Welcome to the first of many news blasts you will see here in Wrestle Royalty devoted to news and rumours regarding promotions news sites don’t cover anywhere near enough. This edition will focus on the various promotions in Japan.
Giant Baba Memorial Show
On February 19, multiple Japanese wrestling promotions will be on-hand for the ‘Wrestling All-Star Battle’ event live from Ryogoku Kokugikan (Sumo Hall). The event is being held to pay tribute to All Japan Pro Wrestling founder and creator of the “Kings Road” style and presentation of pro wrestling used by most promotions in Japan who don’t go by the acronym NJPW Shohei “Giant” Baba on the 20th anniversary of his death
Wrestlers from New Japan, All Japan, Pro Wrestling Noah, Wrestle-1 and several other smaller companies are booked for this historic supercard.
Pro Wrestling Noah Under New Ownership
On January 29th, Pro Wrestling NOAH’s parent company has been sold to LIDET Entertainment. NOAH was previously owned by an IT company, Estebee, which was later renamed Noah Global Entertainment Co., Ltd. in 2016.
LIDET is a much larger company with far greater resources than Estebee and rumour has it they are looking to duplicate the success of New Japan’s parent company Bushiroad has had in the Puroresu game. Which can only be a good thing for Noah as the company has honestly been on life support ever since it’s founder the legendary Mitsuhara Misawa tragically passed away in the ring in 2009.
The sale has been meet with a mixed response from fans as LIDET has wasted no time in instigating some major changes like retiring Noah’s trademark green ring canvas and banning fans from throwing streamers into the ring during wrestlers introductions.
Noah, All Japan, And Wrestle-1 Forming An Alliance?
The much respected Japanese sports magazine Tokyo Sports created a bit of a buzz when they featured an interview with All Japan owner and booker Jun Akiyama, Wrestle-1 founder and owner The Great Muta and Noah Vice President Naomichi Marufuji where they all raised the possibility of all three promotions forming a “coalition” to better compete with the juggernaut that is New Japan.
All three promotions share a common history as both Noah and Wrestle-1 were formed as a result of disagreements between former All Japan booking teams and former All Japan owners. Current All Japan owner Akiyama has worked hard to bring the company back from the brink of death and mend fences with Muta and Noah officials since he assumed ownership of the company in 2014. It is believed he is behind the push for the companies to ally or (as some are speculating) merge into one company.
New Japan Trainee Katsuya Kitamura Quits The Company
Many in NJPW saw a bright future in Katsuya Kitamura in watching him rise through the ranks of the companies “Young Lions” developmental system. While someone of Kitamura’s stature (6 foot 4 and 280 pounds) will probably always have a bright future in the wrestling business, it won’t be in NJPW as the Young Lion has decided to walk away from the company.
NJPW revealed Kitamura’s departure through their website. Kitamura has not been in an NJPW ring since last March. According to NJPW announcer Chris Charlton via a series of tweets, Kitamura’s lengthy absence was due to him sustaining an injury during a training session. It is unclear at this point in time what exactly he injured, but Kitamura has spent the past 11 months healing and going through rehab.
Dave Meltzer has reported that Kitamura was recently offered a talent contract with NJPW (graduating from Young Lion to a full-fledged member of the roster), but he turned it down in favor of leaving the company (and possibly pro wrestling) altogether.
Impact Wrestling Star Returning To Noah
It was announced at a recent show that Impact Wrestling star and former holder of Noah’s top title (The GHC Heavyweight Championship) would be returning to the promotion in March leading many to believe Noah and Impact have once again begun a working relationship.