Connect with us

Opinion

New Japan Could Use The IWGP United States Championship For Expansion

Is New Japan’s greatest asset for westward expansion…a championship?

Published

on

Juice Robinson IWGP United States Championship

The IWGP United States Championship represents opportunity for the expansion of New Japan!

Since New Japan Pro Wrestling has started trying to appeal to a larger audience, the process hasn’t always been very successful. While it is hard to say New Japan is failing to expand, there are some issues to fix on various sides, from the product the company brings, to things that are not specifically related to Wrestling. Today, let’s see how the symbol of the expansion, the IWGP US Heavyweight Championship, can make a difference in that aspect among others.

The first thing we need to ask ourselves is this:

What’s the exact purpose of the New Japan IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship?

It is still hard to figure out how New Japan sees this championship. Is it for upcoming talents? Top stars? Mid carders? Since the creation of the championship in the summer of 2017, different types of wrestlers have held it (Even though every champion so far has been a foreigner), and the company tended to put that new title on the side. The championship felt quite important thanks to Kenny Omega holding it and defending it regularly, but since then, it has felt more like a mid-card championship more than anything. Therefore, if a wrestling company wants to expand globally and creates a championship based on that idea, one would think that this championship to be regarded as very important, in one way or another. I personally would argue that the NEVER Openweight Championship means more than the US championship, to try and compare with another title which suffered similar issues.

Now, to give a potential answer to the question initially asked, let’s say New Japan pushes the idea that this championship will mainly be held by non-Japanese wrestlers. They want to keep reaching to a more global audience, meaning there is a need for foreigners to be highly featured, without putting aside the core of the roster, which appeals to the core audience. This is where the idea of creating a sort of “Gaijin big four” comes in. The goal isn’t exactly to replicate what has been done with the main event stars in Okada, Tanahashi, Naito and White, but it is to have more than one foreigner being a pillar of the company, and the other being on a lower level. Jay White, a former US champion, is ultimately taking that spot of Gaijin pillar, but he can also make the bridge between main eventing against Okada and Naito in the future, as well as elevating the US championship in a second reign later on.

Which other three foreigners, since we’ll still take the “big four” model for this example, could be featured alongside the Switchblade, as the main guys to work on elevating the IWGP United States Championship?

The first man seems quite obvious, as he is the current IWGP US Heavyweight Champion, Juice Robinson. Already in his second reign as champion, Juice has been portrayed as the next big Gaijin babyface, and he got that big win against Cody for the US title at Wrestle Kingdom. Since it is hard to consider Jay White as an actual “Gaijin Ace” as he doesn’t fit the mold, Juice however fits in as he’s globally popular. Last point, Juice and Jay have had an intense rivalry over the US championship last year, so there is a something to keep building here over time.

The second man has already said he would take the US championship one day, that man is Zack Sabre Jr. The Suzuki-Gun member has yet to win any gold in New Japan, but he made his presence felt near the main event scene, winning the New Japan Cup, being a real challenge for the top stars and having an impressive G1 Climax last year. Zack has already told Juice he would take the title on US soil as well. There will be a handful of opportunities to build up to that match, and ZSJ can also bring legitimacy to the championship, looking at his past accomplishments, in only two years as part of the New Japan roster.

The last man to feature in this “big four” would be Will Ospreay. Will is an upcoming heavyweight and the current NEVER Openweight Champion, and while he will possibly stick around this title for a while, ultimately, he is a well known foreign figure in New Japan, and a constantly improving wrestler. In the long run, Ospreay as a heavyweight offers a lot of possibilities for really good matches, and it would be a shame not to use it to elevate a championship, in both the literal and more symbolic way.

Let’s say these four wrestlers are the guys New Japan builds its expansion around. The oldest of the four is ZSJ, being 31 years old. Juice is 29, Jay is 26 and Will is 25, which leaves a lot of time to build each of these guys as top figures in New Japan, without necessarily having them always hang around the Heavyweight or IC title picture. Also, you get to represent four different factions, which fits within the New Japan landscape.

Now, elevating the IWGP United States Championship will not only revolve around these four young guys. As the goal can ultimately be to put the belt at a similar level the Intercontinental Championship now reached, top Japanese talents will also have to compete for it, at least. I am not asking for Kazuchika Okada or Tetsuya Naito to face whoever will be the US champion in seven months, but the US Championship, as much as it is linked to New Japan’s expansion, also needs to be built up in Japan. Therefore, I want to see guys like Minoru Suzuki, Tomohiro Ishii, Kota Ibushi, SANADA, or Hirooki Goto challenge for this title in the future. I want to see the US championship headline shows in Japan as well as in the US, and I want it to grow as a prize where big rivalries can revolve around.

New Japan will need another method than “Use one or two popular foreigners to make us go global” to keep the expansion going. Think long term. To go global, relying on the usual big four concept and hoping the foreigner being in that category works in front of non-Japanese audiences may not cut it.

Tell me, what do you think of raising the legitimacy of the IWGP US Heavyweight Championship by creating a core of Gaijins to revolve around it?


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
Advertisement
Comments

Opinion

Chris’s Insanely Early 2019 SummerSlam Match Predictions

Chris King jumps ahead to WWE SummerSlam 2019 and predicts the card we may see in Toronto next month!

Published

on

WWE SummerSlam Toronto Skyline

Chris King jumps ahead to WWE SummerSlam 2019 and predicts the card we may see in Toronto next month!

