10 Takeaways From NJPW Fighting Spirit Unleashed 2018
New Japan's second edition of Fighting Spirit Unleashed took place on Sunday at California, with an intriguing set of matches building towards Wrestle Kingdom 13 and set of events before that. The card headlined by a match between CHAOS factions Tomohiro Ishii and Kazuchika Okada versus the Golden Lovers (Kota Ibushi and Kenny Omega).
While the event lacked the urgency of last years tournament to crown the inaugural IWGP United States champion. The event had some intriguing developments for the future of New Japan, especially on American shores. It included two title changes and built to a whole host of possible matches for next weeks King of Pro Wrestling and next months Power Struggle.
New Japan is soaring high with each man leaving its mark, but more importantly some form of notes for the future. There's a lot to unpack with this event, most of all the idea that New Japan is definitely doing all it can to appeal to not just a faithful American audience but a mainstream one as well.
Like with anything in wrestling today, front and center were the Elite!
#10. JR Needs to Hang Up his Cowboy Hat
Somehow the lack of Josh Bartnett by his side made Good Ol' JR that much worse. Sharing commentary duties with Bartnett the last time New Japan was in American shores, he sounded better for it and worse as well. Yet here Jim's inadequacies clearly showed especially with Kevin Kelly on the other end.
Kelly feels lively and he knows what he's talking about. In retaliation to which, Jim Ross has not only lost a step but also seems unconcerned about having authenticity in his calls and information of the product. It's sad to admit this, but maybe it's finally time for Ross to call it a day. It's best as neither he nor Jerry Lawler has been on top in the past years and neither should they be commentating without the other.
His mistakes notwithstanding, Ross also regresses into a very 90s mode of storytelling that while very exciting is still tinged with just nostalgia. It doesn't help that it can't match the New Japan storytelling. Somehow Kelly has an insightful idea on how to call Japanese action in English. Let's hope JR sees the light and retires before he becomes another washed up has been of wrestling.