New Japan Pro Wrestling

Not only did New Japan Pro Wrestling honor and respect the severity of the pandemic, but it helped bring about a sense of hope for the future. Their incredible wrestling and storytelling helped me escape the reality I was in for a few hours at a time. They are the best wrestling company on the planet, bar none.
- Maxwell Ogden
FanSided Operations Assistant

How this fandom is changing sports

While the term “professional wrestling“ is most commonly associated with WWE and its sports entertainment format, many fans want a product that focuses more on what transpires in the ring. Over the past decade, New Japan Pro Wrestling has led the movement to emphasize a form of professional wrestling that values a more realistic feel to this beautiful blend of art and sport. Driven heavily by classic matches between the likes of Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kazuchika Okada, Kenny Omega and Tetsuya Naito, and Katsuyori Shibata and Tomohiro Ishii, the company has changed the mainstream perception of what professional wrestling can be.

What is this fandom’s best tradition?

The two that wrestling fans need to know and watch are Wrestle Kingdom and G1 Climax. New Japan Pro Wrestling holds an annual, round-robin-style tournament called G1 Climax. Twenty participants split into two groups, A Block and B Block, with the winner ultimately receiving a World Title shot at Wrestle Kingdom. Wrestle Kingdom is NJPW’s biggest event, held annually on January 4 in the legendary Tokyo Dome with attendance numbers exceeding 40,000 people. In 2021, Wrestle Kingdom 15 and G1 Climax 31 were highlights of the year in professional wrestling, both producing instant classic matches and the emotional return of Katsuyori Shibata after a four-year injury absence.