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NJPW Power Struggle 2019

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Feels like this has been the best NJPW year in its modern history. And best thing about Hiromu's return was that he threw himself into the barricades to show that he is okay. And they are totally doing Shibata/KENTA title match at WK, I could get doing an angle at G1 in order to give some heat to KENTA, but at this point they are clearly building towards a title match between them.

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3 hours ago, Archibald said:

Feels like this has been the best NJPW year in its modern history. And best thing about Hiromu's return was that he threw himself into the barricades to show that he is okay. And they are totally doing Shibata/KENTA title match at WK, I could get doing an angle at G1 in order to give some heat to KENTA, but at this point they are clearly building towards a title match between them.

In what way? It's felt really stale for me. The booking is not as interesting, we only have one super compelling narrative and it was the one they should've run with last year. I've not been paying as close attention as I normally do with work and no Omega around but what am I missing? The G1 felt a notch or two below the best ones from 2015 or 16 thru 17. I don't feel like we've had the super high end matches we were getting in that era either. 

Edited by Oyaji

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I worded that badly a bit, I wanted to say that this has potential to be the best NJPW year since it is not over yet and they certainly can mess it up.

As for why I think this, I think we briefly mentioned it in G1 thread, it does looks like NJPW now has more stories and more people being pushed. I'm not going to argue about match quality because everyone has their likes and dislikes, but I won't agree that Ishii/Shingo or Naito/Shingo or Ibushi/White were not high end matches.

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I prefer this year's booking to the second half of last year's booking. It's more wide open and less Bullet Club-centric.

 

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They better watch out if they end up “leaving it to the fans”.  The crowd in Osaka sure didn’t cheer the double title match as much as I’m sure NJPW would have wanted.  
 

Also ... Okada with the “maybe we should leave it to a fan vote” right to Niato’s face was savage.  

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They have waited too long to pull the trigger on Naito.

 

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Okada is just proving to be the star that he is over Naito. Plus this double title thing bucks tradition a little too much in the fans eyes. It’s not like the IC Belt has been an unsuccessful title during its time like say the NWF title was. It’s been a key part of New Japan’s current era.

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I'd say (if I'm being really honest with myself as someone who has converted to watching NJPW almost exclusively and has been a fan for a long time) that things have been different...maybe a little strange, even...but not yet necessarily worse or stale.

The in-ring quality is still very, very good, but I think we're seeing different guys deliver some of the best matches this year, and some are doing so in ways that differ from 2016-2018 NJPW. While Okada, Ibushi, Naito, and Jay are now the big four, I'd say the best matches this year have been delivered by guys like Ospreay, Shingo, and Ishii. Jay has been great, but he very conspicuously works an "anti-Omega" style despite being in Omega's spot (or so many have theorized). He's even commented on that to some effect - for a while, he was placing emphasis on the fact that winning is all that matters and the fans' ability to enjoy how he wins is irrelevant. Given that we've had a few years of Okada/Omega epics, seeing a guy like Jay White doing what he's doing at the top of the card feels foreign, even though Jay White is very, very good at his job.

I think it's worth noting that some the G1 matches feeling different may have been out of everyone's control, Ibushi being the most obvious example. Nothing he did (except maybe for the final) in this year's G1 matched the heights of his 2018 G1 matches with Ishii or Tanahashi, but that likely seems more due to injury than anything else. 

Some quick thoughts on the Power Struggle show itself, since that's why we're here:

- I'm extremely excited about the prospect of a healthy Hiromu being back full time, extremely nervous about the continued tease of Shibata returning, if that's what they're going for. 

- I've never really seen BUSHI in a spotlight role. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed his match with Ospreay.

- After seeing Okada address the double-title concept and hearing the crowd's reaction to him, I think there's a very real possibility that Okada wins on the 4th and defeats the IC champ on the 5th. If the match on the 5th is for the IWGP title alone, that will be the giveaway in my opinion. If both the IWGP heavyweight and Intercontinental are up for grabs in one match on night 2, I'm less certain. 

Edited by Teflon Turtle

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I've really enjoyed seeing Will Ospreay and Lance Archer emerge as top stars this year. I thought this year's G1 was a really strong G1. Ibushi's also been doing good work this year now that he's on his own.

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I want to see Naito win the whole thing at the Dome because the booking should follow. The booking really didn't align two years ago, since the Kenny win was so much more logical and came off incredibly satisfying, but here it makes sense. Naito's win coupled with Hiromu's comeback and Shingo's ascent up the heavyweight ranks (have to imagine he'll at least win the NEVER) lay the groundwork for some LIJ good vibes through early 2020, when Naito could and should be the guy to transition the belt to Ibushi's first reign as one-step-left-of-Ace. I know we're sick of the matchup since they're so dead-set on killing each other, but Naito and Ibushi are allegedly IRL besties and it clicks from Gedo's perspective if you lay it out that way. I'd also argue the fact that they're even talking about a fan vote plays into Naito's favor storyline-wise. Even if he isn't as nuclear hot as he was at his peak, nobody has as many unresolved storylines in play with the other three than Naito does.

I think NJPW's next phase - and it might start panning out as soon as Jan. 2021 - involves A) A Jay White face turn B) Elevating Shota pretty damn quick after his excursion C) Getting either EVIL or SANADA to an IWGP Championship level (via winning it + an inevitable LIJ dissolution) and hoping that it C and half) takes, while D) Okada takes the Inoki/Hashimoto route of being too uniquely over/strong for the championship chase and challenges himself in other ways. E) is Taichi, natch. OK, it's probably a proper heavyweight Ospreay, the true heir to Kenny as their Meltzerist hype machine key to the west.

This is just one man's wild fantasy booking, obviously. I'm watching Chono/Tenzan/Kojima vs. Mutoh/Hase/Kea, a good hot match amidst a sea of Inokist bullshit from the 5/5/01 show in case anybody's wondering. Can't wait to find out why nobody remembers Choshu/Nakanishi vs, Ogawa/Murakami.

Edited by John E. Dynamite
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2 hours ago, Teflon Turtle said:

- After seeing Okada address the double-title concept and hearing the crowd's reaction to him, I think there's a very real possibility that Okada wins on the 4th and defeats the IC champ on the 5th. If the match on the 5th is for the IWGP title alone, that will be the giveaway in my opinion. If both the IWGP heavyweight and Intercontinental are up for grabs in one match on night 2, I'm less certain. 

I think part of the problem might be that nobody really knows what that match is going to be. Would champion carry two titles and defend them separately? Would he drop IC title after winning the match and we would get a tournament to crown new IC champ? Would both belts get unified? I can see fans having very different reaction to each option.

I also think that Okada's win on the 4th is a foregone conclusion regardless of what happens with announcement. And if only heavyweight title is on the line... aren't they then recreating their first WK match? Then Naito, as a NEVER champion, challenged heavyweight champion Okada.

35 minutes ago, John E. Dynamite said:

Getting either EVIL or SANADA to an IWGP Championship level (via winning it + an inevitable LIJ dissolution)

I think that it has to be Sanada and I doubt that they'll dissolve LiJ, I'd think that they'll just slim it down to 5 members again.  

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