Japanese trading card game maker now also the parent company of New Japan Pro Wrestling (新日本プロレスリング). Today it was announced that Bushiroad has acquired 100% of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s shares, turning the latter into a wholly-owned subsidiary.
New Japan Pro Wrestling was founded in January 1972 by one Antonio Inoki, and has had a long history and popularity rivaling that of the WWE in the US. However, after the wrestling boom faded between the 1990s and 2000, the company was in a bit of a turmoil from both a financial and management standpoint.
In 2005, videogame developer Yukes acquired a 51.5% stake of New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), after a series of fairly successful Shin Nippon Pro Wrestling: Toukon Retsuden videogames, and took over company management duties from Inoki. By then the company had been in the red year after year, and it wasn’t until January 2011 NJPW finally turned a profit for its fiscal year. Despite hard times and the decline of pro-wrestling as a source of entertainment, NJPW was able to weather it all and hang on to its “major” wrestling promoter status.
And now they get taken over by Bushiroad, who has not only acquired Yukes’ 51.5% stake, but also the rest of the company’s shares.
Bushiroad is best known for trading card games like Card Fight!! Vanguard, Weiss Schwarz, as well as anime/game properties like Milky Holmes.
In recent years Bushiroad has taken an interest in the pro-wrestling scene, having been a sponsor of various events, such as the G1 Climax, NJPW 40th Anniversary Tour, and Wrestle Kingdom V1 in Tokyo Dome. They even organised a Bushiroad Wrestling event last year in May, featuring a Black Rock Shooter vs Deadmaster wrestling match, as well as a Milky Holmes live performance.
More pictures of said event over at 4Gamer’s photo gallery.
Bushiroad was also one of the sponsors behind the TV Tokyo broadcast of WWE Wrestlemania 27 World Premier. So this acquisition actually makes a lot more sense than you would think.
What Bushiroad plans to do with NJPW, however, remains tight-lipped and pegged with a big question mark.
Could they be planning to come up with a NJPW-themed trading card game soon (which would make the acquisition perfect sense)? Or – less likely – perhaps Bushiroad intends to do promote its TCG/anime/game properties through pro-wrestling, or do collaborations thereof?
What do you think? If Bushiroad releases a wrestling-themed TCG, would you play it?
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