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Wrestling / New Japan Pro-Wrestling

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"Baba-san's is a showman style. Mine is a strong style."
Antonio Inoki, distinguishing the style of his company to Giant Baba's All Japan Pro Wrestling

New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) was one of two wrestling promotions (the other being All Japan Pro Wrestling) to split off from the Japan Pro Wrestling Alliance (JWA) in the 1970s. Founded by Antonio Inoki in 1972, it competed with AJPW for supremacy in the wrestling field. Despite floundering during the 1990s due to AJPW's dominance, NJPW is currently the largest wrestling promotion in Japan and one of the largest in the world.

From its creation in 1972 until 1986, NJPW was a member of the National Wrestling Alliance, although All Japan was able to block most Western talent from working in New Japan; the main holdouts were André the Giant, Hulk Hogan, and Stan Hansen (who eventually jumped to AJPW, becoming the highest paid wrestler in Japan in the process). Traditionally, New Japan was the least "Westernized" of the two major league promotions, working a more realistic, submission and kick-based style based on Eastern martial arts. While more of a "sports entertainment" presentation used by NJPW compared to its AJPW counterpart somewhat offsets this (although this situation got reversed when AJPW entered the "Puroresu Love" era), the company is also known for openly engaging in working agreements with various MMA and pro wrestling promotions around the world, including: Consejo Mundial Lucha Libre, World Wrestling Entertainment, World Championship Wrestling, TNA, Ring of Honor, PRIDE Fighting Championships, Pro Wrestling NOAH, All Elite Wrestling and various other MMA and pro wrestling promotions. Their biggest yearly event is the show at the Tokyo Dome on January 4th, Japan's equivalent to WrestleMania, which has been known since 2007 as Wrestle Kingdom.


NJPW currently recognizes nine championships;

  • IWGP World Heavyweight Champion: Will Ospreay since April 4, 2021
  • IWGP United States Heavyweight Champion: Jon Moxley since January 4, 2020
  • IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions: Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa) since January 4, 2021
  • IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion: El Desperado since February 28, 2021
  • IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions: Roppongi 3K (SHO and YOH) since April 4, 2021
  • NEVER Openweight Champion: Jay White since May 3, 2021
  • NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Team Champions: CHAOS (Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii, and Yoshi-Hashi) since August 9, 2020
  • NJPW Strong Openweight Champion: Tom Lawlor since April 23, 2021
  • King of Pro Wrestling: Toru Yano since August 29, 2020


Tropes associated with New Japan Pro-Wrestling:

  • Acrofatic: Big Van Vader. In modern days, can be applied somewhat to Jeff Cobb.
  • Action Girl: As is tradition in Japan, wrestling promotions are strictly single-gender, but New Japan averted this in 2002 bringing Joanie Laurer to its roster. She stayed only two months in the company, but got impressive wins against male workers.
    • When the Bullet Club and the Kingdom feuded, the wives of Michael Bennett and Doc Gallows (Maria Kanellis and Amber Gallows) joined them in a 6-Man mixed tag match that also involved their husbands' tag partners, Matt Taven and Karl Anderson.
    • At Wrestle Kingdom 14 on January 4 2020 (following Bushiroad's purchase of World Wonder Ring ST★RDOM in October 2019), Mayu Iwatani and Arisa Hoshiki faced Hana Kimura and Giulia in a tag team dark match, marking the first women's match to take place at a Wrestle Kingdom event.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Then-rookie Hiroshi Nagao got a bit of fame when Yoshihiro Takayama chose him to be his partner against the Makai Club. However, the Club attacked him and injured his knee, and he had to return to the dojo.
  • Air Guitar: Hiroshi Tanahashi does this often. Yohei Komatsu did it with a broom while he was supposed to be sweeping in front of the New Japan Dojo.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: Antonio Inoki to All Japan's Giant Baba, their own nWo to WCW's. Captain New Japan to Marvel Comics' Captain America. Los Ingobernables de Japon to CMLL's group.
  • Annual Title: Masahiro Chono's Heel faction Team 2000, which was initially NWO Japan without the Great Muta.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Naoya Ogawa and Kazunari Murakami.
  • The Artifact:
    • Tiger Mask IV. His style and gimmick are somehow outdated and he is not a very exciting part of the junior division anymore, but is a pretty solid performer and receives occasional pushes.
