Friday, July 13, 2018

New Japan and ROH are Madison Square Garden-Bound

The most famous arena in the world will play host to the stars of New Japan
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A few weeks ago, it was reported that New Japan Pro Wrestling and Ring of Honor had been trying to secure a date at "the most famous arena in the world" (because only American stuff matters, apparently), Madison Square Garden. But the deal had fallen through, and reports suggested that WWE had something to do with it. Though they run SummerSlam and Takeover at the Barclay's Center these days, WWE still runs the occasional house show there, and they of course have a long history with the venue.

Oh, and they're capitalist dicks who have no idea how to deal with competition anymore other than to sabotoge it. That too.

But ruthless capitalists don't always get their way. (Ed note — at least THOSE ruthless capitalists didn't get their way, the other ones totally did though — TH) The announcement came on Thursday afternoon that the deal was back on. NJPW and ROH will co-promote a show at Madison Square Garden on April 6, 2019. Of course, this will occur during the weekend of WrestleMania 35 being held at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, so the motivation behind the choice of venue and date is clear.

The immediate question will be to ask how many tickets NJPW and ROH can sell. NXT Takeover will be running that same night at the Barclay's Center, and it's unlikely that they will do a smaller number than their usual 15,000 there. So will there be enough remaining fans who will find their way to MSG and fill it up?

Of course there will be. This is WrestleMania Weekend we're talking about here, where people fly in from not just all over the country, but all over the world. There will be thousands of wrestling-obsessed maniacs wandering around the greater New York area, and if they're not at Takeover, it probably wouldn't take much to convince them to buy a ticket and see great pro wrestling at a historic venue.

Also, I really think this event could take on the same mystique and importance as ALL IN, in the sense that its success will be seen as a statement. ALL IN sold 10,000 tickets in a day partially because of the performers involved, but I think it did so well mostly because a certain type of pro wrestling fan (myself included) wants to show WWE that they don't deserve to be the only game in town. The sellout sent shockwaves through the industry, and I guarantee you that on that day, even if it was for like two seconds, Vince McMahon got uncomfortable. That is SO GOOD, everyone.

The point is that NJPW and ROH share a similar fanbase with the one who made ALL IN a success, so the exact same thing could happen with this MSG show. I'm not sure if they can do 20,000 tickets and sell the place out, but they can make it look very respectable in there. And there is no doubt that both companies will want to book some intriguing matches, hopefully with real stakes, in order to goose the ticket sales even further.

We know that WWE is very interested in the business dealings of NJPW and ROH, and if there are any two companies they see as a threat, it's those two. Paul "Triple H" Levesque tipped his hand when he recently said that WWE would possibly be open to a cross-promotion with NJPW. That's bullshit, of course they wouldn't do that. And if they did, they would be wanting like, Kazuchika Okada to take a pinfall to Dolph Ziggler or some shit. They would never do a show with them, but the fact that Triple H had to act like they would is proof that they know how hot NJPW is and that they are desperate to not look behind the times (which, oops, they do in every minute of RAW and Smackdown programming anyway).

Maybe I have my rose-colored NJPW glasses on, but I think this will be a home run for them and for ROH. But if a bomb-threat gets called in on the night of the show, I'd encourage the FBI to try to trace the call and see if it came from the Stamford 203 area code.