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 411mania » Wrestling » Columns

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My Take On 12.29.13: Looking at NJPW on iPPV in 2013
Posted by Larry Csonka on 12.29.2013





WELCOME!
Welcome back to the latest edition of My Take On. It is that time of year when I use the column to take a look back at the year that was. Much like last year, I will be looking back on PPV and iPPV I have watched during the year 2013. I will give the listing of PPVs/iPPVs by the score, the top matches from the company's PPV/iPPV, a quick look at the shows and the best wrestlers on the shows before looking at an overall verdict for the year. I hope that this is something you will enjoy. This year the breakdown columns will include…

  • Ring of Honor
  • EVOLVE/Dragon Gate USA
  • TNA
  • New Japan Pro Wrestling
  • WWE
  • Top 15 PPV Performers of 2013
  • 2013 PPV Overview

    AND NOW….

     photo njpwlogo_zpsed59ace3.jpg

    LOOKING at New Japan Pro Wrestling on iPPV in 2013

    THE PPV SCORES
  • NJPW G1 Climax Finals iPPV: 10.0
  • NJPW WrestleKingdom 7 iPPV - 9.9
  • NJPW Dominion iPPV - 9.75
  • NJPW KIZUNA Road II iPPV - 9.1
  • NJPW Invasion Attack iPPV - 9.0
  • NJPW Kings of Pro Wrestling iPPV8.6
  • NJPW Destruction iPPV - 8.5
  • NJPW Power Struggle iPPV - 8.3
  • NJPW A New Beginning iPPV - 7.9
  • NJPW G1 Climax Semifinals iPPV: 7.8
  • NJPW KIZUNA Road I iPPV - 7.4
  • NJPW New Japan Cup Finals iPPV - 7.0
  • NJPW Dontaku iPPV - 7.0
  • NJPW World Tag League Finals iPPV - 6.15
  • NJPW 2013 World Tag League iPPV - 6.0

    As a reminder, this is not a basic "how good was the show" number like a TV show, as I have always felt that a PPV is very different from a regular show. I have always judged PPV on how they built to a match, the match quality, crowd reactions to matches and angles, the overall booking, how the PPV leads into the future, PPV price and so on and so forth. I have added this in here for an explanation since so many have asked, and I have previously discussed it on podcasts. I understand that this may seem different, but that is how I grade. Obviously your criteria may be different.


