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NJPW Wrestle Dontaku 2021 *CONTAINS SAKURA GENESIS SPOILERS*


The Natural
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Honestly, 3/4 of the screaming about NJ's "decline" is solely based on people getting pissy with who's winning and losing and less about the stories and match quality.

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Aside from Wato and Khan ever winning, I don't really care if the match is good. I have more of an issue with overly long matches they try to put on. It's kind of like NXT in a way where I'm nearly just burned out on the "HBK Epic Match" in NXT and the general "epic match" in NJPW. Not everything needs to be Okada or Omega's matches at their heights. It's just exhausting now. 

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I just don't find any of their titles to be interesting at the moment. Both sets of tag titles are trapped in repetitive feuds. I was looking forward to Tanahashi holding the openweight title and that's over. Without the ability to bring in talent from overseas their jr division is stale. I don't find Ospreay interesting.

I also like Great-O-Khan though.

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23 hours ago, Raziel said:

Honestly, 3/4 of the screaming about NJ's "decline" is solely based on people getting pissy with who's winning and losing and less about the stories and match quality.

To me, the biggest issue is just the clap crowds are just dreadful and the main event matches are all going 40 to make up for the reduced cards. The high end stuff is still good but the cards have zero depth and any main event short of a MOTY candidate just feels like a chore. Like, I don't WANT to watch Jay White wrestle for 40 minutes and I like Jay White. 

Watching wrestling shouldn't be something that has to be endured. 

 

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3 minutes ago, Hagan said:

To me, the biggest issue is just the clap crowds are just dreadful and the main event matches are all going 40 to make up for the reduced cards. The high end stuff is still good but the cards have zero depth and any main event short of a MOTY candidate just feels like a chore. Like, I don't WANT to watch Jay White wrestle for 40 minutes and I like Jay White. 

Watching wrestling shouldn't be something that has to be endured. 

 

That's been my issue with wrestling the past year during the pandemic era.  It's the combination of lack of crowds, quiet crowds when there is one, and the wrestling norm of "Everything needs to be epic" when 90% of the matches are cookie cutter.  It's not a NJPW problem, it's a whole wrestling problem, and it's not going away soon.  Even when you get past the Pandemic stuff, you're still going to have the match layout and everyone wanting to work epic problems.

 

As far as NJPW's "fall" goes, they, like everyone else, is working with what they have, and I'm not going to start measuring them for a coffin because I don't like who's getting the pushes or that they changed a belt design and got rid of a belt that's only existed for 10 years that only blew up higher than the US title because Nakamura and Tanahashi didn't have anything else to do while Okada was sitting on top.  Yeah, it's boring, but everything is.  There's bright spots but wrestling without fully engaged crowds sucks.  

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The problem is that 90+% of 30+ minute matches are at least 5 minutes too long, and 90+% of 40+ minute matches are at least 10 minutes too long, and that basically covers every big NJPW match now. Every so often one will make good use of that time but generally they are now all lesser versions of what we could be getting. Shingo/Ospreay probably would have had at worst as good a match at 25 minutes. Add in that most of these matchups aren't exactly fresh and even if the work is solid it's a lot to have to work against.

 

That's not even getting into the issue with the current state of the crowds, which the smarter groups are working shorter matches in front of as it is harder to keep the energy up that long because of it.

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Breaking news:

New Japan Pro Wrestling has delayed both of their stadium shows that were to take place later this month in Yokohama and Tokyo.

NJPW said the following in a statement on their website:

On Friday May 7, the Japanese government announced an extension to the state of emergency currently in place in Tokyo and other prefectures. In light of this announcement, as well as current COVID-19 infection status, and in order to prevent any potential further spread of the virus,  New Japan Pro-Wrestling has arrived at the decision to postpone the Wrestle Grand Slam events in Yokohama Stadium and the Tokyo Dome previously scheduled for May 15 and 29 respectively.

The company said that new dates for the upcoming shows are currently being finalized. They ask for fans to retain their tickets, and that any fan that is unable to attend the new dates will be eligible for a refund.

The only match officially announced for either show was an IWGP World Heavyweight title match between Will Ospreay and Kazuchika Okada for the Tokyo Dome event.

Originally set to expire on May 11, Japan extended its state of emergency until the end of May. This applies to the Tokyo, Osaka, Hyogo, and Kyoto prefectures. Two more prefectures, Aichi and Fukuoka, have been added to the list.

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I watched Ospreay-Shingo last night. It was really good but I could see the length kill it for some. I'm not sure if it was better than the NJ Cup Final, I'm leaning towards this one being better. Really hope Shingo actually wins it at some point this year. 