    • The NEVER Openweight titles, as the NEVER sub-promotion folded in 2012.
  • Ass Kicks You: Shiro Koshinaka's signature move.
  • Author Avatar: Antonio Inoki, later, Gedo and Jado became bookers.
  • Ax-Crazy
    • Takashi Iizuka, even in real life. He sent Kazunari Murakami to the hospital during the 1.4 Incident.
    • Akira Maeda was fired from NJPW for kicking Riki Choshu in the face and breaking his orbital bone. Even later, he didn't have a single year free of legal troubles due to his tendency to assault people. He even vowed to kill Yoji Anjo and was arrested for it.
    • Big Van Vader, though less so away from the ring.
  • B Show: New Blood Evolution Valiantly Eternal Radical, NEVER! A showcase of young and independent wrestlers. Got it's own Open Weight title belt in 2012. However, Katsuyori Shibata made his NEVER Open Weight belt defenses about proving his superiority over the rest of the "third generation" who had brought New Japan back from the brink.
  • Badass Boast:
    • Josh Barnett claimed he wanted to defeat Mirko Cro Cop in PRIDE by using German suplexes and powerbombs to remember everybody he was a pro wrestler. Considering that he trained Bob Sapp, who was famous for using those moves in the MMA ring, he was probably serious. He turned it into an Overly Long Gag from his fight with Jimmy Ambriz and stated he was sorry for winning via punches and not German suplexes.
    • Another one by Tatsumi Fujinami. "Without fearing the change of time, we will continue to push and move forward. Please give your support to New Japan Pro-Wrestling in the future."
  • The Bad Guy Wins
    • This was Masahiro Chono's calling card.
    • Bad Intentions.
    • No Remorse Corps did this to Apollo 55.
    • This is Bullet Club's trait as of late.
  • Bash Brothers: Gedo and Jado.
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game
    • As the best native shoot-style wrestler, Yuji Nagata has been in charge to wrestle every shooter or mixed martial artist who came to New Japan during the 2000s. Unfortunately for him, this was the reason Inoki sent him to fight in MMA bouts against Cro Cop and Fedor.
    • Shinsuke Nakamura then took his mantle, partially due to his more successful MMA career.
  • Bishōnen: Several over its long history, Kota Ibushi being one of the more memorable specifically promoted as such.
  • Book-Ends: Kazuchika Okada's 4th reign as IWGP Heavyweight Champion started and ended in Osaka-Jo Hall.
  • Boring, but Practical: The cross armbar (juji-gatame) is the most basic finisher in strong-style, as it has proved to be a very effective move in MMA and other martial arts.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Many over time, such as Tetsuya Naitō, who is known for pulling on his eyelids, lounging whenever possible, gave Watanabe a makeover and renamed him EVIL...and also won the Heavyweight IWGP belt.
  • Butt-Monkey: Commentator Shinpei Nogami. In the finals of the 2012 World Tag League he had to do commentary in the winter of an unheated arena after being tied up and having his shirt ripped off, for example.
  • Canon Immigrant
    • Probably the best example is the main character of the '70's manga and anime Tiger Mask, who was brought to New Japan to be played by breakout cruiserweight Satoru Sayama. His Evil Counterpart Black Tiger was a similar case, regularly played by foreign wrestlers. Both of them were turned into Legacy Characters. Tiger Mask W and Tiger The Dark have also shown up for "special" matches.
    • In the same line, Keiichi Yamada was endorsed with the Jushin Liger gimmick years after.
  • Cast Full of Pretty Boys: Not as prominent as Dragon Gate, but long haired pretty boys make up a portion of the roster, excepting the young boys of the dojo, who are required to shave.
  • Character Overlap: When Riki Chosu allowed Masanobu Fuchi and Toshiaki Kawada from All Japan onto New Japan territory it indirectly lead to the creation of Bad Ass Translate Trading, a Power Stable that had members from both locker rooms.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Keiji Muto, both in kayfabe and real life.
  • Confusion Fu: Shinsuke Nakamura, Kenny Omega.
  • Cool Mask: Many, although mainly Jushin Thunder Liger.
