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Chris Jericho went to New Japan to prove he could draw money

As he told it to the fine folks at Busted Open Radio on SiriusXM:

“Part of being a top name or a main eventer or a Hall of Famer is you have to draw money. This, to me, was probably the biggest example of Jericho drawing money. WWE and WrestleMania, for example, that’s a brand -- people are going no matter what. I think in this day and age WWE is the biggest draw. But for Wrestle Kingdom that wasn’t the case. I mean, there were certain goals that New Japan had that were blown out of the water with the announcement of Alpha vs. Omega. That was completely on me. I’m a numbers guy, I was calling every day. ‘What’s the updated tickets? What’s the updated tickets?’ We sold 35,000 paid. Last year they did 26,000. They were hoping for 28,000 with 30,000 maybe, maybe, maybe. In my mind it was like ‘why aren’t you hoping for 50,000?’ But then we did 35,000 so that’s an extra 7 grand from their projections and almost an extra 10 from what they did last year.

”Then, their kind of pet now, what they’re kind of building the most, is the New Japan subscription service and that went through the roof -- an extra 35-percent subscriptions in the last two days before the show. I’m taking credit for it. I don’t think the subscriptions would have been there. Plus, you had 2,500 foreigners in the Tokyo Dome. That’s 2,500 people who flew from America, England, wherever. Tell me any independent show that draws 2,500 people in your own home country nowadays. It’s pretty rare.

”So all of those things proved that Alpha and Omega was a moneymaking draw. That’s a feather in my cap.”

Jericho’s presence at Wrestle Kingdom proved to be a draw for our web traffic in a way it simply wouldn’t have been if he wasn’t there. This was a great move for his own brand, considering his star power from WWE and how that would translate to New Japan, an already strongly established presence in pro wrestling.

The question now is if he can sustain said drawing power with the follow up, which could be a match against Tetsuya Naito.


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