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NJPW King of Pro-Wrestling 2018

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So is this the first time that NJPW has had the hashtag at the bottom of the screen? God, this kinda thing even though it’s a little detail, showcases why people are worried about them becoming WWE lite.

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Bunch of random thoughts:

Good opener. Result was super obvious, but Desperado/Kanemaru did enough shit things to get some heat and sympathy for the veterans. I did quick math and likely missed something, but assuming no more title defences till WK... they'll have around 300 days reign which will likely push them into third or second place as far as "longest jr. tag title reign" goes.

Juice has new gear again. It feels like once I start getting used to his weird gear he changes it again. This one feels less weird than previous two and better than his old stuff. So I guess I wouldn't mind if he didn't change it again to something different 4 months later. Match itself was what could be expected I guess. Honma still doesn't feel like he is 100% back (if he ever will), but I'm still not tired of seeing him happy on my screen. They obviously pick up a win since it is safe bet that they'll be featured heavily in WTL and well, Henare on opposing team.

BCOGz coming out to original BC theme was super cool. Matt's back gets further fucked and Chase eats a pin because thats what he does. Also, is it just me or does Nick do "indy stand off" in almost every match? Anyway, idea clearly is to continue BC civil war and I was bored of it already during Dontaku tour. I also was half expecting a member reveal for BC here since Taiji needs a partner, but nothing happened. But then, it turns out that Fale announced it on twitter because why the fuck not. It is Robbie Eagles from Australia. Makes sense I suppose with NJPW expanding there too. But from what I have seen of him, I'm not a big fan. But hey, looking forward to being proven wrong.

Chaos B squad walking out to Ishii's music rather than Goto's. Maybe this switch happened earlier and I missed it, but I felt like they'd always have Goto's music when Okada was not with them. Suzuki brings his RevPro belt because can't look like a chump next to Taichi. And well, I guess his upcoming match with Ishii in UK has something to do with that and maybe Ishii's music as well. Anyway, before the match there were lots of speculations that maybe Ospreay pins Taichi and we get a title match that eventually leads to Ospreay/Ibushi at WK. And he did it. Taichi/Ospreay does not sound very interesting to me in particular and I'm not a fan of wrester getting beaten for one title and then suddenly getting a shot at another belt. On the positive side, this is better and fresher than Taichi/Goto rematch.

So new member. I'll start to act cool and say that once I saw "Dragon" nickname I was 100% sure that it is Shingo because Dragon Gate, duh. Crowd was crazy for LiJ except when Okada/Naito were in the ring. Lots of Okada chants and very few Naito chants, which was a bit weird to me considering radically different reaction when they were walking towards the ring. Is Okada's "depush" working in making him more sympathetic or maybe, unfortunately, Naito's fans do not really care about Okada/Naito any longer? And well they were crazy when Naito stopped Zack, so it looked like Naito was as popular as ever expect when he was in the ring with Okada.

Second, I think, appearance of Evil's druids and in the same building. And he joined LiJ at KoPW as well and main evented it last year. You know, if they wanted they probably could kinda make KoPW "his" show. Anyway, one of the druids turns out to be Jericho and beats the shit out of Evil while Zack just watches. So match got cancelled and I don't know. Naito makes the save and it looks like PS will be Evil/Jericho and Naito/Zack, which is going to lead us to Jericho/Naito at WK. You know, once G1 ended it looked like that was the direction they were going with so we are getting what we kinda expected in the first place. Problem for me is that we got bunch of smoke and mirrors that didn't lead us anywhere new, just filled time. I was really looking forwards towards Evil/Zack match and I'm disappointed that  we are probably not getting it till new NJ Cup or G1, even if then. So basically I was pumped for this and I enjoyed how everything started, but then my excitement was killed. And well, I probably wrote 50 times already that I'm not a fan of Naito/Jericho match and this obviously (was obvious before, but now is like 150% obvious) being big WK program does nothing for me. I'm sure that I'll love Naito/Zack, but overall this year has been kinda shit and empty for Naito asides of matches with Zack.

Anyway, whole Evil/Zack not happening legit phased me out of the show and I barely paid any attention to Kushida/Scurll. Anyway, Kushida won and I'm looking forward to Kushida/Ishimori.