    THE BEST MATCHES
  • From The NJPW Kings of Pro Wrestling iPPV - Kazuchika Okada vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi [*****]
  • From The NJPW Invasion Attack iPPV – Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada [****¾]
  • From The NJPW WrestleKingdom 7 iPPV: IWGP Heavyweight Title Bout - Hiroshi Tanahashi © vs. Kazuchika Okada [****¾]
  • From The NJPW "A New Beginning" iPPV: IWGP Heavyweight Title Bout - Hiroshi Tanahashi © vs. Karl Anderson [****¾]
  • From NJPW Dominion iPPV - Katsuyori Shibata vs. Hirooki Goto [****¾]
  • From NJPW Destruction iPPV – Kazuchika Okada vs. Satoshi Kojima [****½]
  • From the NJPW G1 Climax Finals iPPV: Tetsuya Naito vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi - [****½]
  • From the NJPW G1 Climax Semi-Final iPPV - Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada [****½]
  • From NJPW Dominion iPPV - IWGP Heavyweight Title Bout: Kazuchika Okada vs. Togi Makabe [****½]
  • From The NJPW WrestleKingdom 7 iPPV: IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title Bout - Prince Devitt © vs. Low Ki vs. Kota Ibushi [****½]
  • From The NJPW WrestleKingdom 7 iPPV: IWGP Intercontinental Title - Shinsuke Nakamura © vs. Kazushi Sakuraba [****½]
  • From NJPW Destruction iPPV – Testuya Naito vs. Masato Tanaka [****¼]
  • From NJPW Kizuna Road II iPPV: Kazuchika Okada vs. Prince Devitt [****¼]
  • From NJPW Destruction iPPV – Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Prince Devitt [****]
  • From the NJPW G1 Climax Finals iPPV: Tetsuya Naito vs. Karl Anderson - [****]
  • From the NJPW G1 Climax Finals iPPV: Satoshi Kojima vs. Kazuchika Okada - [****]
  • From the NJPW G1 Climax Finals iPPV: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Katsuyori Shibata - [****]
  • From the NJPW G1 Climax Semi-Final iPPV - Togi Makabe vs. Tomohiro Ishii [****]
  • From the NJPW G1 Climax Semi-Final iPPV - Minoru Suzuki vs. Kota Ibushi [****]
  • From NJPW Kizuna Road II iPPV: Minoru Suzuki vs. Tomohiro Ishii [****]
  • From NJPW Kizuna Road II iPPV: Masato Tanaka vs. Tetsuya Naito [****]
  • From NJPW Kizuna Road II iPPV: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. La Sombra [****]
  • From NJPW Kizuna Road I iPPV: IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title Bout – Prince Devitt vs. Gedo [****]
  • From NJPW Dominion iPPV - Rocky Romero & Alex Kozlov vs. Alex Shelley & KUSHIDA [****]
  • From NJPW Dominion iPPV - Prince Devitt vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi [****]
  • From NJPW Dominion iPPV - Minoru Suzuki & Shelton Benjamin vs.. Shinsuke Nakamura & Tomohiro Ishii [****]
  • From The NJPW WrestleKingdom 7 iPPV: Togi Makabe vs. Katsuyori Shibata [****]
  • From The NJPW WrestleKingdom 7 iPPV: Yuji Nagata vs. Minoru Suzuki [****]
  • From The NJPW "A New Beginning" iPPV: Kazuchika Okada vs. Minoru Suzuki [****]
  • From NJPW Invasion Attack iPPV – Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr [****]
  • From NJPW Invasion Attack iPPV IWGP Jr Tag Team Title Match: Alex Shelley & Kushida vs. Prince Devitt & Ryusuke Taguchi [****]
  • From NJPW Invasion Attack iPPV : Masato Tanaka & Yujiro Takahashi vs. Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma [****]
  • NJPW Kings of Pro Wrestling iPPV - Katsuyori Shibata vs. Tomohiro Ishii [****]
  • From The NJPW Kings of Pro Wrestling iPPV - Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Naomichi Marufuji [****]
  • From The NJPW Power Struggle iPPV - Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Tomohiro Ishii [****]
  • From The NJPW Power Struggle iPPV - Tetsuya Naito vs. Masato Tanaka [****]
  • From The NJPW Power Struggle iPPV - Kazuchika Okada vs. Karl Anderson [****]
  • From The NJPW World Tag League Finals iPPV: Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows vs. Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan [****]
  • NJPW Kings of Pro Wrestling iPPV - Tetsuya Naito vs. Yujiro Takahashi [***¾]
  • From NJPW Kizuna Road II iPPV: Rocky Romero & Alex Koslov vs. TAKA Michinoku & Taichi [***¾]
  • From NJPW Kizuna Road II iPPV: Hirooki Goto vs. Katsuyori Shibata [***¾]
  • From The NJPW "A New Beginning" iPPV: IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title Bout - Prince Devitt © vs. Ryusuke Taguchi [***¾]
  • From New Japan Pro Wrestling Dontaku iPPV: Kazuchika Okada vs. Minoru Suzuki [***¾]
  • From The NJPW Dontaku iPPV: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Karl Anderson [***¾]
  • From the NJPW G1 Climax Semi-Final iPPV: Tetsuya Naito vs. Shinsuke Nakamura [***¾]


     photo awesome_zps410eb257.jpg

    OVERVIEW OF THEIR iPPVS

    New Japan Pro Wrestling iPPV in 2013 was awesome; you should watch it because it will rock your face, the end. I know, that simply will not cut it, so I will explain. Ok, in my opinion, New Japan Pro Wrestling was the best company, not only on PPV, but also in the world for 2013. I had the pleasure of watching a ton of great wrestling in 2013; WWE, TNA, ROH, EVOLVE/DGUSA, Dragon Gate Proper and of course, the New Japan product. Now while I will admit that Japanese wrestling is not for everyone, New Japan Pro Wrestling easily gave me the most bang for my buck in the year 2013. The company seemed focused all year, and while there was no English commentary, I was able to follow the product with no issues. It was simple, clean, and it worked.

    Hiroshi Tanahashi was the man once again for the company, but his excellent feud with Kazuchika Okada finally cemented Okada as the next big main event talent. New Japan is now lucky, because they no longer have a #1 guy, they have a 1 and 1-A in my opinion. These guys competed in some tremendous matches through out the year, always delivering, and always delivering in the highest caliber possible. I have said it be for and will again, they are this generation's Flair vs. Steamboat. But not only were the matches great, they have been drawing great houses, and they are making a huge improvement business wise, which is great to see. The G1, which all was available on iPPV, was one of the greatest amounts of concentrated wrestling in a short period, and a must see for fans of wrestling.

