Japan 2014: Not Enough Time

May 25

NJPW

I went to a New Japan Pro Wrestling pay per view (Back to the Yokohama Arena) with one of our friends who lives in Japan (Daryl) in Yokohama. This was the first ever-Japanese wrestling event I have attended and I was excited at the idea of comparing it to the RAWs and Smackdowns I have attended in Canada.

The first thing I noticed was that the crowd was much more diverse than what I’m used to seeing. Usually there are typically a bunch of alpha males, wrestling nerds and kids at WWE events. At this New Japan show the crowd seemed to be made up of a ton of women, couples and families with very small children.

And a lot these women were not a bunch of hags, no, no, no. There was plenty of fine eye candy to look at. It was such a wonderful bonus.

NJPW

So what about Yokohama Arena itself? For me it’s comparable to the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary in regards to capacity. The view we had was 10 rows back from the ring and when one of us stood up we could see the commentators table and the cameras pointed towards our general direction.

Take a look at the video of the pre-show I managed to quickly record to get a better idea of what our view was like.

Here’s the complete match list:

Road to BEST OF THE SUPER Jr. XXI: Jushin Thunder Liger, Tiger Mask, Mascara Dorada & El Desperado vs. Ryusuke Taguchi, Alex Shelley, KUSHIDA & BUSHI

Special 8 Man Tag Match: Yuji Nagata, Manabu Nakanishi, Tomoaki Honma & Captain New Japan vs. Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows, Yujiro Takahashi & Tama Tonga

NWA World Tag Team Title – 3 Way Match: Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima (c) vs. Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr. vs. Rob Conway & Wes Brisco

Special Tag Match: Toru Yano & Takashi Iizuka vs. Minoru Suzuki & Shelton Benjamin

Special Singles Match: Tetsuya Naito vs. Bad Luck Fale

Wrestling vs. Jiu-jitsu MMA Fight: Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Rolles Gracie

NEVER Openweight Title: Tomohiro Ishii (c) vs. Kota Ibushi

IWGP Tag Team Title #1 Contenders Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi & Togi Makabe vs. Hirooki Goto & Katsuyori Shibata

IWGP Intercontinental Title – Wrestling vs. Jiu-jitsu MMA Fight: Shinsuke Nakamura (c) vs. Daniel Gracie

IWGP Heavyweight Title: AJ Styles (c) vs. Kazuchika Okada

NJPW

NJPW

The match of the night was the NEVER openweight title match. I’ve heard of Japanese crowds being notoriously quiet during matches, but man did this match ever get everyone riled up. It was perfectly paced and really got the crowd into frenzy before the final ending sequence.

NJPW

NJPW

The other thing about the crowd is when the main event started. There was this one Japanese dude screaming random swears in English. I think the only people who really understood what was going on were Daryl, and myself and we were laughing like mad as this guy just screamed at AJ Styles during the ring intros.

This match was also great and had a hell of a build up. From what I understand the crowd had a better reaction to Styles than the first time he appeared in New Japan, even if it was all boos and the only people cheering for him were probably us 2 gaijin and a few other people.

Overall this was pretty great for my first live Japanese professional wrestling experience. The MMA vs. Wrestling matches were kind of meh when comparing them to the rest of the card but otherwise it was so much fun being in that kind of atmosphere.

After the wrestling it was off to Shibuya to try some spicy food and then to Shinjuku to have an actual meal of plentiful food at a 270 yen joint.

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About Greg 1072 Articles
Greg is the creator, administrator, editor, code monkey, overlord and general jack of all trades at Selective Hearing. He can be found lurking among the overseas Asian pop fandom and bumming around Japan every year for some reason or another.

1 Comment

  1. Man, freakin’ Hiro is great in both the tower videos and oh karaoke. Great nostalgia! Good times, and plenty of stories to tell!

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