Tanahashi/White was probably their best match? Gedo sure adds to White's act. I don't know, this might be even his best match? Sure, recency bias, but I don't remember enjoying any other of his matches as much as this one. Someone probably should count how many people Tanahashi has rolled up this year. And Okada did the save and got the big pop, so I assume that new direction is working for him. And well, that post match angle was something. Fun to hear old Bullet Club theme again, but I'm not sure how I feel about this long term.

Tanahashi looking at dead Okada was cool, I expected to see him help him to get carried out, but I guess he is not ready to move past their rivalry yet. Great character moment surrounded by lots of overbooking.

And well, I decided to save my time and skipped the main event.

Overall it was fun show till fuckery started with Zack/Evil, then post match angle of Tanahashi/White and I'm sure that main event had tables, chairs and what else. One of the things that I liked about NJPW's "previous era" was its, relatively speaking, simplicity. Sure, Suzuki Gun and Bullet Club cheated, but it was somewhat contained and usually didn't overtake the shows. At the end of the day it was about one man beating the shit out of another man. But it looks like now every big storyline requires melodrama, betrayals, multiple angles and shit like that. And sure, I remember things like that happening in "good old days" as well, but it didn't feel like it happened on regular basis like it does now.

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So why the fuck did they put Cody in the match if they were just gonna have Ibushi take the pin? I thought the whole point was to save Kenny’s first win over Ibushi for a bigger event but they just gave it away here. It’s not like adding Cody and making it a triple threat, was a draw. It was the weakest Sumo Hall attendance for a non-G1 show in like 3 years. The most lame duck title defense ever of Okada/EVIL drew more. In fact, a straight Omega/Ibushi match would’ve been a guaranteed sellout. 

I don’t get the thought process of this at all. Why have Kenny’s first win over Ibushi in a multi-man match? Why have a triple threat when you can have a singles match that can meet the exact same ends and will make you more money? It makes absolutely no sense to me.

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things are getting overwrought in this kingdom, I must admit. that said, the potential card for WK looks very good and I think we'll all forgive them if it goes down well.

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With the caveat that I don't love it either, I imagine the thought process goes like this: Ibushi, for all of his supreme physical gifts, is famously flighty and has zero experience with this type of match; so, Cody provided an additional variable that gave Kenny enough openings to get the win.

I think they... kinda sorta told that story with the match, and I ended up almost liking it; even if some of the spots got a touch contrived/sloppy, and I don't think triple threats* or Cody are especially good in general, the character motivations remained consistent enough to keep me engaged: Ibushi wanted to win a more conventionally strong style fight, and would have against either of them; Cody wanted to snipe a win by any means necessary; and Kenny wanted to win, while keeping Ibushi from suffering real harm--but his patronizing will cost him, eventually.

Busy busy show though, overall: Shingo joins LIJ, which is cool, though I doubt it will really matter much, long term; Jay White joining the Firing Squad will end up being much more important, and at least we've been teased this since he rejected Kenny's offer. It also makes sense from Tama et al's persepctive. You've spent your whole career feeling thwarted by the office, and now, suddenly, you can align yourself with backstage power. Even if you don't trust Jay--and they shouldn't--it's a risk worth taking.

*I get that it was a new(ish) thing to do, but I guess I'm siding with Tana a bit in this rivalry, that Kenny should be less concerned with novelty for the sake of novelty--and patting himself on the back for it--and more focused on simple/good execution. I also want better for Ibushi than to be a third... fifth... whatever wheel. But I think that might be part of the story, so I'll be patient.

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14 minutes ago, sevendaughters said:

things are getting overwrought in this kingdom, I must admit. that said, the potential card for WK looks very good and I think we'll all forgive them if it goes down well.

So this is our top 5 matches for WK?

Omega vs. Tana - IWGP HW

Jericho vs. Naito - IWGP IC

Okada vs. White

Ospreay vs. Ibushi - NEVER Title

KUSHIDA vs. Ishimori - Junior Title

I don’t think it’s as strong as WKs 9, 10, or 11 but it’s definitely better than last year.

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I remember during G1 we talked about how White joining BCOGz would be a bit fucked up considering implications that dumb poc need white guy (whose name is literally White) to lead them to success. Does adding Gedo to the mix change this? Granted, they managed to beat Bucks couple of times on their own so they don't look as dumb as they did during G1, but still.

I saw that Fale posted on twitter how this was set in motion years ago when Balor introduced him to White and I guess you can rationalize how this could make him Balor's protege... but at this point it starts to feel like anime/comic book storyline where villains set in motion plans years ago that just so happen to work out perfectly at the perfect time. Again, simplicity is a great thing.

