McGuire Monday: NJPW Strong Taping proves how far the NJPW branch has progressed (no spoilers for match results) – WWE Sports

Colin McGuire, staff (@McGMondays).

18 games. Day 2. 1 Philadelphia.

Last Saturday and Sunday, we made a pilgrimage to the city of brotherhood in the TV program “Strong” series of New Japan Pro-Wrestling. It has been two weeks and one year since I took over the NJPW Strong Coverage business on this site. Not surprisingly, when it was announced that we were planning to hold a show on the East Coast over the weekend, we felt it was essential to see the fun with our own eyes and with our bodies.

The best part?

Hello again


Please let me explain. When I started writing about the show, we were still in the Covid-19 pandemic stage, the crowd of events wasn’t allowed to start, and the episodes of the show weren’t recorded in front of anyone. Conversely, AEW was cluttering fans during the taping of Daily’s Place, at least to provide a reasonable copy of the crowd. On the other hand, WWE had Thunder Dome.

But NJPW? The wrestler wasn’t really playing with anyone. Therefore, these powerful episodes felt particularly different and especially isolated. You could hear every growl, every chop, every breath, and I say this in the most affectionate way possible, but the episodes give them a somewhat public access atmosphere Had Not very produced. Limited space around the ring. And after a while, the narration game became a reality, and at the beginning of each episode their bodies stopped checking in, so they couldn’t even see the commentary team of Kevin Kelly and Alex Koslov.

But in all the wrestling shows on television and streaming services that the crowd benefited from returning to the equation, NJPW Strong breathlessly claimed that quality had improved the most after people returned. To do. True, the crowd is not. On a large scale, yes, the production can be a hit or miss (this Texas taping run is noteworthy as we whined a lot in recent Strong reviews), but you are these young wrestlers. Use weekly when you’re used to meeting, grow, grow, learn, and bum in front of anyone. Behind them is a crowd cheering for the first time … the phrase “day and night” is not the beginning.

Well, was it carried over to Philadelphia last weekend?

Philly fan

Of course I did. The 2300 Arena is almost the perfect spot for NJPW Strong Taping. It’s small, has a long history, and is in a city that attracts smart and passionate wrestling fans. Was it sold out? No. But was there enough people in the building to generate the type of energy that everyone involved needed to make a great wrestling show great? That’s right.

Even better, these weren’t fans who were there just because John Moxley and Eddie Kingston wrestled at Sunday’s main event. These were fans who were enthusiastic about people like Clark Connors and Alex Cofflin. The two NJPW strong personalities attended the show every week, whether in the crowd or with Kafrin’s mustache. Fans who shouted Minoru Suzuki’s theme song. And these were fans who ate every corner of every word Juice Robinson shouted at them when they played.

Moreover, of course, no one was ashamed of the four-letter words. And since this is in the old ECW Arena, do you expect (or want) something different?

The actual wrestling is …

Billy Goat

These people delivered. Perhaps my biggest takeaway from both days was being as close as I was watching Will Ospreay fight. He’s bigger than I expected, and he’s terribly fat. Combining it with his movement, agility, and mysterious charisma creates a prototype, not named John Cena, made for this style of wrestling. He can work at any pace, and when he puts it, my god, he puts it (there is a chop he landed on Ren Narita on Saturday night, which puts me forever It bothers me).

In addition, the man is still rediscovering the scaffolding after a long neck injury. I also feel that his presence is giving Strong a profile upgrade. This has been necessary for quite some time. Of course, it’s not rude to everyone who moves their hips every week. It just says that you need at least one next-level main event talent to help create other future next-level main event talent. And if Saturday was at least some sign, it looks like Ren Narita is next in line to rub the Osprey.

