Landmark press conference sees Ariake details, title announcement
On August 23, a landmark press conference saw more announcements concerning Historic X-Over in Ariake Arena on November 20, with Bushiroad chairman Takaaki Kidani, NJPW Chairman Naoki Sugabayashi and STARDOM Executive Producer Rossy Ogawa in attendance.
Kidani was first to greet the press and viewing public with the following statement:
‘There are four major events that Bushiroad are running this year to celebrate our 15th anniversary. This event was to celebrate Bushiroad’s professional wrestling activities, and also to help mark NJPW’s 50th anniversary, and STARDOM celebrating 10 years last year. This year is certainly cause for celebration, and we annoucned this event with that in mind.
This is the first time for Japan to have male and female wrestling companies overlap in such a way, and it’s hard to think of an equivalent event on a global level either. As part of this historic event, we will have mixed tag bouts, as well as decide the IWGP Women’s Championship.
There’ll be more details to come today, but first, on the women’s title; we announced the creation of the title at STARDOM’s business strategy presentation, but as I mentioned on twitter after the fact, I think our explanation of the championship and its concept was somewhat lacking. We took your feedback on board, an apologise. We’ll follow up here with more details on how the championship will take form.
The four IWGP letters carry with it a deep legacy of champions, and I understand as well how important the branding is to fans. That legacy was created by the fans and wrestlers together, and after our initial presentation on July 29, a lot of that passion came out on social media. I was a little taken aback by some of that feedback, but there were also comments praising the move to try something new, as well as a glowing reaction from overseas fans that made me glad we were taking this direction.
The recently released Sports Graphic Number magazine, with Kazuchika Okada on the cover, has an interview with Antonio Inoki that I think is relevant to both this event and the Women’s Championship, and conveys the spirit with which I hope we can head into both ventures. “We cannot expect to try new things while adhering to the status quo. I often talk about the courage to take a step in the face of that status quo. That’s the spirit I started NJPW with”.
That’s exactly the words and spirit I hope we can carry forward into both this crossover event, and the new Women’s Championship venture.
Sugabayashi would have further details surrounding the IWGP Women’s Championship in his statement:
‘Thanks to the support of great fans worldwide, NJPW and STARDOM have both risen to become prominent promotions around the world. However, the approach of having solely male and solely female wrestling promotions is increasingly rare in the wrestling world. With an eye to further bringing both NJPW and STARDOM to global prominence and adapting to a global standard, the IWGP Championship Committee will be introducing its first Women’s Championship.
The first champion will be determined in a tournament which will begin on October 2 on night two of Royal Quest II in London. The first champion will be crowned on November 20 in Ariake Arena at Historic X-Over, with the first title defence taking place on January 4 at Wrestle Kingdom 17 in the Tokyo Dome. Moving forward, title matches will take place at major NJPW events both internationally and in Japan, as well as at major STARDOM cards.’
Ogawa would follow up on the announcement and outlined the tournament structure, explaining that a first round match will take place on October 2 at NJPW’s London event, as well as STARDOM’s October 22 Korakuen card. The semifinal will take place on October 23’s STARDOM event in Arena Tachikawa, with the final taking place at Historic X-Over.
Tournament entrants are to be announced at a later date.