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NJPW King of Pro-Wrestling 2018

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9 hours ago, FlaeBlazer said:

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.

So how do y’all think the rest of the card will fill out? US Title? HW Tag Titles? Junior Tag Titles? Not really sure what the likes of Suzuki, Sabre, EVIL, SANADA, Young Bucks, Goto, Ishii, Juice, Marty, Hangman, etc. will be doing.

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Suzuki is the modern day equivalent of the territorial heel. They've already sent him away for a couple of years and they've fed him to all of their top guys. At 50, I'm not really sure what you do with him moving forward. He's still great most of the time but unless you give him one last top run... I dunno. Seriously diminishing returns.

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18 minutes ago, Oyaji said:

Suzuki is the modern day equivalent of the territorial heel. They've already sent him away for a couple of years and they've fed him to all of their top guys. At 50, I'm not really sure what you do with him moving forward. He's still great most of the time but unless you give him one last top run... I dunno. Seriously diminishing returns.

I’m honestly wouldn’t be shocked if he’s in the “get everyone on the card” NEVER six-man gauntlet this year. He seems so directionless. He’s definitely not gonna have a singles match with this utter lack of momentum. It’s either the six-man match or him and Zack win WTL and face GOD.

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suzuki could get on the WK card defending the RevPro title  maybe against Ishii 

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4 hours ago, Sublime said:

suzuki could get on the WK card defending the RevPro title  maybe against Ishii 

He is going to defend it against Ishii in upcoming Global Wars UK tour, or whatever it is called. Would be weird if they had another match at WK for it. And asides of Ishii I don't see who really would challenge for it.

I think that at this point Suzuki has two programs left: tag team with Zack and singles match against Zack. Everything else has been pretty much done to death.

6 hours ago, FlaeBlazer said:

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.

I really hope that it is not going to happen. Last year three ways killed heavyweight tag team division and this year they did same for juniors. Bushi/Shingo vs Desperado/Kanemaru is a match I want to see. Besides, I think that if everything was going good with Sho/Yoh then they probably wouldn't have been banished to undercard and getting lots of Ls once they dropped the titles.

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40 minutes ago, Archibald said:

He is going to defend it against Ishii in upcoming Global Wars UK tour, or whatever it is called. Would be weird if they had another match at WK for it. And asides of Ishii I don't see who really would challenge for it.

I think that at this point Suzuki has two programs left: tag team with Zack and singles match against Zack. Everything else has been pretty much done to death.

I really hope that it is not going to happen. Last year three ways killed heavyweight tag team division and this year they did same for juniors. Bushi/Shingo vs Desperado/Kanemaru is a match I want to see. Besides, I think that if everything was going good with Sho/Yoh then they probably wouldn't have been banished to undercard and getting lots of Ls once they dropped the titles.

What do you think happened with SHO/YOH?

Also the thing is that GOD is definitely going to the Dome with the belts and the Bucks aren’t in WTL so I could see Suzuki/Sabre winning it but what the hell do the Bucks do? They aren’t gonna be in WTL but I don’t see any chance they miss the tag title match.

Like it or not, the Young Bucks have been NJPW’s most heavily pushed tag team over the last 5 years. They have been booked like monsters over the last year specifically. With their investment in them and especially with contract negotiations coming, NJPW isn’t gonna risk anything and throw them into the “get everyone on the card” NEVER six-man clusterfuck match. I assume the Bucks are in the tag title match in some way. So I think the HW tag match is gonna be a 3 way between GOD, WTL winners (probably Suzuki/ZSJ), and the Young Bucks.

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I'm not sure what happened with Sho/Yoh, but something happened since their booking up to WK last year and what we have today is like day and night.

If I was fantasy booking, which I'm totally doing every day, I'd have GoD drop tag titles to Chaos team, ideally Goto/Ishii at PS. Then have Suzuki/Zack win WTL and have a big tag team match at WK since all four guys have lots of history with each other.