This past Sunday at WWE Extreme Rules the WWE Universe was shaken to its core when Brock Lesnar cashed-in on Seth Rollins to become a 3X-Time Universal Champion! On Raw “The Beastslayer” outlasted nine other competitors (one of them originally announced as Daniel Bryan but then changed to Sami Zayn) in the first-ever cross-brand All-star 10-Man Over-The-Top Battle Royal to get his rematch at SummerSlam.

Natalya also won a fatal-four-way to become The Man Becky Lynch’s challenger for SummerSlam. We also witnessed the amazing debut of The Fiend as Bray Wyatt hit Sister Abigail on Finn Balor! Shortly after it was announced that Wyatt and Balor are set to do battle again at WWE SummerSlam!

On this past Tuesday’s episode of SmackDown Live, In a six-man tag team match with Randy Orton, Elias, and Samoa Joe vs. The New Day Orton pinned the WWE Champion clean. We also got Round II of Cesaro/Aleister Black, and Black won decisively. Also, Bayley teamed with Ember Moon to face Fire and Desire (Mandy Rose and Sonya DeVille. In their post-match celebration Moon accepted Bayley’s challenge for the SmackDown Women’s Championship at SummerSlam.

Last but certainly not least, Kevin Owens once again defied Shane McMahon and his myriad of corporate stooges and stunned the boss not once but twice! Below I will be giving my predictions for the rest of the matches to be included for SummerSlam.

Chris’s 2019 SummerSlam Match Card Predictions

WWE SummerSlam Kick-Off Show

  • WWE Intercontinental Championship
    Shinsuke Nakamura © vs. Mustafa Ali
  • Gimmick Match for the WWE 24/7 Championship
    R-Truth © vs. Drake Maverick
  • Fatal-5-Way Match for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship
    Drew Gulak © vs. Tony Nese vs. Akira Tozawa vs. Jack Gallagher vs. Oney Lorcan

WWE SummerSlam Pay-Per-View

  • SmackDown Tag Team Championship
    New Day © vs. Heavy Machinery
  • Fatal-4-Way Tag Team Match for the Raw Tag Team Championship
    The Revival © vs. The Usos vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson vs. The Viking Raiders
  • Charlotte Flair vs. Liv Morgan
  • 2-Out-3 Falls Match for the WWE United States Championship
    AJ Styles © vs. Ricochet
  • Aleister Black vs. Cesaro (part 3)
  • Triple Threat Match for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship
    The IIconics © vs. The Kabuki Warriors vs. Mandy Rose and Sonya DeVille
  • Kevin Owens vs. Drew McIntyre
  • Alexa Bliss vs. Nikki Cross
  • Samoa Joe vs. Roman Reigns
  • Bray Wyatt (The Fiend) vs. Finn Balor (The Demon)
  • Rey Mysterio vs. Baron Corbin
  • SmackDown Women’s Championship
    Bayley © vs. Ember Moon
  • Raw Women’s Championship
    Becky Lynch © vs. Natalya
  • WWE Championship
    Kofi Kingston © vs. Randy Orton
  • Universal Championship
    Brock Lesnar © vs. Seth Rollins


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
Continue Reading

Opinion

The Club Taking Over WWE–And How The Undisputed Era vs. The Club Could Impact The Future Of NXT

Chris King takes a look at the resurgence of The Club in WWE, and the possibility of a run-in with NXT favorites the Undisputed Era.

Published

on

Chris King takes a look at the resurgence of The Club in WWE, and the possibility of a run-in with NXT favorites the Undisputed Era.

At Extreme Rules Styles and Ricochet did battle once again over the coveted United States Championship, where both competitors put on a wrestling clinic and Styles became a three-time United States Champion!

With Styles holding the United States Championship one must expect, that The Good Brothers are coming for the Raw Tag Team Championships. I already predict that they will win the titles as soon as SummerSlam. Finn Balor recently lost the Intercontinental Championship to Shinsuke Nakamura, perhaps he may set his sights on the WWE or Universal Championship?

How The Undisputed Era vs The Club Will Help The Future Of NXT

Credit: ITNWWE

The Undisputed Era (Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly, Roderick Strong, and Bobby Fish), have taken NXT by storm since August 2017. All four members have accomplished so much in two short years. Under “Freebird Rule” Undisputed Era are two-time NXT Tag-team Champions, and Cole was the inaugural North American Champion and current NXT Champion.

On July 17, 2019, Club member Karl Anderson sent out a tweet stating that ‘The Club’ is the only club that matters.

A fan responded with a tweet of The Undisputed Era and the leader of The Club Styles found it hilarious, signifying that NXT’s top faction wasn’t a real threat.

Roderick Strong and Adam Cole didn’t waste any time firing back.

Could we witness two of the most popular factions in WWE and NXT battle for brand supremacy?

This has never happened before and it’s something new and fresh, that pro wrestling fans all over the world would be salivating for. Not only would The Club vs. The Undisputed Era be an EPIC dream feud for the ages, it will also have a significant impact on the future of the black and gold brand.

Over the years NXT has morphed from being the developmental territory, into its own brand delivering some of the most exhilarating five-star matches of all time. What was once heralded as a launchpad for up-and-coming talent to make it to the main roster, now is viewed as it’s own entity.

Undisputed Era will be looking to prove that the black and gold brand is the creme of the crop, while The Club, on the other hand, is cementing their status as untouchable on the main roster. Something that their rivals have proved for over two years while holding all the gold at separate times.

The battles that these factions would have would be completely insane, and with two of the best talkers in the industry, the promos would straight fire! In the world of professional wrestling anything is possible, so come on Triple H convince Vince McMahon why this feud needs to happen and that boys and girls is… Undisputed!!!

Credit: Stalkram


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
Continue Reading

Trending Today