Your Way Wednesday — NJPW/NOAH Divide

Credit: New Japan Pro Wrestling

Credit: New Japan Pro Wrestling

Welcome back to Your Way Wednesday! Quickly, the rules: each week, we pose a question. After Ichiban Ian and I answer, we turn it over to you, the fans of New Japan Pro Wrestling and King of Sports. We want to know what you think, and you can let us know in the comments section here, on Facebook, or on Twitter. It’s about fun, and it’s about fans! Before we get into this week’s question, though, we’re gonna take a look at last week’sWhich championships, if any, will change hands at Dominion?

Robert McCauley sees a new IWGP Heavyweight Champion in New Japan’s future:

The NEVER Title shouldn’t change. The Makabe/Ishii feud will get stale if we have to see more than this coming match this year.
Kenny Omega’s reign has been lackluster to me. They either keep it going and make it more intense or give up and give it to KUSHIDA.
The Jr. Tag Titles could change hands but they don’t really keep it on anyone for those titles to seem to matter.
The Tag Titles should change hands because The Kingdom only had them for the ROH crossover shows.
Goto will retain in a match that’s hopefully as good as the last one.
The main event will be interesting to see where they go with this. I think Okada wins it but I don’t like that anyone can attack the champ, get a match and beat him.

As for Taurerewa TK, he sees the top two singles titles staying put en route to a big showdown:

Let the Bucks retain. Give the NOC to Ishii. Give the Tag Championship to Gallows and Anderson. Have Goto retain so that Nakamura can main event WK10 as the challenger. And have AJ keep the big strap and main event WK10 with Nakamura. I’m happy either way with the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship. I like both KUSHIDA and Omega.

Thanks, guys! We also ran a poll with the original article. Of the voters, 28.21% predicted an IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title change, 25.64% predicted an IWGP Heavyweight Title change, 17.95% predicted a NEVER Openweight Title change, 15.38% predicted an IWGP Tag Team Title change, 7.69% predicted an IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Title change, and 5.13% predicted an IWGP Intercontinental Title change. Nobody thought all the titles were safe.

We’ll find out what happens on July 5, but for now, it’s time to focus on our new question. For months, there have been rumors swirling about the relationship between New Japan and Pro Wrestling NOAH — some stories have suggested that the former is financially supporting the latter, while others indicate they own it outright. Either way, the two are inextricably linked — and while we have seen a bit of crossover (notably the Suzukigun invasion of NOAH and the presence of Naomichi Marufuji, Shane Haste, and Mikey Nicholls at Wrestle Kingdom 9), the two promotions have, by and large, remained separate entities. That brings us to this week’s question… Do you like NJPW and NOAH as separate brands, or would it be beneficial to have more crossover among the rosters?

For the sake of ease (and for the sake of creating a poll), we’re going to use a four-choice system:

Separate brands (self-explanatory)

Minor crossover (the situation as it is now)

Moderate crossover (wrestlers participating in the other company’s tournaments, occasional title matches at the other company’s shows)

Major crossover (full utilization of all the resources available, either in a full-scale invasion angle or constant interpromotion)

Strong Style Scott: With Pro Wrestling NOAH a shell of its former self, measures need to be taken to ensure not just its growth, but its future. I think a level of moderate crossover between the two companies would be most advantageous for the struggling group. While hardcore fans of the Mitsuharu Misawa/Kenta Kobashi era have admittedly been turned off by New Japan’s influence, ratcheting it up may be the only way to get more eyes on the product. Not only is New Japan the only native company with national television in Japan, but the company has reached it’s highest levels of international popularity ever. Using NOAH talent on widely-seen New Japan shows — and promoting their stars, titles, and feuds — could spark a resurgence for the group, just like using more New Japan talent on NOAH shows might get some people to check out the company.

Ichiban Ian: Pro Wrestling NOAH may be past its heyday, but it will not return to its past glory by piggybacking on the success of New Japan Pro Wrestling. Pro Wrestling NOAH is on the path to success as it currently is, with minor crossover blending established stars with NOAH stalwarts and up and coming talent. Utilizing the likes of Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kazuchika Okada in NOAH would water them down and turn NOAH into nothing more than a traveling B-level house show circuit where the real talent eventually comes to visit. NOAH needs to let its wrestlers develop on their own, facing established talent like Minoru Suzuki and Naomichi Marufuji, and allowing quality booking to build a roster that can succeed on its own without using New Japan Pro Wrestling as a crutch.

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