wrestling / Columns

NJPW: Gedo Has Lost Me

September 3, 2020 | Posted by Dick Ford

For years New Japan Pro-Wrestling has been at the top of my fandom list. When the company announced a global expansion, I was ecstatic. I went to every single show in California. In 2019, I traveled to NYC to see them at MSG. Earlier this year, I went to not just one but both nights of Wrestle Kingdom. Just when other companies stateside were boring me to tears and driving me away from pro-wrestling; New Japan saved me. Several years before, Gedo did the same for the company. He was the one who dragged them out of the dark days and into the light of worldwide expansion and sold out Tokyo Dome shows. He’s won the “Best Booker” award from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter eight out of the last nine years. Yet somehow, despite all the great moments and successes, Gedo has lost me.

Dave Meltzer will tell you that Gedo was a big fan of American wrestling growing up. It is evident who his influences are. Maybe that’s the problem? Maybe the problem is that Gedo allows too much of the card to be influenced by American booking tendencies? What’s that? I’m talking about the outside interference, the referee bumps, all of it. That’s not Puroresu. That’s American BS.

I was especially excited for the return of New Japan, which had been closed down since March because of Covid-19. The absence made my heart grow fonder. I watched the Finals of the New Japan Cup, and for just a moment, I forgot about the problems that plagued my viewing experience prior to the shutdown. While I enjoyed most of the final night of the NJC, the main event brought me crashing back down to Earth. The overbooking and ref bumps, which have long been a complaint of mine, were back. Because of the shocking twist at the end of the night (EVIL turning on Naito) I was willing to put aside my angst for all of that American BS and watch the next night.

Then the Dominion main event, EVIL vs Naito for the two IWGP titles. A match centered around a man turning his back on his teammate, his friend. The story is very simple, there’s no need to convolute it with gaga, right? Nope. Instead it’s more of the same. Bullet Club and LIJ interference, even Dick Togo comes back to get involved. Just as I’m about to walk away from New Japan, shockingly EVIL wins and becomes double champion.

I’m hooked back in. Interested in what they’ll do next, I tune into Summer Struggle in Jingu. The first two matches, referee bumps that are not even necessary. Not to mention an idea that sounds like it is straight from WWE, the KOPW trophy, which might as well be the 24/7 title. Shingo Takagi and Minoru Suzuki have a great match and more of the same with Taiji Ishimori vs Hiromu Takahashi. Maybe this show will get us back on track, I’m feeling optimistic. Then what do we get for the main event of Summer Struggle in EVIL vs Naito? You guessed it… Gedo. I get the argument that the match should have it because their match at Dominion did but that means you don’t book the undercard with it!

It’s like he just can’t help himself.

The G1 is right around the corner, usually the best time of year and I’m only excited about All Japan’s Champion Carnival.

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article topics :

Gedo, NJPW, Dick Ford