It became clear that Bushiroad Co., Ltd. (President Yoshinori Hashimoto), the parent company of New Japan Pro-Wrestling, will acquire the female pro-wrestling organization “Stardom”. Expected to be officially announced on the 17th after approval by the extraordinary board of directors. The pro-wrestling world is likely to enter a new era when the Nihon Pro and the top group in the women’s professional world are in the same umbrella.
Stakeholders, Bushiroad’s advancement into female professionals began around last autumn. Director Takaaki Kitani (59), who was the founder of the company and served as the chairman of Nippon Professional, showed a strong interest, and in February this year, an official contacted Stardom’s Rossy Ogawa (62). The meeting between Mr. Kitani and Mr. Ogawa was realized in April, and a concrete business transfer story was completed in August.
Stardom’s business will be undertaken by Kick Road, a subsidiary of Bushiroad, which operates the kickboxing event “KNOCK OUT”. While taking over the current system, including Ogawa, the company is expected to gradually move to a new system. It was approved by the extraordinary board meeting of Bushiroad held in the morning on the 17th, and an official announcement meeting is scheduled in the afternoon.
”Bushiroad officials said,“ Kitani had always felt the growth of female professional wrestling ”. In the world’s largest professional wrestling organization WWE, the position of female players has improved, and since 2016 the name of “Diva” has been abolished and, like male wrestlers, is called “superstar”. The April women’s wrestling festival “WrestleMania 35” was the first time that women ’s matches were played at the main event.
In response to these American mat trends, “I was going to come to Japan in the future. I did n’t want to regret it.” It is natural that a white arrow was standing on the advancing stardom ”(same official).
On the other hand, the expansion of the organization of Stardom was a challenge in recent years. From 11 years ago, he became the leader of the domestic women’s professional world and produced Kairi Sein (Treasure Castle Kaili = 31) and Shirai Io (29) who are active in WWE. New generations such as Mayu Iwatani (26) are leading the Wonder of Stardom champion Arisa Hoshi (24), “Big Daddy’s Three Girls” Hayashishita Shiomi (21), and Kimura Hana (22). rise. However, the big match was not held at the end of the Tokyo / Ryogoku Kokugikan tournament in April 2013, which was held by Aikawa Yuzu.
“The sales themselves are higher than when Io and Kairi were there. However, Ogawa seemed to feel that there was a limit because it would pursue profits at a lower cost than continuing as an individual. “In the long run, it seems that this is a good way to spread the genre and leave Stardom in the future.”
It is aiming to re-invest in both countries in 21st year of the 10th anniversary of the flagship, and it has already been decided to hold the Tokyo Ota Ward General Gymnasium competition on April 29, 20th. Regular programs are scheduled to start on BS Nippon Television and “TOKYO MX” from January next year, and preparations for the Bushiroad system are steadily progressing.
Bushiroad, whose core business is trading card games, made Shin-Ni Pro a subsidiary in 2012. Earnings grew significantly due to aggressive spending on advertising expenses, strengthening content such as video distribution services, and expanding overseas markets. Sales in FY18 were about 5.4 billion yen, an increase of about 5 times from about 1.1 billion yen in the January 2011 period. The current annual sales of Stardom is expected to be about 200 million yen, but Mr. Kitani talks to a nearby official that he will make it 1 billion yen in 5 years, and is enthusiastic.
This acquisition drama is likely to be a great opportunity for Stardom. What kind of chemical reaction will occur when the number one men’s group and women’s group in Japan are under the same umbrella? Attention is likely to be drawn to future trends.
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