My only fear is that the Osprey’s Strong stay will not last that long. His recent gimmick is that he is still the NJPW World Champion because he has never lost the title from the beginning, so you are on the clash course with IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Shingo Takagi. Must be considered, and smart money says it’s not necessarily a conflict course done in Strong. The Osprey is also arguably the largest full-time star of the NJPW anywhere except Japan. Jay White is well known and the stars of Kazuchika Okada and Hiroshi Tanahashi are shining beyond their homeland, but Osprey has been a hot topic for a while and this weekend is the heyday of his career. I felt like I was ready to settle down. Remember. He is only 28 years old.

However, it’s likely that the heyday of your career hasn’t been spent on NJPW Strong, especially if you can go to the Wrestle Kingdom headline. But hey: enjoy him while you get him, right? It’s better to eat now than to starve later. It is commendable that NJPW wore strong. It’s a praise that the Osprey itself seems to accept it and jump in. Hidden blades are a kind of annoyance.

But enough for the Osprey …

From top to bottom

… and more about the rest.

I mentioned this in the weekend results article, but I can’t say enough about how impressive it is that NJPW essentially created these wrestlers from the LA Dojo. Well, of course, it wasn’t like the type of wrestler-creating, and obviously the work and sacrifices from those who are competing now are unmatched.

But whatever it means anymore, it often consists of being “homemade.” If it should be applied everywhere, it should be done in New Japan. Because the training these people have to endure does not seem to be for the weak in all explanations. The evolution of Clark Connors, Alex Cofflin, Ren Narita, DKC, Kevin Knight and others has been an absolute pleasure to see for months. Throwing over someone like Hikuleo, who will become a star three years later, and Fred Rosser, who was completely reborn at NJPW, you happened to win one of the best understated rosters in the game.

And I say it objectively. Loyalty to a brand seems to be all the rage these days, especially when its anger eventually becomes a level of super-fandom, blocking the good from consciousness from anywhere else. That’s not what I’m investing in too much. Also, you won’t find that you love everything from anywhere, or what I mean, from one organization because I’m in a bad mood. However, the weekly list of people who appear in Strong has evolved into a versatile, entertaining, and above all, reliable list.

When adjusting weekly to review Strong on this website, I know I’m going to get some good stuff — and I say it confidently every week 6 or 8 months ago I couldn’t. However, the company took the time to develop the wrestler, and the wrestler took the time to concentrate on the development. As a result, both Saturday and Sunday cards were restless.

In fact, about that …

Two are always better than one

A few weeks ago I covered the taping of MLW Flightland in the same arena, but if NJPW hadn’t booked the building last weekend, I’d be worried if it wasn’t there yet. lesson? If you plan to tape your TV and need to do it all at once, extend it to two days.

No, I rarely use exclamation marks.

The experience of strong taping was less grating than the experience of MLW earlier this month, which may be unbelievable after three and a half hours of solid wrestling one night, but three hours of solid Because there was wrestling. And-30 minutes of wrestling the next night. There was no 7-hour marathon between Alex Hammerstone and Jacob Fatu that would ultimately pollute MLW’s long-awaited main event. Instead, on both Saturday and Sunday, things started to feel harmless to settle down, and things were … well … done.

I’m not bashing MLW, so don’t go there. I thank you for covering it, and probably the next taping set will be different. But New Japan seems to really understand how to get the most out of taping, both from talent and the audience. The production was great, the work inside the ring was great, and the overall experience was something wrestling enthusiasts couldn’t miss.

What’s more, after using the product every Friday night last year, it was like watching a tape of your favorite TV show directly in front of a live studio audience. Well, I think that was the case.

But the best thing, as I said, was the people through it all. People inside the ring and people outside the ring. And for those who aren’t the biggest fans of people everywhere, it was hard for anyone, including myself, to ask for more, even if they missed Hikuleo at night 1.

– WWE Sports

McGuire Monday: NJPW Strong Taping proves how far the NJPW branch has progressed (no spoilers for match results) McGuire Monday: NJPW Strong Taping proves how far the NJPW branch has progressed (no spoilers for match results)

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