  • Create Your Own Villain: Inoki plucked Garbage Wrestler Tiger Jeet Singh from relative obscurity outside the Toronto area and made him an international star. So blame him.
  • Crossover
    • As mentioned in the description, they have them pretty frequently, especially with CMLL, whom will defend their belts on New Japan pay per view and will even do commentary on New Japan's shows in exchange for NJPW doing the same. As of 2010, the two have agreed to work together at least once a year on the Fantasticamania event, though the events often end up including two shows and sometimes as many as five.
    • New Japan belts have been defended in TNA shows, including pay per views. It had a series of collective pay per views with Ring Of Honor as well as going to "war" with NOAH.
    • Taken to the logical extreme with their partnership with ROH, including a four-night crossover pay-per-view in America, ROH tag team reDRagon holding the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships for the better part of a year despite not having an official NJPW contract, and the ROH World Championship being defended and challenged for by ROH wrestlers on an NJPW card.
    • In 2021, what Tony Khan called "the Forbidden Door" to AEW was opened so that Jon Moxley could resume defending the U.S. title against NJPW's U.S.-based talent. (Crossovers between the talent cores of the two companies are being mooted once the COVID-19 pandemic ends.)
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The Great Muta, if he's a face.
  • Delinquent Hair: TAKA Michinoku. Mitsuhide Hirasawa looks the part but is much better behaved.
  • Determinator:Jushin Thunder Liger is the standout example. He was starving himself just to become a professional wrestler and has not let brain tumors stop his career.
  • Distaff Counterpart: In the 2010s, World Wonder Ring ST★RDOM came to be seen as this, being the top joshi promotion in Japan, and Stardom's purchase by NJPW parent company Bushiroad in October 2019 sealed the deal. At Wrestle Kingdom 14 on January 4 2020, Mayu Iwatani and Arisa Hoshiki faced Hana Kimura and Giulia in a tag team dark match, marking the first women's match to take place at a Wrestle Kingdom event.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: Most of Montel Vontavious Porter's music was his own doing. In fact, despite NJPW remixing VIP Balling into "Most Valiantly Person", they actually included more of the original song than WWE, whom he originally wrote it for. Rocky Romero also did the themes for Forever Hooligans and Roppongi Vice.
  • Dreadlock Warrior: Willie Williams, the bear killer
  • Driven by Envy: Yuji Nagata claims envy is what lead to the creation of the strong style, as rather than suppress the fact they were sore about not being able to compete with All Japan due to all the great foreign talent it kept barring from working for them, it was decided more productive to express it in the most visible and violent way possible. Even when All Japan collapsed on itself he says there are plenty of other things to be envious of, which the dojo boys are encouraged to fixate on and take out on their opponents.
  • Engrish: Lots of it, even those who speak it as a first language often get saddled with Engrish monikers, such as World Greatest Tag.
  • Facial Markings: The Great Muta, Tama Tonga, Doc Gallows.
  • Fat Bastard: Koji Kitao.
  • Feel No Pain: The Great Sasuke broke his skull doing a Diving Kick against Último Dragón during the J-Crown tournament and continued wrestling restlessly.
  • Fingerless Gloves: Used by many wrestlers due to the MMA rise, specially the legit shoot-trained ones.
  • Flanderization: Many foreign imports, especially those coming from other promotions, generally display dumbed-down versions of their gimmicks in NJPW:
  • Folk Hero: Big Van Vader's gimmick was supposed to be based in a strong warrior from the Japanese folklore who once fought for his village seventy-two hours straight (it was actually based on a character created by Go Nagai).
  • Follow the Leader: Started phasing out a lot of "American" wrestling tropes and conventions until Toryumon's first graduating class came back from Mexico and started using such cheats and ref bumps to much success. Though it took New Japan going into painful slump before they finally relented and followed suit.
  • Foreign Cuss Word: The gaijins of the Bullet Club swear like sailors, but because it's all in English, the TV executives pay it no mind.
    • Particularly Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa (it accounts for about 99% of their in-ring banter)
  • The Giant: Many. Giant Silva, Giant Singh, Big Titan, and most recently Akebono and Giant Bernard.
  • Greater-Scope Paragon: The International Wrestling Grand Prix, especially after it broke away from the NWA. Their authority was once directly challenged by Antonio Inoki in angle where he created his own IWGP Heavyweight Championship belt in the Inoki Genome Federation, though the saga was put to an end by King Of Strong Style, Shinsuke Nakamura.
