I can’t claim to be an expert on Puroresu let alone New Japan Pro Wrestling. I got into it after seeing numerous videos of Kenny Omega on YouTube highlighting his budding feud with Okada and antics in the Bullet Club. I remembered Kenny from Ring of Honor when he wasn’t really considered a top guy and was still using a Hadouken as one of his 5 moves of Doom. So seeing him with the grey hair, shades, and Terminator-themed gimmick was a shock but a welcome one.
Eventually, I took the advice of Solomonster and jumped into a subscription with NJPW and quickly got hooked as it was right when the G1 was kicking in full gear. It was overwhelming at first but there are some resources to help get you more comfortable with the product.
First I’d recommend something that wasn’t around when I started but is still useful now to me as there is still a lot of history I’m unaware of:
1. The Recount
The Recount is voiced by Kevin Kelly and gives you the cliff notes of some of the more recent happenings (last few years). This helps you dive into the new shows with as much quick information as you could possibly gather from one source. It’s also official.
Showbuckle used to be on YouTube but has had to hop around quite a bit in the last few years. No offense to the late great Kevin Kelly and NJPW’s recount but these videos are arguably better but run longer usually. However, I would never have had as much of an understanding of Naito, his gimmick, his journey, and his archetype if I had not watched Showbuckle’s piece on him. Possibly the best companion piece for a new NJPW fan.
Why do I never see anyone talking about Purowave? No, it’s not going to explain the feuds to you or give you the detailed history but it does showcase a lot of older stars and highlight some of their cooler moments backed by low-fi and retro music. This creates some awesome fan-created wrestler hype packages that help you figure out what wrestlers you might want to go back and see more of. Personally, Kenny, Jushin Thunder Liger, Hayabusa, and The Great Muta videos are my favorite.
4. Keepin’ It Strong Style
Obviously, your best source for news and updates is Social Suplex and more specifically the Ace of Podcasts: Keepin’ it Strong Style. If you’re feeling overwhelmed though try any of the above links and dive in. There’s no wrong order and you’ll get more affiliated with the ongoing characters, style, and personalities that make NJPW great.