. Golden Lovers would be heavenly for instance.

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So what’s the endgame with Taichi as NEVER Champ? He has to be a transitional champ, right? No way they let him enter WK13 as champion, right?

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2 hours ago, FlaeBlazer said:

So what’s the endgame with Taichi as NEVER Champ? He has to be a transitional champ, right? No way they let him enter WK13 as champion, right?

I think we already reached the endgame, in a sense. Taichi's was angry that he was not picked for G1 while wrestlers like Yoshi got in and, as expected, failed to get many points. Goto failed in G1 as well and due to their earlier encounter at Dominion he was perfect target for Taichi. He wanted to show that man who was not "good enough" for G1 could beat one of the champions on the following tour and by this throw a stone at NJPW's office. And well, he did that, he proved his point. He does not care about the title, he is treating it similarly to how Naito treated IC title. He threw it away during the match and he was kicking it around and stepping on it during post match interview. I don't think that he really needs that title nor he needs to enter WK13 as champion.

Regardless of what happens next I just hope that we don't get Taichi/Goto rematch. Goto needs to move somewhere else because this might be third straight WK that he'll have NEVER title match. Sure, his matches with Shibata and Suzuki were great and I'd say even MOTYCs, but I''m sure that he could deliver great WK match in another slot as well.

Edit: side note, looked over Kobe card and Liger/Tiger Mask have a non-title match against Desperado/Kanemaru. Maybe thats what for Tiger Mask is being built? He'll pin Kanemaru and they'll have Jr. Tag title match at KoPW?

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my guess is a junior beats Taichi for the NEVER belt- maybe KUSHIDA?

Maybe Taichi knocks off a couple of juniors first.

Maybe NJPW is going to try and elevate juniors by having Ospreay beat Ibushi and another junior beat Taichi?

 

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Or maybe Taichi never loses the Never title. 

Meltzer not getting Taichi at all is frustrating but makes so much sense. I particularly loved him ripping Taka vs. Taichi from last year's BOSJ and enjoying a recent match that followed a similar pattern because it had some of his moves boys in it... Oh right, the Golden Elite tag from the G1 where they just countered each other without tagging. 

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Given how much she celebrated with the belt, maybe Miho is NEVER champ now, and this is how New Japan gets that women's division everyone is always tweeting about? (Of course I'm being sarcastic. Everyone can see it's now an intergender title. Can't wait to see her squash a rebooted Yoshi-Hashi.)

But really, Dave not getting Taichi is one of the best compliments you can give him. Not to be a curmudgeon, but there needs to be a handful of guys who don't get "wow what a great heel/worker" heat from the whole world. (I say that, but Taichi would probably get a massive face reaction in Long Beach, and I'd cheer for him...)

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3 hours ago, Beech27 said:

Given how much she celebrated with the belt, maybe Miho is NEVER champ now, and this is how New Japan gets that women's division everyone is always tweeting about? (Of course I'm being sarcastic. Everyone can see it's now an intergender title. Can't wait to see her squash a rebooted Yoshi-Hashi.)

But really, Dave not getting Taichi is one of the best compliments you can give him. Not to be a curmudgeon, but there needs to be a handful of guys who don't get "wow what a great heel/worker" heat from the whole world. (I say that, but Taichi would probably get a massive face reaction in Long Beach, and I'd cheer for him...)

It's so weird that Dave doesn't get it. Dave has watched more wrestling than all of us combined and for him not to "get" someone is so strange. Like, is Taichi a best bout type of guy or someone that's going to make sure "really good" is the floor for their match quality? No. It's also not as if NJPW is lacking sports entertainment type wrestlers, so even in that regard Taichi shouldn't be hard to understand. Saying he sucks just goes too far. Like, I think Yoshi sucks.

Oh, here's another...I also (and probably was alone in thinking so) thought that Kitamura sucked, but somehow Dave didn't have a problem with him. So I don't know. 

Dave would walk into an ice cream shop and look at all of the flavors and somehow not "get" why there's a cake batter flavor. But Dave is also weird so it makes it easy to think that and just dismiss some of his opinions.

