Bushiroad CEO addresses perception that NJPW is looked down upon by AEW in their partnership (2024)

June 4, 2024Andrew ThompsonNEWS

Bushiroad CEO addresses perception that NJPW is looked down upon by AEW in their partnership (1)

A media briefing with New Japan heads.

After New Japan Pro-Wrestling pushed out announcements regarding Dominion and their upcoming ‘Soul’ series, a media briefing was held and hosting the session was NJPW President Hiroshi Tanahashi, Bushiroad CEO Takaaki Kidani and NJPW Representative Director Hitoshi Matsumoto.

New Japan’s relationship with All Elite Wrestling was spoken about at length. The two companies are coming together on June 30th to present their next Forbidden Door event. Takaaki Kidani thinks the relationship can stretch over to other departments in Bushiroad.

He does not think NJPW could have asked for a better partner than AEW and went on to address the perception that they’re being looked down upon by their partner.

Kidani: We have a very positive relationship with AEW right now, and there is room for it to evolve further. There are things we can’t talk about just yet, but I think it’s something that can involve other departments within Bushiroad as well.

I think that this relationship has settled into something that’s a lot more stable in the long run, and a lot of that comes from Tony Khan having a deep fandom and appreciation for NJPW. He has a lot of passion for 90s guys like (Hiroshi) Hase, and The Steiners. He’s a fan, and both he and his father have an incredible business acumen. Tony Khan’s father started out making Toyota bumpers, and grew his business eightfold in a ten-year span. And the Khans have had all this success, not just in wrestling but American Football and the Premier League. With that acumen and their affinity for Japan, there’s a lot that can be done in the future, and I don’t think NJPW could ask for a better partner right now.

Having said that, there is the perception that NJPW is treated as a sub brand or is looked down on by AEW. Some of that perception of NJPW being behind comes from the economics at the moment. But the truth of the matter is AEW’s strengths and NJPW’s strengths are different. From development of talent from scratch, to a historical and traditional perspective, there’s a lot NJPW can offer that AEW cannot. So there’s a lot that we can do together and while much of it isn’t something we can discuss right now, there’s a lot we will do. But the idea that NJPW is the inferior partner is not correct. We are absolutely on an even footing, and that’s something we’ll prove in the near future.

Beginning on June 28th, STARDOM is going to become a fully-owned subsidiary of New Japan. Tanahashi stated that more STARDOM talents will be competing in NJPW in the future.

Tanahashi: We announced before that STARDOM will become a fully-owned subsidiary of NJPW as of the end of June. You’ll see improved operating efficiency between the two companies, as well as improved scheduling, cross-promotion, and more STARDOM wrestlers competing in New Japan in the near future as we work to grow both promotions. There will also be a Crossover event to come later this year, with more details to be announced very soon.

Elsewhere during the briefing, Representative Director Hitoshi Matsumoto addressed LEC, Inc. ending their sponsorship of the pro wrestling industry.

He thanked the company for everything regarding the relationship with New Japan, but said their departure will not cause any major damage to NJPW.

Matsumoto: We want to express our gratitude to all of our fantastic sponsors. News recently came out that one of our sponsors, LEC Co. Ltd. will be ending their sponsorship in June. We’re deeply grateful to L.E.C. for their years of support, and they have been greatly appreciated. That said, with the strength of current ticket, content and merchandise sales, LEC’s departure as sponsors will not cause any significant damage to NJPW.

Again, we’re grateful for what L.E.C. has done for New Japan, and we will be continuing to improve our relationships with our current sponsors as well as introducing new partnerships as NJPW continues to grow even stronger.

Circling back to the AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door event, there are two matches currently announced for the show and those are listed below:

  • AEW World Championship: Swerve Strickland (c) (w/ Prince Nana) vs. Will Ospreay
  • Vacant AEW TNT Championship — Ladder Match: Konosuke Takesh*ta vs. Participants TBD
Bushiroad CEO addresses perception that NJPW is looked down upon by AEW in their partnership (2024)
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