  • Hero Antagonist: Nobuhiko Takada during the UWF-i invasion. Although he posed as a heel in New Japan, he was the top face of his own company and had his own fanbase.
  • Hero Killer: Naoya Ogawa. He beat Shinya Hashimoto to his retire.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Wallid Ismail criticized Royce Gracie for being a "fake fighter" just before revealing he was going to work pro wrestling matches with NJPW (see What Could Have Been in Trivia). It's unknown if he did it on purpose.
  • I Know Karate: Due to the strong style penchant for legitimacy, it's almost a requirement to new wrestlers in NJPW to have martial arts/combat sports background.
    • Satoru Sayama was the best example, as he knew judo, amateur wrestling, catch wrestling, muay thai, kickboxing and sambo.
    • Shinya Hashimoto's move set was based on his judo and karate background.
    • This was the theme behind the Fighting Club G-EGGS, composed by former martial artists and real fighters. Their members were Yuji Nagata and Manabu Nakanishi (amateur wrestlers), Yutaka Yoshie (judoka), Brian Johnston (mixed martial artist) and Masakazu Fukuda (sumo).
    • In an interesting twist, Masahiro Chono knew soccer, on which he based his powerful kicks.
  • Invincible Hero: Since his beginnings as NJPW founder, Antonio Inoki made himself invincible against all odds through purely self-centered booking and became the absolute hero of Japan. Even now, he is known for his refusal to pass on the torch.
    • The first Tiger Mask (Satoru Sayama) managed to make an example of Tropes Are Not Bad. He retired from New Japan with zero defeats, but the crowd loved him until the end.
    • A common complaint leveled at Hiroshi Tanahashi, though he subverted it hard with several major losses, not least of which included losing the IWGP Heavyweight Championship back to Kazuchika Okada, as well as a major loss before that against Karl Anderson in the G1 Climax (which, despite it having been a non-title bout, ended up de facto guaranteeing a title shot for Anderson).
  • Japanese Politeness: While the wrestlers coming out of here are notorious for being anything but, the crowds who attend New Japan have become increasingly nice and subdued as time went on, especially after a riot against Vader beating Antonio Inoki lead to New Japan being banned from its first home venue, Sumo Hall. Later at NJPW Power Struggle 2012 when Alex Koslov demanded that they rise for the singing of the Russian National Anthem, they complied and politely clapped when he was done!
  • Jerkass: Minoru Suzuki.
    • The former yokozuna Koji Kitao. He had a notorious hostility with Riki Choshu, who thought Kitao didn't deserve his push, and was fired for taunting him with ethnic discriminationnote .
    • Akira Maeda is an older example.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Kevin Kelly often questioned occasional fellow commentator Gino Gambino about why he saluted fellow Bullet Club member Bad Luck Fale during entrances. Gambino replied that Fale was "a war hero", which sounds like a silly thing to say but the Bullet Club OG members did wrestle control of the stable from The Elite in their own private civil war separate from the overarching NJPW faction war.
  • Jobber: Young Lions are this by design. The IWGP deliberately restricts what moves they're allowed to do in order to make them more predictable and only allows them to do more things when they've proven sufficient mastery over their limited repertoires. And even then it usually coincides with a "learning excursion" where they're trust into a completely new environment which usually results in them losing even more while they try to adapt.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: Akira Maeda did this against Riki Choshu during his consequently last match in New Japan.
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice: Antonio Inoki.
  • Left Hanging: At least in Western sources, it has never been revealed who was the man with the white mask who helped Naoya Ogawa and Kazunari Murakami in their feud with Riki Choshu in 2001.
  • Lethal Chef: Sho Tanaka wants to be the king of culinary, but his soup has nearly killed other wrestlers.
  • Licensed Game
    • Virtual Pro Wrestling is nominally a WCW series but the "Neo Strong Wrestling" section of the roster is filled with New Japan wrestlers.
    • New Japan wrestlers have appeared alongside wrestlers contracted to other companies in the King of Colosseum series.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The other prerequisite for competing there, seemingly.
  • Martial Arts Headband: Shinya Hashimoto.
