NJoA seems to be, from an outsider’s perspective at least, not meeting the expectations that so many people set when they began to introduce their brand of wrestling to the United States. The lazy answer is to chalk it all up to AEW’s birth and success, which was most definitely a factor. But we need to realize that there are a couple of bigger problems at bay.
The reliance on Japanese talent in order to sell tickets is an issue that seems to rear its ugly head nearly every larger-scale show the company does. There has to come a point where somebody like Kazuchika Okada or Will Ospreay don’t have to headline or be featured on these shows in order to get people in the building, especially when those guys are much needed in Japan as well.
Mon • Nov 15 • 7:00 PM
Riverside Municipal Auditorium, Riverside, CA
Available Tickets => 542
Estimated Setup/Capacity => 1,262
Tickets Distributed => 720 (57%)
— WrestleTix (@WrestleTix) November 15, 2021
With the plethora of talent on the free agent market currently and promising dojo stars like Clark Connors and Alex Coughlin, the future does look bright, but cloudy at the same time.
As somebody who attended the Feb. 2 NJPW show in Atlanta, I can say that the it simply just didn’t have enough star power. Despite the fact that the event was over 20 months ago, the fact still seems to remain true.
Another hump that the company needs to tackle is ticket prices. There isn’t much data to back this claim up or anything but as somebody who attends a fair amount of wrestling shows, NJPW might be the second most expensive wrestling ticket to only WWE. I had a friend who paid about $500 for two ringside seats at a recent show, and they weren’t resale tickets.
New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW): Battle in the Valley
Sat • Nov 13 • 8:00 PM
San Jose Civic, San Jose, CA
— WrestleTix (@WrestleTix) November 13, 2021
Editor’s note: 1,655 was the final attendance number, per njpw1972.com
With AEW and WWE dominating a large market share of North American professional wrestling, we’ve already seen some companies like ROH take the fall and prepare for shutdown. I don’t think NJPW USA is necessarily headed down that route, but what exactly is their next move from a business standpoint? Running these arenas and only drawing anywhere from 50-75% of the allotted capacity isn’t going to pay off in the end. There’s got to be something to take the expansion over the “pandemic hump” and into the next gear, especially given the cards that Game Changer Wrestling is making to become the #3 promotion in the country. There isn’t much buzz surrounding even the home base of New Japan Pro Wrestling, but then there is even less buzz for New Japan Of America. How exactly do they turn that around though? This remains to be seen.