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The idea of an NJPW expansion into the U.S., beyond just running a few shows in major markets every year, never made any sense to me. People find that idea exciting because they like NJPW, the Japanese promotion with Japanese stars that's run in a distinctly Japanese fashion. But that's not something that can be imported to the U.S on a full-time basis. It literally isn't possible.

So I guess the mistakes they've made with the shows they've done so far don't seem too significant to me, because they've basically already taken it as far as it will ever go.

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NJPW's misstep is the belief that they had to have as many white guys as possible to cater to American fans. We don't need to see Billy Gunn when we came to see Tanahashi. We don't need a Cody Rhodes IWGP title shot, when we know he can't truly hang with Okada. We don't need a US title. People want to see New Japan.

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Oh yeah, the US title, the other pillar of their "US expansion." At the time the US title felt like a cool addition that made sense. Considering how the expansion faltered, is it really needed? Two of the title holders haven't even been Americans, right (Kenny and White)? So now you have the IWGP title, the IC title, the NEVER Openweight title, and the Junior Heavyweight title in addition to the various tag belts.

Like Ace said, if you're paying to see NJPW then it's not the white dudes who are the draws. It's fucking phenomenal workers like Okada, Ishii, Naito, Tanahashi, etc. that you want to see. 

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If Juice/White is the only great thing we get from the US title, that's cool. It was a superb match.

Kenny was a huge key to unlocking the west and another reason I'm still kind of in shock he's gone and now in AEW. He's a bilingual unicorn and they should've moved worlds to keep him on board. While that ship has sailed and it's still possible for having him part time, it seems like a huge blow to their overseas expansion even if they were mistake free. He did come off a little ungrateful in the WOR interview with how he spoke of the creative and their not appreciating him. I'm guessing he was choked that he didn't get and it sounded like wasn't going to get the big Ibushi rematch any time soon. 

Edited by Oyaji
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I'm a little confused at the Wellness Policy and drinking analogies. Isn't the whole point of the WWE Wellness policy to make sure no one dies from steroids and/or pills?  They certainly don't care about drinking.

More to the point - isn't WWE the only wrestling company that even has a shell of a testing program?

It does seem, empirically, that wrestling is a lot more drug/steroid free than it used to be (at least in the US and assuming you're not on a part-time WWE contract). 

Count me in the camp that loves the Janela bits and it also, hopefully, indicates that his work will be more character based and less on potentially killing himself. I know that his type of injury is a career ender in sports so hopefully this is a positive shift. 

 

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2 hours ago, Oyaji said:

If Juice/White is the only great thing we get from the US title, that's cool. It was a superb match.

The omega ishii match too. I feel like rewatching that actually. 

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The tournament also featured I believe the first Ishii/ZSJ match. Shockingly, it was excellent. I totally didn't think of the tournament when spouting that.

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2 hours ago, Hagan said:

It does seem, empirically, that wrestling is a lot more drug/steroid free than it used to be (at least in the US and assuming you're not on a part-time WWE contract). 

I wouldn't say that because there is no proof other than aesthetics. I trust Jericho when he says no one is trying to roofie his drink anymore, but he ain't drug testing anyone nor do we know if the drug testing the WWE has is any good. You don't get credit for just showing up to the party. Also, if you have to add the part-time aspect, it's not a good policy to begin with.

I can say that MMA and boxing are more PED free w/ the WBC/VADA Clean Boxing program and the UFC working with USADA, but it wouldn't be the truth even though so many UFC fighters have less definition and look less comic book character-ish than they did in 2015. We even access to how many times these guys have been tested, what they're being tested for, and when they were tested. They've made way more strides than WWE so I'm not giving WWE a pass at all.

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Where does the Jon Jones traveling roadshow fit in when discussing UFC testing? It seems that if whoever's testing wants an out, it's no huge problem.

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1 minute ago, jstout said:

Where does the Jon Jones traveling roadshow fit in when discussing UFC testing? It seems that if whoever's testing wants an out, it's no huge problem.

