Tuesday, 18 February 2014

2013 Year in review, Part Four: Japan and Women's Wrestling

2013 Year in review, Part Four: 
New Japan, All Japan, NOAH, 

Outdoing the Independents and standing firm on their own, the scene has changed drastically for Japan and female promotions across 2013. More so, in Japan, New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) lost its core being through ignorance and mismanagement allowing its rival All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW) to catch up and give them a real chance at competition. With only Kazuchika Okada firmly in place shining brightly for New Japan, All Japan launched the likes of SUWAMA, Go Shiozaki, Jun Akiyama, Joe Doering and others to stand sturdily against the flawed rivals of NJPW. New Japan made fundamental errors which proved costly.

Adding another blow was NOAH. KENTA's rise and the use of strong support structures from outside and continental visitors boosted their reputation. Able to provide expert matches, sheer quality and intrigue, the position of NOAH could indeed catch up with All Japan and supplant New Japan as Japan's number one promotion. Both should avoid hasty moves with foreign western countries that can harm their rise. One wrong move could destroy everything worked for. The next few years are crucial to re-position the core companies to dominate Japan's wrestling scene.

The bottom line is clear. All Japan and NOAH are rapidly catching New Japan's heels. Costly mistakes and stupidity with thought and placement have expose NJPW as somewhat awkward and resigned. It could be pushed into third or even third place as the national promotion of talent and skill. The evolution should be more than interesting to see unfold. Roster selection of new over shore signees is also a serious test for company devaluing. Choices must be careful researched than ignorant split choices made on a whim for a quick buzz wearing off in two minutes.

Even Dynamic Dream Team (DDT) manage to keep their credibility with comedy matches in expert and well thought out fashion, including such comedians as Golden Loves Kota Ibushi and Kenny Omega. This could even be an up and comer for Japan and that is no joke.

The Women's Indy scene has developed vividly over the past three years. With a strong reputation and the real place to go for female wrestling action, all promotions elsewhere have allowed themselves to become inferior.  The interest on the scene for the ladies is now about how they can capitalise on their success and choose the right outlets to help. Making ludicrous ones will be costly and they understand this. They are keeping themselves distant, and for very good reason. Able to survive on its own, with a host of battling beauties, the real wrestling babes can really draw.

Top promotion SHIMMER has managed to not only build its reputation but maintains its credibility. With virtually every serious professional female wrestler flocking to its nest the promotion is currently winning hands down. Now, it needs to drive an extra push. It should not pair up with other promotions overseas or the big nationals for two minute publicity. If it seems good at the time, it could be costly when the magic fades soon after the deal is struck. Only fools rush in.

Athletes such as Mercedes Martinez, Cheerleader Melissa and others retain its core foundations and draw respect from fans. It is able to survive whilst it plans its next move if it draws up plans. If not, it may need an expert fixer to do it for them. Choose wisely though. Regardless, SHIMMER will be able to keep expert matches flourishing for the scene, keep healthy competition and drive female empowerment whilst keeping the doors open. This is one Indy promotion that can keep its standards high and boast success.

SHINE is a lagging but catching promotion. Its major flaw is that it tries to move in such ways which are predictable, obvious and similar to other partnerships. Owned by the EVOLVE group, SHINE is starting to fizzle out. It is clear favouritism in decision's is once again affecting the product from bookers at the top holding on to their 'luvvies' instead of professional and title upholding. Becoming a slight throwaway promotion where action and gold mean nothing is a troubling sign. Stick to SHIMMER until another becomes available. Noticing how shows and companies are booked by certain people in the same context can be very costly to the output overall. Many careers are often on the line, especially in the women's field of blasé inferiority. 

©  Max Waltham 18th February 2014

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