  • Mob War: In recent years, NJPW cards have been increasingly best summed up as a massive multi-year mob war between several different factions looking to run roughshod over the company and a loose contingent of faces dedicated to stopping them all. The seeds for this started with the creation of CHAOS when former RISE leader Shinsuke Nakamura stole nearly the entire faction roster from Great Bash Heel in 2009, then Satoshi Kojima starting Kojima-gun only for Minoru Suzuki to steal it out from under him and redefine it as Suzuki-gun in 2011. By the time four heroic gaijins had a Face–Heel Turn and started the Bullet Club in 2013, CHAOS had already become tweeners due mainly to Nakamura and Kazuchika Okada's popularity, going on to feud with both Suzuki-gun and Bullet Club and officially giving birth to the company's faction wars. After Suzuki took his army to NOAH, Los Ingobernables de Japon slowly filled Suzuki-gun's place after Tetsuya Naito's heel turn, then Suzuki-gun came back in 2017 while LIJ continued gaining momentum, and even the aforementioned face defenders took up a faction brand of their own — first under the largely-failed anti-Bullet Club faction Hunter Club, then under the moniker of Taguchi Japan to get back at LIJ. Because of this, it's not uncommon to see many NJPW cards be filled with tag team matches between several members of any two of these five major camps.
  • Mr. Fanservice
    • Hiroshi Tanahashi's selling point.
    • Kota Ibushi.
    • Prince Devitt has become one of the most popular foreigners in any puro company, and not without good reason.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Maria Kanellis at the Wrestling Dontaku 2015 show. The cameraman seems quite interested in her backside. Same goes for Yujiro's valets ever since became Mr. R Shitei/The Tokyo Pimp.
    • Miho Abe, Taichi's valet.
  • My Kung Fu Is Stronger Than Yours: A recurrent motif.
  • No-Sell: Koji Kitao's main trait, done a la Hulk Hogan.
    • The "test of will" spot relies on this - mid-match, two wrestlers take turns punching or kicking each other as hard as possible, and the first to show signs of pain loses the test.
  • Non-Indicative Name: The International Wrestling Grand Prix is not an event(unlike the Japan Grand Prix), but a governing body. The IWGP Championships are not events either, but title belts, which makes things confusing around the time of CMLL's Universal Championship, which is an event (for a title belt).
  • One Steve Limit: The reason Giant Majin is called such instead of Giant Titan (already have a big Titan) or Giant Magnum (already have a Magnum Tokyo, and Giant Majin is from Tokyo too so that simply won't do). On the other hand, he was teamed up with New Strong Majin and Super Strong Majin in the Makai Club, which also had eight guys called Makai (and claimed sixty-nine).
  • Power Stable: Currently, there are five major factions dominating the promotion (six if you count the usually-unaffiliated pure babyfaces who often have to band together to deal with them):
    • CHAOS: Created by Shinsuke Nakamura and Toru Yano in 2009 to recapture the spirit of Strong Style wrestling, it is currently led by the new Ace of the promotion who once had a record-setting reign as IWGP Heavyweight Champion, Kazuchika Okada. Other current members include Yano, Tomohiro Ishii, Hirooki Goto, Yoshi-Hashi, Roppongi 3K (Sho and Yoh with Rocky Romero), and Robbie Eagles. Will Ospreay had been a member until leaving in 2020 to form United Empire. While the group started off as heels, the members' popularity saw them gravitate more towards faces, or at least tweeners, when compared to the other groups, before eventually outright aligning themselves with the main unit in order to take on the latest lineup and incarnation of the next stable on the list…
    • Bullet Club: THE Foreign Wrestling Heel stable in New Japan, created by Prince Devitt in 2013, with other former leaders including third founding member Karl Anderson, AJ Styles, and Kenny Omega. Their style is primarily influenced by how Heels operate in Western promotions, and because of their talent and Western roots has become arguably the most popular faction out of the lot overseas. Currently the stable is led by Jay White, and includes second founding member Bad Luck Fale, the Guerrillas of Destiny (fourth founding member Tama Tonga and his adopted brother Tanga Loa), Taiji Ishimori, Chase Owens, Yujiro Takahashi, El Phantasmo, Hikuleo (The Guerrillas' younger brother), King Haku (The Guerrillas' father), Dick Togo, KENTA, and EVIL, as well as NJPW bookers Jadō & Gedō. Other prominent ex-members include Anderson's tag team partner Doc Gallows, The Young Bucks, Cody, and Adam Cole.
