Along with the different in-ring style and programming format, something that always stands out to new New Japan Pro Wrestling viewers is the much more liberal use of English-language profanity than in prominent North American wrestling promotions. But according to an official statement from NJPW president Harold Meij on the promotion’s Japanese-language website, that’s about to change.
Here’s how Meij explained the new guidelines (with translation via Google Translate):
New Japan Wrestling is about to change now. Even if you do not want to change it’s coming to a stage (scale) you have to change. It is a story of moral rather than a story of the content of the game.
If you would like to show pro-wrestling only to Japanese customers only in the Japanese market I think that it was not a problem often… However, now that it has become possible to see New Japan Wrestling from all over the world, there are things that can be regarded as a problem if it is from overseas. For example, setting up a middle finger or emitting a broadcast-prohibited word by live broadcast is absolutely out of rule on broadcasting and ethics from overseas, even if it is not a pin for a Japanese customer. Although customer’s acceptance may be totally different in Japan and overseas, in any case, players and stakeholders should take discriminatory actions as organizers even outside the ring and professionally.
Meij also addressed the relationship between wrestlers and the audience at NJPW shows, and how that may be more controlled in the future.
Not only in the situation of overseas expansion but also in Japan alone there is a change in social ethics and social ethics that “it was quite natural in the past, but now is not allowed”. Wrestling logic called “He is a [heel]” sometimes does not pass through rules of society in general. If you continue to overlook it will be a big problem by a chance and it will take away not only players of the problem but also players of many players.
Because we strive for fun to watch your pro-wrestling, the history of Shin Nippon Pro Wrestling, the staff who are doing best and the lives of their families… If inappropriate behavior is corrected, we correct it, but there is no change in wishing for the success of each player.
Also, although it will be a different story from the actions of the athletes, we will deal with firmly in the future for customers with poor watching manners. We sincerely apologize to customers who were uncomfortable at some venues.
This statement seems to address an incident in which Tama Tonga confronted a heckler in the audience at a recent G1 show.
This incident was received very differently by Western and Japanese wrestling fans, with Japanese fans mostly praising Tonga’s actions (a recent Super J-Cast episode talks about the cultural context of this, connecting it to the Japanese saying that “the nail that sticks out gets hammered down”) while some Western fans on social media called for him to be punished or fired. Meij’s statement implies there are ways in which wrestlers are not allowed to interact with the fans, but also that fans who cause problems will be dealt with by NJPW staff in the future.
Now that the uncensored (in English) days of NJPW seem to be over, let’s take a look at some of their memorable non-PG moments! I apologize in advance for not including the any of the many instances of profanity from booker Gedo and his tag partner Jado, who used to have a t-shirt that said “F*ck You We Are Jadoh & Gedoh” when they worked for FMW.
The Unchained Gorilla Togi Makabe has been a longtime signature flipper of the double bird, as shown in this video (with added Stone Cold music.)
Remember that time he cussed out AJ Styles at a press conference and made Shinsuke Nakamura corpse? Good times (as shown in this clip cut by reddit user suzukigun4life.)
His Biz Cliz buddies the Guerrillas of Destiny had a memorable, very sweary tag match (extra sweary because the match also included Togi Makabe’s tag team, Great Bash Heel) at Wrestle Kingdom 11, and Tama Tonga recently cussed out the internet wrestling community after a G1 match.
Switchblade Jay White also had some choice words for fans recently, and two of those words were “wank maggot.”
And if you’ve ever seen Zack Sabre Jr. cut a promo in NJPW, you’ve probably heard him call people “dickheads” and/or declare himself the “dickhead hunter.” He has also had some non-PG things to say about Naito’s hats.
And his hype man, legendary junior heavyweight wrestler Taka Michinoku’s theme song gets inappropriate for kids who understand English within the first five seconds.
Our IWGP United States Champion Juice Robinson is also very liberal with his use of profanity, including in his widely-praised promo from this year’s Kizuna Road tour. Robinson has vowed many times (before and after this promo) to cut back on the swearing, and now it looks like he has to!
If you want to look back at more notable instances of swearing in NJPW, there’s a whole YouTube compilation series called “njpw is not for kids,” which it looks like may not be added to in the future.