Cody Rhodes in the NJPW Main Event, is it Too Soon?
New Japan Pro Wrestling’s second biggest event of the year Dominion took place this past weekend and featured arguably one of the best IWGP World Heavyweight Championship matches of all time…
Kazuchika Okada and Kenny Omega went to a 60 minute draw in a bout that not only equalled their Wrestle Kingdom match from January of this year, but may have topped it. One of the many questions left on NJPW fan’s minds after the event was “who will Okada face for the belt next?” That question has now been answered, former WWE superstar Cody Rhodes will be stepping in to the New Japan Main Event scene at the G1 Specials in Long Beach, California.
Why Cody? As we mentioned on a previous article the inaugural IWGP US Champion will be crowned over the two shows and Cody would be our pick to win this belt….however Cody in the Main Event for the IWGP Heavyweight title? Not what we or most New Japan fans had in mind.
When New Japan announced that they would be heading to the United States this July many US fans of the company rejoiced, they would finally be able to witness an authentic New Japan presentation live and see some of the top performers on the world circuit. With the announcement of Cody Rhodes in the main event AND the announcement of Billy Gunn (yes, that Billy Gunn) in a high profile IWGP Intercontinental Championship match against Hiroshi Tanahashi you can’t blame many fans for feeling a bit short changed.
New Japan has been in a building process for a very long time, they truly found their groove in around 2014 when AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, Kota Ibushi, Karl Anderson et al. where hitting their stride in the company and producing some of the most incredible professional wrestling on the planet. Ever since the departure of these talents (Kota Ibushi please come back!) the company has been on a rebuilding campaign and having seen success with the likes of Okada, Kenny Omega, Tetsuya Naito, Hiromu Takahashi they are once again hitting a hot streak and these ‘homegrown’ talents are EXACTLY what the US fans of New Japan wanted to see mix it up in July.
I can certainly see why they have chosen Cody, he is a recognised name in the world of pro wrestling and he has the pedigree and experience of a top tier performer. The real issue is one of ‘pushing’ talent that is conceived as ‘WWE guys,’ this is a tactic that many companies throughout the years have employed and the ‘WWE Lite’ stigma has seen the likes of TNA fall into near ruin. I’m a fan of Cody, I believe that he has more to give in New Japan and that he will at some point establish himself in the main event scene and be more than the ‘3 Star’ moniker that certain fans have lumbered him with, but not right now, not when New Japan is looking to expand it’s reach into the United States and essentially create a new territory.
— 新日本プロレスリング株式会社 (@njpw1972) June 12, 2017
What do you think? Is it too early for Cody? Who should be in the main event of the G1 Specials?