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NJPW forms United Japan Pro-Wrestling with 8 other promotions

All Japan’s Kento Miyahara, NOAH’s Kaito Kiyomiya, and New Japan’s Hiroshi Tanahashi (l-r), at the press conference for June 2023’s All Together.
Kaito Kiyomiya’s X

Not many doors are forbidden for New Japan Pro-Wrestling if the promotion and its parent company Bushiroad think a partnership or alliance is what’s (Triple H voice) best for business. NJPW has worked with AEW & Impact/TNA in the United States, and has a long-standing relationships with CMLL in Mexico & RevPro in the United Kingdom.

In their home country, New Japan’s co-promoted several shows with Pro Wrestling NOAH over the past few years — including the tri-branded All Together event with All Japan Pro Wrestling this past June. With reports that business is down in Japan, NJPW, NOAH, AJPW and five other promotions have announced the formation of United Japan Pro Wrestling, which sounds like a combination promotional alliance and trade lobby.

“The Group” includes two women’s (joshi) company — the New Japan’s sister promotion Stardom and Tokyo Joshi Pro-Wrestling, which like NOAH & DDT is owned by Cyber Fight. A joint show is planned for May in Tokyo.

Here’s the full press release, courtesy of New Japan’s website:

NJPW to join United Japan Pro-Wrestling industry group

December 15, Tokyo Japan - New Japan Pro-Wrestling today announces that it is one of nine organizations that will constitute United Japan Pro-Wrestling, a new industry group representing professional wrestling in Japan.

Without an industry wide group for professional wrestling in Japan, the unprecedented crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic made it all the more clear that there was a need to consolidate and express accurate information and best operating practices between promotions, as well as to communicate effectively with national and municipal governments. In a bid to better anticipate and adapt to societal changes in the future, nine Japanese promotions at the forefront of pro-wrestling in the country will be be part of a collective industry group (henceforth ‘the Group’).

The members of the Group will maintain their individual business identities and competition in the marketplace, but the Group will provide a space to discuss issues that concern the industry at large, and to exchange information with an interest in maintaining its growth. The formation of the Group will be marked by an event on May 6 2024 in Nippon Budokan under the banner of United Japan Pro-Wrestling.

Mission statement

To further the presence of pro-wrestling and its cultural merit in Japanese society at large, allow professional wrestling to contribute further to cultural and sporting sectors, and work toward continued health and prosperity of the industry.

Background

The COVID-19 pandemic made it apparent that there was a lack of communication and unified approach to event guidelines, and no common point of contact between the industry and national and municipal governments. There was also a desire to discuss issues surrounding wrestler health and safety (including in their online presence), to create a pipeline to other sporting organizations and to further the image of professional wrestling through issues of corporate social responsibility. There was a shared desire between members of the Group to continue existing competition within the marketplace while also sharing relevant information and know-how on these and other socio-economic issues.

Core tenets

Unity and integrity. The Group will be the representative spokesgroup for all of professional wrestling in Japan.
Representation. The Group will be the public facing symbol for the collective whole of professional wrestling in Japan.
Continuity. The Group will have a continuous presence and activity in the future.

As a result, the existence of the Group will be made known worldwide, and its members will be actively engaged in actions of merit.

Activities

• Governmental communication and requests
• Strengthening connections to other industries and sectors
• Sharing resources and practices

Including those related to wrestler health and safety, such as the provision of financial support for wrestlers while injured, and to offer compliance training. Group members will also consolidate event data for historical archive purposes.

Monetization

Any proceeds from the monetized use of iconography shall be split among the Group members. Joint events and festivals will be held.

Group members

New Japan Pro-Wrestling (New Japan Pro-Wrestling Co. Ltd.)
All Japan Pro-Wrestling (All Japan Pro-Wrestling Co. Ltd.)
Pro-Wrestling NOAH (Cyber Fight Co. Ltd.)
DDT Pro-Wrestling (Cyber Fight Co. Ltd.)
Ganbare ☆ Pro-Wrestling (Cyber Fight Co. Ltd.)
Big Japan Pro-Wrestling (Yotsuba Industries Ltd.)
DRAGONGATE (DRAGONGATE Co. Ltd.)
STARDOM (BushiRoad Fight Co. Ltd.)
Tokyo Joshi Pro-Wrestling (Cyber Fight Co. Ltd.)

Further Group members will be considered in future.

Founding chair: Seiji Sakaguchi
Executive office: New Japan Pro-Wrestling Co. Ltd.
Executive chief: Naoki Sugabayashi (Chairman: New Japan Pro-Wrestling Co. Ltd.)

A lot has changed in the wrestling business over the past year, and it seems 2024 could be pretty eventful too. Pro wrestling fans are more accustomed to “wars” than alliances in the space, but groups such as UJPW could be the wave of the future as companies that aren’t WWE work to survive and thrive in a crowded global sports and entertainment market.

Thoughts?

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