NJPW has made a shock move at the very top of the company with former eight-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi becoming its new President.
Hiroshi Tanahashi was in action on the 22nd of December Road To Tokyo Dome show when he teamed with Kazuchika Okada to defeat TMDK’s Kosei Fujita and Zack Sabre Jr. but now it looks like his in-ring future could be in doubt as he takes on a new corporate role.
NJPW released a statement confirming that Tanahashi will take over as President and Representative Director replacing Takami Ohbari and Michiaki Nishizawa effective December 23rd. The full statement reads:
After a meeting of New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s board of directors and shareholders today, December 23 2023, the following personnel change has been made in Company management.
Reason for personnel change
Alterations to management structure
Newly appointed officials
President & Representative Director: Hiroshi Tanahashi
Director: Hitoshi Matsumoto (Chief of Business Production, TV Asahi)
Director: Taro Okada (President & CEO, Bushiroad Fight) *Mr. Okada’s position is on a part time basis
Effective December 23, Takami Ohbari and Michiaki Nishizawa will step down from their positions as President/Representative Director and Director respectively.
Newly appointed President/Representative Director profile
Hiroshi Tanahashi was born November 13 1976 in Ogaki City, Gifu. After graduating in law at Ristumeikan University, Tanahashi joined NJPW in 1999 and debuted that October. He won the IWGP Heavyweight Championship for the first of a record eight times in 2006, achievements along with four time pro-wrestling MVP status that have led him to be called the ‘Ace’ of New Japan Pro-Wrestling.
There will be a press conference on December 26 at 1PM JST concerning the changes made above.
Message to fans
Thank you for your ongoing support of New Japan Pro-Wrestling. On January 4 at Belc Presents Wrestle Kingdom 18 in the Tokyo Dome, Hiroshi Tanahashi will address the fans directly in his new role as President. NJPW looks forward to your continued support under the new leadership structure.
Will Hiroshi Tanahashi Keep Wrestling For NJPW?
Hiroshi Tanahashi revealed he signed a new NJPW deal in early 2023 but how long the 47-year-old star keeps wrestling for has been the subject of continued speculation.
Tanahashi is scheduled to compete at Wrestle Kingdom 18 where he will challenge Zack Sabre Jr. for the NJPW World Television Championship. Beyond that, it remains unclear if The Ace will try and combine his in-ring and corporate roles.