New Japan Pro Wrestling has a few more shows coming up in the United States this year – on November 9 in San Jose, November 11 in Los Angeles, and December 7-8 in Anaheim – and the company just announced that it’s planning a lot more in the future, as well as starting a whole new face of its international expansion.
NJPW announced a few hours in advance a press conference for 3 PM JST on October 21 and used it to make a major revelation: the creation of a U.S.-based NJPW subsidiary called New Japan Pro Wrestling of America.
After a brief message from LA Dojo head trainer Katsuyori Shibata, NJPW Chairman Sugabayashi and CEO Takami Obari outlined New Japan’s plans for this subsidiary, which were translated by the company’s English-language Twitter account and later shared on its website.
Obari started by describing New Japan’s international expansion so far. The first phase was hunting for talent, the second was running events in markets outside of Japan, and now the company is “entering phase 3, which is to establish a subsidiary in the U.S. to be fully established in the market and engage with fans.”
He continued, “There is plenty still to be undertaken when it comes to furthering the brand in the US. Fans, though, have a very close association to talent and core concepts of strong style, as evidenced by market research in Dallas,” referring to the opening night of this summer’s G1 Climax tournament in the American Airlines Arena.
The CEO echoed past sentiments from New Japan executives, saying that “Live events will be an important basis of New Japan of America” because it’s important for fans to see the wrestlers and the wrestling “close-up.” He explained that the new subsidiary’s name was chosen because fans in the U.S. value “the NJPW brand and concept and the style of wrestling that represents.”
Check out NJPW of America's touring plans!
We hope to reach at least 70% of our American fanbase with an event near you very soon, and we'll put all we have into making it 100%!
— NJPW Global (@njpwglobal) October 21, 2019
Obari said that NJPW’s 2020 U.S. tour schedule is still being worked out “but there could be as many as double the 2019 slate of 12-13 events.” Meanwhile, “there will not be a reduction in the number of Japanese events” and “in the immediate future, U.S. tours will take place while the Japan schedule is between tours, but there may be cases where tours run simultaneously, with talent schedules an important factor.”
He assured viewers that “There is absolutely no plan to sell the Japanese market short. An office in the US allows for better talent relations in the US, and allows talent to further our brand within the American market while allowing American fans to more easily support the brand.”
Right now, the plan is to broadcast events in the U.S. on NJPW World, live whenever possible and VOD when not. While NJPW will continue to work with AXS TV “in the foreseeable future” Obari also noted that “As events increase in number in the US, we would like to be able to make more opportunities for fans to watch those events live and in real time on TV, and those are opportunities we’re excited to discuss with TV partners going forward.”