For months now we’ve been building up to New Japan invading America. For one weekend, the wrestling in Long Beach got a little bit puro, and I don’t think it’s a stretch to call it an unqualified success. We got some brilliant wrestling, a little bit of storytelling and a new champion crowned. So here are ten things we observed when New Japan came to Long Beach.
After months of build up, New Japan has announced the first batch of matches for their G1 Special (which has nothing to do with the G1) in Long Beach next month. On the first and second of July American fans (plus anyone who decided to make the journey) will be treated to two nights of wrestling featuring the incredible talents of Okada, Omega, Naito and… Billy Gunn.
The New Japan Cup is over for another year and while there were some questionable booking decisions – the inclusion of Guerrillas of Destiny being one of them – it got past its shaky start and ended on a high. It’s set New Japan up nicely for Sakura Genesis and given us a title match that you won’t want to miss. With all that in mind, here are five things we picked up on during the tournament.
After the madness that was Fantastica Mania New Japan gets back onto the serious stuff with The New Beginning in Sapporo, a show that kicked off Suzuki-gun’s invasion of New Japan proper. Even with a second event next weekend this was a stacked card and gave me plenty to think about as I continue my New Japan education.
Before I get into this, it’s confession time. Wrestle Kingdom 10 was my first experience of New Japan. I’ve seen matches here and there and I’m obviously aware of Nakamura, Okada, and Tanahashi while you’d have to be living under a WWE-sized rock to have missed Bullet Club (although even that seems to be changing). But until now, I have never sat down and watched a full New Japan show. So here’s my thoughts.