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WWF in Japan…What is this world coming to?

Though the WWF is yet to confirm it, everyone else is proclaiming the WWF will run a show in Yokohama in March. Now, I could go into a history lesson of how WWF ran bad shows in the 90s with WAR and SWS, but we still don't know if they'll do a joint show. Logically they should as only their big names have any money value and maybe some of the underlings who have toured Japan before. Everyone seems to think All Japan is most likely to work with them because of the Ross-Yamaguchi connection.

This seems like WWF's attempt to expand their international markets (they will be doing Singapore and Malaysia as well) because the home crowd just doesn't seem overly interested. There are several key reasons why the WWF's efforts to go to Japan may fail:
- Unlike the other two Asian countries, which have zero wrestling, Japan is arguably over-saturated. Japan's native markets aren't booming as the country is turning off to traditional sports more and more. This is either a large detriment or benefit for the WWF. The negative is that they're just another wrestling company and no one will really care other than the novelty of the whole thing. The positive is that they are an American thing coming in and will wow the Japanese with their whole American show. I'd tend to think the former will happen, but either way the WWF will put it over as the second. The WWF may be able to pull in big numbers in countries with no exceptional wrestling, but Japan is not such a country.
- The wrestling fans of Japan are a very niche audience and the WWF style doesn't exactly cater to them. You've got three potential styles that are regularly used in Japan: juniors, garbage and strong style. The WWF can't do any of the three on a good day and I don't see why they would even attempt to this time around. The use of nearfalls is not as well executed, submissions are jokes and the brawling is repetitive and unrealistic. The WWF may appeal on some levels, but in ring work is not going to one of them.
- WWF TV is also not all over the airways. Even WCW had more potential viewers because they ran on Gaora as opposed to SkyPerfecTV, so that hurts their marketability as well. It is similar to ECW's predicament in which they ran pay-per-views before they had TV and the majority had no clue about them, except from their well-done commercials.
- Lack of Japanese stars. If the WWF tries to put over Tajiri, TAKA or Funaki as Japanese legends they'll be laughed out of the building. Michinoku's the biggest in the bunch, but even if he'd gone into New Japan over the WWF and become one of their better juniors, he wouldn't be a big draw. They aren't Davey Boy Smith's, who the WWF used so well at Summerslam `92. The WWF must use native talent and if they do a joint show with All Japan, as many suspect they will, that will give them an easy out. Although AJ's got a big Budokan show a few days before. This also isn't a case where they have a Hulk Hogan, who was a big star in Japan, Benoit probably qualifies as their biggest gaijin star and he's not all that big (hasn't been there in a while either).
- Substance over presentation. The WWF can't go out and do promos, though they will probably try. They need to deliver on the wrestling part and I just don't see it happening. They need Austin at his best, they need Rock to be carried, they need Jericho to jump in a time machine, they need Triple H to look good, they need The Undertaker to squash someone, they need Angle to be a killer, and they need Benoit to do what we all know he can do. They can't give them Austin-Angle or even Austin-Rock and think that'll satisfy the crowd, they want a great match in the ring, not just big names on a marquis. They can't wow them with pyro and videowalls and all that junk, they need solid in-ring work. The boys have one-day of rest and they should definitely need it.

Potential fantasy situations:
Like Stuart Max suggested, they payoff Takada to come in and put over Angle. It would really give Takada (who's a huge draw) some credibility back as looking competitive against a former Olympic Gold medallist would be pretty positive. It would put over Angle with the Japanese fans big-time as if being the caliber athlete he is isn't enough, if he could look good with Takada, he'd be over. The problems with this are (a)the WWF won't care about helping anybody, but themselves;(b) this won't necessarily make Angle a killer in American fans eyes because they don't know who Takada is because he's not Jackie Chan, Jet Li, or whomever (I hate this country sometimes);and (c) they probably won't actively recruit any talent because they'll think their talent alone can draw (sure they can).
Kawada versus Benoit. Yes, I think when we heard WWF-All Japan we all thought it. Certainly the potential for a classic is there, but will it happen? I doubt it because (a)Kawada and gaijins don't mix, (b)Kawada, probably the Triple Crown champion by then, would HAFTA go over and I don't know if the WWF will want any of their remotely top guys lose; (c)we'd all want to see it and this day in age dream matches seem so much like just dream matches.
The WWF sees what's good, what ain't, and realize they're the latter. I'm always holding out for Ross to get to a point where he can get a credible and SEPARATE junior division is started. Then again, All Japan is ideal for the WWF because they don't care much for juniors either. The worked punches, joke submissions, constant screwjobs, whatever, everything we hate about the WWF is damned or not practiced in Japan and they may (yeah right) adapt at least for one night.

I'll surely talk about this more as we've got roughly ten weeks to go and the details are still sketchy at this point in time.

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