I think in my opinion it is clear that Kenny Omega and Kazuchika Okada are two of the top wrestlers in not just New Japan but in the world. The match that they had last year at Wrestle Kingdom not only proved just how good Okada was but helped elevate Kenny to his level. This is exactly why I have chosen the to list Omega and Okada the way I have on the list. However, it based on how this year started for both Omega and Okada I don't think switching them would be as hard to believe as some might have thought a while back.
Looking back it took Kenny a little time to find his way in the wrestling world and begin to see his stock rise which really didn't start to happen until his time in New Japan began. For those who may not be aware Omega is actually of many failed former developmental stars of the old WWE system to make it elsewhere. Even with that being said I think it'd be impossible for the WWE to know how much of a star Omega would become at the time they released him. That's right the WWE released someone who has become one of the best talent in the world, but that just speaks to not knowing who you have in the system.
Before his time in NJPW began he would call companies like ROH, DDT, PWG, PWS, and other companies but in a way he was a modern day freelancer never really staying with one company for too long. This really hurt Omega though as he never really caught in a company due to him not staying in one place until New Japan. Overall, after seeing his match with Jericho this past January it is hard for me to believe that this is the same talent I saw 5 years ago with ROH as he came along way in those years. Though this might insight people I do believe Kenny isn't there yet but will be soon the best wrestler in the world. Sorry Jim Cornette, but it's the truth. His track record speaks for itself and as he keeps adding to the resume of great matches he has put together it will be harder to deny his status.
It is hard to believe that over the course of his entire legendary career that he actually has never wrestled in New Japan. It was announced at New Beginnings in Osaka that Rey will be debut on March 25 at the Strong Style Evolved in Long Beach, CA. After the success of the California shows last July it is not surprising that they are back this early in the year and bringing in a top talent like Rey. By far the most interesting part of this show is that Rey Mysterio will once again get in the ring against Jushin Liger.
For those who don't know how they could've met in the ring before well back in the day the WCW did have an agreement in place with NJPW and brought in Liger to work Mysterio back in the 1990's. Now though it is possible that with this being said it could be that these two have not fought each other since around 1996. Which is amazing in itself that these two are not only still active, but that after all these years they are on the a collision course with one another again.
Liger & Mysterio are both very similar as they have made careers out of being top lightweight performers and though Mysterio spent a very long time with the WWE and is now on his own. Liger followed the same path with New Japan and now coming and going as he pleases which is something that I'm not sure WWE would ever do. Even though some might find it difficult to get excited about this match at this point, but I will point out that at this time I think Mysterio has never been in better shape in his career and should make for an amazing match for these two legends of this incredible business.
Before I get into the article nope this isn't what you think it is about or some sudden rumor about a major dream match. However, it is more about the connection between two company franchise major stars and how different the two companies have booked their company stars. Though both New Japan & the WWE have similar thoughts of top stars with certain talent holding the top spot of years at a time. Prior to Okada becoming the "Ace" of New Japan the spot was held by Hiroshi Tanahashi and after helping NJPW out of the dark ages he was moved from the "Ace" spot when Okada first began to come into his own & was ready to lead. There is no doubt that at this point Okada is one of the top stars in all the world & will help lead New Japan for years to come.
Similarly to Okada in a way John Cena would take the lead as the "Modern Hulk Hogan" after a period of transition when the WWE had to find someone to replace the departed Brock Lesnar. Though it might seem that Cena would be more comparable to Tanahashi I would have to disagree with that due to in my opinion Tanahashi being more similar to Austin or Rock due to his impact on New Japan and the presence he still holds. Though the point of the post is make comparisons I don't think that any fans need me to visit Cena's career accomplishments as it is very much spoken about to this day in the WWE. Cena won his first WWE Title back in 2005 from JBL and the rest is as they say is history, but in my opinion he really didn't hit the top dog status until around 2006 due to him finally beginning to really carry the WWE on his back.
Overall looking at things, Cena is in his forties at this point and Okada is only thirty years old at this point and though he might 10 years the junior of Cena it does show how far he could still go. Fact is even though fans may not think that this could be an accurate comparison, but it is more showing the future Okada could have and the impact that he could leave on the wrestling industry when he hangs up his boots. Looking at John's last few years and just how consistent he is in the ring & how reliable he is as well. Okada is still developing and coming into his own as a star on a large scale and this is exactly what I'm getting as I believe with New Japan expansion there is no better choice then Okada for them to build to company around. Over the next few months and years the world will find out what fans and Japan has already known and that is just how good Kazuchika Okada is in that ring.
One had to wonder when I would return to New Japan on the countdown and the answer is in the back end of the top 5. With us now reaching the number four wrestler in the world I don't think there is a doubt that Tetsuya Naito has moved into that conversation in the last year. Over the last year Naito has shown so much improvement from where he had been in the ring just in the way he carries himself. At first some pegged Naito to be on the level of Hiroshi Tanahashi and though he could still reach Hiroshi it has taken longer then many first thought. Initially Naito began his career teaming with fellow rookie at future Junior Heavyweight superstar Yujiro Takahashi called No Limit.
Following a short tour in the United States they would return to Japan and actually win the IWGP Tag Team Titles in a match including Team 3D & Bad Intentions. That would the teams only reign with the top tag titles before splitting in 2011 and this would start a roller coaster for the current leader of LGI in Japan. Fast forward to 2014 with years of resentment building and thinking that Naito may not be ready it all comes to ahead when he is bumped from the Main Event of Wrestle Kingdom against the World Champion in favor of Nakamura vs Tanahashi. This card change would be used in story lines for years to come it would take another loss to Okada for Naito to be sent on excursion to the States. However, it would be a tour of Mexico that would allow Naito to find his darker side.
Since he has returned to New Japan it's like he found his character and become a different person. The best comparison I can make is that it was almost like New Japan was trying to make Naito be something he wasn't comfortable being. But upon his return to the company it didn't take to long for his stock to rise and things to change. Things have changed so much in the last three years for Naito that he not only fought in the Main Event of Wrestle Kingdom, but came within inches of winning. Overall, Naito is one of the few top wrestlers with clear cut gimmick in the modern age of wrestling and he plays his part to perfection. Naito in my opinion still has room to grow as a talent and could become the Best Wrestler in the World in the coming years if his output continues and his stock continues to rise.