New Japan Pro Wrestling is a company built on traditions, and one of its longest-running customs has been to send members of its roster on learning excursions – extended trips to work in other promotions around the world in order to develop their characters, improve their grappling abilities, or just to have time away from NJPW fans so they can come back to the company with a new character or mentality. Although most wrestlers are sent on excursion during their days as a Young Lion (New Japan’s rookie wrestlers), some are sent away once they are a permanent graduate member of the NJPW roster to improve even further. But of all the many talents that have been sent abroad over the years by New Japan, which had the most successful journeys? Who was the biggest hit in their foreign promotions, and who made the biggest impacts upon their return? Let’s find out – here are the Top 10 Most Successful New Japan Pro Wrestling Excursions.
The entire wrestling world is in utter shock right now.
Everyone has been talking about it. You’ve seen the internet blow-up over their five and six star matches, you’ve seen everyone wearing Bullet Club and Los Ingobernables de Japon t-shirts, and you’ve even heard WWE commentators talk about the likes of AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Gallows and Anderson being IWGP champions – so why haven’t you started watching New Japan Pro Wrestling? Is it because it’s on the other side of the globe? Maybe it’s not the style of wrestling you’re used to? Perhaps you’re worried you won’t recognise any of their stars? Or is it because you just have no idea where to start? Well, here’s where I come in to help. I know how daunting it can be delving into an entire new world of wrestling, and you might need a little bit of guidance through this strange Eastern promotion.
In this guide, I have provided ten matches for New Japan newbies to help get you into watching some of the best grappling on the planet. I’ve made my selections based not only on in-ring quality, but also on how accessible they are to new fans – each match features something that will be familiar to you, whether that be familiar faces that have had significant success in the west, English commentary to help you along the way, or that it’s easy to access online without setting up a paid subscription. I’ll also explain some of the traditions, unique quirks, and oddities that come along with this fantastic promotion. But that’s enough talk, let’s get down to some wrestling: here are 10 Matches for NJPW Newbies.
As much as I adore wrestling, it has to be said that it does have its problems. Possibly the biggest drawback of all to this industry is its clear gender inequalities. As someone who’s focused the majority of their university studies on sexism, feminism, and representations of gender, it pains me that one of my biggest loves in life is plagued with unequal gender opportunities, and at times, overt sexism. Thankfully though, gone are the days of the Bra and Panties match, and bikini contests, as the major companies have finally realised that the fans aren’t actually watching their products for partial nudity and mild titillation, we’re watching for some good ol’ fashion wrasslin’.