    • Los Ingobernables de Japon: An offshoot of the Los Ingobernables group from CMLL created by Tetsuya Naito, who joined it during his excursion to Mexico. Since returning in 2015 he has drafted EVIL, Bushi, Sanada, Hiromu Takahashi, and Shingo Takagi into the stable, but EVIL later betrayed LIJ and joined Bullet Club. While heels, the group has drawn much popularity thanks to their leader, eventually becoming tweeners who can be face or heel as the plot demands much like CHAOS was before them.
    • Suzuki-gun: Also known as the Suzuki Army, it is lead by their namesake Minoru Suzuki who previously ousted former leader Satoshi Kojima (the group was originally named Kojima-gun) a few short months after it was founded in 2011. The group is freelance, having followed Suzuki to Pro Wrestling NOAH and left New Japan for a time before returning at the start of 2017. Other members include El Desperado, Taichi, TAKA Michinoku, Yoshinobu Kanemaru and Zack Sabre Jr..
    • The United Empire: The newest stable, formed in 2020 as The Empire and renamed in January 2021. Led by Will Ospreay, initially joined by Jeff Cobb, Great-O-Khan, and Bea Priestley. As of Sakura Genesis 2021 the United Empire is comprised of Will Ospreay, Jeff Cobb, Great O-Khan and Aaron Henare.
    • Because of this, the more textbook babyfaces of the promotion have effectively been pulled into a loose makeshift alliance of their own, as whether they simply want to compete to be the best or outright intend to defend the company from all these forces, the faction atmosphere is simply too strong for them not to have to contend with it. At least twice in as many years, a minor-card face has tried to unite them under a particular banner. Yoshitatsu previously tried to create Hunter Club specifically to counter Bullet Club, but Hiroshi Tanahashi and Michael Elgin both declined despite being his Six-Man Tag Team Championship partners. The only ones he could get to join the "group" were Captain New Japan, whose embarrassing lack of success got him voted out by fans on Twitter and caused him to turn against Tatsu to join Bullet Club, and Billy Gunn, who Yoshi recruited as a partner for the World Tag League after becoming a parody of Triple H. The heroes instead eventually gravitated towards Ryusuke Taguchi, officially going under Taguchi Japan after 2017's Wrestle Kingdom 11, with even Yoshitatsu himself joining as soon as he got the chance. Since Bullet Club restructured itself to be more dangerous at the end of 2018, the main unit has also aligned with CHAOS in a mutual alliance to take them on.
  • Power Trio: The teams who compete for the J SPORTS CROWN 6 Man Openweight Tag Team Tournament and later, the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Titles.
  • Praetorian Guard: Club 7 (Giant Singh and Giant Silva), Masahiro Chono's giant bodyguards.
  • The Quisling: Kazuo Yamazaki, who deserted from rival promotion UWF International seeking his opportunity to shine. He didn't get it, but helped to promote the shoot-style wrestling in the NJPW Dojo, where he was instructor for a time.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Keiji Muto's Bad Ass Translate Trading stable.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Yutaka Yoshie, who is called "The Pink Warrior" for his jolly pink attire.
  • Ring Oldies: Most today such as Yuji Nagata, Jushin Thunder Liger, Manabu Nakanishi, and others are in their late forties and early fifties having been competing since their twenties. They can still go and kick plenty of ass.
  • Rival Dojos: Inoki's policy about presenting his pro wrestling as the strongest martial art caused a lot of dojo yaburi or dojo challenging from real martial artist who wanted to expose them as the "fake fighters" they were. Unfortunately for the challengers, the New Japan Dojo produced very tough people to boot. As Josh Barnett said:
    "Judo guys and karate guys showed up at the dojo because of advertisements saying pro wrestling is the strongest martial art in the world. Those guys would show up to prove that wrong. They'd close the doors and the New Japan guys would trash everybody."
  • Sadist Teacher: The NJPW Dojo is known by his extremely harsh training regime, and his most famous instructors have always been feared by their trainees. Kotetsu Yamamoto and Yoshiaki Fujiwara are the best examples.
