A talent's commitment to a company says as much about the company as it does about the talent. For New Japan Pro Wrestling, many names that were strongly linked to the promotion have come and gone. However, in the case of some men, their careers are as entrenched in the fabric of the company as those men are tied to the country.
The close ties to NJPW exist because they believe in it, and the company believes in them. These men have been champions, are of different ages, cultures, and ethnicities, but all have one common quality: they remain committed to the company. These men have shown that it is the character of the wrestlers that make the company, as much as it is the company that makes the wrestler.
Bad Luck Fale
One of the more underrated talents in New Japan Pro Wrestling is Fale. Born Fale Simitaitoko, Bad Luck Fale is of Tongan descent but raised in New Zealand. His eight-year career has been predominantly spent in NJPW. The extent of his career to which he is part of the fabric of the promotion's history is impossible to ignore.
He was trained by the great Yuji Nagata. Fale is recognized as a founding member of one of the most influential factions in professional wrestling today, the Bullet Club. When going back to when he emerged on April 2013 as Fergal Devitt's security. As the Underboss, Fale is still an active member of the faction.
One cannot ignore his early development and training and his commitment to remain with New Japan. Perhaps most would not be surprised if he departed since many of those closest to him have left the company. His love of the country, the culture, and New Japan Pro Wrestling itself is a quality that should be not only marveled at but respected.
As a former IWGP Intercontinental champion and NEVER Openweight 6-man tag team champion, Fale has added titles to his impressive resume with the company. On the backstage side, he recently spearheaded NJPW's successful tour of Australia.
While he may not have had initially made his name in NJPW, he is certainly getting a great deal of traction while competing there. His commitment to the promotion says a lot about this 25-year-old. He has only been actively competing for six years, but in that time he has traveled the world and in doing so faced some of the greatest talent imaginable.
Whether it has been against the departed Ricochet, Hiromu Takahashi or KUSHIDA, he has looked phenomenal each and every time out. Many marvel at how he has become so proficient in such a short time. He still competes all over the world and may continue to do so, depending on where Ospreay wants his career path to take him.
There are things the aerial assassin can do with his character in NJPW that he might not have the freedom to do elsewhere. He has faced criticism for his wrestling style by traditionalists but shows no desire to comply with their criticism just to appease them. For as many, as there are that don't support him, there is a legion of fans that applaud his style, technique, and certainly his commitment to New Japan Pro Wrestling.
Very rarely can a wrestler be referred to by just their last name and have it carry as much notoriety as it does with Okada. At 30 years of age, he has slowly become the flagbearer for, arguably, the second largest promotion in the world. He has faced the best and broken records during his championship reigns. While his career hasn't only been spent in NJPW, the majority has been.
What is remarkable about Okada is how much he has achieved in such a short time. He recently ended an over 700-day reign as the IWGP Heavyweight champion. This was an unprecedented accomplishment, one that fans will discuss long after his career is over.
He has had some memorable feuds with the likes of Hiroshi Tanahashi, and more recently with Kenny Omega. His career is far from over, in fact in many ways it is still in its infancy. What cannot be understated is how crucial he has been for New Japan Pro Wrestling, and how important New Japan Pro Wrestling has been for him. This will be a career that goes down as that of someone considered a cornerstone in the history of New Japan Pro Wrestling.
Commitment; drive; IWGP Heavyweight Champion. These three statements best represent Kenny Omega, who currently reigns supreme as New Japan Pro Wrestling's world champion. However, this wasn't always the case for Omega. When he first came to Japan it seemed like the perfect fit since among the most notable qualities of ‘The Cleaner' is his keen interest in Japanese culture. This is exemplified by his admirable command of the Japanese language.
When he first emerged as a junior heavyweight in the promotion, he was involved in matches that were a far cry from what we have come to see today. But the Winnipeg, Manitoba native has become something greater, far surpassing not just what he was when he first arrived in the company but even compared to just a few years ago. It seems as though immediately after ascending to the title of leader of the Bullet Club, Omega's in-ring ability ascended too.
Omega's dedication to New Japan Pro Wrestling is unquestioned. While many often speculate about his future with the company, he has remained there as the promotion continues to expand to be one of the biggest in the world. He is as entrenched in the fiber of NJPW today as he likely will be in the future.
As a wrestling enthusiast for over 30 years, my fondness for professional wrestling explores the irrational in a rational way. I will explore the details inside and outside the ring and hopefully have a laugh with you in the process. I've had the fortune to interview wrestlers from Lucha Underground, TNA, Ring of Honor, GFW, and former WWE talent as well. Feel free to follow me on Twitter and Instagram and feel free to visit my website Pro Wrestling Post.