Can you explain some NJPW wrestlers for those of us who don't understand japanese?
Well, you don’t need to know japanese to watch NJPW. Sure the commentary is mainly in japanese aside from their biggest shows where an english option is available, but the storytelling in japanese wrestling is more based around actions than promos. But:
Hiroshi Tanahashi - The ace of NJPW. Imagine if John Cena was as loved as WWE wanted him to be, and that he could pull off regular five star matches. That’s Tanahashi in a nutshell. He was the man who helped carry NJPW out of a dark time in the 2000′s back to the top of the wrestling food chain and shows no signs of slowing down, but his role as ace is likely going to…
Kazuchika Okada - Okada is only 28 years old and already has five 5 star matches under his belt, mostly with Tanahashi. Their matches are already the stuff of legend, and whenever they meet in the ring, you are reminded why wrestling is amazing. He is basically a spoiled rich kid who after a TERRIBLE run in TNA (which led to NJPW cutting off their ties with TNA iirc) he came back, won a single match and challenged Tanahashi to a world title match. That was the start of their rivalary and now he’s at the top of NJPW, and ready to become the next ace whenever he gets the chance, and is starting a new rivalry with..
Tetsuya Naito - The leader of Los Ingobernables de Japón and one of the best wrestlers character wise in wrestling today. So in 2013, he won the G1 Climax which is supposed to guarantee you the main event at their annual Tokyo Dome show, but a fan vote put Nakamura vs Tanahashi for the IWGP IC Title above Okada vs Naito for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. It’s at around that moment he started not giving a fuck about the fans. When he won the belt a few years later, he would throw it around like it’s a piece of trash. He’s just an excellent heel, and very entertaining.
Kenny Omega - The top gaijin in NJPW right now, and just one of the best in the world. He’s excellent at comedy, at wrestling, and just is all around fantastic. He currently leads The Bullet Club, and is part of The Elite with The Young Bucks. He recently transitioned to the heavyweight division from the junior heavyweight division, and has his eyes set on becoming the top champion in the company.
Katsuyori Shibata - Shibata is an interesting case. He debuted alongside Tanahashi and Nakamura and with them he was part of the chosen future of the company. But when things got rough, he chose to go do MMA fights instead, abandoning NJPW. With his 4-10-1 record, it is often considered pretty bad for him, but when he came back to wrestling, he seemed more legitimate than ever and wants to fight his way to the top instead of being handed the title. When he finally gets it, it will be a very emotional moment.
Tomohiro Ishii - The absolute best worker on the planet. This man is the type who could have an excellent match with anyone. Takes a beating very well, and dishes it out even better. Any match with him is going to be a fun one to watch.
Those are the major players in the company in my eyes but here’s some fun minor characters:
Ryusuke Taguchi - The funky weapon, is very handsome
Bad Luck Fale - A huge, slow beast of a man
Tama Tonga - A smaller, agile man with awesome face paint
Tanga Loa - Camacho. Does anyone remember Camacho? Teamed with Hunico in WWE? No? Well he’s in Japan now with his brother and they’re great.
Matt Sydal - Evan Bourne from WWE, still as great as every
Ricochet - FLIPPY SHIT THE HUMAN BEING HOLY FUCK HE CAN DO DOUBLE MOONSAULTS AND 630 SPLASHES LIKE THEY ARE NOTHING. Is also very handsome.
Will Ospreay - The best high flyer in wrestling, likely just got murdered by Vader, but is murdering himself anyways with his style, likely will literally not have legs by 2019
Jushin Thunder Liger - Iconic legend of juniors wrestling, character was based off an anime which is much less known than Liger himself, still wrestles but has slowed down a lot
Togi Makabe - Bruiser Brody 2.0
Ropongi Vice - Trent Barreta (yes, that Trent from WWE) and Rocky Romero just wanna have a good time in Ropongi, but have to wrestle too but are very good at it
Sanada - Has a cool mask and a baseball bat, is very handsome
Captain New Japan - Best known from being named Captain Fooking New Japan by Prince Devitt, is a complete jobber
Yoshitatsu - The Bullet Club Hunter, has stolen Triple H’s moveset and will use it to stop Bullet Club, but will likely keep failing. Botched a Styles Clash and broke his neck a while back, which is why he hates Bullet Club.
Micheal Elgin - The worlds strongest Canadian, likely lives in a gym.
Satoshi Kojima - Heir to the lariat, will take your head off with it
David Finlay Jr. - Son of Fit Finlay, not very good
Evil - Member of Los Ingobernables De Japon, is Evil and has lasers.
Tomaki Honma - Gravely voiced fan favorite who usually loses but is always fun, loves to use his head as a weapon and is involved with the Yakuza.
Toru Yano - A comedy relief wrestler who just wants you to buy his DVD and will keep beating your faves with upset victories until you do
Yuji Nagata - One of the last of his era of NJPW, and is ready to fight until the end
Kushida - Have you ever watched Back the the Future and thought, ‘this is great but I wish Marty McFly was a wrestler’. Kushida. That’s Kushida.
and just so many more and I could go on forever. There are so many great wrestlers in NJPW, and you really don’t need to know the commentary to enjoy it.