NJPW In Melbourne: Who Will Take Control Of Bullet Club?
During New Japan Pro Wrestling’s recent tour of Australia the friction between Cody and Kenny Omega continued to escalate as both were jockeying for position within the Bullet Club.
With the faction split between The Elite and the Bullet Club OG’s or the Tongan faction the eventual demise of this incarnation of one of pro wrestling’s most popular factions seems to be imminent.
The question is who will lead Bullet Club in the future. With Tama Tonga looking like a silent boss about ready to take his throne while Cody and Omega fight for the crown themselves, 2018 might have some surprised awaiting many as this feud continues.
NJPW New Beginning In Osaka 2018 Review (Rey Mysterio, Jr. Challenges Jushin Liger)
Our review of New Japan’s New Beginning in Osaka from 2018 featuring a IWGP Championship match between Kazuchika Okada and SANADA.
The night was mostly Los Ingobernables De Japon vs. Chaos in matches between Goto and EVIL for the NEVER Openweight Championship and a match of the year contender with Will Ospreay vs. Hiromu Takahashi for the Junior Heavyweight Title.
In addition, Rey Mysterio, Jr. makes his announcement that he will be at NJPW’s Strong Style Evolved event and challenges Jushin Thunder Liger.
Osaka is the destination for the last night of the New Beginning tour which will feature an IWGP World Championship match between reigning champion Kazuchika Okada against upstart SANADA. The entire night is Chaos vs. Los Ingobernables De Japon.
The build for this match has been surprisingly solid the last month and we expect a great match between the two. Some fans suspect there’s a slim chance of a huge upset tonight.
We’ll look at the card and have some predictions including matches between Hirooki Goto vs. EVIL and Will Ospreay defending the IWGP Juniors Championship against Los Ingobernables De Japon’s Hiromu Takahashi.
NJPW Strong Style Evolved U.S. Show Sells Out In Minutes
The question as to whether or not pro wrestling is strong in the States again has been answered with the New Japan Strong Style Evolved Show selling out within minutes on January 29th.
Last years show, which was over two nights at a 2500 seat venue, sold out in two hours. This year they’re at the Walter Pyramid which holds around 6500 for a wrestling show and sold out within twenty minutes according to some reports.
This also seems to be good news for Cody Rhodes’ All In show this September which aims to sell 10,000 tickets.
NJPW New Beginning In Sapporo Night 2 Review: Omega Out Of Bullet Club
For a company that some (who never watch it) claim doesn’t have storylines, New Japan’s “New Beginning In Sapporo” night 2 event certainly contradicted that statement.
In the main event between IWGP U.S. Champion Kenny Omega and maverick “Switchblade” Jay White, we saw a great contest in the ring that may have been eclipsed with the aftermath of the outcome. What will become of Bullet Club, The Young Bucks, Being the Elite, Cody, and Omega’s long time friend, rival, partner Kota Ibushi?
Kazuchika Okada continues his pursuit to get SANADA to fire up but may have bitten off more than he can chew. In other action, The Young Bucks defend their IWGP Jr. Tag Team Titles in a rematch from WrestleKingdom 12 against Roppongi 3k.
NJPW New Beginning in Sapporo Night 1 Review: Tanahashi vs. Suzuki
New Japan returns with a series of events at the end of January into the beginning of February called “New Beginning”. Featuring two nights in Sapporo, the first night was headlined by the Intercontinental Championship match between Hiroshi Tanahashi and Minoru Suzuki.
The main event proved to be a brutal test of Tanahashi’s will and a display of Suzuki’s viciousness. Would there be a new IC Title holder? Also, Kazuchika Okada releases his inner Million Dollar Man on SANADA and Kenny Omega might have more of a challenge from “Switchblade” Jay White than he anticipated.
This is our review of NJPW New Beginning from Sapporo.
Every year the pro wrestling and sports entertainment world has a number of signature events that fan clamour to see. With all the changes in the industry over the last couple of years, we have reached a point where there are significant milestones that could be reached which will have an impact on the genre for years to come.
WrestleKingdom 12 – although it’s already passed, WrestleKingdom 12 is on this list because it represented a major milestone for New Japan Pro Wrestling. The company had been gaining attention it the West for a few years but with the inclusion of major WWE Superstar Chris Jericho in the semi or double main event against international wrestling’s hottest star Kenny Omega, the event was slated to give that growth another huge jolt.
