Wednesday, October 11, 2023

The Impact of Japanese Wrestling on the Global Wrestling Scene

Japanese wrestling has had a significant impact on the global wrestling scene in recent years. It began with NJPW's partnerships with WCW in the 1990s, during which NJPW talents such as Jushin Thunder Liger and Ultimo Dragon appeared on WCW shows. Michinoku Pro was introduced to new audiences during that same decade by Kaientai Deluxe making appearances in ECW and WWE. In 2009, BJW (Big Japan Pro-Wrestling) began selling DVDs of its product internationally, and later formed a working relationship with CZW in 2011 that led to BJW having its first event in the United States. In 2014, NJPW and ROH announced a partnership, which enabled NJPW talent to again appear on American television screens. The company continues to be a major player in the global wrestling landscape today, now expanding its international reach through its partnership with AEW and also holding successful shows in the United States.

Japanese wrestling has brought out the best in talented wrestlers during their time on the Japanese wrestling scene. Already recognized as being one of the best wrestlers to ever step into an Impact Wrestling ring, AJ Styles adapting to NJPW's unique style of intense, action-packed, fast-paced matches from 2014 to 2016 helped the industry realize that he is one of the best wrestlers in the world. While Shelton Benjamin was wrestling in Japan from 2013 to 2016 he presented an aggressive style that had never been displayed previously in WWE, and it's fair to say that Benjamin's very impressive work in Japan may have played a role in WWE wanting to re-sign him in 2017.

Japanese wrestling has also had a significant impact on the style of wrestling that is performed in other parts of the world. Many wrestlers from outside of Japan have been influenced by Japanese wrestling, and they have incorporated elements of Japanese wrestling into their own styles. Examples are Finn Balor and Karl Anderson, who were trained by NJPW, and Pete "Butch" Dunne, who spent three months travelling and touring with Michinoku Pro.

One of the most significant ways in which Japanese wrestling has impacted the global wrestling scene is through its focus on in-ring action. Japanese wrestling matches are very strategic, and this style of wrestling has been adopted by many wrestling promotions around the world. It's one of the things that makes Japanese wrestling very popular with fans internationally, and that popularity is growing at a notable rate. 29% of the visitors to the NJPW World video streaming website in a month are from outside of Japan, the main audience of BJW's streaming service is located outside of Japan, and the majority of the visitors to Michinoku Pro's website are from outside of Japan.

Meanwhile, Japanese women's wrestling has had an important impact on women's wrestling. Fans outside of Japan watch talented wrestlers from Stardom, Ice Ribbon, Sendai Girls, and WAVE in action via streaming or DVD. These women's wrestling organizations are among the most popular wrestling organizations in Japan, and seeing women wrestling at such a high level can inspire young girls who live both in and outside of Japan to become wrestlers themselves.

The success of all of these very well-known Japanese wrestling promotions may have inspired other promotions in Japan to adopt a more international perspective. For example, Yanagase Pro Wrestling broadcasts shows on TwitCasting, a livestreaming service based in Japan that has over 33 million registered users worldwide. This helps to make wrestling more popular and more accessible to fans around the world. As promotions in Japan increase in popularity while utilizing streaming services, they will have an impact on major promotions that are outside of Japan in the future.

The same can be said for promotions that are based in Singapore. The independent wrestling scene there pays close attention to activity on the Japanese wrestling scene, while the Singapore promotions make their events available for viewing via streaming. And this week, NJPW and Stardom announced the Asia Pacific Pro Wrestling Alliance, a new initiative that aims to bring together the top pro wrestling promotions in the Asia-Pacific region. The alliance will work to promote and support each other, providing opportunities for wrestlers and fans across the region to come together. The Singapore-based Grapple MAX is one of the members of this alliance.

Another way in which Japanese wrestling has impacted the global wrestling scene is through its emphasis on athleticism and technical skill. Japanese wrestlers have a reputation of possessing incredible athleticism and being technical wrestling masters. This has inspired wrestlers from other parts of the world to push themselves to new heights and to improve their own skills, presenting more engaging and exciting matches.

Japanese wrestling also has an impact on the popularity of wrestling in other countries. For example, Michinoku Pro is very popular in Mexico, most likely because it presents a unique combination of the traditional Japanese style with the lucha libre style, as many of the matches in Michinoku Pro feature high-flying and fast-paced action. Many stars of the Mexican wrestling scene such as Dos Caras, Atlantis, and Caristico have traveled to Japan over the years to wrestle for Michinoku Pro. Japanese wrestling is also popular in Europe- a significant amount of visitors to NJPW and BJW's streaming websites come from the UK, and RevPro has a partnership with NJPW.

The impact of Japanese wrestling on the global wrestling scene has been very positive, and is likely to continue to grow in the years to come as Japanese wrestling promotions further expand their international reach, and gain more popularity. As Japanese wrestling becomes more popular, it is likely to have an even greater impact on the style and presentation of wrestling around the world.

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