Earlier this week on October 21st, New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) announced a new subsidiary based in the continental United States named ‘New Japan Pro Wrestling of America (NJoA).’
The Kayfabe Brothers’ Podcast went into detail concerning what the announcement means for NJPW and the wrestling landscape within the United States. During the official press conference NJoA Chairman, Naoki Sugabayashi (who has the same role within NJPW) and Chief Executive Officer, Takami Ohbari explained the long-term goals for the new subsidiary. From the official report:
CEO Ohbari gave a presentation detailing the structure of NJPW of America, and the decision making behind its establishment. The creation of the subsidiary, Ohbari explained, is the third phase of NJPW’s expansion into the US and other international markets.
Phase one: discovering new wrestlers in markets outside Japan and developing talent through the LA Dojo.
Phase two: run events in the US, including at Madison Square Garden and Dallas this year, both independently, and with the assistance of other promotions.
Phase three: establish a company within the US, and be ingrained in the everyday fabric when it comes to fans’ wrestling consciousness.
Since NJPW began its revenue boom in 2012, the company has been able to invest more into its prestigious Japanese dojo, open the LA dojo, and foster a relationship with the Fale dojo in New Zealand; ran by NJPW talent, Bad Luck Fale.
The NJoA executives presented the following touring schedule for what seems to be between 20-25 shows within the US during the 2020 calendar year.
The touring structure for NJPW of America will see events being run in five key areas:
WEST: 6 cities across 4 states
MID: 7 cities across 6 states
TEXAS: 4 cities
SOUTH EAST: 6 cities across 4 states
EAST: 4 cities across 3 states
With this in mind, the plan will be for the majority of the US fanbase- some 70% according to market research- to be able to attend an NJPW event and see New Japan action near to them.
“While the LA Dojo has existed solely as a Dojo up to now, it will now see a full office environment that is designed to support business in the States, as well as to support talent. Perhaps wrestlers who have what it takes and have a passion for NJPW, but for whatever reason are unable to perform in Japan, will be able to represent NJPW in America. At the same time, tryouts and camps will ensure new talent is discovered, developed and trained to the point where they can perform in both America and Japan,” the two senior NJoA executives clarified during the press conference.
While answering questions Obhari explained the initial goal for NJoA was to run venues around 2,000 seats and smaller while marketing in the core regions. Several wrestling journalists have questioned the strategy, yet it mirrors how the company was able to build their fanbase in the United Kingdom. As of now, NJoA does not have an announced domestic partner as they do with RevPro in the UK.
Ring of Honor (ROH) was an inaugural member of the IWGP Conception Kidani announced with CMLL in Mexico and RevPro in the UK, yet the relationship between the companies may have stalled after NJPW surpassed ROH in attendance levels within the US.
Rumors concerning a possible alliance between NJPW and All Elite Wrestling (AEW) continue to swirl as the two-night Wrestle Kingdom 14 in the Tokyo Dome on January 4th & 5th draws near. However, no announcement concerning a deal outside the IWGP Conception has been made.
The November 9th & 11th ‘New Japan Showdown’ events in San Jose and Los Angeles, California are billed as the first events under the NJoA banner. Highlighting the two show tour is Jyushin ‘Thunder’ Liger’s last match within the US, which takes place on the 9th.