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  1. #1
    Puerto Rican dude living in Japan Degenerate's Avatar
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    Wrestle-1 to close on April 1st, 2020

    Wrestle-1 announced yesterday that their April 1st show at Korakuen Hall is their last, as they will shut down: http://www.w-1.co.jp/News/detail?id=7433 (Japanese site, use Google Translate to read). All the contracts they have for the wrestlers will be terminated at that time so everyone will become a free agent.

    I haven't followed much of Wrestle-1 but from what I always saw their business was never good to begin with and it never got a whole lot better over the years. I don't know how much the current coronavirus situation here in Japan affected this decision. Maybe the people backing the promotion couldn't justify keeping the promotion afloat. I guess more info will come out at a later time.

    I also don't know much about their roster either so I don't know what talents they have and where they can go after this. Outside of Mutoh, the only ones I remember from their roster page are Kaz Hayashi and Shuji Kondo because they worked for a brief stint at TNA. Mutoh will land on his feet, of course. For the rest, I doubt any of these guys are on New Japan's radar so I don't expect any of them appearing in their shows. There's probably going to be a handful popping up in the remaining major Japanese promotions (All Japan, Dragon Gate, NOAH) and everyone else freelancing for the rest (Zero1, K-DOJO, Osaka Pro, etc.). We'll see how it all shakes out.

    Crazy that everyone thought All Japan would die out after the exodus that saw the formation of Wrestle-1, yet here were are in 2020 with All Japan still in the mix and Wrestle-1 gone.

  2. #2
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    Poor Rene Dupree.

    There are some low level rumours that this is tied to the formation of NXT Japan, as well. Although I did see another story that Jun Akiyama was due to have some talks with HHH and a guest spot training at the WWE PC recently, until Coronavirus derailed that.

  3. #3
    Puerto Rican dude living in Japan Degenerate's Avatar
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    I haven't heard if this is tied to the NXT Japan rumors that are floating around, and it doesn't make much sense that they would be tied in any way. If the WWE wants to get their foot in the door in Japan with an established company, Wrestle-1 probably wouldn't be the one. It would make a bit more sense with All Japan, especially with the news that Akiyama already met with HHH last summer.

    I've read around that Wrestle-1 actually had a fair amount of good young talent that were trained well (I think Kaz Hayashi is the head trainer at their dojo), so it'll be interesting to see who gets scooped up by the other companies.

  4. #4
    The Brain
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    Well the UK indie scene took some hits after NXT UK cracked down, so it wouldn't surprise me. But I think the more surprising thing is that so many tiny promotions can keep running in Japan at all, I don't know how they do it. On the other hand, I'm always surprised to see a wrestling promotion shut down because most of them seem nearly unkillabe no matter how poorly they're doing.

  5. #5
    Puerto Rican dude living in Japan Degenerate's Avatar
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    I've always thought the main reason why these tiny wrestling promotions in Japan live long is because people are used to paying high ticket prices for any events here, so maybe they don't lose tons of money if they have smaller crowds.

    For example, I checked Wrestle-1's upcoming shows and they have a show next Sunday at KBS Hall in Kyoto. The cheapest ticket is 4500 Yen, which is about 42 U.S. Dollars / 38 Euros, and go all the way up to 7500 Yen (70 Dollars / 63 Euros). That's the norm for all these small companies for relatively small house shows (less than 1000 people). Compare that to the local indy I went to in San Francisco (All Pro Wrestling) which brought a lot of solid well-known talent and tickets were usually less than $20.

  6. #6
    The Brain
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    That does make it a little clearer, but I'm a bit surprised they can keep selling tickets at that price considering how many little companies are running constantly there. I wonder if each company has more of a dedicated fan base or if it's more like one fan base that just spends all their spare cash on wrestling?

  7. #7
    Puerto Rican dude living in Japan Degenerate's Avatar
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    It's just Japan in general. Tickets for any live event are expensive, from concerts to sports to plays. So people are used to shelling out the money, I suppose. I've gotten used to paying these insane amounts already.

  8. #8
    The Brain
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    That actually really helps answer a question I've had for a very long time, haha. Thank you sir!

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