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NJPW Fighting Spirit Unleashed 2023 HOT TAKE

October 23, 2023

Fighting Spirit Unleashed 2023, exclusively live on FITE from Sin City to your devices everywhere on Planet Earth!

New Japan Pro Wrestling proudly boasts they are the King of Sports, and with great reason. For decades, New Japan has captivated fans across the globe with their hard-hitting patented style of combat sports action, bringing forth the most ferocious fighting spirit imaginable.

Since its inaugural event on January 13, 1972 in Tokyo, New Japan Pro Wrestling' style has amazed fans around the globe and inspired professional wrestlers from all countries and walks of life to aim to compete under the NJPW Lion Mark banner, seeking to prove themselves as the best competitors in the world.

In recent years, New Japan Strong has risen to grab the attention of fans not just in Japan but in the United States with domestic live events that have become true destination spectacles for fans seeking out the most physical, pure form of combat sports presented anywhere in the world and on Saturday October 28th, New Japan Pro Wrestling brings Fighting Spirit Unleashed 2023 to one of America's true destination cities, Las Vegas.

One hardly has to touch down at Harry Reid International Airport to see they are equal distance from the seductive nature of the Vegas strip and the darkness hidden beneath the Neon lights that blink their siren signals across the landscape. For every winner, for every story that stays in Vegas, there are a multitude of broken hearts and sad sack stories that formed the foundation that the winners dance upon in perhaps the city that defines the duality of man, the Jekyll and Hyde of our true nature, more than any other.

There may never be a more perfect home for New Japan Pro Wrestling, a promotion that encourages all of its courageous performers to bring the fight to their opponents, to showcase the spirit of their valor, to excel in battle and to conquer all that stands before you, than Las Vegas. It is all or nothing for the stars of New Japan Pro Wrestling, but it's not the roulette wheel that will determine their fate, it's their own ability to wrestle and achieve victory against the opponent that is seeking to prevent their own humiliation by conquering what stands before them in the ring as well.

On Saturday October 28th, New Japan brings the true spirit of combat sports forth for the entire world to see and perhaps no competitor will embody that more than the reigning and defending New Japan Strong Openweight Champion Eddie Kingston. The New Yorker who has fought his way through every stage of his life has famously given Japanese professional wrestling the credit for saving him from the streets and giving him a dream to reach for - and now, years into his career, he lays claim to being one of the best not just in All Elite Wrestling but New Japan as well. Following incredible encounters with Jun Akiyama, Minoru Suzuki and more, Kingston lands in Sin City seeking his next challenge, finding it in Henare.

When Kingston steps into the ring at Sam's Town Live on October 28th, he finds himself the hunted as Henare, the New Zealand star is seeking to throw the dice and come up Snake Eyes as the new Champion. While Kingston, the Han Solo of New Japan is a rugged brawler who seemingly makes it up as he goes, Henare is the absolute opposite, a driven grappler who has trained in MMA, Muay-Thai and captured endless championships as amateur wrestler in Freestyle, Greco-Roman and Submission wrestling.

Henare is coming to the United States seeking to break down ROH World Champion Kingston, but how does one break someone with an indomitable spirit and passion for fighting? That is a most interesting question, but perhaps the more important one to answer is whether the proud member of The United Empire can be stopped after his incredible series of performances during the G1 Classic earlier this year. Henare is destined to be a massive breakout competitor for New Japan Pro Wrestling, but could that moment happen at the expense of Eddie Kingston's recent success? The clash of styles and sheer will that will take place October 28th will have FITE fans placing their bets…

Fighting Spirit Unleashed will also provide fans across the FITE universe their first taste of what will be the main event at the January 2024 Wrestle Kingdom event at the Tokyo Dome. IWGP World Heavyweight Champion SANADA will join the newest member of Just 5 Guys, former Impact Wrestling breakout Yuya Uemura to battle Tetsuya Naito & Hiromu Takahashi. With Naito challenging SANADA at the Tokyo Dome, this tag team war will provide the first insight into how the biggest match of the year will go for New Japan's signature event, as Naito seeks to return to his former perch as the Ace of New Japan.

SANADA has been enjoying the greatest success of his career over the last year, having been bestowed the secrets of The Great Muta's signature finishing moves by his mentor and the sheer brute force of Just 5 Guys empowering his every move. With Yuya Uemura shocking the world by aligning himself with that alliance, he seeks to prove himself by not only trying to wear down Naito, but by also trying to take out one of New Japan's most spectacular and magnificent combatants, the high flying Hiromu Takahashi. Takahashi himself travels to the United States to back Naito but to remind the world at large that he, the man who retired Jushin Liger, is still the measuring stick for all who want to prove their greatness inside the squared circle. Four incredible fighters, all seeking to set the chess board in their favor as New Japan charges towards Wrestle Kingdom, live on FITE!