Quote

I can say that MMA and boxing are more PED free 

Quote

but it wouldn't be the truth 

Plus, Jon has actually been sanctioned by USADA twice IIRC (12 months the first time and 15 months the second time after a reduction). I can't think of a guy WWE forced out of action for several months over drug testing. USADA sat guys and girls out for 1 or 2 years. It made Tom Lawlor take up pro wrestling. 

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It's easy to play Monday morning quarterback on how NJPW ran its first shows. I was at the first NJPW US shows. I wasn't crazy about the venue, but I at least had press row seats. I imagine NJPW didn't want to over-extend themselves on their first shows. It's easy to say in hindsight they could've done a bigger arena, but this was their first time attempting their own US shows. It wasn't like ROH was breaking 10K seat arenas on a regular basis. The good thing about those shows those is that they were jam-packed, and the crowd was totally hot for all the action. 

Also not to mention, NJPW has been up and down with their show attendances. Their March 2018 show in Long Beach looked packed and sold out. They ran the same venue later in September and only did about 3/4 of the venue full if that. They didn't sell out the Cow Palace either. Now, there was clearly some promotional issues with not announcing the lineups early and selling them hard enough. They clearly could've done that better. But even if they had done that for Cow Palace, would it still have been a total sell out? The Cow Palace show had a relatively stacked card, and it still only did about 6,333. 

Let's say they took the first G1 Special in the USA shows to Long Beach arena, would they have been definitely able to sell them out rather than just make it half full? That's still like an 11,000-13,000 seat arena.

For AEW, with all the hype Meltzer is doing, these TV deals better be fucking awesome. It better not be some shit on WGN or MTV2 or even MTV. Like it better be some badass, historic deal that will make Vince gulp for all the hype they are getting for being "prestigious."

Like he said the deals are more prestigious than Spike TV, which is now the Paramount network.

Shit like WGN, MTV, MTV2 are not more prestigious and are in less homes.

More prestigious than Spike TV would be FX, ESPN, TBS, HBO, TNT. It's a very short list. And it would have to be a real TV deal and not streaming BS either. 

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5 hours ago, Ace said:

NJPW's misstep is the belief that they had to have as many white guys as possible to cater to American fans. We don't need to see Billy Gunn when we came to see Tanahashi. We don't need a Cody Rhodes IWGP title shot, when we know he can't truly hang with Okada. We don't need a US title. People want to see New Japan.

 

6 hours ago, MapRef41N93W said:

The idea of an NJPW expansion into the U.S., beyond just running a few shows in major markets every year, never made any sense to me. People find that idea exciting because they like NJPW, the Japanese promotion with Japanese stars that's run in a distinctly Japanese fashion. But that's not something that can be imported to the U.S on a full-time basis. It literally isn't possible.

So I guess the mistakes they've made with the shows they've done so far don't seem too significant to me, because they've basically already taken it as far as it will ever go.

@MapRef41N93W I would disagree with the bolded part just because if they had taken it as far it could go, we wouldn't have AEW or people this much in a fervor over AEW.

Here is my reasoning: I believe when New Japan started their expansion, they had no clue they would do as well as they did out of the gate. The problem with that is it became clear that they could provide the answer for the problem but didn't have the ability to show their work. They believed folks were going to come just on the basis of it being a New Japan show since they sold out the first time. Due to that, they refuse to give up key matchups as to not fuck up the plans they have for the rest of the year. I think the guys who would go on to form AEW figured out they knew the lay of the land much better than the New Japan brass, and they were the essential pieces of that expansion anyway. I think because of that they would have never done just Japanese vs. Japanese, but at best, it would be a healthy mix of stuff where you got Juice, the Bucks, Cody, Omega, and maybe SCU jerking the curtain still. You would be able to have both minus Cheeseburger and Billy Gunn. So basically, your average New Japan card when the Elite could show up and work the card and a couple guys added in instead of a Young Lion match or Manabu Nakanishi and Tenzan moving slow as molasses.

