New Japan Pro Wrestling: Overshadowing WWE
New Japan Pro Wrestling have produced a number of epic bouts that WWE have failed to replicate source: prezi.com

For years the draw of WWE has been talked about as being the be all, end all for professional wrestlers but the rare few break away to become a bigger name than ever imagined.

New Japan Pro Wrestling is one of few destinations able to compete with Vince McMahon's giant and it recently delivered in a huge way at their biggest show of the year.

The Japanese promotion has been home to AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson and even Brock Lesnar in the past and their record of producing top talent continues.

The six stars controversy

Kazuchika Okada - Kenny Omega set the bar for pro wrestling source: sportskeeda.com
Kazuchika Okada - Kenny Omega set the bar for pro wrestling source: sportskeeda.com

Recently at WrestleKingdom 11, Kenny Omega took on Kuzuchika Okada in the main event for the NJPW Heavyweight Championship with the gijan, unfortunately, coming up short and failing to dethrone the champion.

However, the match itself has been labeled as one of the best in history with Dave Meltzer of the wrestling observer awarding the bout a record six stars.

The pair rightfully deserves all the recognition that followed from their match with incredible spots and storytelling and one again established New Japan as the place for the world's best talent.

The list of Meltzer has been a thing within itself in the wrestling world with wrestlers themselves sometimes eagerly anticipating the reviews from the veteran writer.

In history, NJPW has been the recipients of the majority of the few he awards all year as three were awarded out of the four that were published in 2016.

While fans will complain that certain matches warrant more praise, the leading experience that a lot of writers command justifies their reviews.

The most recent addition to the list in Omega v Okada (c) was the first six-star match awarded in history, is this likely to happen in a WWE ring in 2017? Probably not.

While wrestling remains subjective (one of the key reasons of its popularity), its leading writers, reviewers and those who live the industry have all come out to praise the match.

Omega's talent has been on the cusp of greatness for a long time and the ability of Okada has been questioned by few, their perfect showing may never be replicated again, but the fact that it happened in a New Japan ring speaks volumes of the catching up the rest of the competition has to do.

The beauty of simplicity

New Japan is simplicity at its finest source: YouTube.com
New Japan is simplicity at its finest source: YouTube.com

The reason many tune into Monday Night Raw week in, week out, is largely down to the production value plowed into the product thanks to the wallet of Vince McMahon.

While this is no jibe on the millions that tune in to see what is undeniably the biggest professional wrestling promotion in the world - what it does is ask why few tune into New Japan.

Yes, the commentary and promos is a foreign language to the majority of western viewers. Yes, the product is not accessible via a television. Yes, WWE has better production value.

All valid points, but all the fireworks, five-minute entrances, over the top rehearsed commentary and original content on the WWE Network cannot overshadow the absolute beauty and art that New Japan's talent can produce in the squared circle.

WrestleKingdom (11) featured no grand structures, or giant titantrons its focus was on the performers within the ring while WrestleMania is about the putting the grand in Grandest Stage of Them All.

The North American mentality is, go big or go home, while Japan offers a more solemn and reserved ego - cultures are different and that is understandable but money has talked in recent years and it has made WrestleMania an attraction rather than a showcase of art.

Both events have history, and both produce the biggest moments in some performer's careers but one maintains a humble and dignified personality while the other has become a bidding war between American cities in recent years.

The financial draw of WrestleMania:

WrestleMania 31 generated a whopping $139 million for the Santa Clare/ San Jose region with nearly 80% of fans arriving from outside of the local area.

WrestleMania 32 produced the largest profit in WWE history in $17.3 million thanks to the 100,000+ plus that turned out to watch the show in Dallas, Texas.

The cheapest seat at a 'Mania show is likely to be around $200, while WrestleKingdom sells their tickets between $65- $200 for all tickets.

Money talks

WWE can afford to pay more than New Japan source: source:sescoops62.rssing.com
WWE can afford to pay more than New Japan source: source:sescoops62.rssing.com

While in a perfect world, money would never exist and its factor in people's lives would be irrelevant but it is not, and performers often opt for the money - rightfully so considering the majority have families to depend on them.

In New Japan the top performers are likely to make as much as the lower to mid-card performers in WWE, hence why the likes of AJ Styles and The Club have made the leap to the company.

Omega was offered three separate contracts to leave NJPW in 2015 but his persistence and loyalty was strong enough to refuse any pressure to depart the company where he has cemented himself as one of the top performers in the world.

The average NXT salary back in 2014-15 ranged from $25,000 to $30,000 for new talent and approximately $45,000 to $60,000 for top independent stars such as Finn Balor and Kevin Owens.

On the main roster, however, salaries will increase with stars like John Cena commanding $9.5 million per year although, the bigger the name the more money a performer receives

While New Japan is a place where top talent emerges, a lot tend not to stay too long as their profile continues to grow meaning if WWE come calling they will offer more money - a tempting offer.

Seth Rollins who made a name for himself on the indie scene before spending some time in NXT is now one of the highest paid full-time performers, raking in $2.5 million, and this is the route many stars are looking to repeat.

AJ Styles was a big name in world wrestling while in TNA, although his name only grew on a larger scale when he made the move to NJPW and became the leader of The Bullet Club.

The WWE originally offered The Phenomenal One a "low-ball" figure of around $60,000 when he first left TNA which was a substantial drop from his reported earnings of about $400,000 at Impact Wrestling.

However, in 2016, they offered what was described as a "blow-away" bid and something that the 39-year-old could not refuse which was suspected to be upwards of $500,000.

Given his performances and the fact that he currently holds the SmackDown Live WWE World Championship, he will take likely home bonuses meaning more money.

The formula is becoming something along the lines of; a performer works the independent scene, raising his profile over a number of years, striving to become a top guy, meaning a higher chance of succeeding in WWE.

This was never always the case and while in simplistic terms it sounds so easy but it is far from it, some performers will spend their whole life aiming for either New Japan or WWE and fail to make the grade.

All of the money thrown around in the paragraphs above highlight just how much of an empire Vince McMahon rules, New Japan would not likely to be able to afford the salaries of half of the main roster.

Following the money may not seem such a noble action but with your family relying on you in an industry that you love, you would be a fool not to.

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