As for Bucks and GoD, instead of a match for tag titles I'd prefer something weird like "rights to use Bullet Club name" that could serve as a proper ending to this BC civil war.

But hey, assuming that Evil loses to Jericho we also got Evil and Sanada without direction so I won't be surprised if we will get some fatal fourway clusterfuck for tag titles.

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I imagine Cody and Omega want to move on from using Bullet Club logos (haven't they posted on social media about not loving the gun association? Was that just Cody?) but the Bucks know how much money there is in that shit, hence why we still have BC (Golden) Elite and BC OG/Firing Squad instead of the Elite being their own thing. I'd be down with a no DQ type of smoke and mirrors match between the Bucks and GoD at WK to settle it. Unless New Japan knows they're losing the Bucks, there's no way they don't have a feature match at the Tokyo Dome.

On that point, anybody else see the newest BTE? This may have been the first episode in a while I didn't love. The SCU thing went on forever and the rest seemed to be one note played over and over again. I get it but it's not exactly entertaining at this stage. Maybe once they build it up, sure, but right now every single character interacting with "H" and his notes is a bit much.

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1 hour ago, Oyaji said:

I imagine Cody and Omega want to move on from using Bullet Club logos (haven't they posted on social media about not loving the gun association? Was that just Cody?) but the Bucks know how much money there is in that shit, hence why we still have BC (Golden) Elite and BC OG/Firing Squad instead of the Elite being their own thing. I'd be down with a no DQ type of smoke and mirrors match between the Bucks and GoD at WK to settle it. Unless New Japan knows they're losing the Bucks, there's no way they don't have a feature match at the Tokyo Dome.

On that point, anybody else see the newest BTE? This may have been the first episode in a while I didn't love. The SCU thing went on forever and the rest seemed to be one note played over and over again. I get it but it's not exactly entertaining at this stage. Maybe once they build it up, sure, but right now every single character interacting with "H" and his notes is a bit much.

Naito/Jericho is probably gonna be the smoke and mirrors No DQ match like Kenny/Jericho was last year. The ideal tag title match would be Bucks vs. ZSJ/Suzuki but I guess that can’t happen. What do you think EVIL, SANADA, Goto, Ishii, or Juice are going to do? In my card predictions, I really don’t have a place for them.

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My totally legit fantasy booking:

Tanahashi/Omega
Evil/Naito
Okada/White
Kushida/Ishimori
Cody/Juice
Goto/Ishii vs Suzuki/Zack
Young Bucks/Jericho vs GoD/Fale, Jericho betrays Bucks in the middle of the match. At NYD Tama challenges Juice for USA title while Jericho assaults Tanahashi in the same match.
Ibushi/Ospreay
Bushi/Shingo vs Desperado/Kanemaru
Trios clusterfuck
Sanada wins pre-show Rumble

I think it covers pretty much everyone important without creating clusterfuck matches.

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7 hours ago, FlaeBlazer said:

What do you think happened with SHO/YOH?

 

Hiromu and Bushi.

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If that was only reason then they probably would have won the belts at Dominion from Desperado/Kanemaru.

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The fans embracing Hiromu and Bushi so strongly over R3K revealed the lack of a genuine connection that they had with the crowd.  Clearly, the idea coming out of that program was to bust R3K back down card and build them up as lovable underdogs in order to foster that connection, rather than continue on with them as the wunderkind super team they had been before.

Basically, after a good start, someone screwed up and gave them the early-NXT La Sombra treatment (booking them as faces against other acts that the crowd likes more), sending them out to die against the Bucks and LIJ.  Even Despy and Kanemaru were riding that brief, early 2018 wave of “Hey, Suzuki-gun is alright” sentiment during that feud.

