What talent is staying in, and who’s leaving, New Japan Pro Wrestling? Will they work with All Elite Ring of Honor or both as U.S. partners in 2019?
A new blog entry by New Japan President Harold Meij doesn’t directly answer those questions, but does give you a sense of his vision for the company in light of this week’s news concerning AEW and various roster moves & rumors among the bigger wrestling promotions. Meij also speaks to criticisms of the company’s international expansion, its culture under his leadership and his own background both as a corporate leader & a non-Japanese person living & working in Japan.
The post was published on NJPW’s Japanese language site. The below translation is courtesy of Chris Carlton (who you should be following, and reading, if you’re interested in New Japan and puroresu):
“‘Is New Japan OK?’ Yes it is.
‘Is this the beginning of the end?’ Twitter’s getting ahead of itself.
More promotions in the market is proof of a healthy sector with more people watching. A billion dollar market is turning into $1.3, 1.5 billion. It’s not a tiny space with everyone fighting over scraps anymore. I used to be in charge of a $1.8 billion business. Not the entire industry, a company worth that much. And forgive me for saying, I did pretty well. And New Japan has a great structure, our people have a lot of skill and know how, and our wrestlers are great.
Talent will come and go. That’s life. Half of Japanese people have had more than one occupation. More overseas. There are different life stages, priorities change. What counts is that while here, people shine as bright as possible and produce the best product possible for us. Our job as a business in New Japan is to make sure our wrestlers are not spending their life worrying about ticket sales, living expense, feeding their family, or injury. They need to be able to focus on the ring.
I often see talk along the lines of ‘since Meij came in, they’re only looking at international, they don’t care about Japan.’ That couldn’t be more wrong. New Japan has gotten to the stage that the world has taken notice of it and we can do these things abroad. I’m not pushing the company international; if anything it’s the other way round. I’m doing my job as a professional to fulfill very strong demand.
I didn’t get this job because I’m foreign. International business is one string to my bow. There’s a lot more I can do, and a lot more I have to do in Japan. I have done, and am doing a lot, more than you can see, to increase revenue. This is a Japanese company. I want to bring that Japanese excellence, that New Japan ism, as is, unchanged, to fans in Japan and all over the world.
For now, don’t worry. Enjoy the ride. Enjoy Fantasticamania.”