During a recent interview with the NJPW Press company President Takami Ohbari spoke about wrestling being a star-driven business, and why their U.S. based show, NJPW Strong, provides an opportunity for American wrestlers to perform for the company but are unable to travel due to recent COVID restrictions. Highlights are below.
How wrestling is a star-driven business and making dream matches, even with other companies, is essential:
For me to say ‘NJPW is doing business with company X, so you need to go over there and wrestle’, that’s backward to me. I will say this until I’m blue in the face: this is a star-driven business, and the wrestlers are the focus. So if our wrestlers say ‘I want to wrestle that guy’ ‘I want to test myself against that guy’ ‘I want to show that I’m better than that guy’. Then it becomes our job as a company to do what we can to back them, make it happen and make it successful. We’re in the dream business. Presenting them, and making them real. Having a linear approach to business, that only restricts us and it stops fans getting invested.
How NJPW Strong provides an opportunity for wrestlers who want to appear for NJPW but can’t because of travel restrictions:
When you look at things overseas right now, especially in the US, there are a lot of wrestlers who want to come to Japan, and can’t, right? Even if you get into the country, you have to quarantine. But STRONG is there for those guys. That is authentic, genuine New Japan Pro-Wrestling. If you want to be in NJPW, and you’re good enough, this door is open: come in, come do what you can do, and we’ll make sure the world can watch it. That goes for the fans too; if there’s a match you guys want to see, we’ll do what we can to make it happen.