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    Monday, January 11, 2016

    Cafe Puro (1/11/16): Why You Guys Need To Chill Out

    Yes, we all heard about what could possibly be the biggest talent-related news in years: the rumors of NJPW's Shinsuke Nakamura, AJ Styles, Karl Anderson, and Doc Gallows joining WWE. You know it, I know it, everyone who is a wrestling fan has heard of it in some form or another. Finn Balor couldn't wait for his friends to arrive. Heck, even WWE themselves capitalized on the hype by posting Bullet Club-related articles on their own website.

    To give you an idea, we are talking about the entire semi-final of Wrestle Kingdom 10 as well as the biggest tag team in New Japan in a very long time leaving the company before the first quarter of 2016 ends. To say that New Japan will experience a creative overhaul in the next few months is an understatement.

    And while we cannot wait to see what the WWE-bound megastars can do on RAW, SmackDown, NXT, and PPVs, to say that New Japan's future is bleak at this point is very premature. And here are the reasons why their future will remain bright even after the post-Exodus:

    New Storylines, New Directions

    As seen in NJPW's post-WK show, not only did Kenny Omega beat Shinsuke Nakamura clean in a tag team match, but he also directed Bullet Club in kicking out AJ Styles out of the group, and in effect, the company. The Cleaner also declared that he will no longer be a Jr. Heavyweight as he would graduate to the Heavyweight division, and challenge The King of Strong Style for the IWGP IC Championship.

    As the old saying goes, "one door closes, another one opens." And this is but one example of how the company will finally be able to focus on refreshing booking directions and fresh new match ups along the way. And let's face it: there are many guys in the roster who are waiting for the opportunity to be put in the main event position, and Omega, who has dedicated his career in Japan since 2008, is finally getting his due. Likewise, heavyweights like Goto and Naito will finally see singles career resurgences, and who knows how favorites like Ishii and Shibata will be booked in the future.

    Long story short: expect some very interesting booking decisions in the next couple of months, which is a far cry from an era that has been dominated by the usual suspects like Tanahashi and Okada.

    The Door of Opportunity

    In last year's G1 Climax reviews, you'll notice that much praise has been given to YOSHI-HASHI (aka Tacos) and Tama Tonga for their ability to ready themselves as major singles players when the day comes. That being said, if there was any other time to pull the trigger on these guys in the undercard, now is the time. Having played second fiddle to their more popular counterparts for a long time, the Exodus will allow them to be put in a more prominent position in the card, and secure more booking possibilities.

    Think about this: Tomoaki Honma and Tomohiro Ishii were put in prominent positions in recent years, after being considered secondary players for so long. And they're put in that position at a relatively older age. So when you put in consideration the young ages of Tonga and Tacos, and the fantastic booking prowess of Jado and Gedo, then you have many years to build them up and become big time players. The door of opportunity is very wide for them right now. And with the likes of TenKoji and Yuji Nagata reaching the twilight of their careers, why not now, right?

    Working Relationships

    And in case anyone has forgotten, New Japan has working relationships with various wrestling organizations all over the world, within and outside their native land. 

    While New Japan has shied away from making way too much use of talent from other organizations in recent years (considering they have way too much talent at the time), the option is always there. They have working relationships with NOAH and DDT (among others), ROH in the United States, CMLL in Mexico, Revolution Pro Wrestling in England, the National Wrestling Alliance, and wXw in Germany. It is through these talent cross promotions that we were able to witness matches such as Shinsuke Nakamura vs then-NOAH's Go Shiozaki, and Prince Devitt's all-outsider title defenses of his IWGP Jr. Heavyweight title in 2010-2011. And lest we forget, the Briscoes are the NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Team Champions alongside Toru Yano.

    With New Japan's talent relationships with other promotions, the possibilities are endless. You can have all the possible match ups while helping build the stars of other promotions, the latest being Michael Elgin from ROH.

    Building the Future

    If there is something you have to admire about New Japan that other promotions should really learn from, it's their ability to create future stars.

    Tanahashi and Nakamura are products of the New Japan dojo, having been trained and prepared for the bigger stage for many years before they debuted on the big stage. While Okada was trained by Ultimo Dragon, he was sent to the Young Lion system to begin his training again. And when management and the fans saw star potential in him, Okada was sent to the worst possible hell there is for his excursion: TNA Wrestling. As well as know by now, the result of that fateful excursion was the birth of The Rainmaker.

    Yohei Komatsu and Sho Tanaka will begin their training excursion soon with CMLL, and fans are expecting big things from them when the day comes that they come back. While the two are on their excursions, there are other stars who continue to train within the confines of the system, including David Finlay (son of Fit Finlay), Cody Hall (son of Scott Hall), Jay White, and Juice Robinson (the former CJ Parker from NXT).

    And if you think New Japan was done there, think again. The company recently signed two new and hopeful young lions in Noriyuki Oka and Katsuya Kitamura—two new heavyweights, no less. Oka is an experienced amateur wrestler and a freestyle wrestling champion with much ahead of him. And then you have Kitamura, who not only is a former amateur wrestling champion in his own right, but is also a very imposing figure in his own right. Seriously, just look at him! He's like a combination of Brock Lesnar and Big E!

    While the future remains uncertain in New Japan after the great departure, what is certain is that things will change in a big way. And change is a good thing, especially in an industry that always demands change. While the presence of Nakamura, Styles, Gallows, and Gun will be sorely missed, there's always a light at the end of the tunnel.

    How do you feel about the impending changes in the world of pro wrestling from this exodus? Sound off in the comments!

    Images from NJPW and WWE.com

    Lance Tan Ong has been a banking guy for the past few years but a wrestling guy for most of his life. And after checking out matches of Mitsuharu Misawa and Shinya Hashimoto at an early age, he's also pretty much a puro guy as well. Currently checking out WWE (mostly NXT), NJPW, DDT, and other promotions that catch and demand attention. He currently handles NJPW news and coverage for Smark Henry.
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    Item Reviewed: Cafe Puro (1/11/16): Why You Guys Need To Chill Out Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Lance Tan Ong
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