13 minutes ago, sevendaughters said:

things are getting overwrought in this kingdom, I must admit. that said, the potential card for WK looks very good and I think we'll all forgive them if it goes down well.

I think that WK will deliver good matches since, hopefully, it won't have any additional drama. But at the same time if everyone will just be happy with it then it probably means that we are going to get more of this stuff next year. Kinda how many people are okay with WWE as long as they deliver good Takeovers and big 4 WWE shows. This is a bit pessimistic outlook, but you never know.

19 minutes ago, FlaeBlazer said:

So why the fuck did they put Cody in the match if they were just gonna have Ibushi take the pin? I thought the whole point was to save Kenny’s first win over Ibushi for a bigger event but they just gave it away here. It’s not like adding Cody and making it a triple threat, was a draw. It was the weakest Sumo Hall attendance for a non-G1 show in like 3 years. The most lame duck title defense ever of Okada/EVIL drew more. In fact, a straight Omega/Ibushi match would’ve been a guaranteed sellout. 

I don’t get the thought process of this at all. Why have Kenny’s first win over Ibushi in a multi-man match? Why have a triple threat when you can have a singles match that can meet the exact same ends and will make you more money? It makes absolutely no sense to me.

Because Omega wants their next singles match to happen at Tokyo Dome or MSG. On one hand I understand him, but on another hand he is messing up NJPW's storylines due to his selfish desires.

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The walk up looked like it must have been reasonably good, though my back was literally against the back wall of the upper tier

Naito was absolutely monster over vs pretty much everyone else with tanahashi closest

I went for a beer during EVIL's entrance 😔

 

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1 minute ago, Archibald said:

I remember during G1 we talked about how White joining BCOGz would be a bit fucked up considering implications that dumb poc need white guy (whose name is literally White) to lead them to success. Does adding Gedo to the mix change this?

I was pretty bothered by that possibility; but, at least for now, it didn't look to me like he was really positioned as the leader. (Although he'll certainly get the biggest singles push.) I'm sure the long-term story will be that he angles for that promotion, while the OGz once again find themselves pushing back against selfish ambition.

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Once again, New Japan proves that the quickest way to kill a hot crowd is to bring out the OGs.

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I wrote in my big post about how BC civil war will probably continue, but thinking more about it... can it? White joining BC and obviously feuding with Okada means that there should be bigger Chaos/BCOGz feud with Yano/Ishii, Best Friends and Goto/X (Yoshi? Ishii?) being potential challengers for GoD.

Sure, in theory they can have Tongans/Ishimori feuding with The Elite while White/Jado/Gedo feud with Okada/X/X, but that sounds rather dull. Might it be that this long BC civil war ended without anyone even noticing?

Which obviously rises another questions. What Bucks will do at WK? Will they worm themselves into another tag titles match because "we are the best team and we don't need to participate in any tournaments to prove it" reasons?

Maybe I'm over thinking this and at PS Bucks will get their win back from GoD and then GoD will win WTL and we'll have third chapter in their "classical" rivalry.

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Bucks vs. Tongans vs. Goto/Ishii, maybe? It looks like the junior title match might be straight singles, so there "needs" to be a multi cluster (aside from the NEVER tags, I guess).

I am really excited about the prospect of Ibushi/Ospreay, if we get there. Ibushi/Nak produced two of my favorite matches ever, so Kota taking up the role of surly striking heavy against flippy junior who wants to prove he can hang in a more conventional match is about the most compelling thing to me.

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Twitter is saying that Ibushi posted a tweet that he is retiring. Are we going to now get a storyline about Omega begging Ibushi to return..? Or is this serious?

I mean, fuck. I write about Naito having shit/empty year, but I feel like Ibushi is even in worse place despite getting to G1 finals. Guy could expand big 4 to big 5 easily, but he is stuck being a supporting character in Omega's story. He probably needs a match with Ospreay more than Ospreay needs it at this point.

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8 minutes ago, Archibald said:

Twitter is saying that Ibushi posted a tweet that he is retiring. Are we going to now get a storyline about Omega begging Ibushi to return..? Or is this serious?

He said that, since he had no title to put on the line, he needed to wager his career. Of course, they didn't promote the match that way, but he's a man of strange convictions. So since he lost--and got pinned--he tweeted that he feels he needs to quit.