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Anybody surprised by how utterly lukewarm they were for KUSHIDA? I know he’s not nearly as over as an Ace should be but I always thought he was at least pretty over and decently popular. The Sumo Hall crowd seemed very pro-Marty and you could hear a pin drop when KUSHIDA won. There wasn’t even an initial pop. This is supposed to be the ace of the Junior Division? It was a really good match and I was rooting hard for KUSHIDA but even I couldn’t help but be disappointed at the utter lack of reaction to his victory. It was one of the more anticlimactic title changes that I’ve seen in a long time. The crowd just didn’t care.

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His character is stale and he's won a lot. I don't know. I think people appreciate him for how great he is but it's hard to get excited about KUSHIDA the character.

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38 minutes ago, Oyaji said:

His character is stale and he's won a lot. I don't know. I think people appreciate him for how great he is but it's hard to get excited about KUSHIDA the character.

He’s a fantastic wrestler but it’s kinda sad to see NJPW try to push him into that all-time Junior Heavyweight lore with the likes of Liger when he’ll never be seen that way. It doesn’t seem earned.

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2 hours ago, FlaeBlazer said:

Anybody surprised by how utterly lukewarm they were for KUSHIDA? I know he’s not nearly as over as an Ace should be but I always thought he was at least pretty over and decently popular. The Sumo Hall crowd seemed very pro-Marty and you could hear a pin drop when KUSHIDA won. There wasn’t even an initial pop. This is supposed to be the ace of the Junior Division? It was a really good match and I was rooting hard for KUSHIDA but even I couldn’t help but be disappointed at the utter lack of reaction to his victory. It was one of the more anticlimactic title changes that I’ve seen in a long time. The crowd just didn’t care.

The Japanese crowd really loves to chant for Marty.   I don't know if he's over, or just the chant.


KUSHIDA seems like junior Okada where he's respected but not loved.

Hiromu is loved, and I think when he comes back it will be the moment of 2019 for NJPW.  The question is when do they bring Hiromu up to HW?  My guess is it will be part of an LIJ split.

 

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I posted on first page poll results on who people want to see as next Jr. champ and Marty barely got any votes so my guess would be that people like to do woop woop, but don't care that much about Marty the wrestler. I remember reading some comment that KoPW will basically have a match between two least popular juniors and how it doesn't make sense. So I wasn't really surprised that crowd wasn't into their match.

Kushida to me is like Tiger Mask IV a bit. Tiger Mask is still good and in his prime, from what I have seen, he was great. And he won a bunch, if I'm not mistaken he might be only junior to win two BotSJs in a row, but he never really went to that next level like Liger. And well, same for Kushida, lots of wins and lots of accolades and he is great wrestler, but I'm not sure if there ever was a period when he could haven been considered as most popular junior? They did a sympathy angle with him last year, but I don't really remember if he got big reactions during that time or not, but by the time it was over he was certainly back to his usual level.

Anyway, once Hiromu returns from injury all this will be moot.

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39 minutes ago, alstein said:

The Japanese crowd really loves to chant for Marty.   I don't know if he's over, or just the chant.


KUSHIDA seems like junior Okada where he's respected but not loved.

Hiromu is loved, and I think when he comes back it will be the moment of 2019 for NJPW.  The question is when do they bring Hiromu up to HW?  My guess is it will be part of an LIJ split.

 

I think Okada is way more over than KUSHIDA. Fans were starting to get tired of him near the end of his title reign so it skews things but they love him again. They see him as an all-time great. He’s the 3rd most popular wrestler in Japan after Naito and Tanahashi who are two of the most over wrestlers I’ve ever seen. To compare, KUSHIDA was the #37 most popular wrestler in Japan. He’s getting a lot of Okada chants and cheers recently. Also you will never see a big Okada match with such an utter lack of investment from the crowd. Even during his title reign, when he beat guys the crowd was rooting hard for, he still would get pops and showered with respect from the crowd after the match.