    The company has also done a good job of incorporating foreign talent, which is nothing new for Japan, but they do not always use the right guys. La Sombra, Shelton Benjamin, Alex Shelley, Davey Boy Smith Jr, Lance Archer, The Young Bucks and Karl Anderson are the very best examples of this. They have all played their parts well, and at times have really added a lot to the promotion. It's an aspect of the product that doesn't get as much attention as it should, but I know that NJPW without Karl Anderson this year would have been a little less enjoyable for me. La Sombra and Shelton Benjamin were used well in their feuds with Nakamura, Smith and Archer are the reigning tag champions, Shelley has been great in the Jr. Tag Division and the Bucks made a late run to with the Jr. Tag Tournament and titles.

    But not all was done perfectly. There will be a ton of praise for New Japan, but there are some things I had issues with as far as the booking goes…

  • The NWA Inclusion: For some reason, the NWA name and title still carry some importance in Japan, and NJPW has used the NWA World and Tag Titles this year. The matches were not all that good, and for me a lot of the NWA stuff came off as out of place and flat.

  • The Jr. Heavyweight Division: The IWGP Jr. Title came off as overlooked in 2013. There were some good encounters, but Prince Devitt was used more to push the Bullet Club and in feuding with Tanahashi and Okada. Now while in theory these were not bad things, and gave us good matches and moments, it felt as it at times the division was held hostage. I hope that changes in 2014.

  • The Jr. Tag Division: The Jr Tag Division was low on manpower in 2013. You had Rocky Romero & Alex Kozlov, Alex Shelley & KUSHIDA and Taichi & TAKA Michinoku as the teams mostly featured. The Young Bucks were a great late addition, and a much-needed one, but it almost felt like an after thought during the year. Similar to the Jr. Heavyweight Division, I hope they find a new dedication to the division as we head into 2014.

    But even with the shortcomings the company had, the big thing was that the company seemed very focused for the year. As I said, there is no English commentary, but I knew what was going on. I knew all of the big feuds, I knew what title matches they were building too I knew who hated who and it flowed from PPV to PPV, almost like episodic TV. Tanahashi and Okada was tremendous, Karl Anderson had a great year, Devitt proved he can go with the heavyweights, Nakamura delivered as the IC Champion, I loved having Sakuraba around, and Tetsuya Naito's rise to the G1 win and NEVER Title victory all worked for me. New Japan Pro Wrestling, in my opinion, was simply the best on 2013, and I thoroughly enjoyed my experience with the shows and look forward to 2014.


     photo tanahashi_zps55432d51.jpg

    BEST PERFORMERS ON THEIR iPPVS

    In all honesty, and in the spirit of full disclosure, Kazuchika Okada is my wrestler of the year. The strides he made, winning the title and the overall elevation made it a tremendous year for him. But as far as the PPV performances go, Hiroshi Tanahashi was able to just edge him out for the honor of best PPV performer. Hiroshi Tanahashi is still the guy for New Japan, and while there are reports that he is working hurt, and has been throughout the year, the man delivered at an insane level, in 12 high caliber matches. For the record, Okada had 11 matches that ranked highly. Lets take a look at the matches that featured Tanahashi at his best for the year 2013…
  • From The NJPW Kings of Pro Wrestling iPPV - Kazuchika Okada vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi [*****]
  • From The NJPW Invasion Attack iPPV – Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada [****¾]
  • From The NJPW WrestleKingdom 7 iPPV- Hiroshi Tanahashi © vs. Kazuchika Okada [****¾]
  • From The NJPW A New Beginning iPPV- Hiroshi Tanahashi © vs. Karl Anderson [****¾]
  • From The NJPW G1 Climax Finals iPPV: Tetsuya Naito vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi - [****½]
  • From The NJPW G1 Climax Semi-Final iPPV - Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada [****½]
  • From The NJPW Destruction iPPV – Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Prince Devitt [****]
  • From The NJPW G1 Climax Finals iPPV: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Katsuyori Shibata - [****]
  • From The NJPW Dominion iPPV - Prince Devitt vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi [****]
  • From The NJPW Power Struggle iPPV - Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Tomohiro Ishii [****]
  • From The New Japan Pro Wrestling Dontaku iPPV: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Karl Anderson [***¾]
  • From The NJPW G1 Climax Semi-Final iPPV: Tetsuya Naito vs. Shinsuke Nakamura [***¾]

