Concern over NJPW corporate changes
New Japan Pro Wrestling Ace, Hiroshi Tanahashi, recently shared his concerns over the Americanization of NJPW’s essence and aesthetic as the company continues to grow in the west. Since then, news has come from the recent Wrestling Observer highlighting some concern and confusion over New Japan’s future business strategies.
It’s reported that there is, in fact, an entirely new regime in charge. Not just Harold Meij as the new President, but others that have been placed into prime positions within the company, courtesy of the new President.
These individuals, who have found themselves in a lofty position within New Japan, apparently don’t have any background whatsoever in wrestling, and it has been noted that the etiquette within NJPW’s top tier has shifted accordingly. They have replaced popular long-time officials that the wrestlers on their roster trusted and respected.
This dramatic shake-up has supposedly forced a number of wrestlers to question why a company that has been experiencing such burgeoning global success would undertake such a dramatic change to their core business team. Many wonder what could be gained from replacing those who had helped helm the company to its current success.
Naturally, the agenda remains unchanged as they continue to expand the business outside of Japan and proceed with their aggressive Western expansion, but it has been highlighted there is an undeniable concern.
“The Real Deal. That’s What I Want To Show Them”
Tanahashi noted, “I want to show that Made In Japan feel. With NJPW World there are so many fans now that watch our cards live or near live. I want to bring them what they see streaming on their devices in person right in front of them,” he said, before recalling, “It reminds me of when WWE came to Japan and I was at the show. It would have been 2002 maybe? The Rock was definitely there (March 1 2002, Yokohama Arena). They had a Japanese ring announcer translating what the English announcer said. Whenever that guy spoke he got booed.”
“They were saying ‘forget the translation, we want to see the authentic American product’ I think. I think there are American fans that want the same from NJPW. Not something rearranged for ‘American tastes’ but the real deal. That’s what I want to show them.”
What do you make of this? Is this corporate upheaval going to have a major impact on the NJPW product going forward? Is this something to be concerned about as a fan?