SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Starting with this article, you’ll be seeing a bit more of me on PWTorch.com with missives on wrestling, life, and whatever I’m thinking at the time. The name of column emanates from a similar series I did with football as a Bills-fan turned Chiefs-fan (thanks Dan!) and blogging with my good friend, Joe. Joe’s also a wrestling fan, so keeping the title and the style, while focusing mainly on wrestling, is not only a fun transition, but to do it here at PWTorch is quite fun.
Castle in the Clouds
This February, New Japan Pro Wrestling will be embarking on a new tour named “Castle Attack.”
After Wrestle Kingdom gives way to a New Beginning, NJPW will launch its attack in full this 2021!
February 27 and 28, we're attacking Osaka Jo Hall!
— NJPW Global (@njpwglobal) December 25, 2020
If speculation is accurate, this tour may be a bit more experimental in the match style and structure. Looking at New Japan’s 2020, where flexibility and creativity were at all-time highs (with varying levels of success and failure), I am quite interested in how this tour plays out and what the themes will be. Whether it was Evil as IWGP Double Champion, the King of Pro Wrestling 2020 tournament and trophy, or the booking that led to the two night set up for both the double titles as well as the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title, Gedo took risks outside of a pandemic with a full roster he may not have in the past.
If Castle Attack takes on a more DDT-styled show, which gives a lighter air to the matches, while also giving some high-quality matches under the traditional New Japan banner, newly-crowned champ Kota Ibushi can be the person who bridges the absurd and the athletic as only he can.
And so can Minoru Suzuki.
If you listened to last week’s new weekend VIP podast, “Everything with Rich Fann,” I guided editor Wade Keller through a viewing of the Mecha Mummy-Suzuki feud. Seeing a master of Pancrase, a grappler amongst the best on their roster, having fun while staying in character would be a great change up that prevents the top guy from having to “play around” too much – which can be an issue for New Japan die-hards who already had misgivings with the experimental nature of the previous year. As Gedo and New Japan find their way with the current normal, hopefully events like Castle Attack can be seen as highlights instead of “Evil with both belts” lows.
(I say this as the proud father of Sanada and Evil, as has been my deal during their entirety in New Japan.)
Everything is… Everything
For this part of the column, I’ll close with sopmething that’s completely off the radar, not too dissimilar from the matches and promotions I’ll be highlighting with editor/publisher Wade Keller during my weekly VIP podcast. This week’s contribution is a part of the recent TikTok Sea Shanty Craze.
I legit am waiting for Sheamus to drop a shanty for the people https://t.co/XBqHtpgbB5
— Rich Fann II (@Rich_Fann) January 14, 2021
If you ever played “Assassin’s Creed 4” or enjoyed the random scene in “The Other Guys,” while a good sea shanty can be relaxing, I’m also always fascinated how truly into them folks who master singing them (or lip-synching them) are during their performances. It’s not less enjoyable than a friend asking why I like pro wrestling enough to write, podcast, and tweet about it – every pot’s got a top, as my grandmother would say.
That’ll do it for this installment. Thanks for reading and GO VIP!
PWTorch columnist Rich Fann has been a contributor PWTorch since 2015 including as cohost of the PWTorch East Coast Cast, hosting “The Deep Dive with Rich Fann” podcast series in the PWTorch Dailycast line-up, participating in VIP podcast shows, and reporting on New Japan for PWTorch.com. He became a PWTorch columnist in January 2021 and is now a host of the “Everything with Rich Fann, hosted by Wade Keller” weekly VIP podcast series. Any suggestions for a future episode of “Everything with Rich Fann”? If you have thoughts on this week’s article, feel free to email Rich at email@example.com or respond on Twitter @Rich_Fann.