What’s next for the Wrestling Company partnership?

The rebirth of New Japan Pro-Wrestling and Pro Wrestling NOAH relationship at the end of 2021 offered a great prospect. their sharing Fight Kingdom 16 at Yokohama Arena, the show was set to be the defining moment in what could become a treasured alliance. While the show failed to live up to admittedly high standards, the same grand outlook for NJPW vs. NOAH remains.

Since it happened, I’ve been considering whether to write on the joint New Japan and NOAH card, supposed “supershow” on January 8th. Billed under the rented Fight Kingdom banner, the show promised to be a card worthy of being called a “supershow”, but instead we were royally disappointed.

NJPW vs. NOAH – The Road Forward

Following the announced Supercard

When the initial announcement was made, I wrote with great excitement about the dream match potential and world-beating possibilities of a revived alliance between Japan’s two most prominent promotions. However, this whirlwind of excitement couldn’t resist the disappointing thump of the map before us. Instead of a flurry of singles matches topping an under-map of tag matches, the map saw tag matches from top to bottom; not quite how it was built before the map was made.

This is where the overwhelming disappointment came from, as the build was dominated by singles couples – Shingo Takagi vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima, Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Keiji Mutō, Kazuchika Okada vs. Kaito Kiyomia. Even though we got to see these pairings as a tag team, it was basically a disappointment when they came to fruition outside of individual battles. The drama and specialty that important singles matches give at the main event level can’t quite be matched by multi-man tags, which is essentially NJPW’s problem against NOAH. Fight Kingdom 16 Pin up.

It was by no means a “supershow” level map, as dream matches were nowhere to be found. Instead, we sat through bizarre combinations in inconsequential tag matches before finally reaping the rewards of our investment in top 3 matches.

Best matches from the NJPW vs NOAH event

First of all, Zack Saber Jr. and At Yoshinobu Kanemura’s historically influenced member labor warfare with Naomichi Marufuji and Yoshinari Ogawa took place. Then fans saw the chaotic fun The Ingobernables of Japan and KONGO clash, before Kazuchika Okada and Hiroshi Tanahashi completed the show against Keiji Muto and Kaito Kiyomiya (a truly defining performance for Kiyomiya).

The harrowing undercard gave the mainline matches a real uphill battle if they were to pull off a salvage job, but at least in part, the key matches left a lasting impression. It was LIJ’s co-main event against KONGO and the star-studded show that offered the most promising signs of more exciting things to come from the alliance. Despite the generally underwhelming nature of the card, it promised more remarkable crossover to come.

The essence of this article is to look at where we go from here. The fiery announcement followed by the uninspired map and inconsistent spectacle means the revived alliance hasn’t quite lived up to expectations. However, we must remember that it is not over yet.

The seeds have been sown, we must now see them grow.

Where do we go from here?

Brawls during the crossover show between headliners, such as Katsuhiko Nakajima and At Tetsuya Naito’s the “tranquilo” one-upmanship or Muto and Tanhashi’s legendary showdown, whetted the appetite for more. We all want to see the huge singles matches this alliance can bring.

The sold-out crowd (which came before the matches were announced, might I add), the novelty factor, and the tantalizing matchups peeked through the looking glass at what this alliance could bring about. Fans reveled in the action – audibly at times, unable to resist breaking strict verbal noise rules.

Clearly, the desire is high for a new crossover between the two companies. Nationally and internationally, it must be said.

It seems that the Fight Kingdom The show was the trigger for more interesting and anticipated matches down the line, rather than being the venue for those encounters as we initially thought. It seems inherently reasonable to expect Kaito Kiyomiya to feature in NJPW again, very soon. Kazuchika Okada seems to be the opponent. Surely?

Main event aftermath

The stark visual of Kiyomiya walking away from the ring, unable to lift his head with tears streaming from his eyes, as Muto held his arm around the young star will stick with me. Kiyomiya had finally earned Keiji Muto’s respect, with the living legend telling him not to cry as he helped him away from the ring was a symbol of Muto finally taking Kiyomiya under his wing.

The image of Muto helping a crestfallen Kiyomiya away from the ring was reminiscent of Kazuchika Okada collapsing as Gedo comforted him after the main event loss at Fight Kingdom 10.

The comparison was deliberate.

Okada and Kiyomiya will cross paths again, with the NJPW-NOAH partnership providing the perfect environment for this tantalizing battle of the present versus the future. They shouldn’t be the only ones to cross paths again, as if the two promotions should really capitalize on the relationship, then more crossovers should happen.

the Fight Kingdom teased showdown Tomohiro Ishii and Yoshiki Inamura do battle (something I already covered in more detail, here), as well as headliners LIJ and KONGO getting into an intense and personal war. Katsuhiko Nakajima vs. Shingo Takagi stands out in a pretty amazing way, but a match between the respective leaders, Kenoh and Tetsuya Naito, would also be quite spellbinding.

NJPW vs. NOAH – Closing

The possibilities are immense – I’ve said all that before. When the opening announcement was made, booking fantasy dream matches was the only thing to do, but now that time has passed, a more reasoned expectation has built up.

No one knows what will become of the NJPW-NOAH relationship except those leading it. Although, if the third night of Fight Kingdom 16 was the litmus test, so it seems quite likely that a stronger alliance will come

Singles matches are what we want; Hopefully we will have them. The revived NJPW-NOAH alliance is one of the most exciting propositions in pro wrestling, so we’re eagerly awaiting what’s to come.

Stay tuned for the latest word on pro wrestling for more on this and other stories from the wrestling world as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to keep you up to date on top wrestling news, as well as providing you with analysis, insights, videos, interviews and op-eds on the wrestling world.