Had to watch it since Papa Dave gave it 6 stars. I don't agree with his ratings lately but this was excellent if you like the modern epic style main event. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ospreay sustained some kind of neck injury during the Shingo match, he has returned to the UK for rehabilitation. Consequently, the IWGP World Title has been vacated. New Japan can't catch a break at the moment.

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Put all five remaining wrestlers in an Island Deathmatch each show via video wall. Paying fans get hours of wrestling for their money and it's completely covid safe.

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Given the limited schedule and no announcement on the next title defence it’s either a really serious injury or there’s more to this. Hope he keeps himself strong both in mind and body

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Nightmare year for NJPW booking continues. The Empire has really been the one bright spot for the company all year and Will obviously has been delivering in the main event spots. 

Interesting to see where the title goes. I mean, there was a very real chance Okada was gonna win it at the May Dome, based on traditional booking, but you figure the booking of Okada and Ospreay together was a long-term story so does this mean Okada just goes on another long run?

Just feels like the main event mix of Okada/Naito/Jay and even Ibushi is just played out. Like, all are phenomenal wrestlers but have little interest in seeing any of them wrestle each other. I mean, Okada and Naito feels unfinished so that could be reheated. 

Would be interesting if Gedo does something bold and elevates Shingo but that's just unlikely as he'll neve be a true New Japan guy to them. 

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I'm still holding out hope for Minoru Suzuki to win it. I know it definitely is not happening given the current circumstances. I agree, they need to spruce up the main event scene. Shingo is honestly a great pick for it right now. I imagine they play it safe and Okada beats Ibushi.

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What has been fascinating about this pandemic era of New Japan is losing talent never bothered because they had so much depth up and down the card. There was always a next man up. But now, between injuries and the inability to bring in exports they are just struggling to fill cards. 

As noted, the results has been just ungodly long main events to pick up the slack but now we've got issues with main eventers. They're gonna have to start elevating the mid-carders and Young Lions just to give these shows some juice. All of it is completely the opposite of how they do business but they're gonna have to break up their booking traditions and accelerate their booking plans because there's no quick fixes. Moxley and Jericho and Omega aren't gonna happen for a long time. Ospreay could be out for a while. All the LA guys gonna be difficult to get in. 

It's just running one match shows with the main event being another combination of matches we've already seen run into the ground is gonna make for a long 2021. 

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14 hours ago, Craig H said:

Take this as a sign that the title is cursed... 

 

Hard to disagree, but at least none of the holders have been eaten by zombies.... yet.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/20/2021 at 2:34 PM, Craig H said:

Take this as a sign that the title is cursed and bring back the old one. Have the G1 be for the title. There. Done. Solved. 

 

All of this. The IWGP World Heavyweight Championship is the most cursed start to a title ever topping the WWE Universal Championship. The title was introduced in March and this will be the third change of champion already.

23 hours ago, Spontaneous said:

I'm still holding out hope for Minoru Suzuki to win it. I know it definitely is not happening given the current circumstances. I agree, they need to spruce up the main event scene. Shingo is honestly a great pick for it right now. I imagine they play it safe and Okada beats Ibushi.

Minoru Suzuki is my first choice by far. Tomohiro Ishii in second place, Shingo Takagi next.

Edited by The Natural
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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, The Natural said:

 

Minoru Suzuki is my first choice by far. Tomohiro Ishii in second place, Shingo Takagi next.

Exact same three choices, here. Maybe Ishii is my number one. And they are, like, the three best uninjured guys the company has at the moment.

So...

Will Gedo go with Yoshi-Hashi or Yujiro?

Edited by El Gran Gordi
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1 minute ago, El Gran Gordi said:

Exact same three choices, here. Maybe Ishii is my number one. And they are, like, the three best uninjured guys the company has at the moment.

So...

Will Gedo go with Yoshi-Hashi or Yujiro?

Great minds think alike as the saying goes, @El Gran Gordi. Cheers, my friend.

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Shame about Ospreay getting injured, as United Empire are fairly fresh in a company that feels very stale right now, and I loved the idea of him embracing his dickishness while winning all of his matches clean (and not even cheating all that much during his matches). On first viewing, actually preferred the Jay-Tana main event the night slightly to that match, but Ospreay-Shingto was still dang good (and good to see new faces in the main event). 

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Posted (edited)

I said the following before Will Ospreay vacated the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship, Shingo Takagi should have beat Ospreay in the New Japan Cup 2021 Fiinals and gone on to beat Kota Ibushi for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship at Sakura Genesis 2021.

I hope NJPW goes with someone different as IWGP World Heavyweight Championship: Minoru Suzuki, Tomohiro Ishii or Shingo Takagi over the usual names like Kazuchika Okada and Hiroshi Tanahashi can win it at a later date. I think NJPW will go with Okada or Ibushi.

I'd dump the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship and bring back the IWGP Heavyweight Championship but that's not going to happen.

Edited by The Natural
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