World Wonder Ring Stardom, the Japanese women’s pro wrestling company best known as Stardom, has been sold to Kix Road, a subsidiary of Bushiroad, in a deal announced Thursday afternoon in Japan.
The story is likely to be misinterpreted as either New Japan buying Stardom, a merger between the two groups, or that New Japan will start using women wrestlers on their shows. None of this would be accurate.
But what is accurate is New Japan and Stardom would both be owned by the same parent company, but they are being run and kept completely separate. Stardom will be under the umbrella of Kix Road, which is the parent company of Knock Out, the Bushiroad kickboxing company.
As part of the deal, Kix Road, on December 1, Kix Road Co,. Ltd will have its name changed to Bushiroad Fight Co, Ltd. There are no plans for any interaction between Knock out and Stardom.
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Hiroshi “Rossy” Ogawa will remain CEO of the women’s wrestling promotion, which will main using the name Stardom, but World Wonder Ring Stardom will no longer exist as a company.
There will be people at Bushiroad joining Stardom to work in the front office but the Stardom staff will stay in place.
Bushiroad’s role will be attempting through advertising and television to build the popularity of the brand, similar to how the resurgence of New Japan Pro Wrestling was built.
As part of the deal, a TV show will air on BS NTV and Tokyo MX starting in January, with the BS NTV show being a 30 minute show on Thursdays.
The streaming service Stardom World will remain the exclusive for Stardom events. New Japan World will not be streaming Stardom, and with New Japan World part-owned by TV-Asahi and the Stardom TV deal with rival NTV, politically that would be almost impossible to work out.
There are no plans at present for Stardom talent to appear on New Japan shows, or vice versa. However, if New Japan does see a demand for women’s matches on foreign shows, where there is no sign of any at this point, this will give them easier access to broker a deal for such talent.
Bushiroad will begin marketing Stardom in January with more advertising in wrestling magazines, on billboards and on television, and will be marketed as part of the Bushiroad family.
As an example, on December 7 and December 8, Stardom talent will participate in CharaExpo 2019 at the Anaheim Convention Center, with a main event of Mayu Iwatani & Tam Nakano vs.Samie Sakai & Nicole Savoy.
The Stardom talent will also be signed to full-time contracts.