New Japan Pro Wrestling has been on fire. Great personalities, hot crowds and tremendous matches can be found on just about any card they produce on television. And for the first time, many people outside of Japan now have access to these shows live- the Tokyo Dome this past year was aired live for the first time worldwide. For those who have been fans of puro for years, how incredible is that? There has been tons of matches that, if you follow the Wrestling Observer ratings scale, have been over the four star range and a lot of their cards (Tokyo Dome, Invasion Attack, nights 2 and 4 of the G1 Climax tournament) blow away anything WWE or TNA has produced this year, by leaps and bounds. But there are many who don’t notice, or don’t particularly care. And I can see their perspective- why should someone care so much about a Japanese product when it’s ten times easier to just watch Raw or Impact every week? Here I’ll try to convince at least one person to give their shows a try. Won’t hurt, right?
Let’s examine possible reasons one might not be interested in New Japan.
They don’t speak English!
This might be a barrier for some at first, sure. Generally you want to know what’s going on during the show and you want to understand what they’re saying in promos. But to be honest, it doesn’t particularly matter. New Japan’s storylines are so basic 98% of promos are just someone talking about how they’ll beat person X tonight. Besides, on air promos in New Japan only happen during intermission, if that. You don’t need to hear the promos to follow what’s going on- just keep watching, get the idea of who’s a babyface and who is a heel by crowd reactions, and you’re going to be fine.
But the announcers don’t speak English either!
That’s a problem…maybe. I think a lot of people would follow New Japan more if there was an alternative English commentary team to get people and storylines over. But like I mentioned earlier, you don’t really need that. New Japan’s basic enough that you don’t need commentary. Besdies, don’t you think if New Japan does hire english commentators, the chances of them hindering the product might be a little on the high side? As long as you pay attention to the match at hand, the need for commentary on these shows is nearly nonexistent.
I don’t know anyone on the roster.
I’m sure you didn’t know everyone in WWE or TNA when you first started watching their shows, right? It might take some work, but after a few shows you should get the idea of who’s who. I know people see the word “work” and flee, but the match quality speaks for itself- once you watch the product you’ll want to know who these people are and what kind of great matches they can have with other people on the roster.
I’m not waking up at 2 am for a wrestling event in JAPAN. Besides, internet pay per views suck. Look at ROH.
Yeah the time difference is annoying if you want to watch live. But then again, no one’s forcing you to watch it live either if you want. You can pay the $25 for the show and watch it at a time that suits you the most if you want. It won’t be live, but unless that is a detrimental factor in how you watch pro wrestling, that shouldn’t be a big deal at all. And as for stream quality, I’ve experienced maybe one problem in the (close to) a year New Japan has put out pay per views and after switching browsers everything was fine. But it’s no different than any other risks that come with internet pay per views- there will always be someone experiencing a problem that’s either on their own end or on the stream providers. And if the worst does happen to occour, at least there’s the VOD following the show. ROH had constant problems with their pay per views, never fixed the issue and essentially gave up altogether. They’re the one exception to many independent wrestling companies out there who have put on internet pay per views and have been successful at doing so- I feel New Japan is one of them.
$25? That’s highway robbery!
That was my inital thought as well- I was willing to pay $15 but not $25. But then I did a impulse buy, and by the time it ended I felt I got my money’s worth. I’m not being paid by New Japan or anything by saying this, but if you spend a few extra dollars on their product I’m pretty sure you’re going to get you’re moneys worth. And if not, well, maybe New Japan isn’t for you then.
I’m not gonna then.
Ok, then don’t.
I know a lot of people aren’t fans of the current WWE or TNA products, and for those people who fit into that category then I suggest getting the New Japan events- I geniunely feel that if you buy at least one of their events, you aren’t going to regret it. But I understand it isn’t for everyone- I’m not saying anyone who doesn’t like the US wrestling scene needs to watch it- but for those who are kind of intersted but don’t want to take the plunge for the reasons above, just do it. Buy one show. The kind of stuff New Japan has put out…there’s been no other promotion in recent years that has had a string of good to exellent shows out there. And trust me, if this article compells you to buy one show, you won’t regret it.
That’s all for this week. I’ve been watching the G1 Climax this week which compelled me to write this article, so if you want to hear me ramble about that you can follow me @br26. ALSO, if this article has piqued your interesting New Japan but still aren’t completely sure, Free Pro Wrestling has a bunch of New Japan stuff you can watch right now, including some articles written by yours truly. See you (sometime) next week!