 

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This is a superficial and not-at-all comprehensive example, but: Kushida is what would happen if Kenny wore the Sephiroth jacket he debuted at this show for every match; being interested in things helps people get interested in you, but cosplay isn't character, ultimately. (I would argue Liger isn't really an exception to this, that there's a difference between being a character and being a guy whose character is that he dresses like a character.)

As for 3K: There are just layers and layers of superficiality and artificiality, that I think creates distance and makes it hard to really care. They're a tag team named for another tag team that's kinda sorta named for an old tv show, while their aesthetic is meant to approximate manufactured pop idols--but without the full commitment we've seen from various others in places like Dragon Gate. Maybe their merch and photo books sell well, but it doesn't really translate to live crowds. I still maintain that both guys will be really good, although neither are as young as their fully gimmicked tenure might suggest.

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I will argue that, while I may have missed those dark years when TM4 was pushed to the moon, Tiger Mask has never, and will never, be very good much less great. Technically capable, sure, but never approaching great. There was such a drop off from the likes of Minoru Tanaka, who never quite fulfilled his promise, to Tiger Mask. His selling is flat, his storytelling limited, and people stopped caring about new iterations of Tiger Mask after Misawa. He is one of the laziest vets too, as he has fallen into a complete routine and only barely tries when they dust him off for the annual mini push they do with him. 

KUSHIDA, conversely, is one of the best technicians of his generation but is missing the personality, as has been previously mentioned, to go to that next level that technical proficiency alone cannot reach. That's not to say he is devoid of charm but it's clear he's lacking when it comes to creating an interesting persona other than guy who loved pro wrestling from a young age and likes Back to the Future. The amazing thing is he's shown such a wonderful diversity in styles and even the ability to play a great heel while in Mexico, yet he's been contained in this stasis where he never changes. He should do something about that while he's still in his physical peak. Maybe hiromu returning could be the impetus for a jealousy angle although it can be difficult to not become wwe melodrama with those. But he has a compelling case to make it work.

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At this point, I'd like his gimmick to be that he somehow--intentionally!--jumped into an alternate timeline, in which Marty McFly is both Japanese and a fighting savant--or maybe he roped in another person, and we have a The Fly scenario--in order to stop crazed evil genius Hiromu from destroying the world. Just go fully bonkers with it.

I'm interested in the disparity between the reality @Archibald mentioned and tweets like this; whether it's intentional or not, the tension between how over-the-top Kenny is with his praise and how he acts comes across really patronizing, like all he has to do is say nice things about/to Ibushi, and the talking over and planning around him vanishes. 

 

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Haha so patronizing. On one hand, I kind of always wanted 100% pure white meat babyface Kenny, but his shades of gray stuff is sure interesting too. When Kota finally speaks up for himself (and let's not pretend he hasn't been deferential and doesn't hate talking) and tells Kenny to shut up, it will be immense. I hope it's just a temporary lovers' quarrel and not a longterm split, like almost losing Kota again is what it takes to wisen up Kenny. 

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At what point it stops being patronizing and becomes just plain insults? Like, saying that Ibushi is better than him and true unsung champion while he pinned Ibushi couple of days ago? It almost feels like Omega is mocking Ibushi.

And well, I think that KoPW could have been perfect place for them to settle this thing, but is there really time for that now considering that WK main event should be the focus? Sure, it might be the story for their next singles match, but when would it happen? At MSG? Do I really want to see Ibushi being pushed around like that for 5 more months? Not really. At this point I don't even really want them to "fix" their relationship, Omega is acting like an asshole and should be left behind. Some relationships should just end.

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"Never get back with your ex" is a pretty good lesson, I suppose. I imagine Tana will keep making overtures at Ibushi during their placeholder tags, needling him that he should be doing more than this; then perhaps Kota will have his Ospreay match at WK, which would be step one in doing whatever he wants. (And in this case, it's something Kenny has specifically told him he shouldn't do.) Maybe he does beat Kenny for the IWGP title at MSG, and this triple threat fall was because Kenny isn't (ever?) getting that big singles win.

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