As far as it being impossible literally to a full time expansion, that's not something that would be called for. You can run a show at least once a quarter and maybe twice during Mania season. New Japan couldn't make one of the shows that usually bookend a tour a card in the United States? You couldn't do the Jay White title change in the United States. That had to be in Osaka? Alright. I'm just using that as an example, but I feel that doing a show weekly in the USA is overkill. A show every six or seven weeks would be fine. If you got a better TV deal, you could even do some tapings while you're there.

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It's expensive to fly all the guys out to the US, but you can fly some.  The fans in Charlotte was stoked because they thought they were going to get Nagata, Ishii, Goto.   NJPW fans have realistic expectations.  When the show was announced- friends were talking about seeing Henare and Nagata, not Naito and Okada.   They weren't stoked about Rocky or ROH guys.


With Kenny gone I think any chance of a major US expansion is gone unless Switchblade becomes a mega-face.  That said, I don't think AEW is going to scratch US NJPW fans itch all that much- it will be too different (Expecting just about every match to be a spotfest)

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7 hours ago, Oyaji said:

If Juice/White is the only great thing we get from the US title, that's cool. It was a superb match.

Kenny was a huge key to unlocking the west and another reason I'm still kind of in shock he's gone and now in AEW. He's a bilingual unicorn and they should've moved worlds to keep him on board. While that ship has sailed and it's still possible for having him part time, it seems like a huge blow to their overseas expansion even if they were mistake free. He did come off a little ungrateful in the WOR interview with how he spoke of the creative and their not appreciating him. I'm guessing he was choked that he didn't get and it sounded like wasn't going to get the big Ibushi rematch any time soon. 

I was thinking about that too when Omega left, but... Ibushi has signed full time with NJPW? Supposedly Ibushi not being singed was the reason why they wouldn't really push him to the top and why Omega/Ibushi couldn't have a big rematch. But then, once Omega leaves Ibushi signs. This might just be a weird coincidence (I have seen theories on reddit/twitter about how concussion might have changed his mind, but this deal probably has been worked out for some time now and they just didn't want to announce it while he was still recovering) or this might imply that whole Omega/Ibushi situation is a bit different to what we have been led to believe.

Also, can we cut the crap about Cheeseburger and Gunn already? Cheeseburger has never appeared on NJPW USA show. Gunn appeared once on their first show when they probably thought that they need some "former WWE" guys to sell tickets in USA. Fans showed that they didn't and they haven't used him since.

As for whole "they need to announce matches earlier so people can fly in" thing... Well isn't that the entire purpose of USA title? If they weren't screwed by USA's government shutdown then USA New Beginning cards would have, most likely, been released shortly after NYD together with Sapporo and Osaka cards. Again, thats the same thing that they tried to do with first Juice/Cody match. It was announced earlier than other stuff. Alternatively they can do what? Run random singles matches for nothing or announce title matches while previous title match hasn't happened yet? Thats not how NJPW rolls and they are not going to do anything that might hurt their business at home.

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1 hour ago, alstein said:

  That said, I don't think AEW is going to scratch US NJPW fans itch all that much- it will be too different (Expecting just about every match to be a spotfest)

I wonder if the folks who bought those MSG tickets several months in advance feel that way.

1 hour ago, Archibald said:

 Ibushi has signed full time with NJPW? 

Also, can we cut the crap about Cheeseburger and Gunn already?

No and no.

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If they weren't screwed by USA's government shutdown 

Apparently, no one in Japan can follow World News.

1 hour ago, Archibald said:

Run random singles matches for nothing or announce title matches while previous title match hasn't happened yet? Thats not how NJPW rolls and they are not going to do anything that might hurt their business at home.

They're not struggling to sell tickets right now. If business was down, the conservative approach would make sense. Then again, they also wouldn't venture to the United States if that was the case. If you plan to eat it in the United States, don't even make the effort.

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They are still not selling out the Tokyo Dome and are unable to run multiple Domes a year in different cities like they could at their peak. Just because they are not struggling doesn't mean that they shouldn't prioritize Japan.

