New Japan Pro Wrestling

by Peter Marus

Like many, I ordered New Japan Pro Wrestling's "Wrestle Kingdom" PPV, which was the first time it was shown in the US and had English broadcasters calling it.  I was impressed and amazed at the style and presentation.  I've always wanted to watch more Japanese wrestling because of how much of a "real" feeling it had.  It's still pre-determined outcomes and moves, but it has a MMA "big fight feel.  The philosophy of Japanese wrestling is that stories are told in the ring during matches.  They don't have elaborate stories behind their feuds.  Usually it's "I think I'm better than you, and I'll prove it by beating you", or "I want the title you hold."  Simple stuff, but effective.  Much more than the Soap Opera-esque style of the WWE or TNA Wrestilng.   The matches themselves have an old school feel with the pacing and build up to the climax.  All well done.  

After the PPV, I explored more ways to watch NJPW.  They have a streaming service like the WWE Network, where they stream new events live, but also have an archive of their past events.  After a little research, I signed up easily for their service (Google chrome with translate helped a lot).  I've been catching up on a lot of the recent events, and have looked at some past matches with some of the greats.  NJPW is set up where there are tournaments and events during the year, with breaks in between each, to set up their stories.  One of the biggest event is their several day tournament called the G1 Climax.  It' takes their best stars, have them compete in two groups and the group winners meet to determine who gets the next shot at the champ, assuming the champ didn't win.  There's a tag team equivalent to this event as well.  I am looking forward to catching up on last year's events.  

BTW, the cost of the service is 999 yen a month, which is about $8.50 US.  Awesome deal.  

Look up the following which I've seen so far and I recommend on You tube (outside of NJPW in general):

Tanahashi vs. Okada

Shinske Nakamura and his matches

Bullet Club (group of Americans who are paroding the NWO/DX factions but are really popular and enjoyable).