    • It's said that Kensuke Sasaki (accidentally?) killed a trainee named Hiromitsu Gompei in a training session. Details remain unknown.
  • Scary Black Man: Bob Sapp.
  • Serious Business: Can't defend you championship belt, you lose your belt. Don't expect any circumstances to change anyone's mind.
  • Shoot the Dog: The 1.4 Incident. During the third match between Naoya Ogawa and Shinya Hashimoto, Ogawa broke kayfabe and bloodied the unaware Hashimoto with legit strikes, after which he grabbed a microphone and taunted the crowd. Soon, the NJPW staff got into the ring and Ogawa's cornermen (including his bodyguard Gerard Gordeau and Kazunari Murakami) had to gang up to protect Ogawa from the wrathful Riki Choshu and his minions in the subsequent brawl. It's said that Inoki ordered Ogawa to shoot on Hashimoto to increase his popularity, and Ogawa took the opportunity with no second thoughts.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Scott Hall gave the Bullet Club his blessing to use The Kliq's hand sign. That the Kliq is one of the most hated groups in all of professional wrestling is all else you really need to know.
    • Former NJPW president Masakazu Kusama used to call himself "Kusa-McMahon", which was probably one of the reasons Inoki fired him.
    • The members of Team JAPAN sometimes came to the ring with Kotetsu Yamamoto doing the "Gracie train", like the Gracie family in the first events of Ultimate Fighting Championship.
  • Start My Own: One of the earliest in what would be a long trend of this sort of thing, leading to Pride Fighting somewhere down the line
  • Take That!: When NJPW launched New Japan World they announced the price was 999 yen per month, similar to how The WWE Network was and still is daily advertised with a month price of $ 9.99. Gets better, if you look into it, 999 yen rounds up to eight and a half dollars meaning it's cheaper to purchase than WWE's own network.
  • Took a Level in Badass: This happens to Young Lions, graduates of The New Japan Dojo who spend their first years in opening matches and losing a lot, only winning against other Young Lions. After having worked hard enough and deemed ready, most are sent overseas to other promotions for seasoning. When they come back, they have developed their own gimmicks and are now accepted on the main roster. The most notable example is Kazuchika Okada, who went from a rather forgettable run in TNA as Samoa Joe's sidekick to beating the company's Ace for the world title and becoming the youngest person to ever win the G1 Climax upon his return to New Japan.
  • Tournament Arc: While NJPW has many recurring tournaments, the G1 Climax is their most prestigious and the one that garners the most mainstream attention. It's a round robin style tournament where the winner receives a world title shot at NJPW's biggest event, Wrestle Kingdom.
    • Notably, the G1 winner's reward was slightly tweaked in 2012. Then-winner Kazuchika Okada implemented a briefcase rule (ala Money in the Bank) which held the contract to a title shot, but it needed to be defended regularly against any willing challengers before Wrestle Kingdom. Failing to do so results in the briefcase being transferred to the victor.
  • Ugly Hero, Good-Looking Villain: Shinya Hashimoto against any of his enemies, most notably Nobuhiko Takada and Naoya Ogawa.
  • Ur-Example: NJPW is credited with popularizing the junior/cruiserweight style of wrestling.
  • Wild Card: Yuji Nagata has been this during almost his entire career.
  • The Worf Effect: Captain New Japan's win-loss record is deceptively skewed towards losses. He wins in enough team up situations and such to look competent but gets beat to establish threats a whole lot.
  • Worked Shoot: The "Different Style Fights" were a tradition back in the old days of NJPW, when Inoki was establishing the strong style. They were essentially worked Mixed Martial Arts-like bouts which showcased Inoki and other New Japan wrestlers proving themselves against legit martial artists, who normally were on the losing end. Later Shinya Hashimoto revived them, what led him to the infamous Hashimoto vs Ogawa feud.
  • Wrestling Doesn't Pay: Bruce Tharpe, the NWA Attorney (who is a real attorney)
  • Yakuza
    • Masahiro Chono's gimmick, at least in his beginnings.
    • Tiger Jeet Singh, in Real Life.
  • You, Get Me Coffee: Before a young boy, as the dojo's residents are called, can become a young lion, he must first do the dishes and laundry of those already working New Japan's shows.

Alternative Title(s): NJPW


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