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Kenny's response to Tana's criticism (I really wish the WK build wasn't "who's the better worker?" but here we are):

He also talks about New Japan needing to make US cards bigger, and announce them sooner, because novelty alone won't sell now. (There's actually not much Tana stuff in here, so much as the usual bombast about why he and his style are the right choice to lead New Japan into the future.)

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I found myself cracking up at all of the shit Kenny's talking and thought he absolutely torched Tanahashi. Also, I don't see this as "who's the better worker" but more of the old guard vs. the new.

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I can hardly think of a worse idea for building a match than to have the two participants accuse each other of having bad matches. Granted, I hate all work-shoot stuff, without exception. But this is unbelievably dumb on a whole new level.

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They've been doing this for a while but obviously far more subtly than they are now. I mean, Tanahashi's criticisms were a little bit justifiable a few years ago but 2018 Omega has come on leaps and bounds in terms of building to the finishing stretch by integrating character work into his stories. I think the generational resentment is interesting. It's not ideal but I am more on board than you guys it seems.

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48 minutes ago, Oyaji said:

They've been doing this for a while but obviously far more subtly than they are now. I mean, Tanahashi's criticisms were a little bit justifiable a few years ago but 2018 Omega has come on leaps and bounds in terms of building to the finishing stretch by integrating character work into his stories. I think the generational resentment is interesting. It's not ideal but I am more on board than you guys it seems.

I love that concept; I’m just a little frustrated that “my opponent has bad matches, I don’t know why anyone would watch them” is how they’ve chosen to express it. They’re both brilliant, so the bar is higher than that. I don’t doubt they’ll ultimately put something really special together, though. (There might not be a match New Japan could do that I’m more curious to see, if that makes sense. Like, god knows I’ve made my Golden Lovers ambitions clear—but I basically know what that match looks like. Omega/Tana... I have no idea.)

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4 hours ago, Oyaji said:

They've been doing this for a while but obviously far more subtly than they are now. I mean, Tanahashi's criticisms were a little bit justifiable a few years ago but 2018 Omega has come on leaps and bounds in terms of building to the finishing stretch by integrating character work into his stories. I think the generational resentment is interesting. It's not ideal but I am more on board than you guys it seems.

Tana and Kenny are only 5-6 years apart in age.   Would be more interesting if they were having a tug of war over someone younger like Hangman Page.

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17 hours ago, Craig H said:

It's so weird that Dave doesn't get it. Dave has watched more wrestling than all of us combined and for him not to "get" someone is so strange. Like, is Taichi a best bout type of guy or someone that's going to make sure "really good" is the floor for their match quality? No. It's also not as if NJPW is lacking sports entertainment type wrestlers, so even in that regard Taichi shouldn't be hard to understand. Saying he sucks just goes too far. Like, I think Yoshi sucks.

Isn't Dave same when he talks about Miz? I remember when Miz cut a promo on how Bryan won't resign with WWE and will wrestle in bingo halls and then Dave went on a tirade on how that promo made no sense and that Bryan would be wrestling in Arena Mexico and Tokyo Dome. And I'm reading that and thinking... Miz is a heel who talks shit so obviously he is going to talk shit that does not make sense so that fans would be behind Bryan and not him. But somehow that escapes Dave and he starts talking about how this is some kind of statement by WWE.

Or how he and Alvarez often would criticize (not sure if they speak about it still) Miz for bad looking kicks that Bryan used to do... like... thats the entire point. This asshole heel is copying moves of your favourite, half-assing them and at the same time is pretending that he is just as good as Bryan. But nah, Miz should learn how to do them better or stop doing them.

21 hours ago, Oyaji said:

Meltzer not getting Taichi at all is frustrating but makes so much sense. I particularly loved him ripping Taka vs. Taichi from last year's BOSJ and enjoying a recent match that followed a similar pattern because it had some of his moves boys in it... Oh right, the Golden Elite tag from the G1 where they just countered each other without tagging. 

Golden Elite were doing some athletic movez while countering each other, that instantly makes it better for Dave (and others who follow his tastes).

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