For the better part of 15 years wrestling has been my favourite thing on the planet and it has always been my go-to thing to watch. World Wrestling Entertainment was the first company I encountered; I had always strictly watched WWE for the majority of my life.
Over the past month I recently branched out on the wrestling I have been watching, getting a subscription to NJPW World. New Japan Pro Wrestling is a wrestling promotion based out of Japan that is known to have top quality superstars.
WWE and NJPW are two companies that offer very similar things, but at the same time, they are so different. WWE prides themselves on being focused on their entertainment aspect, and less about wrestling. While NJPW focuses more on the wrestling point of their product, not every match needs some big story behind it.
In WWE we see things like storylines about marriage, friendship and the ever so confusing love triangle stories. We have recently seen many feuds with these exact things in them.
To kick off 2020, we had a feud between Lana, Rusev, Bobby Lashley, and Liv Morgan. This was the story of Lana cheating on her husband, Rusev, with Bobby Lashley and also cheating on Lashley with Liv Morgan.
This storyline had it all, failed marriages, a wedding, even a lesbian love angle between Lana and Morgan. This was all done for entertainment purposes and this whole thing led to no good matches.
A couple of years ago WWE also did the storyline between Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho, about them being best friends. This led to the very famous “Festival of Friendship,” which is known as one of the best segments in recent history.
Both men delivered in that segment, we had the amazing photos Jericho had made for his friend Kevin. There were also great songs and dancing, and then finally Owens presented his gift to Jericho.
It was “The List of KO,” his own version of “The List of Jericho,” however, Owens had Jericho’s name on his list. Owens then delivered one of the biggest beatdowns of all time on Jericho and destroyed the friendship between these two men.
This broken friendship did not lead to an amazing match, but the story behind the match made it so much better. It became less about showing their wrestling skills and instead was about telling a story. They ended up battling at Wrestlemania 33, and you could see the pain between these two friends splitting up.
Stories like these are very extravagant and take months to build. Plus, they do not require much actual wrestling to keep the viewers interested. Things like these would never be seen over in NJPW.
NJPW would never do storylines like this; they care more about long-term stories with deeper meaning and fewer shenanigans. The wrestling is the main focus of NJPW, for them that goes above huge storylines. The quality of the matches in NJPW has constantly topped WWE over the years.
NJPW has matches like the Kenny Omega and Kazuchika Okada trilogy, that some rank as the best feud of all time. They put on three five-star matches that people still talk about to this day.
Okada and Omega may just be the two best wrestlers in the world right now, and sadly NJPW recently lost Omega, but they still have Okada.
I have also recently been watching the 2016 G1 Climax tournament and the matches in this tournament have blown me away. NJPW cares so much about the quality of matches they are putting out, and with the talent, on the roster, it does not surprise me.
Any wrestling fan in the world knows the superstars Okada, Tetsuya Naito, Hirooki Goto, Zack Sabre JR., Kota Ibushi, or even Jay White. These men are all stars and it is so common to see these names trending for putting on great matches.
Another thought that crosses my mind, is that I wonder if a reason NJPW does not do storylines like WWE is that they do not have a weekly show. They only have their big shows and tournaments, so an issue could be that they do not have enough time and they have to focus on bigger less dramatic stories.
With both of these products of wrestling being so different, it is hard for me to choose a favourite. WWE will always have a special place in my heart, but NJPW is such a nice breath of fresh air.
When I am looking for something that will make me laugh and something that plays more like a television show, I look to WWE. However, when I want to see some amazing wrestling that will have me on the edge of my seat, NJPW is where I go.
Both companies run the wrestling scene and they each have their own fans that stand by religiously to their favourite show. For me, I cannot tell you what I enjoy more because I love both of these products.
To this day I still love to watch a good love story like Otis falling in love with Mandy Rose, and I can also love a hard-hitting bout between Jay White and Tetsuya Naito. These are two completely opposite things, but they deliver so differently. Seeing Otis finally get the girl at Wrestlemania and Naito get the gold at Wrestle Kingdom both bring joy to the heart of a wrestling fan.
I simply just love wrestling and to all my fellow wrestling fans I recommend checking out both products for some entertainment.