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NJPW King of Pro-Wrestling 2018

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It is time to see who is the king of pro wrestling, full card: https://www.njpw1972.com/tornament/30931?showCards=1

Key matches:

Omega/Ibushi/Cody triple threat for IWGP title.

Tanahashi/White for WK main event.

Kushida/Scurll for IWGP Jr. title

Evil/Zack because Evil needs a big win before facing Jericho

Okada/Yano/Sho/Yoh vs Naito/Sanada/Bushi/X

Desperado/Kanemaru vs Liger/Tiger Mask for IWGP Jr. Tag titles

 

Big surprise is that X in LiJ tag match:

Basically Naito connects his past with Kumamoto promo and is going to introduce new LiJ member. Speculations are already going wild, but one theory should be immediately eliminated: Dragon Lee is on reality show and he is actually doing okay there so he is not a new member. And it doesn't really make sense for him to be new member, but people who don't really follow Lucha keep bringing up that his brother is Rush as if that means anything in big picture.

My guess would be that it is: a) regular member so not someone who does one tour and then is gone for 4 months, b) is Junior and X/Bushi are taking Jr. tag tournament and likely belts at WK.

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It’s probably gonna be Shingo. His last Dragon Gate appearance is the day before. A lot of people are saying Neville/PAC but he ditched WWE because he got stuck with the Cruiserweights so there is no way he joins NJPW to be part of the joke that is the Junior tag division. I expect Neville if he does come to be rocketed straight to the heavyweight division like AJ Styles was.

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As amazing as Shingo in NJPW would be, I'd be sad he'd be going back to basing for smaller guys rather than getting into rad strike exchanges with STRONG BJ and/or All Japan's big boiz.

At first I wanted it to be Kawato but he's too cute and adorable and precious for LIJ. He didn't do so hot as a rudo in Mexico either from the little I saw and what Archibald had reported, and LIJ are like cool rudos getting cheered in Arena Mexico. Still, he makes the most sense from a logistic point of view, no? High potential junior, homegrown native who could probably be helped by cutting short his excursion. Fuck, I log onto Twitter after posting this and of course that jerkoff Chris Charlton guesses Kawato. I swear I didn't lift this idea from him. Cross my heart!

Agreed on doubting it's Neville. He should be right up there with the top guys almost immediately. Honestly, I think he has a higher ceiling than Styles because he figured out the importance of character work and psychology beyond basic bullshit way earlier than AJ and he's just as athletic as Styles. Although I say this as somebody who isn't as high on AJ as the average fan. Give Neville 30+ minutes to work with either of the Golden Lovers and I think we'll see something unworldly. Just think, we could see Ospreay and Neville working at or near the top of the card in like 6 month's time.

Much like Sunday's show, the top of this card should deliver some great, great shit (not saying much for NJPW but Destruction only generally featured one or two good matches per show). I'm expecting big things from EVIL and Sabre. KUSHIDA/Scurll should be very good/great. Jay White needs a big performance and you know the crowd is going to lose it when Gedo hands him the brass knucks. 

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30 minutes ago, Oyaji said:

As amazing as Shingo in NJPW would be, I'd be sad he'd be going back to basing for smaller guys rather than getting into rad strike exchanges with STRONG BJ and/or All Japan's big boiz.

At first I wanted it to be Kawato but he's too cute and adorable and precious for LIJ. He didn't do so hot as a rudo in Mexico either from the little I saw and what Archibald had reported, and LIJ are like cool rudos getting cheered in Arena Mexico. Still, he makes the most sense from a logistic point of view, no? High potential junior, homegrown native who could probably be helped by cutting short his excursion. Fuck, I log onto Twitter after posting this and of course that jerkoff Chris Charlton guesses Kawato. I swear I didn't lift this idea from him. Cross my heart!

Agreed on doubting it's Neville. He should be right up there with the top guys almost immediately. Honestly, I think he has a higher ceiling than Styles because he figured out the importance of character work and psychology beyond basic bullshit way earlier than AJ and he's just as athletic as Styles. Although I say this as somebody who isn't as high on AJ as the average fan. Give Neville 30+ minutes to work with either of the Golden Lovers and I think we'll see something unworldly. Just think, we could see Ospreay and Neville working at or near the top of the card in like 6 month's time.

Much like Sunday's show, the top of this card should deliver some great, great shit (not saying much for NJPW but Destruction only generally featured one or two good matches per show). I'm expecting big things from EVIL and Sabre. KUSHIDA/Scurll should be very good/great. Jay White needs a big performance and you know the crowd is going to lose it when Gedo hands him the brass knucks. 

