Previously on NJPW: Roppongi 3K advanced beyond what they’ve been able to do with the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships so far and Hirooki Goto did the opposite of that with important main event matches.
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And now, the best and worst of the Road to Wrestling Dontaku shows from April 30 in Kagoshima and May 1 in Beppu.
A Shoot New Era
It’s not super uncommon to here NJPW wrestlers talk about whose “era” it is (especially a certain Kiwi emo for IWGP Heavyweight Champion, obviously) but these last two Road to Dontaku shows include several references to the real-life changing of eras going on in Japan.
On April 30, 85-year-old Emperor Akihito abdicated the throne, therefore ending the Heisei Era, and on May 1, his son Naruhito became the 126th Emperor of Japan, beginning the Reiwa Era. The news the abdication was impending broke a while ago, resulting in speculation about who would be the last Heavyweight Champion of the Heisei Era in NJPW around Wrestle Kingdom, then the new era was officially revealed, immediately unleashing a flood of memes on Japanese twitter because *Hannibal Buress voice* humans is the same *end Hannibal Buress voice.*
The way these events I assume people are talking about all the time in Japan right now connect to pro wrestling is that the main event winners of these shows (Ibushi and Sanada, who I’ll get back to) have extremely easy, topical ways to give their declarations a bit more gravitas and champions have the option of pointing out that their current reign is Historically Important (Roppongi 3K.)