Fans of New Japan Pro-Wrestling know that the product is constantly changing. The advent of New Japan World has made the product accessible globally, and the company’s brass hasn’t been shy about their intentions to expand. While fans see this move as a necessity and a step in the right direction, New Japan needs to make its decisions wisely. They’ve actively attracted many new fans by adding popular names like Chris Jericho and Rey Mysterio to their biggest cards of the year. Their upcoming Dominion event features both Jericho and Mysterio along with what many would argue is New Japan’s biggest rivalry: Kazuchika Okada vs. Kenny Omega. However, is New Japan forgetting it’s long-term storytelling in the process?
In recent years, New Japan Pro Wrestling’s “Wrestle Kingdom” event has evolved into the premier showcase of professional wrestling from around the world. Held every year on January 4th in the Tokyo Dome, Wrestle Kingdom is New Japan’s biggest show of the year. Throughout these last few years, New Japan has also taken many steps forward in their global expansion with the advent of the New Japan World streaming service, a television deal with Mark Cuban’s AXS TV, and working relationships with various independent wrestling companies from around the world. This year’s Wrestle Kingdom event, however, feels different. Granted I’m a bit newer to puroresu, I think it’s safe to say that New Japan have taken an unexpected approach to Wrestle Kingdom 12. They are taking some big risks and going all in with their biggest show of the year.
It’s summertime and for fans of New Japan Pro-Wrestling that can only mean one thing.. It’s almost time for the G1 Climax!