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Discussion Starter #1
Ok so I'm a WWE fan and I've just recently started watching some New Japan and I've been wondering who exactly the face of the company is I always thought Nakamura was the FOTC then when he left it became Okada but I listened to an episode of Solomonster Sounds Off and he said Tanahashi has been the FOTC for over a decade if you guys could clear up some of my confusion that's be great
 

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Nakamura was never FOTC.

It was Tanahashi for a long time, and recently it has been transitioned to Okada.

Naito was meant to become the face but he flopped because the fans didnt accept him as a babyface. He has rebounded now and is super over as a heel.

Omega is the top gaijin, before him there was AJ.
 

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The torch was passed from Tanahashi to Okada recently.

Nakamura was hyped as the next big thing when he was a rookie, but Tanahashi surpassed him (think Cena-Orton) and carried the company through tough times up until NJPW's explosion in stateside popularity a few years ago. Shinsuke reinvented himself (from MMA tough guy to charismatic King of Strong Style) and was the legitimate #2 guy behind Tanahashi and perhaps even the cool alternative but never The Guy.

Okada came back into NJPW from a "failed" TNA excursion in 2012, was instantly thrown into a rivalry with The Ace (Tanahashi) and proved his worth, hence why he is the top man now. Tanahashi's still hanging in there doing his thing outside of the World Title picture (trying to maintain the prestige Nakamura initially brought to the IC Title) but I think New Japan Pro Wrestling is Kazuchika Okada's company now.

Bullet Club has been the most important ingredient to NJPW crossing over to the US in terms of visibility. And Naito is Roman Reigns if the WWE could've put their collective ego aside :lol
 
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I’ve only been watching NJPW consistently for about a year so I’m not the best person to answer this question but here it goes:

Tanahashi had been the Ace of the company for about the last decade, winning several titles and headlining several Tokyo Dome shows. In recent years, Okada came through ranks rivaling Tanahashi, and basically supplanted him as the Ace after beating him at last year’s Tokyo Dome Show.

Tanahashi has since taken on a bit of ligther role while still maintaining his status as one of NJPW’s Big 4, along with Omega and Naito.
 

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Okada is the obvious answer. I started watching NJPW a few months ago as well.
 

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GOATkada is the face of the company now

Nakamura never was the face of the company btw, before Okada was Tanahashi until WK10, where Tana passed the torch. Naito is the more over guy these days though. Omega is the top "gaijin" (foreigner).
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I guess I fell into the WWE hype machine in thinking Nakamura was the #1 guy in New Japan lol how does AJ Styles' popularity in Japan compare to Kenny Omega's
 

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Okada

but yes, Tana was the ACE of the company. Which is why some call him the John Cena of NJPW. He was the guy who carried the company out of its poor state after Inoki almost killed it by trying to turn it into a shoot wrestling company. Tana's Ace run started in about 2007, and was also when NJPW went back to just doing good old fashioned Pro-Wrestling.

Nakamura had a short run at the top before Tanahashi, but Tana ended up getting the spot since at the time he was more charismatic. Nakamura's swag gimmick didn't start until 2011, and he eventually became the most popular guy in NJPW because of it. Just like Naito's gimmick change has made him the most popular. But in Wrestling being the most popular doesn't necessarily make you the best guy to be the ace.
 

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GOATKADA is the Ace gaining the torch from Tanahashi in their legendary feud.
I guess I fell into the WWE hype machine in thinking Nakamura was the #1 guy in New Japan lol how does AJ Styles' popularity in Japan compare to Kenny Omega's
Oh it's not even close. Even if AJ stayed in NJPW longer, he would be nowhere near Kenny's popularity level. For starters, Kenny has been living in Japan for years now and is fluent in the language.
 

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I guess I fell into the WWE hype machine in thinking Nakamura was the #1 guy in New Japan lol how does AJ Styles' popularity in Japan compare to Kenny Omega's
Omega is probably more popular then AJ ever was in NJPW. When AJ debuted for he was given the IWGP title in his first big match. His title run was not very successful and the fans didn't take to him. It wasn't until the G1 of 2014 that AJ was able to get over by having great matches night after night.

He was very popular, but I'd say both Omega and Naito are probably more popular now than both AJ or Nakamura were. Though NJPW also has more eyes on it now then it did even just 2 years ago.

Like AJ I'd say Omega's rise started with last years G1 and G1 Win. Probably one of the more successful pushes to the top I've seen. It all started when he threw that fucking broom away.
 