Kenny tweeted he needs to spend more time repairing his relationships than his body, and that he won't lose Ibushi again. So. Yeah. I think it's an angle. (And Ibushi's said he wants an Ospreay match, so that could be a carrot to lead him back.)

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do we think they'll do EVIL-Jericho on Power Struggle? Seems small beer for Jericho and his only wanting to do major things.

It felt like they might do Okada-Naito, which beefs the Dome up hugely if they go Omega-Tana, Jericho-EVIL, KUSHIDA-someone. They could hold back on Jay White a little as he's not a credible singles guy, having lost pretty much all of his major matches, and while he has a new faction to push on.

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Main event was way too contrived for me to like it all that much. Felt more like an average NXT main event than an IWGP title bout. Too much cutesy bullshit (that often didn't even come off well) though it exponentially improved when we got Mo Murdah Ibushi. 

Tanahashi had another silly stretch of reversal dancing, though I liked everything outside of that. 

The Taichi six man overdelivered but Taichi lost right after getting his big win. I could very easily see Will winning at Power Struggle to set up the Ibushi wk match for a title. 

Fine show but nothing special for NJ. 

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30 minutes ago, sevendaughters said:

do we think they'll do EVIL-Jericho on Power Struggle? Seems small beer for Jericho and his only wanting to do major things.

It felt like they might do Okada-Naito, which beefs the Dome up hugely if they go Omega-Tana, Jericho-EVIL, KUSHIDA-someone. They could hold back on Jay White a little as he's not a credible singles guy, having lost pretty much all of his major matches, and while he has a new faction to push on.

Nah, Jay is fighting Okada at the Dome. Naito/Okada would be such a random detour that makes no sense. It’s actually probably the likely main event for 2020.

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That triple threat main event is really polarizing. I’ve seen some people say it’s the greatest 3 way match of all time and some say that it was utter complete dogshit. I thought it was a great match but not a MOTY candidate or anything. 4.25* probably.

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9 minutes ago, FlaeBlazer said:

That triple threat main event is really polarizing. I’ve seen some people say it’s the greatest 3 way match of all time and some say that it was utter complete dogshit. I thought it was a great match but not a MOTY candidate or anything. 4.25* probably.

I dug what I saw of it. Omega as the shitty friend who cost Ibushi the title by interfering with Red Shoes' count was pretty great.

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So, for those of us who follow results but don’t watch many, of any, shows:

-did Chaos dissolve or did Jay just leave?

-is Bullet Club Samoa and Bullet Club Omega like nWo Black and White and nWo Wolfpac? How many Bullet Clubs are there, or is it like different Mafia crews?

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I really enjoyed the KUSHIDA/Scurll match. I appreciated how they used matwork sequences throughout the match, not just as an obligatory bit of early-match filler. KUSHIDA seems to be in a weird zone where he's extremely good, and everyone knows it, yet he's somehow still underrated.

2 minutes ago, Control said:

-did Chaos dissolve or did Jay just leave?

Jay White, Gedo, and Jado appear to have all defected to the Firing Squad. Okada and his crew were all wearing brand new CHAOS t-shirts at the last U.S. show, and that was after White and Gedo split off, so I think CHAOS still exists.

5 minutes ago, Control said:

 -is Bullet Club Samoa and Bullet Club Omega like nWo Black and White and nWo Wolfpac?

It would be like that if the nWo Black and White consisted of less popular early members and the Wolfpac consisted of more popular later additions. Also (can't resist the pedantic urge), there are no Samoans in either Bullet Club. But otherwise yeah, that's basically it.

Come to think of it, if you don't count Kota Ibushi as a member and you put Yujiro in the Firing Squad, it would be Bullet Club Atlantic (North Americans and a Brit) vs. Bullet Club Pacific (Japanese, Kiwis, and Pacific Islanders).

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Thanks! That’s not pedantic, as I was clearly being ignorant.

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So it looks like Shingo/BUSHI are shoo-ins to win the Super Jr. Tag League. A Despy/Kanemaru vs Shingo/BUSHI Dome match would be kinda out there. Would they leave Roppongi 3K out? I really doubt it when they are the most established Junior team, they are really popular, and by default, are basically the aces of the Junior Tag division.

I’m guessing that they go with a 3 way Tag match. Shingo/BUSHI win the tournament but RPG3K gets win over the champs to have a claim at the title.

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