For the first time in a long time we dial it back and try to give the spotlight to writers from other sites as we move to the blog of the week. This near the start of the site was used as sort of a way to gain more attention for the site and help me give others a moment in the sun. Even though some might think that this doesn't make sense or sounds lazy, but the reason is because I have always wanted a chance to prove what I can do but nobody to this day has and that's why when I got the chance I wanted to take it.
It is said that more and more wrestling fans from outside Japan are gravitating towards New Japan Pro Wrestling, and I am one of them. Having exclusively watched American professional wrestling for most of my life I have held a NJPW World subscription for almost six months now. Today I share my first impressions of NJPW, what I like, what I don’t like, what is different and what is the same when compared to WWE.
To apply some context, I am 33 years old and have been a fan of wrestling ever since I was a kid. Like most people my age, if you like wrestling then WWE is probably what you grew up on. I did also partake in a healthy dose of WCW while dabbling with ECW and ROH. Over the last two or three years I have gradually turned away from WWE, for reasons that could probably fill another post. Having all but turned off from WWE completely, in January I decided that I’d give NJPW a shot to see what it was like.
Like many new fans, the first show of my NJPW World subscription was a Tokyo Dome show and what a show it was. Wrestle Kingdom is often referred to as the Japanese version of WrestleMania, and rightly so. The elaborate entrances, giant set, massive crowd and sheer length of the show are all comparative. There’s even a pre-show battle royal for the guys not booked on the main show. This type of grandeur is not the norm though. Pretty much every other show is held in a fairly modest, by WWE standards, venue. Korakuen Hall appears to be NJPW’s home arena and it doesn’t even have a proper entrance for the wrestlers. It very much reminds me a slightly nicer version of the ECW Arena. One of the immediate differences for me, however, was the first thing that strikes many a western fan; the quietness of the fans.
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