Last night, it was announced that New Japan Pro Wrestling parent company Bushiroad purchased Stardom, the all-women Japanese promotion. Founded in 2010, the promotion has featured names like Io Shirai, Toni Storm, Bea Priestley, Hana Kimura, Kagetsu and Mayu Iwatani
Bushiroad's Takaaki Kitani and Stardom's Rossy Ogawa reportedly met back in April, but a deal between the two sides wasn't completed until August. There was a joint press conference with Stardom talent involved following the news.
Starting December 1, 2019, the company name will be changed from Kix Road Co., Ltd. to Bushiroad Fight Co., Ltd. Hiroshi Ogawa will remain the CEO of Stardom, and while the name "Stardom" will be the same, World Wonder Ring Stardom will not exist. As a result of the different branding and TV promotions (NJPW is part-owned by TV-Asahi and the Stardom TV deal is with NTV), Dave Meltzer reported at F4WOnline that both New Japan and Stardom will be run and kept completely separate from one another. Meltzer added that if there was a need by New Japan for women's matches during foreign shows, something may be able to work out.
Meltzer also noted on Wrestling Observer Radio that WWE had made an offer to purchase Stardom as well. WWE had recently tried to purchase NOAH as well, so they are serious about getting into the Japanese market.
Following the rebrand, advertising and global marketing strategies will be implemented starting in January 2020. This will be developed by BS Nippon Television, with programming on BS NTV every Thursday and a 30-minute program on TOKYO MX.
In regards to talent, Stardom women will be receiving full-time contracts. There are also plans to bring in wrestlers from all over the world.
"We will create contracts with each wrestler," Bushiroad stated. "We want to create an environment where the wrestlers can concentrate on pro wrestling, and we are expecting to bring in excellent wrestlers from all over the world. We would like to listen to the thoughts of each wrestler and take those thoughts into account when creating this new work environment."
The opportunities for big shows were announced during the press conference as well. Stardom will run Korakuen Hall 14 times in 2020, with consecutive shows on August 8th and 9th. The first major show for the brand will be on April 29, 2020 inside Tokyo's Ota Ward Gym. In 2021, there will be a 10th Anniversary show. While a future in the United States is unclear, Stardom will take part in "CharaExpo USA 2019" on December 7th and 8th inside the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA. The featured bout for the promotion will be Mayu Iwatani and Tam Nakano v. Sumie Sakai and Nicole Savoy.