Last weekend’s G1 Special shows in Long Beach were a rousing success by any metric you want to use. In the first U.S. shows ever for New Japan Pro Wrestling, it was two sold-out nights in front of a raucous crowd, and a live AXS TV special that got the promotion trending around the world on social media.
We’ve known for a while that the NJPW plans were to begin with these shows, and it was a means of testing the water (and crowning an inaugural IWGP United States Champion) in anticipation of establishing a United States “territory” in California next year.
According to STRIGGA of Purolove.com, New Japan’s owner Takaaki Kidani spoke with Tokyo Sports and said the Long Beach shows were a huge success. Kidani gave a more definitive timeline for NJPW’s U.S. expansion than we’ve heard thus far, as he said that there would be a Los Angeles office for New Japan opening by the end of the year, and that an L.A. New Japan dojo will open at the beginning of 2018.
They look ready to hit the ground running, as Kidani said they hope to establish a “touring schedule” in the States “not later than March/April.”
That’s great news for New Japan fans living in the U.S., of course. It looks like Tanahashi, Ishii, Omega et al may be coming to your town before you even know it.