Heat With Top NJPW Star Led To Executive Change

NJPW logo over blurred Hiroshi Tanahashi Kazuchika Okada

There are more details regarding NJPW’s recent leadership change.

It was announced in late December that eight-time IWGP World Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi, who is regarded by many to be one of the greatest Japanese wrestlers of all time, would be taking over as the President of New Japan Pro Wrestling.

In Tanahashi’s new role, he will be the NJPW President and Representative Director replacing Takami Ohbari and Michiaki Nishizawa.

Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter reports that part of the that Ohbari was removed from the President role is because of heat with Kazuchika Okada, who is one of NJPW’s biggest stars.

“Another key reason has been that there were issues with staff members and Ohbari’s usage of power over them. Another major reason was that Ohbari had heat with a number of people, including the company’s top star, Kazuchika Okada. Okada was said to have wanted him out.”

“Others said that Ohbari never really understood the wrestling business and didn’t respect the value of Okada. One person said that Ohbari saw Okada as the lead role actor in a touring show.”

NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 18 Set To Take Place On January 4th

Less than two weeks after Hiroshi Tanahashi took over as NJPW’s President, the company will be running its 18th Wrestle Kingdom event at the Tokyo Dome on January 4th. Tanahashi will be in action against Zack Sabre Jr. in a match for the NJPW World TV Title.

Meanwhile, two of AEW’s biggest stars will be on the show with Bryan Danielson facing Kazuchika Okada in a Forbidden Door rematch while Jon Moxley is in a triple threat match for the new IWGP Global Championship with Will Ospreay and David Finlay.

The full card for the event is as follows:

  • SANADA (c) vs. Tetsuya Naito – IWGP World Heavyweight Championship
  • Kazuchika Okada vs. Bryan Danielson
  • Will Ospreay vs. David Finlay vs. Jon Moxley – IWGP Global Championship
  • Hiromu Takahashi (c) vs. El Desperado – IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship
  • Hirooki Goto & Yoshi-Hashi (c) vs. Hikuleo & El Phantasmo (c) – IWGP & STRONG Openweight Tag Team Titles
  • Shingo Takagi (c) vs. Tama Tonga – NEVER Openweight Championship
  • Shota Umino & Kaito Kiyomiya vs. EVIL & Ren Narita
  • Yota Tsuji vs. Yuya Uemura
  • Zack Sabre Jr. (c) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi – NJPW World Television Championship
  • Bullet Club War Dogs (c) vs. Catch 2/2 – IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championship
  • New Japan Ranbo for the right to challenge for the KOPW 2024 Championship

Fans can watch NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 18 on NJPW World.