The coronavirus pandemic has changed the situation for WWE in Japan once again, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. However, this time they might benefit from changes related to the virus.
As we’ve noted, WWE has been “making moves” in Japan as they are focused on launching a WWE NXT brand and Japan Performance Center. The goal was to launch the expansion this year, but there’s no word yet on how the coronavirus might have impacted those plans. It was said to be inevitable that WWE will have the NXT Japan brand and Performance Center, but it’s just a matter of working everything out.
Before now, no one wanted to sell their companies to WWE for the expansion into Japan, but now with most companies suffering from tough financial times due to the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s become a buyers market and it’s believed that companies who maybe weren’t interested in selling before, are more willing to do so. This means WWE could buy a local infrastructure and start being a competitive force in the Japanese market sooner rather than later.
There’s a general belief, according to the Observer, that with MMA no longer a major deal except for a few shows per year, that the only thing able to threaten New Japan Pro Wrestling wouldn’t be another company in the market, but WWE in the market with roots. That was possible before, but now the odds are significantly higher for a deal to be made.
WWE was still having talks with All Japan Pro Wrestling as of early March. They were in talks to purchase Pro Wrestling NOAH before that company was bought earlier this year. They have tried to purchase at least one other Japanese company.