Monday, December 18, 2023

Yanagase Pro Wrestling, Sportiva, and Doutonbori Pro Wrestling: A Powerful Wrestling Alliance

While the landscape of the Japanese wrestling scene is making international headlines as major companies based in the Kanto region formed an alliance, three independent promotions based west of that region continue their alliance as they entertain fans in the Chubu/Kansai region. They are Yanagase Pro Wrestling (based in Gifu), Sportiva Entertainment (based in Nagoya), and Doutonbori Pro Wrestling (based in Osaka), with all three promotions featuring wrestlers from their part of Japan and its surrounding area, giving those talents a platform to showcase their skills for local fans. With passionate fanbases, Yanagase Pro Wrestling, Sportiva, and Doutonbori Pro Wrestling are building their own path to success, while at the same strengthening the wrestling scene and promoting Chubu/Kansai region pride.

The first co-promoted event was in August 2021, when Sportiva and Doutonbori Pro Wrestling presented "Young Master Battle", which took place at Sportiva Arena, the home of Sportiva events since its inception in 2008. Young wrestlers were spotlighted, as fans were introduced to the next generation of Japanese wrestling stars.

The second co-promoted event took place in May 2022, as Doutonbori Pro Wrestling went against Yanagase Pro Wrestling, in Yanagase Pro Wrestling's home venue, SPORTS BAR M's cafe.

The wrestlers of both rosters clashed, with the main event featuring ZERO1 star Hide Kubota representing Yanagase Pro Wrestling in a match against Yuto Kikuchi, one of the top talents in Doutonbori Pro Wrestling.

But it was in May 2023 when their biggest co-promoted event took place, as Yanagase Pro Wrestling, Sportiva, and Doutonbori Pro Wrestling presented an event at Nagoya Club Diamond Hall. The main event was Kenta Kosugi vs. Jack Kennedy, two wrestlers who wrestle in Yanagase Pro Wrestling & Sportiva, and also have appeared in BJW. In the semi-main event, Sportiva roster member Shinya Ishida (who has appeared in DDT, AJPW, BJW, Ice Ribbon, and ZERO1) went against Doutonbori Pro Wrestling's Harutoki, who was WDW Champion at the time. The rest of the card included Lowther, Kinron, and Yu Shimizu, all wrestlers who have appeared in a major Japanese promotion during their careers.

The unique offering of Yanagase Pro Wrestling, Sportiva, and Doutonbori Pro Wrestling is that all three promotions commit to nurturing local talent, which fosters a unique regional style that features traditional Japanese wrestling combined with moments of the American wrestling style and comedy wrestling at the right time. Focus on talent from that region also makes it easier for rising stars to be showcased, such as:

Top Doutenbori Pro Wrestling talent Hiromasa Koyama

Yanagase Pro Wrestling ace Yanagase Kamen Fuerza

Women's wrestling has the opportunity to be showcased as well, with Mari Manji and Sae not only being key members of Yanagase Pro Wrestling's ladies' division (Ladius), but also making appearances in Sportiva and Doutonbori Pro Wrestling.

As we head towards 2024, it remains to be seen what the future holds for the alliance between the three independent promotions, but I see much potential for it. Streaming services are growing so much that it is estimated that at the end of 2024, there will be 390.2 million subscription streaming homes in Asia, 110.6 million subscription streaming homes in Western Europe, and 110.0 million subscription streaming homes in North America. This presents a perfect opportunity for Yanagase Pro Wrestling, Sportiva, and Doutonbori Pro to present a co-promoted event via streaming with the goal of reaching a global audience. All three promotions utilize very talented wrestlers, and by using social media to connect with fans and promote the event to both the Japanese and English-speaking/reading audiences, Yanagase Pro Wrestling, Sportiva, and Doutonbori Pro Wrestling would boost their presences and publicity, becoming more popular and making the world more aware of what they have to offer, as fans are always eager to discover promotions that they were previously unfamiliar with. Perhaps the three promotions could even join forces to create a dedicated streaming channel.

Already known worldwide for its Shinkansen network, traditional crafts, and natural beauty, in the near future the Chubu/Kansai region may also become known internationally for its wrestling as well.

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