One of the stars of NJPW is facing a backlash after using a Nazi salute on a recent show.
February 12th saw the New Japan kick off its annual Fantasticamania tour which sees the stars of CMLL mixing it up with friends and foes in NJPW. The first event was due to start with Difunto and DOUKI taking on Bullet Club’s Gedo and Taiji Ishimori. However, getting into the spirit of the series, which sees New Japan stars don Lucha Libre gimmicks, Ishimori came to the ring as the masked Bone Soldier Jr.
Marching to the ring behind Gedo, Ishimori immediately caused controversy as he was wearing a hat reminiscent of those worn by SS officers during World War 2, and to make matters worse, when he got in the ring, gave a Nazi salute to the audience.
— Ashutosh (@CerooleanBlue) February 12, 2024
While the ill-judged move was likely an attempt to gain heat with the audience, it has not been well-received. One fan posted that anytime something good happens in the company, “the tripping over sick moment is happening almost immediately,” while others called the act deplorable and some even threatened to stop watching the company altogether.
This is not the first time NJPW has faced controversy related to the use of Nazi imagery, as back in 2009, the Dominion event poster inexplicably featured swastikas as well as the SS logo.
Kazuchika Okada Reportedly Joining AEW Following Final NJPW Dates
One star who is absent from the Fantasticamania tour is former IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada. The star recently defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi in the last chapter of their legendary rivalry and will compete in his last matches for the company on February 23rd and 24th when, to the surprise of many, he takes part in two multi-man tags.