The President of NJPW revealed in a recent interview that the company nearly closed down during a difficult time in company history.
It was in 2020 when the world was going through a difficult time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. No matter your stance on the issue, which leads to heated debates to this day, the world was literally shut down for months starting in March 2020. Some places had strict restrictions that prevented us from leaving a country as we could do in “normal” times.
For pro wrestling, it was a dark period because even while companies like WWE and AEW were producing shows, they did so without fans in attendance.
When it comes to New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), they were also hurt badly by the pandemic as they shut down for months and when they re-opened their business, they had no crowds or limited crowds at their events.
Takami Ohbari is the President of New Japan Pro-Wrestling. Ohbari started in that role in October 2020, which means it was over half a year after things were shut down.
“It was a long time (that difficult period). I try to look at sales separately inside and outside the venue. Especially because of the Corona disaster. Inside sales are tickets and merchandise sales, which at one point were down 60 percent due to the decline in attendance. Even in the most recent year, it’s still down about 40 percent… it’s only back up to 60 percent.”
“If we had continued with our existing business portfolio, I think the company would have ceased to exist within a few months, let alone take a major hit. The majority of our business was dependent on revenues from the venue. One day, Tanahashi asked me, ‘Boss, if this situation continues, how many more months will this company last?’ I could count on one hand. At the time, I could count on one hand. With a smile on my face, I replied, ‘Don’t worry.’”
Things did get better for NJPW and they are thriving once again as they plan to host their Dominion event on June 4th.