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Cheap Shots: What NJPW Is Doing Is Making WWE Look Bad

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Chris Jericho Kenny Omega NJPW
Image Via NJPW
Cheap Shots are unfiltered, uncensored opinions, and those opinions reflect only the author!

What is NJPW doing that is making WWE look bad? Wrestling, it is that simple. In a day and age where WWE is sports entertainment, New Japan is wrestling.  They are out in front leading the charge, putting on matches unlike anything I have ever seen. I have been a WWE lifelong fan, and have been a NJPW fan for a few years now, and I can tell you the difference in matches is like night and day. Do I still watch WWE? Yes. Is it painful? At times yes.

New Japan is by far putting on the best hard hitting product. No matter who is in the ring, I am not tempted to look at my phone while the match is going on, (here’s looking at you WWE.) New Japan wrestlers are doing stuff in the squared circle that is simply amazing. It isn’t the simple WWE formula of wrestling, which I can call what happens next a mile away. WWE has the  205 wrestlers doing the same stuff as the “Big Boys” on Raw and Smackdown, it isn’t anything different. If WWE is going to have a cruiserweights then by all means let them be cruiserweights. Let them flourish like they did when they were in WCW. Allow them to get the world talking about these matches.

Image Via NJPWThe King of Wrestling?

NJPW has had the world talking for the past couple of years about their matches, (Okada vs. Omega, Omega vs. Jericho). How are they able to do this? One of the reasons they are able to this is because of the Strong Style type of wrestling they produce. When two people clash you can feel it. Just go back and watch the Shibata vs. Okada match. You can feel every hit, drop, submission, and yes infamous head butt that is produced during that match. Now that NJPW is getting better exposer on this side of the world it is starting to connect more and more with western fans. Why? Because at the end of the day it feels real. It has a UFC feel to it; it makes me feel like I am watching an actual fight between two men, not the watered down WWE that we now have to suffer through. Should WWE change their style? Yes, but they don’t need to copy NJPW. WWE needs to allow the wrestlers to try new things, and flourish as individuals, not have everyone stuck in the WWE wrestling style.

Need More Evidence?Image Via NJPW

The other reason these matches are excelling and generating so much buzz is because not everyone and their brother gets to be champion. To get to be IWGP Heavyweight Champion you have to be superior in the ring. Since 1987 there has only been 27 people that have held that title. With 65 reigns among them. Where as with the WWE title it has been held by 49 different people with 138 reigns among them. Kazuchika Okada has held his Championship for over 600 days. So every time he wrestles there is a buzz of will he be unseated. The last WWE champ to hold the title over 200 days was CM Punk in 2011 at 435 days. In WWE title reigns change like the wind, where we make someone champion just to further our efforts in a foreign land. (Cough…Jinder Mahal…Cough). I am not saying we need a long time reigning champion in WWE. Just make the belt mean something, make me believe in the champion that wins. Don’t just put a belt on him as a PR stunt. There is also not one belt that says hey I am the man and I run this roost. We have a heavyweight champion on both shows, which belt is superior? The Universal or WWE title? One could argue it depends on who caries it at the time.

Time for a Change

If WWE could get back on track with the wrestling part of their name, they could possibly turn this train wreck around. Now this isn’t to say WWE doesn’t have good matches, because they do, but they are few and far between. NJPW is consistently putting on not just good matches, but amazing matches night in and night out. I dare you to sit down and watch a NJPW match, then turn around and watch a WWE match, and tell me if you don’t feel a difference in the energy and time that they are putting into the matches.

Perhaps WWE has set too long on top of the mountain as King. But, with New Japan now laying seeds down in the Western World, with having a Dojo, live events, and selling their merchandise in U.S. stores, they very well may give WWE a run for its money. Could this spark WWE to realize that they need to start getting back to their roots and focus mainly on putting good matches? I hope so, I really do hope so.

 

 

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Dear Smarks: WWE Does Listen To Fans

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Stephanie McMahon WWE

Either last week or earlier this week (my days are running together so I don’t remember), Stephanie McMahon was at a summit called ‘Game Changer’ and she made the following comment: ‘We’re successful for one reason only – we listen to our fans.’

The internet smarks ROASTED Stephanie over this comment, mocking her for claiming that WWE listens to their fans when, in their minds, that is clearly not the case. Why? Because Roman Reigns, not Braun Strowman is champion, among other things. Clearly, any company that makes Roman Reigns champion over Braun Strowman isn’t listening to their fans, or at least, their REAL fans. You know, the all-knowing, smark community who know how to run a multi-billion dollar business better than the people who work there do.