And whats "no" about Ibushi signing with NJPW?

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20 minutes ago, Archibald said:

They are still not selling out the Tokyo Dome and are unable to run multiple Domes a year in different cities like they could at their peak. Just because they are not struggling doesn't mean that they shouldn't prioritize Japan.

Who said they shouldn't prioritize Japan? I just wrote a whole essay about why they should not run more than 5-8 shows a year in the United States. Also, you don't have kill one Dome (now two) shows to do some in the United States. It's not like the UFC where guys fight three times a year max and you only have so many stars. If you can do five or six key marquee matches (or just a bunch of awesome matches period) during G1 Glimax, you can spare one or two for the United States. If they didn't want to do anything like that, they wouldn't be doing that card in Dallas. God forbid, they only run Korakuen 130 times a year as opposed to 137.

Selling out the Dome ain't the be all, end all for their success. If it was, they would have kept those guys they lost in 2016 and the ones they lost to start off 2019.

20 minutes ago, Archibald said:

And whats "no" about Ibushi signing with NJPW?

Sarcasm, sir.

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3 hours ago, Archibald said:

I was thinking about that too when Omega left, but... Ibushi has signed full time with NJPW? Supposedly Ibushi not being singed was the reason why they wouldn't really push him to the top and why Omega/Ibushi couldn't have a big rematch. But then, once Omega leaves Ibushi signs. This might just be a weird coincidence (I have seen theories on reddit/twitter about how concussion might have changed his mind, but this deal probably has been worked out for some time now and they just didn't want to announce it while he was still recovering) or this might imply that whole Omega/Ibushi situation is a bit different to what we have been led to believe.

There's an interview with Ibushi coming out tomorrow where he seems to reiterate that he's full-time with New Japan for two years, and we'll probably get some insight about his reasons. I do suspect the concussion and his age combined to have something to do with it. He probably got some strong promises regarding belts and pushes too, and I also wonder if New Japan took a lot of the money they were planning on giving Kenny, Jericho, and the Bucks, and gave it to him. I know there's always been the internet rumor that his parents are wealthy and/or he just doesn't care about money that much, but... well, you don't care until you do. (If I had to guess, it's all three: New Japan offered him a big raise, a big push, and Ibushi, realizing he's only got a few years to really achieve at the level his talent deserves, decided now was the time.)

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21 hours ago, Craig H said:

I think Dave says a lot of out of touch and dumb things, but this doesn't even crack the top 100 of dumb things he's said. He's making an inference that maybe a wellness policy isn't needed because if most of these guys don't drink then one can also assume they're living cleanly in other ways as well. He doesn't double down on this assumption, but does make the attempt to couch his opinion by saying that the road can change people so if it becomes a problem then maybe they'll wind up have a policy after all.

This is so far from Dave saying that "no one drinks so they won't need a wellness policy."

Come on, man.

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No, you come on. You read through the constant repetition of bullshit about what Dave said and then actually listen to or read what he said. It's not the same. People can clown on Dave all they want for saying they won't have a wellness policy because no one drinks, but that's not what he said.

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7 minutes ago, Craig H said:

No, you come on. You read through the constant repetition of bullshit about what Dave said and then actually listen to or read what he said. It's not the same. People can clown on Dave all they want for saying they won't have a wellness policy because no one drinks, but that's not what he said.

I hope you're doing some light stretching before all these mental gymnastics you're attempting.

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2 hours ago, mattdangerously said:

I hope you're doing some light stretching before all these mental gymnastics you're attempting.

Well, the jerk store called...

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I thought Thibs shitty opinions were thrown out when he was. And yet here they still are. 

And to think FSW gave that nickname to the other MattD.

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I don't see the issue with Dave calling AEW the No. 2 company. I liken it to college football preseason top 25 rankings. Oklahoma or whoever might come into the season ranked No. 1, but that could change once the games start. At this point, given the money they're throwing around, plans for TV they're allegedly making, etc. I don't think it's outrageous to call them No. 2 behind WWE.

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