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OP lemme try some WWE comparisons. Tanahashi is essentially the John Cena or Ric Flair of New Japan. The face of the company for the last decade, holding a record number of championships (7 Time IWGP Champion) and being a company man through and through. Universally loved and praised (so maybe not totally like Cena :p)

Okada is the new face, basically the Roman Reigns of the company these days, except he's not hated by a fair margin of the home audience. :lol In terms of accomplishments he's more along the lines of a Triple H or Randy Orton and will likely surpass all major records within New Japan.

Nakamura was never the face, basically always the number 3 guy on the totem pole for many years. That's a good part of the reason why he left as far as my knowledge goes. He wasn't getting anywhere. Stuck as the forever IC Champ. Think of the larger than life character Miz has and his ability to draw great heat while also put on quality matches these days and portray that to a face version with Nakamura. Should've probably been in the main event scene, but only flirted with it in his final years and reigned supreme on the upper midcard instead.

Naito is Okada's Batista.
Oh god I hate this analogy. :lol
 

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I guess I fell into the WWE hype machine in thinking Nakamura was the #1 guy in New Japan lol how does AJ Styles' popularity in Japan compare to Kenny Omega's
Obviously AJ and Nakamura were key players but it says a lot when NJPW has being doing better since they left.
 

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Omega is probably more popular then AJ ever was in NJPW. When AJ debuted for he was given the IWGP title in his first big match. His title run was not very successful and the fans didn't take to him. It wasn't until the G1 of 2014 that AJ was able to get over by having great matches night after night.

He was very popular, but I'd say both Omega and Naito are probably more popular now than both AJ or Nakamura were. Though NJPW also has more eyes on it now then it did even just 2 years ago.

Like AJ I'd say Omega's rise started with last years G1 and G1 Win. Probably one of the more successful pushes to the top I've seen. It all started when he threw that fucking broom away.
That just isn't true.
 

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OP lemme try some WWE comparisons. Tanahashi is essentially the John Cena or Ric Flair of New Japan. The face of the company for the last decade, holding a record number of championships (7 Time IWGP Champion) and being a company man through and through. Universally loved and praised (so maybe not totally like Cena :p)

Okada is the new face, basically the Roman Reigns of the company these days, except he's not hated by a fair margin of the home audience. :lol In terms of accomplishments he's more along the lines of a Triple H or Randy Orton and will likely surpass all major records within New Japan.

Nakamura was never the face, basically always the number 3 guy on the totem pole for many years. That's a good part of the reason why he left as far as my knowledge goes. He wasn't getting anywhere. Stuck as the forever IC Champ. Think of the larger than life character Miz has and his ability to draw great heat while also put on quality matches these days and portray that to a face version with Nakamura. Should've probably been in the main event scene, but only flirted with it in his final years and reigned supreme on the upper midcard instead.


Oh god I hate this analogy. :lol
Older and more popular than the FOTC but won't get the position. You could use Orton and Reigns but I personally think this is a better fit.
 

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Obviously AJ and Nakamura were key players but it says a lot when NJPW has being doing better since they left.
NJPW have the talent and booking to recover even after losing big stars. They could lose Tana and Okada and still rebuild and thrive. Their biggest asset IMO is their quality booking which is consistent and keeps you entertained.

You had natural replacements for AJ and Nakamura in Omega and Naito.

If you lose Okada, Omega and Tana, you simply push Naito, Elgin and Sanada up. Those guys lift their games to ensure the others aren't missed. Would be much easier if Ibushi was locked down and Shibata was still around... NJPW are lucky to have so many talented performers on their roster. Probably the best roster ever in terms of in ring talent.
 

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NJPW have the talent and booking to recover even after losing big stars. They could lose Tana and Okada and still rebuild.
Gedo is a fucking genius and he doesn't get the credit he deserves, he may the smartest guy working in wrestling these days. I know one could criticize the way he treats his legends (Liger winning 1 match in his last BOSJ, Tenzan winning 2 matches in his last G1 I think, Nagata being 0-4 in his last) and the sometimes excesive superman booking of Okada, but no one can deny his results. He took an struggling company and made it the n2 promotion in the world (n1 in terms of great shows and in ring action), they lost 2 of their top guys last year and he elevated Naito and Omega to replace them and they surpassed expectations, hell, he lost 2 of NJPW most popular guys due to injury this year (Honma and Shibata) and still managed to have arguably the best wrestling tournament ever without them. Granted, a lot of this is because of the talented roster he has, but without a good captain this wouldn't have been possible.
 
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