NJPW president Hiroshi Tanahashi reveals ten step road map to grow NJPW

By Sean Radican, PWTorch columnist

Photo credit: NJPW


NJPW president Hiroshi Tanahashi along with Representative Director Hitoshi Matsumoto and owner Takaaki Kidani outlined a new ten step road map planned for future growth of the company as part of a press conference held in Japan in front of the media that was transcribed on NJPW’s website.

One of the major points Tanahashi addressed was elevating the value of title belts.

“Well, first of all, we want to make the STRONG titles American exclusive,” said Tanahasi. “Additionally, there have been a lot of new titles of late, and it’s important I think for wrestlers to understand what championships they want to aim toward, and for fans to understand that as well. Each title can have a role in different events, but we want the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship to consistently be the peak and have those roles take place after that.”

Kidani also spoke about elevating the value of titles in NJPW.

“When NJPW was really booming in popularity, in 2017, 2018, 2019 we had seven championships,” said Kidani. “Right now there are 13. Even hardcore fans might not know who all our champions are. The more titles we have, as well, it’s felt that even though wrestlers should have more choice in terms of titles to wrestle for, they’re more likely to be only tied to one title without much movement.

“This process may take time, perhaps over the next year to 18 months, but the important thing is to have the fans understand simply what each title is for and why they matter, and that will be the goal and the key to elevating that status.”

Another major point Tanahashi addressed was the amount of outside interference in NJPW matches, especially in relation to House of Torture matches.

“Well, wrestling and other sports have a very different approach when it comes to cheating,” said Tanahashi. “But if you’re cheating, even in a minor way, bending the rules, or what have you, it’s to turn things in your favor. I think there’s a line, even though it’s all bending or breaking the rules, there’s a line between that and cheating just to cheat, cheating just to take away from the match at hand. That’s the distinction I think we have to make. To put it simply, House of Torture are out of line.”

The last major topic addressed by Tanahashi was strenghthening NJPW’s relationship with AEW. Kidani spoke during this portion of the press conference and praised AEW for being a great partner before he addressed the topic of whether or not NJPW was an inferior partner to AEW.

“Having said that, there is the perception that NJPW is treated as a sub brand or is looked down on by AEW,” said Kidana. Some of that perception of NJPW being behind comes from the economics at the moment. But the truth of the matter is AEW’s strengths and NJPW’s strengths are different. From development of talent from scratch, to a historical and traditional perspective, there’s a lot NJPW can offer that AEW cannot. So there’s a lot that we can do together and while much of it isn’t something we can discuss right now, there’s a lot we will do. But the idea that NJPW is the inferior partner is not correct. We are absolutely on an even footing, and that’s something we’ll prove in the near future.”




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