Can you elaborate on you being lower than most on AJ? I think I may agree. I think he’s an all-time great ring worker but I don’t think he’s in the GOAT conversation like many portray him to be. There is a large portion of people that still call him the best wrestler in the world and I can’t believe it really. I think Okada, Omega, and Tanahashi are all-time better ring workers than AJ. You could argue Ishii too. In WWE, Bryan is a better all-time ring worker too. Currently in today’s wrestling world, I don’t know if he makes my top 10. All-time, AJ would probably make my top 25-30 ring workers which is still amazing but lower than most people would have him definitely.

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I think Ishii and Bryan are pretty clearly better than Styles. I barely watched any TNA but the hyped Styles matches that I've seen from his tenure there never impressed me. It's what I was referring to in my comparison to Neville. Both are super athletic wrestlers that are mechanically brilliant. But Neville started to introduce some really fantastic depth to his character during the Sami Zayn feud. The shades of grey stuff was really interesting, even if it was a bit too WWE hamfisty. His king of the cruiserweights shtick on the RAW/205 was significantly better. He took a stock character and made it interesting. It bled through everything he did in the ring. AJ Styles has rarely shown me that kind of level of understanding. He's had a handful of great matches in WWE and his NJPW run was terrific. However, even then, he so rarely makes me FEEL any emotion or attachment to his character or his opponent unless his opponent is somebody who gets that aspect (like Tanahashi or Okada... even Brock in their match). It's the same reason I feel like Christopher Daniels is a wonderful mechanic but in terms of great matches I don't see it. Alex Shelley and Lance Storm are other guys who are generally very smooth in the ring... Sometimes too smooth, where it becomes more of a choreographed dance than a fake fight. Conversely, there are guys who focus too much on trying to tell a story that it actually bogs down the match and then becomes transparent and ostentatious, like angsty teenage poetry. Kevin Owens went from movez to chinlocks in his transition from ROH to WWE. There's got to be a happy medium for him that he hasn't yet found. Zayn is way closer to that but doesn't get the opportunities Owens does. 

But, yeah. Kawato, man. He needs to do something with his hair tho. The shitty bleach job and medium hair doesn't suit him, but I don't know if you're allowed to be in LIJ and rock black hair.

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15 minutes ago, Oyaji said:

I think Ishii and Bryan are pretty clearly better than Styles. I barely watched any TNA but the hyped Styles matches that I've seen from his tenure there never impressed me. It's what I was referring to in my comparison to Neville. Both are super athletic wrestlers that are mechanically brilliant. But Neville started to introduce some really fantastic depth to his character during the Sami Zayn feud. The shades of grey stuff was really interesting, even if it was a bit too WWE hamfisty. His king of the cruiserweights shtick on the RAW/205 was significantly better. He took a stock character and made it interesting. It bled through everything he did in the ring. AJ Styles has rarely shown me that kind of level of understanding. He's had a handful of great matches in WWE and his NJPW run was terrific. However, even then, he so rarely makes me FEEL any emotion or attachment to his character or his opponent unless his opponent is somebody who gets that aspect (like Tanahashi or Okada... even Brock in their match). It's the same reason I feel like Christopher Daniels is a wonderful mechanic but in terms of great matches I don't see it. Alex Shelley and Lance Storm are other guys who are generally very smooth in the ring... Sometimes too smooth, where it becomes more of a choreographed dance than a fake fight. Conversely, there are guys who focus too much on trying to tell a story that it actually bogs down the match and then becomes transparent and ostentatious, like angsty teenage poetry. Kevin Owens went from movez to chinlocks in his transition from ROH to WWE. There's got to be a happy medium for him that he hasn't yet found. Zayn is way closer to that but doesn't get the opportunities Owens does. 

But, yeah. Kawato, man. He needs to do something with his hair tho. The shitty bleach job and medium hair doesn't suit him, but I don't know if you're allowed to be in LIJ and rock black hair.

Where do you think the AJ is a GOAT level ring worker perception comes from? I honestly don’t see how anyone could say he’s better than Okada, Omega, or Tanahashi and all the NJPW guys but a lot of people on this forum, PWO, or Wreddit would say that. Many still think he’s the best in the world like I said. I remember he topped the WDKW 100 2017 and I couldn’t believe it. I think Okada was like #4 for the greatest year of his career and AJ’s mediocre year for his standards, topped the whole thing.

Why?

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I think the new LIJ member is obviously Yujiro in a swerve.