The New Japan Strong Women's Championship will be up for grabs at Fighting Spirit Unleashed as Giulia defends against Hyan. Since shocking the world by defeating AEW's Willow Nightingale to capture the championship, Giulia has been on an unrelenting quest to prove that she is the top women's competitor in both New Japan Strong and STARDOM, having retained the championship in multiple title defenses. She arrives in Las Vegas the obvious favorite, seeking to continue her flawless championship streak, but to be successful, she'll have to take out Hyan.

Hyan, the Renaissance Woman who has taken the international wrestling scene by storm since completing her training under WWE Hall of Famer Booker T. From Revolution Pro in the UK to Germany's WXW and beyond, Hyan has taken down an endless procession of opponents before issuing her declaration that she was coming to Vegas for the title during an October 1st STARDOM event in Japan. No stranger to the world of joshi puroresu, Hyan has fought in the past for Marvelous, WAVE and Sendai Girls, but her intrusion into New Japan Strong sets the stage for the most important fight of her career.

Giulia meshes grace and intensity inside the ring like few before her and has been a centerpiece for STARDOM for a reason, she is a brutal and brilliant competitor - but to continue her reign at the top of New Japan Strong, she's going to need to shine brighter than the Vegas Strip to turn back the challenge of one of the greatest competitors to rise out of the Lone Star State. FITE fans will witness who emerges victorious live on October 28th.

El Phantasmo & Hikuleo are the newly crowned New Japan Strong Openweight Tag Team Champions, having captured them from the Bullet Club War Dogs, Alex Coughlin and Gabe Kidd, at Destruction in Ryōgoku earlier this month. The brash new champions are in for a war when they arrive in Vegas, taking on perhaps a mirror image of themselves in the united might of Lance Archer and Alex Zayne. While Hikuleo's height towers over many, Lance Archer fears no man and relishes the chance to get into the most chaotic brawls possible. This may be the rare occasion where Hikuleo is hunted inside the ring. Phantasmo is an incredible Junior Heavyweight competitor, having captured countless championships and tournaments but if there's one area where Alex Zayne may have him outmatched, it's in pure hunger. Each of these competitors are wizards in the ring and can take to the air with mind-blowing precision, but the challengers are obviously starving to make their mark once more in New Japan Strong.

No matter who emerges from the battlefield as the New Japan Strong Openweight Champion, there will be a new top contender waiting to challenge them and lay their own claim to the Strong throne. Four top fighters will step into the ring as United Empire's Jeff Cobb, former New Japan Strong Openweight Champion Fred Rosser, ever-rising NYC star Alex Coughlin and the legendary Satoshi Kojima will collide in an unbridled battle to determine who will next challenge for the gold. On paper, Kojima is the strong favorite, one of the few men to hold the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, All Japan Pro Wrestling's Triple Crown Championship, the MLW Championship and the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship, but nothing on paper can match the reality of the sheer brutality and might of Jeff Cobb, who has fought out of the Lucha Underground to global dominance. Rosser, one of the most well rounded fighters in the world, has been obsessed with regaining his former championship while Coughlin has been slowly and surely rising in the annals of New Japan Strong. The first competitor to capitalize on a rare mistake from these world traveled superstars may end up with the path to victory.

The legendary Hiroshi Tanahashi, one of the most important stars in the entire history of New Japan Pro Wrestling will return to the United States on October 28th live on FITE as well, aligning with lucha libre sensations Mistico, Atlantis and Atlantis Jr. to battle the incomparable quartet of Tiger Mask, CMLL Welterweight Champion Rocky Romero, Sobrerano Jr. and Adrian Quest that will surely bring a very vibrant, different dimension of professional wrestling greatness to the FITE fans witnessing Fighting Spirit Unleashed.

The cocksure Tom Lawlor returns to combat, bringing his MMA skills and always verbose attitude into battle against Gabe Kidd, representing Bullet Club. The British star is seeking to add to his resume by taking out the first-ever New Japan Strong Openweight Champion, but Lawlor isn't usually one keen on allowing anyone to achieve their goals at his expense. Lawlor will be going out of his way to make Kidd's visit to the United States a miserable, torturous experience inside the ring, but Kidd showed his rising level of intensity and potential during the G1 Climax that he's ready to truly break out and make New Japan Pro Wrestling his own. A major victory in Vegas could be the key to making that reality happen.

In a special tag team attraction, the reigning and defending CMLL World Women's Tag Team Champions Stephanie Vaquer & Zeuxis will take to the ring to face second generation luchadora Lluvia & Johnnie Robbie, a mainstay in the California wrestling scene.

With all of these unique special attractions, pride and championships are at stake live never before as the desert of Las Vegas provides the backdrop for New Japan Pro Wrestling's Fighting Spirit to truly be Unleashed like never before. The very fabric of New Japan Strong may be changed forever before the eyes of all watching live on FITE, setting forth an endless potential of ripple effects as all fighters charge headlong towards 2024 and Wrestle Kingdom….

Mike Johnson is the lead reporter for PWInsider.com and has been writing about professional wrestling since 1996. He can be found on Twitter @MikePWInsider and MikeJohnsonWrites.com.