New Japan Pro Wrestling

The new generation of New Japan Pro Wrestling stars have arrived to rival the mainstays who have led a 10-year boom period for the company. It was a unique opportunity to simultaneously look at the future and present of NJPW intertwining. Additionally, many are arguing that NJPW has played home to at least four Match of the Year contenders.
- Max Ogden
FanSided Contributor Sourcing Specialist

Best fan moment of the year

In a year of great moments, none stand out quite as much as the fact that fans of New Japan Pro Wrestling were allowed to be fans again! COVID restrictions were lightened at New Japan Pro Wrestling shows in 2023, as attending supporters were finally allowed to cheer and make other audible noises at events. It has not only spurred the company forward in terms of a return to its proper position of global prominence but also reminded wrestling enthusiasts from all over the world that the NJPW experience is truly unique. An environment unlike any other in the world of sports and entertainment, NJPW can truly say that it's back on top after the return of cheering fans in 2023!

What we’ll remember about this fandom a decade from now

2023 was a monumental year for New Japan Pro Wrestling. It began the process of bridging the gap between generations and potentially passing the baton. The future arrived when SANADA shocked the world by defeating the untouchable Kazuchika Okada to win the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship for the first time in his career. Additionally, the promising 30-and-under trio of Ren Narita, Shota Umino, and Yota Tsuji were all but confirmed as the future pillars of the company when they received the label of The Reiwa Three Musketeers. As for the current generation, fan-favorite Tetsuya Naito won the G1 Climax tournament and Will Ospreay has earned Wrestler of the Year praise the world over. Okada's rivalries with wrestlers both within and outside of NJPW have stolen headlines throughout the year, as well. Throw in Zack Sabre Jr. redefining the term, “Fighting Champion,“ and this has been a stellar year all around. A decade from now, we'll not only look back on a great year for the mainstays but potentially identify 2023 as the beginning of the changing of the guard.