As somebody that adores New Japan Pro Wrestling, I absolutely love helping new and curious fans get into what I believe is the best quality grappling promotion in the world. In the past, I’ve written a beginner’s guide to the promotion’s biggest event, Wrestle Kingdom, and a guide to how to start watching NJPW. During my time trying to help New Japan Newbies, I’ve seen a few questions being asked repeatedly, both to myself and across social media and message boards: What is a “Young Lion”? Why are there wrestlers all wearing the exact same black boots and trunks? Why are people stood around the ring wearing red trousers and getting repeatedly beaten up?
The entire wrestling world is in utter shock right now.
In every other field of entertainment, whether it be music, television, film, etc., the determination of how good or bad something is isn’t down to one individual. Opinions from hundreds of critics are gathered to determine whether a piece of cinema or music is universally acclaimed, middle of the road, or panned by the world. Yet as it is in so many ways, wrestling is unique when it comes to critical opinion. Despite being enjoyed by millions of people around the world, there is only one opinion that truly determines how good a match is. Sure, there are hundreds of podcasters, YouTubers, journalists and fans out there that give their opinions on every match they’ve ever seen, and yes, you may be interested in what certain people have to say, yet in the wider context of the wrestling world, their opinion holds no real merit. No match is ever quoted as being 10/10 or absolutely perfect because somebody from WhatCulture said so, or because another wrestler is quoted as saying it is, no matter how admired they are by the community. However, if respected journalist Dave Meltzer says a match is five stars, then it’s known forever as a five-star match.
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.
The dropkick – a simple move performed by hundreds of wrestlers in various forms over the years. It can be good, it can be not so good (I’m looking at you Cena), but in some cases, it can be spectacular. With all the dozens upon dozens of wrestlers who have performed this move night in, night out in the last few decades, trying to decide who does/did it best is a rather difficult task, but I was willing to put in the effort for all my loyal marks out there (thanks for the support, guys). So here they are, the Top 10 Best Dropkicks in Wrestling.
Wrestling is a wonderful thing. Part sport, part soap opera. But behind all of the pyro, the storylines, the spandex, and the razzle dazzle, the true reason we love this crazy world of sports entertainment is because of the in-ring action. Sure, we need all of the extravagance and kayfabe that comes along with it, yet all of that would be nothing without some good ol’ wrasslin’. This list honours those ring technicians that are at the top of their game right now, the masters of their craft, those that keep us watching and chanting “fight forever” and “this is awesome” repeatedly. Here are the Top 10 Highest Quality Wrestlers in the World.
Bullet Club is the most popular stable in the wrestling world. Not since the late 90s have we seen a group completely take over the sport quite like this. Bullet Club shirts are the new NWO shirts, and too sweet is the new…too sweet.
The group has had some of the biggest stars in wrestling in its ranks over the last few years, including two of WWE’s biggest stars right now, but given the turnover of talent they’ve already experienced since their inception, and that the group currently contains some of the most highly scouted performers in the world, Bullet Club is always open to new recruits. But when the time comes to bring in some new bone soldiers, who should the Biz Cliz turn to? Well, I may have just who they are looking for. Here are my Top 10 Candidates to Join Bullet Club.
2016 was a gift to wrestling fans. An absolute nightmare for celebrities, and pretty much everyone else in the world, but we were all able to escape from the horrors of the world by watching some outstanding wrestling. And if the first month of this new year is anything to go by, it looks like 2017 is set to somehow be even better. January 2017 is a wrestling fan’s dream, and by the end of it, it could possibly go down as one of, if not the greatest month in wrestling history. Don’t believe me? Well, I’ve got plenty of reasons why.
2016 is almost at an end. So as one amazing year of wrestling comes to a close, it’s time to look at what the future has in store for us. 2017 has a lot to live up to if it wants to surpass the last twelve months of fantastic grappling action, but with all of these exciting events to look forward to, it may just achieve that. So here they are: my Top 10 Things I’m Looking Forward to in 2017.