RKing85 - Let's not talk about the New Japan shooter era of the 00's. The less anyone remembers that period, the better.
Any chance you would like to elaborate? I am not really familiar with the history of the organization or with the Japanese wrestling industry in general. I do recall a number of pro wrestlers from that time competing in MMA with unsurprising lack of success, which probably didn't help give companies like NJPW a good look.
I'm curious to know how Brock plays into that story, as just by looking at him physically in that time period, How could a promoter not want to get their hands on him and put him over as the top guy.
Was Japanese wrestling just down in general at this time, or was it because of bad booking and cross-promoting with legitimate MMA events?
When MMA got red hot in the early 2000s, pro wrestling was in a massive downturn in Japan. Pride was huge, and NJPW and other wrestling companies were struggling. Inoki always had an obsession with MMA, but around the early 2000s he really started pushing MMA guys at the expense of his own wrestlers. He also pushed his wrestlers to try MMA in an attemt to "legitimize" them, so you get guys like Nagata and Liger getting wrecked in MMA and losing their pushes in NJPW, while guys like Fujita and Yasuda have marginal success in MMA and get pushed to the moon in NJPW despite being crap wrestlers. The Nakamura's and Tanahashi's end up underutilized while Don Frye, Josh Barnett, Bob Sapp, and others get top of the card billing. Inoki selling the company and getting ousted was the best thing to happen to NJPW. It allowed the next generation guys like Tana and Nak to be themselves and thrive.
The problem with Brock in NJPW was that he was only there for an easy payday and wouldn't lose. In fact, NJPW had to go back to an old belt after they stripped Brock of the IWGP title because Brock took it back to the US with him and NJPW couldn't get it back