With increases across the board in attendance, revenue, and New Japan World subscriptions, the event did just that. The quest for another major league wrestling company for fans in North America just took a giant step forward.
Starrcade – in 2017 WWE decided to bring back the annual Thanksgiving tradition to the Greensboro area. While the event was highly criticized for not being on the WWE Network so fans everywhere could enjoy it, locally it was a success and it did spark the conversation with newer fans about wrestling history.
Starrcade, and even more so Thanksgiving Wrestling in Greensboro, became a major topic again in the community, having its tradition dating back several decades. In 2018, WWE will present this event on the Network and hopefully will restore that tradition, one that ironically enough the company itself had a major hand in eliminating three decades ago.
Strong Style Evolved – The second part of New Japan’s entry into this is the Strong Style Evolved event which is the second NJPW run show in the states following last year’s G1 Special.
To also be held in Long Beach, this time they’re going to a proper arena at the Pyramid that can hold far more fans than the event did last year. If New Japan is able to have another sell out, which given the speed at which tickets sold out last year shouldn’t be an issue, this will be yet another step towards variety in North American wrestling.
Progress At Wembley – Over in the UK, the pro wrestling scene has arguably been one of the hottest, and somewhat underreported trends in the industry for a few years now. Progress Wrestling has been at the forefront of this and in 2018 they will be holding an event at Wembley’s SSE Arena which can hold 12,500 fans for a wrestling show. It’s the same arena the London NXT TakeOver took place in which marks the first time in years that a non-WWE promotion will run a show in a venue.
The attendance of this show is not a guarantee but simply having the visual of a Progress Wrestling show in such a venue is powerful, and if they do manage to get close to a sell out, it will be a tremendous statement that the UK scene is back in full force.
However, it will be a challenge given the climate of North American wrestling’s fanbase. Many suspect that they’ll need heavy hitters like Daniel Bryan or CM Punk to reach that number.
All In – Speaking of attendance, what started out as a response to the opinion that they couldn’t sell 10,000 seats by Dave Meltzer, Cody and The Young Bucks have taken that as a challenge and concepted the All In event for September 1st of 2018.
While at the time of this video a location hasn’t been announced, this event is perhaps the most important of all the others on this list for several reasons. The first being that if it is successful it would be the first non-WWE wrestling show to draw such a number since WCW closed it’s doors in 2001. The second, this event unlike the others isn’t sponsored by an actual wrestling promotion. Cody and The Bucks are putting up their own money to fund the event. Thirdly, there are many who doubt their ability to draw such numbers.
Given that most Ring of Honor shows that feature this faction often sell out 2,000 to 5,000 seat venues in advance, I’m not so sure it’s a stretch for them to get there. However, it will be a challenge given the climate of North American wrestling’s fanbase. Many suspect that they’ll need heavy hitters like Daniel Bryan or CM Punk to reach that number. By this summer, we should know whether or not this is a fool’s venture or if Cody has actually taken up the mantle of his late father as a successful pro wrestling promoter.
2017 could be seen as a year where the seeds were planted for this growth of international and indie wrestling. With the increase in attendance and visibility and interest for these other wrestling companies as well as the renewed investment by WWE to re-establish long lost traditions for local areas, 2018 might be the year we see what fruit those seeds with bare.
WWE RAW Review: Balor vs. Rollins – Curb Stomps and Concussions
We look at the main event of this week’s WWE Monday Night RAW. Featuring Seth Rollins and Finn Balor, the match was one of the better on the weekly shows and also had quite a bit of storyline told within the match itself.
Coming off of a highly successful event at WrestleKingdom 12, New Japan continued to provide solid content with New Year Dash and a shocking announcement the day after.
The annual event that happens every year the day after WrestleKingdom usually sees some surprised. This year’s was loaded with them as new storylines began.
Hiroshi Tanahashi and his busted up body will face an old foe in the now bald (and ticked off) Minoru Suzuki, Kenny Omega and Cody continue to have issues within Bullet Club, and “Switchblade” Jay White finds himself in the middle of the two major factions of New Japan after turning his back on Bullet Club and siding with Chaos … sort of.
The biggest news of course was Chris Jericho showing that he wasn’t done in the land of the rising sun as he attacked Tetsuya Naito, showing their online spat before WrestleKingdom 12 was more than some originally had thought.