  • Much like El Generico in 2012, Hiroshi Tanahashi was an unstoppable force of awesome on PPV in 2013. It's a shame that Generico had to return to Mexico to take care of the orphans, but he had a higher calling. Anyway, lets get back to Mr. Tanahashi. First of all, there was the feud with Okada over the IWGP Title. An awesome series of matches that way too many people missed out on. In my opinion, this was the feud of the year, not only because of the high quality of matches they had, but also because the feud cemented Okada as another top guy, nearly Tanahashi's equal to many. Two other men that I felt benefited from their matches with Tanahashi were Prince Devitt and Karl Anderson. Through his matches with Tanahashi, Devitt became a legit threat to anyone, and not just another Jr. Heavyweight. That was vital to the quality year that Devitt had. Also the same goes for Anderson. He went from just another American tag team wrestler to a guy that could headline shows with the top guys. Tanahashi carries himself like a star, he looks like a star, and he works like a star; but what is even more important is that the guys he has been feuding with have come out of the matches looking great and have become more bankable stars for the promotion. There is a trick to booking a top guy. All too often promotions book the guy as completely bullet proof, and in a way that it ends up not helping anyone. Either through the match booking or the post match booking. Tanahashi gave a lot in unselfish performances, and the company was smart enough to follow up on that. Hiroshi Tanahashi is easily one of the best wrestlers in the world, he helps elevate talent around him, and the man can deliver on PPV like no one else right now. Add onto that the fact that he has been working hurt nearly all year and it is even more impressive.

    BEST PERFORMERS: While I did name my overall best performer, I do want to make mention of the overall best performers for the promotion. These men are the ones that have consistently delivered when appearing on PPV.

  • Kazuchika Okada
  • Prince Devitt
  • Tetsuya Naito
  • Shinsuke Nakamura
  • Karl Anderson


    OVERALL IMPRESSION OF NJPW iPPVS

    AVERAGE PPV SCORE: 8.16 {Based on 15 Events} According to the 411 scale, which is what I use for grading the PPVs, that means for the year that the gives New Japan Pro Wrestling a "very good" rating for the year.

    Overall verdict: It cannot be said enough how much I enjoyed the New Japan Pro Wrestling product this year. They never had a bad show of the ones I was able to watch, and simply delivered on the shows they charged money for. I never felt as if my intelligence was insulted, I knew where things were going; they didn't swerve just for the sake of swerving, and stayed the course. I loved that they had a vision, that they knew where they were going, how they would get there and that it was easy to follow. I have not been this into a pro wrestling product for a long time, and that is a tremendous feeling. At the end of the day, unlike some other promotions, I will still cover New Japan in 2014. They have more than earned my money through out the year, and that is all I can ask for. Can 2014 be just as good if not better? Only time will tell, but I will be along for the journey. In closing: New Japan Pro Wrestling iPPV in 2013 was awesome; you should watch it because it will rock your face, the end.

  • Wrestler Of The Year: Hiroshi Tanahashi
  • Tag Team Of The Year: Rocky Romero & Alex Kozlov
  • Show Of The Year: NJPW G1 Climax Finals iPPV
  • Match Of The Year: From The NJPW Kings of Pro Wrestling iPPV - Kazuchika Okada vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi


    Have you checked out the Csonka Podcasting Network? If you haven't, you should We run anywhere from 15-20 shows a month, discussing pro wrestling, the world of MMA, the NBA, general sports, popular TV series of the past, bad movies, battle rap, interviews, MMA & Wrestling conference calls and more! Around 10 different personalities take part in the various shows, which all have a different feel; so you'll likely find something you like. All of the broadcasts are free, so go ahead and give a show a try and share the link with your friends on the Twitter Machine and other social media outlets! Running since May of 2011, there are currently over 450 shows in the archive for you to listen to.

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    Larry Csonka is a Pisces and enjoys rolling at jiu jitsu class with Hotty McBrownbelt, cooking, long walks on the beach, Slingo and the occasional trip to Jack in the Box. He is married to a soulless ginger and has two beautiful daughters who are thankfully not soulless gingers; and is legally allowed to marry people in 35 states. He has been a wrestling fan since 1982 and has been writing for 411 since May 24th, 2004; contributing over 3,000 columns, TV reports and video reviews to the site.


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