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I haven't seen Kawato for a while so maybe he has improved, but even taking that aside I don't see it. He was at his best when he was doing fiery babyface comebacks as young lion. And well, thats just not what LiJ boys are about. To me it looks like if he is coming back he should be pure babyface underdog. Kinda like Juice I guess.

It probably is not going to be heavyweight because they have Naito, Evil and Sanada. I don't really see who this new heavyweight member potentially might be that would get pushed ahead of those three. And well, not much point in adding fourth heavyweight if he is just going to get role that would be similar to Trent's or even Yoshi's.

As good as Neville is, he is not as good as Hiromu and when Hiromu returns we are likely going to hear one of the biggest pops ever. So yeah, I don't see him being fine with working undercard Jr. tag title matches.

And well, if we look at how cards are shaping out, only possible "big" wins coming up are Jr. Tag tournament and WTL. Every other program kinda has direction already.

Some other possible names:

Taichi, yes heavyweight, but who cares. Lets go Taichi.

Cavernario from CMLL. He is legit good and teamed up with Rush for Anniversario main event, he didn't join Ingobernables, but there was some teasing so it wouldn't be out of the left field. And it looked like people in Japan loved him during Fantasticamania shows. Only problem is that Arena Mexico also loves him and I'm not sure if they want him gone for extended periods of time. And well, I'm not sure how well his caveman gimmick would work with LiJ. On the other hand him coming out with a suit and tearing it away to reveal his caveman gear might be fun thing to see.

I saw some people mentioning Cobb. He appeared here and there so people are familiar with him and they are clearly building some Cobb/Goto feud, but he is a heavyweight and I don't really see what he'd bring for LiJ stable asides of consistent presence on USA indies. But maybe thats what they want, someone pushing LiJ in USA every month.

Another angle is that everyone in LiJ is connected, in one way or another, to Naito. So maybe someone from his past... like Yujiro.

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I've changed my mind, it's Shiro Koshinaka to start a new Ishingun.

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has NJPW ever had someone step from heavy to junior?  I could see Yujiro going down to junior again.

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Thinking more about Shingo... I think it might actually be good if he stayed junior? From what I have seen his style was pretty much about overpowering smaller guys and he'd be bigger than most juniors (not sure if he is bigger than Sho or ACH) and he probably would be perfect for openweight division if Gedo in his infinite wisdom actually started booking it. And well, stylistically speaking, juniors could use someone who just smashes shit.

Another plot twist, Naito was actually impressed with ACH's dancing skills and he is going to recruit him.

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YOH switches sides during the match introductions, seeing Chaos for the rudderless ship that it is, and finally getting what Naito promised him years ago. Plus, someone tweeted that SHO liked a tweet that said he should break away and join Jay's splinter group. Charlie Day's conspiracy meme pic goes here, for sure.

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Well - an X debuted during the Dragon Gate show today - I've no idea if he will be the one joining LIJ though

DogCXhWUcAEQubb.jpg

 

 

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May as well try this seeing how it worked out last time: I definitely don't see one million pounds coming into my account today

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Was browsing twitter stuff and noticed something funny, this was some poll done before Destruction shows about who people would like winning Jr. Title:

Scurll is really over in Japan guys. And well, Bushi, from what I have seen, is usually #2 junior in various polls only behind Hiromu so him winning it was not surprising to me. But getting almost same amount of votes as everyone else combined? But most surprising thing to me is that Ospreay actually edged out Kushida. Sure, he had strong booking this year and was showcased a lot, but still. Probably tells more about Kushida's failure to get to that next level than about Ospreay's success.

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Figured it was gonna be Shingo on account of the fact that nearly everybody in LIJ has a connection to the Animal Hamaguchi dojo. More than anything, though - the hair.

 

 

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7 hours ago, Ryan said:

I think the new LIJ member is obviously Yujiro in a swerve.

INGOBERNABLE NO LIMIT.

 

Seriously though, babyface Yujiro is wrong.

 

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11 hours ago, FlaeBlazer said:

But, yeah. Kawato, man. He needs to do something with his hair tho. The shitty bleach job and medium hair doesn't suit him, but I don't know if you're allowed to be in LIJ and rock black hair.

Kawatosan showed up on Lucha Azteca TV for the first time this week. Looks like Kaho Kobayashi with that hair. 

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I told you it was Shiro Koshinaka, dammit, him or Great Nita.

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Well, dammit. Shingo it is then. His working in the junior division will be absurd seeming as he's the same height and nearly the same size as EVIL.

Should they just get rid of the junior division? I know it's an institution at this point, but it probably does more harm than good at this stage. The majority of juniors seem eager to shed the label these days.

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