Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Know What You're Talking About, or No, Naito Wouldn't Be Better Off in WWE

Naito, here brushing off Jay White, is fine where he is
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The amount of pro-WWE rhetoric on the Twitter timeline can be overbearing for a company that has had maybe three good shows in the last two years. It's fine. People enjoy what Vince McMahon's company puts out. Far be it from me cast judgment on liking a thing, even if the people who make it are objectively evil. That's why people say there's no ethical consumption under capitalism. Anyone who runs anything is probably not a good person and is certainly not your friend. But again, if you like a wrestling company's output, no matter how bad it is to however many people, more power to you. Of course, liking something doesn't give you license to say dumb shit without having people giving you receipts for your foolishness. That would include things like saying "Sasha Banks returning from a short sabbatical is more important than Katsuyori Shibata returning from nearly dying" or "WWE isn't good right now, so all of wrestling kinda stinks."

One of the things you can say that would be incredibly, impossibly wrong would be that someone wrestling in any other company in the world would be better off in WWE for their health. One could possibly argue that WWE reining in big spots and putting bans on "dangerous" moves makes it "safer," but the bans aren't comprehensive to start. Dives are higher risk than the average move, and WWE allows multiple ones in every match even from people who do them poorly against people who base for them even worse. But arguments for safety come down to how many dates you work. In literally any other company, the dates they require you for pale in comparison to how WWE has its roster wrestle no fewer than four times a week, once at the tapings/live television and three times at house shows. Probability for injury increases exponentially the more dates you have to work, which is why literally everyone on the WWE roster has missed significant time since WrestleMania XXX. Even Roman Reigns had that hernia that derailed his initial push in more ways than one.

So when I come across a take in the wild that suggests that one Tetsuya Naito should probably not kill his body doing another G1 Climax and go to WWE so he could compete for the US Championship, well, you know, just look at the whole thing:

I'm not gonna give the guy's name, but you can probably figure it out if you're on Twitter enough. Anyway, ignoring the contextual clues why that would never happen is like saying socialism is worse than capitalism and only focusing on the taxes. Now, the G1 Climax is a bear of a tournament. You end up wrestling 19 matches over the course of five weeks, and this year added the extra strain of flying to Dallas for one night. That being said, overall, the schedule isn't nearly as hard as WWE's schedule is, where you end up working something like 16 matches a month EVERY MONTH. New Japan's schedule has built-in breaks. Also, it's worth noting that about half your matches in the G1 are big tag matches that are about half as long as the singles matches. In a way, the average month in WWE is as intense as two tournaments.

Contextually, Naito has rebuffed WWE offers several times. He's 37 years old and working his dream job in New Japan. If he ever gets frustrated, all he knows he needs to do is ask to do an extended excursion in Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre. The person who said that would later on cop to it being fantasy booking, but honestly, one, why would you fantasy book someone in the periphery of the New Japan main event to go to WWE and hold a sideshow title? Didn't the expectations for Shinsuke Nakamura leading him to holding sideshow titles inform anyone to the fate of anyone from across the Pacific? Two, doesn't WWE have enough guys they don't use that they have to farm out to its United Kingdom shell brand and satellite promotions like EVOLVE and PROGRESS? They are barely utilizing Keith Lee. The Lucha House Party want out, well at least two-thirds of them do, because they're relegated to Main Event. This company has so much talent that wishing dudes like Naito going there is sheer greed.

I don't begrudge anyone for liking WWE or watching it, although pro wrestling is certainly a place where you can boycott the worst offenders like WWE and Ring of Honor and still have plenty of companies to watch. That being said, it's lazy or ignorant to think anyone would have an easier time in WWE unless they were someone like Rob Gronkowski, who is independently famous and can dictate his terms to McMahon. WWE has the most strenuous schedule in the business, and to say otherwise is basically like talking to your small intestine through your colon because you've got your head up your ass.