Note: I currently have a problem connecting my smartphone to my PC so I don’t have any images of the event to upload to this post. I will edit them in later at another date.
New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) made its first appearance in Singapore last weekend, at the Chara Expo 2015, an inaugural anime-themed convention held at Singapore Expo.
Before you ask, “Why was there pro wrestling at an anime event?”, the company that owns NJPW, Bushiroad, was one of the main sponsors and organisers of Chara Expo. It therefore makes sense for them to bring in NJPW, the biggest wrestling promotion in Japan that is widely loved by wrestling fans worldwide.
NJPW’s top three stars, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Kazuchika Okada made the trip to Singapore. Other favourites such as Jushin Thunder Liger, Hirooki Goto, and Togi Makabe were also in attendance. Everyone was in Singapore for the first time except for Tanahashi, it was his second (he had probably visited Singapore as a tourist in the past).
Results – 20 June 2015:
– Yohei Komatsu defeated Sho Tanaka with Half-Boston Crab.
– Jushin Thunder Liger / Hirooki Goto / Togi Makabe defeated Yoshi-Hashi / Gedo / Kazuchika Okada. Makebe pins Okada after his signature flying knee off the turnbuckle.
– Shinsuke Nakamura / Toru Yano defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi / Captain New Japan. Nakamura with the pin after a Boma Ye to Captain who was sitting up on the mat.
Results – 21 June 2015:
– Sho Tanaka defeated Yohei Komatsu with Half-Boston Crab.
– Hirooki Goto / Togi Makabe / Captain New Japan defeated Toru Yano / Shinsuke Nakamura / Yoshi-Hashi. Goto pins Hashi after hitting him with a Shouten Kai.
– Hiroshi Tanahashi / Jushin Thunder Liger defeated Gedo / Kazuchika Okada. Tanahashi pins Gedo after a High Fly Flow.
The two rookie wrestlers in NJPW’s roster started off the opening matches for both days. I had seen Tanaka wrestle on NJPW World before and I was quite impressed with his sound technical ability and dropkicks. Both of their matches were decent with plenty of counter-wrestling and submission holds. Tanaka and Komatsu are definitely the future of the company, they just need to develop some sort of gimmick or personality to make themselves stand out.
Of course, everyone came to see Shinsuke Nakamura and the entire roof was blown off once he came out for his entrance. It’s a shame that Nakamura and Tanahashi had to wrestle in tag matches — I would have loved to see them go at it one-on-one. I got to see Tanahashi perform TWO Sling Blades and a High Fly Flow in the same match though, so I am not complaining.
Me and a friend actually took the early train in order to queue up early on the first day to buy ringside seats. You could spectate the matches for free by standing behind the seated area, but we really really wanted to be close to the ring in order to get a better view of our heroes. This was a smart decision by the organisers — by allowing standing passersby to spectate freely, they were increasing the exposure of the matches and increasing the chances of creating new fans.
One of these new fans was a booth lady manning the Liongeeks doujin art booth. She told me that “Nakamura was very handsome” after seeing the Nakamura t-shirt that I was wearing. Eat your heart out Atsuto Uchida.
And there, my friends, is a perfect example of the appeal of pro wrestling. You don’t need to be a sports fan to be entertained. You don’t need to understand complicated rules. Just one quick glance at the costumes of Liger or Captain New Japan, or watching Nakamura’s rocker entrance is enough to turn you into a fan. Pro wrestling is a universal language that entertains people of all ages, regardless of nationality or sex.
Wrestling season in Singapore is about to hit its full swing. First, it was Dolph Ziggler’s visit to Singapore on 29 May, followed by NJPW. In two weeks time on 2 July, WWE will be holding some matches at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. And the next day on 3 July, Singapore Pro Wrestling will be organising their first hardcore-themed house show, Hardcore Island.
This is the way to make wrestling more strong.