I’ve tackled this ‘Real fan’ nonsense in the past and I’m really not in the mood to do it now and the issue of Braun Strowman being champion is an article unto itself. However, let’s be clear here: WWE DOES listen to their fans and the fans they listen to are the fans that buy stuff.

WWE first, last, always, and forever, is a business. They need money to survive and being a publicly traded company, they need money to keep the shareholders happy, that means they have to know who and what makes the money to keep the shareholders happy and keep the company afloat and who is making them the most money is Roman Reigns.

Don’t give me that look. Don’t roll your eyes at me and grumble about him being over pushed and/or shoved down your throat. I can name several people in WWE not named Roman Reigns that are over pushed. The bottom line is that Reigns moves merchandise, his stuff sells and sells really well. Having been to a few WWE TV/PPV tapings, I can tell you that Reigns’ stuff can get a little tough to find and is usually the most requested item.

Now before any of you make snide comments about Reigns having more stuff to sell, I checked WWE’s shop are and compared the number of Roman Reigns shirts to the number of shirts for AJ Styles, in terms of shirts including: T-shirts, tank tops, hoodies and what’s available for both genders, Roman Reigns had thirteen shirts available while Styles had twenty. Thirteen different shirt designs to twenty and that doesn’t include hats, gloves, or the non-wearable stuff available.

Oh, Reigns’ stuff is bought by women and kids, so it shouldn’t count? Here’s my question: So what? It’s still money that SOMEONE is spending on merchandise. If WWE didn’t want women and kids to buy their stuff, they wouldn’t be marketing stuff for women and kids. Why? Because women and kids are FANS!

For those of you still grumbling, here’s some food for your thoughts: Why should WWE listen to their ‘real’ fans? No, I’m serious. Why should they listen to fans who cheer something one week, boo it the next, demand that indy darlings get pushed despite getting mediocre pops from Main Roster audiences, and pay more attention to beach balls and time clocks than the matches? Why should they listen to people who BRAG about spending a lot of money on tickets just to boo one person they don’t like?

WWE is like any company, they listen with their bottom line, and what they’re hearing from fans is that the fans like Reign because that’s the stuff that sells the best. And before you say one thing about about Reigns’ stuff being more available at TV tapings and Live Events, I’ve been to a RAW taping, a RAW PPV, and a SmackDown/205 taping and while Reigns stuff was at SmackDown, there was also a lot of Styles and Cena stuff available at RAW events and I’m not hearing any complaining about that.

Maybe the problem isn’t that WWE isn’t listening, it’s just that your views aren’t the what the majority paying fans think or want. WWE is catering to what most of their fans want, not just the small minority that can’t seem to make up their minds about what they want.

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Cheap Shots: Should Finn Balor Quit WWE?

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Why Finn Balor should “Quit” The WWE

After seeing KO burst into tears on Monday night RAW two weeks ago and “quit” there were a slew of videos about why KO “quit”. The biggest one was to revitalize his character. So in playing the devils advocate why not have the first Universal Champion quit? Here’s why!

After Balor won and “lost” the title after 2016 SummerSlam he’s had and up and down career in the main roster. The once longest reigning NXT champion was a phenomenon when he joined the NXT, but once he hit the main roster, while fan support is still there it is fleeting. He had a brief reunion with Gallows and Anderson which might’ve singled a heel turn to fans, a feud with Rollins for the IC title and has had back to back to back matches against Baron Corbin. None of which have done anything for the superstars character. A heel turn might have helped a few months ago, but the repetitive booking has kind of killed that momentum. 

With Finn away from the scene for a while it might help the WWE reevaluate the talent that is Finn Balor, it might also give Finn time to figure himself out too. With a WIN to his name against Elias, it seems like the co-founder of the Bullet Club may either turn to his alter ego The Demon, or perhaps a superstar shakeup is in order and he should be in place to get Balor back in the limelight. Right now, Raw seems packed full of main card talent that is either starting a faction of sorts I.E. Braun, Drew and Dolph or is turning on The Shield. 

Listen, while SmackDown Live is producing the better show, it is not like the talent on there is being utilized any better. Nakamura is in limbo with the U.S. title, Aj and Joe are having a great feud in terms of promos, but not in the squared circle. The only thing that brings SmackDown Live as the A show is really their tag division and the Charlotte Flair/Becky Lynch feud. 

So maybe a frustrated Finn goes away, and comes back as The Demon on SmackDown Live and interjects himself in the feud between AJ and Joe, maybe he causes friction between The Club and AJ and they “screw over” AJ during a title match, the possibilities are endless moving Balor to team blue, but what this boils down to is WWE needs to make this move while Balor is still a fan favourite and what I mean by that is that he will always have the crowd behind him, but even the loyalist fans can get bored. 

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