Anyone here watch Japanese pro wrestling?

Discuss anything and everything relating to that fascinating island empire of the east
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llj
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Anyone here watch Japanese pro wrestling?

Post by llj »

NJPW? DDT?

DDT is fun if you don't mind comedic wrestling. I'm on a Joshi kick lately.

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DKop
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Re: Anyone here watch Japanese pro wrestling?

Post by DKop »

I was interested in Dump Matsumoto matches on Youtube a few years ago, the female league is entertain to watch, especially the female commentators and their facial responses when Dump drop kicks someone over the ring.

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llj
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Re: Anyone here watch Japanese pro wrestling?

Post by llj »

Yeah, Joshi is all fragmented nowadays, with 5 or 6 different promotions and a handful of smaller underground ones. Many wrestlers are freelancers though, so they can appear in some or even all of the promotions simultaneously throughout the year. It's easy to get familiar with them since many of the same faces keep showing up everywhere.

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Re: Anyone here watch Japanese pro wrestling?

Post by Drew_Sutton »

I don't follow it much: I got into New Japan for a hot minute back in 2013 or 2014 (complete Okada mark, loved Bullet Club, too) but haven't kept up as much. I have a friend who's into it, so he'll let me know what is/isn't worth watching.

Much like all I care about American pro wrestling, I will go back and watch some of the 80s and 90s stuff featuring wrestlers I remember watching as a kid (Mutoh Keiji and Chouno Masahiro being other favorites). I very much prefer the strong-style, technical wrestling you get out of Japanese (and some American & Canadian) promotions.

About the same time I got into New Japan recently, I fell into a YouTube hole, starting with looking up the Beauty Pair (an inspiration for the Dirty Pair) and found a treasure trove of 80s and 90s Joushi Pro (All Japan Women's I think), so I watched a lot of Nagayo Chigusa, Dump Matsumoto, Bull Nakano, Lioness Asuka and the like. I've never tried to really watch any of the modern women's promotions though.
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llj
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Re: Anyone here watch Japanese pro wrestling?

Post by llj »

I like strong-style too; but I think they've at times gone too far into dangerous. One popular Japanese wrestler recently had to retire because of a headbutt which caused a brain injury. There's no need to do "real" headbutts. Stiff kicks on the thigh and such are alright, but they really need to tone down head impacts.

I used to watch WWE pro wrestling when I was a kid, but I don't like the types of wrestling they promote (simple moves, brawling and such) and Vince McMahon's values are questionable. I also don't like the backstage politics which certain wrestlers play.

In Japan, there's a hierarchy and you work yourself up from a rookie to eventually being a good and reliable worker as well as how much of a draw you are. In the U.S., at times it feels more like how good a wrestler is at playing backstage politics that gets them pushed, regardless of how much of a draw they actually are.

I do prefer technical, chain-based wrestling mixed with power moves and lucha. I generally find brawlers boring to watch.

Joshi is currently in the middle of a mini-resurgence somewhat. The talent pool now is probably the best it's been since the late 90s. It's not going to recapture the glory days of the 80s and early 90s when Dump, Bull, Chigusa, Jaguar, Toyota, Hokuto etc, were ruling the roost, but it's much better than it was in the 2000s when old talent was retiring and no great young talents were coming up to replace them. Today there are about 5 or 6 wrestlers who could be the face of a promotion, and 10 or so who are very strong main-event calibre talents.

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Re: Anyone here watch Japanese pro wrestling?

Post by _D_ »

Lots of old school wrestling on YouTube these days as well as all the shoot interviews. Jim Cornette is a hoot! Check them out if you aren't already...

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llj
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Re: Anyone here watch Japanese pro wrestling?

Post by llj »

Cornette is very entertaining. He can be a bit too old school though. I don't agree with his contempt for comedy wrestling--I think it has its place and even find it enjoyable. Maintaining eternal kayfabe nowadays is futile. It's not the 80s anymore. Everyone knows wrestling is scripted, so why not embrace its theatricality?

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Re: Anyone here watch Japanese pro wrestling?

Post by Drew_Sutton »

llj wrote:I like strong-style too; but I think they've at times gone too far into dangerous. One popular Japanese wrestler recently had to retire because of a headbutt which caused a brain injury. There's no need to do "real" headbutts. Stiff kicks on the thigh and such are alright, but they really need to tone down head impacts.
I agree. I always cringe when I see those really stiff shots to the head and neck, knowing what can come of that. Looking back at the mid-90s with the likes of Misawa Mitsuharu and Kawada Toshiaki, it's like Misawa declared war on the human neck. Probably also didn't help that Misawa and Kawada legitimately did not like each other very much.
_D_ wrote:Jim Cornette is a hoot!
llj wrote:Cornette is very entertaining. He can be a bit too old school though. I don't agree with his contempt for comedy wrestling--I think it has its place and even find it enjoyable.
Love Corny; listen to both his podcasts a lot. He's often my spirit animal at work. I think he has a point about comedy wrestling but I don't fully agree with it. As much as I like strong style and NWA-style athletic matches, the NWA did all sorts of dumb, gimmicky shit that was right there with Kenny Omega and Yoshihiko The Blowup Doll.
llj wrote:Maintaining eternal kayfabe nowadays is futile.
Also agree. Though, I think Cornette also has brought up that things like UFC have out-wrestlinging'ed pro-wrestling: hype around matches, bombastic personalities, cuttin' promos, etc. The only, sole difference, is that UFC isn't a work (that we know of ;) ). Despite it being well known that pro-wrestling features compliant opponents, there is nothing preventing them from having all of those elements again. Japanese pro wrestling features all of that with no attempt to adhere to any sense of kayfabe, at least that I can pick up on, and I like it like that.

Anyone catch Wrestle Kingdom 12 yet? I watched Jericho vs. Omega (the Battle of Winnipeg as I call it) and Okada vs. Naito (good match) but need to go back and watch the rest.
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llj
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Re: Anyone here watch Japanese pro wrestling?

Post by llj »

Jericho-Omega was a good match. I'm happy for both of them, Jericho got to cut loose in a way he hasn't been able to in about a decade. But what do you expect from the WWE? No company misuses good talent quite like them.

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llj
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Re: Anyone here watch Japanese pro wrestling?

Post by llj »

Interesting going ons in the WWE today. With Japanese wrestlers winning both the men and women's RR. There also seems to be a lot of indications they are planning to build the women's division around Asuka from this year to next (and aside from her not having a title yet, they pretty much almost have already built around her as she by far has had the biggest push and most TV time of any woman since her RAW debut).

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