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THE PULSE, Summer 2021

3 years ago

THE PULSE, Summer 2021

By: Mavs Gillis

Big time stadium shows…. Keeping up with the champions…

Fool’s errand leads to some full-time ass kickings… What’s the word? Ah, yes, it’s ‘fighting spirit’

You alright?
‘I got a little cooked, but I’m ok’

Luke Skywalker summed it up nice: Things got a little bumpy there, but now we’re heading into the throes of a run of stadium cards with Tokyo Dome in the midst of the Olympics, a return to Saitima to wrap up the summer, and fans back ringside for the cerulean blue state-side bring us so much closer to normalcy.

The other massive curveball was one that no one saw coming, just as we had begun to see a title solidify an Empire— Will Ospreay’s sudden absence has given us the era of the Dragon.

Shingo Takagi, now breathing fire into that belt. Look closely at it the next time it’s on your njpwworld screen. Maybe you’re watching on a phone, maybe a tablet, on your computer or casting to your flatscreen, but you need to really pay attention. FOCUS and you’ll see it. The smoke rising from the wings of that Championship off the heat of Takagi, now he is the centerpiece of New Japan Pro Wrestling. He’s the fourth man from Animal Hamaguchi’s gym to make that claim, and he’ll return to that gym with the hardware to present it to his senpai. The blueprint from this education is on display with every pumping bomber that’s connected en route to an IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. Shingo’s first title defense? A man who couldn’t be more of a polar opposite in Kota Ibushi.

While Shingo was terrorizing Dragon Gate, Ibushi was creating magic in Dramatic Dream Team.

As Takagi was powering his way to perfection on Last of the Dragon, Kota’s flying through the air ever so gracefully, ever so impactfully finding landings with the Phoenix Splash.

The Dragon’s dance card has never been empty, the Golden Star may have had a small sabbatical with Ibushi Puroresu Kenkyujo. Between these men, who both began their careers in 2004, one has had twice as many matches as the other.

In the Tokyo Dome summer main event, the contrast of these two will be on full display.
Where Ibushi thrilled in DDT, now that’s the mantle of Chris Brookes, a man who made the promotion his number one priority — and man, oh man did D.D.T. ever get the best of that decision.

Chris Brookes is an absolute bridge for the foreign audience into DDT while completely ingratiating himself to Japan. We all know DDT as a promotion is an absolute mixed bag, le mouton noir if you speak a little French. But Brookes has proven throughout his time here that, when the stakes start to rise, the man holds serious hands at the table. Give his King of DDT first-round match vs Tetsuya Endo a watch if you haven’t yet, and enjoy reading all about his rise to the DDT Extreme title in an article from Steven R. Jackson.

On the other side of that CyberFight dichotomy, one of the few guys who still has his original ticket from when the Arc left the shores of All Japan, is Takashi Sugiura. This issue features an in-depth retrospective on Takashi Sugiura and his two decades being a tower of strength. The man has been a bedrock for Pro Wrestling NOAH, four times a GHC Heavyweight Champion and the current GHC National Champion.

On our Joshi beat we’re covering how Oedo Tai is stealing souls out of STARS at a rate that would make Shang Tsung jealous, first Fukigen Death picking up terrible habits like smoking, and then Starlight Kid, who we could never imagine being across the ring from Mayu Iwatani. We also investigate how TJPW and STARDOM pushing each other might just be the next step in that Joshi boom that we’re coming to love.

Speaking of next steps, here in North America things just keep getting Stronger week after week. The entry of NJPW STRONG into the wrestling schedule is can’t-miss. Now the evolution towards fans being in the building is one thing, but being on the grounds of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in August is the best way to bring New Japan Pro Wrestling of America from the soundstage to the big stage. August 14th RESURGENCE, a massive card and two men fighting in that lineup join us in this issue.

Barrett Brown talks about how his fighting spirit is epitomizes the Friday night NJPW weekly, and the “Dirty Daddy” Chris Dickinson – who came up just short in his match with Tom Lawlor for the NJPW Strong Openweight Title – put an exclamation point of bonafide on what it takes to challenge for that championship. He lets us know what else to expect, and we cannot wait to see how the entire card for August 14th in Los Angeles shakes out.

It becomes all about milestones and fenceposts: get to the next town, get to the next town. We hear it on Talk N’ Shop about making towns. It really is about that idea of making our way back to when the worry of postponements and waves, and all that other stuff we want distraction from, is finally in the rear view mirror. The best way to do it? Keep making towns, brother.

This article first appeared in Monthly Puroresu Issue #5

Written by:

I've been a local sports broadcaster in Halifax, Nova Scotia for more than eight years. You might have also heard me on New Japan Pro-Wrestling broadcasts as one of a handful who have worked as an English announcer. When Thom reached out to me about doing the first Monthly Puroresu magazine, I gave him two thumbs up – and have kicked off every issue since with a column that serves as a foreword.