Business is really starting to pick up for New Japan Pro Wrestling in the United States. After this weekend’s incredibly successful Strong Style Evolved event in Long Beach, the promotion has announced their return to the west on July 7th, 2018 from the world famous Cow Palace in San Francisco.
New Japan dipped their toes into the proverbial water last summer by running their first ever solo shows in the United States. They ran two back-to-back events at smaller arenas in Long Beach expecting ticket sales to come in slowly, but instead the first round sold out on the first day. The remaining reserves were released a few weeks later and sold out in less than two hours.
Given the strong ticket sales in their first attempt they took a minor risk with this weekend’s Strong Style Evolved event by running at the Walter Pyramid in the same city, which generally holds around 6,000 people at capacity. Tickets sold out almost immediately, and secondary market prices have been higher than any single show during WrestleMania weekend, including WrestleMania 34 itself. This weekend the New Japan Dojo officially opened in Los Angeles as well, with head trainers Katsuyori Shibata and Scorpio Sky.
The world famous Cow Palace is New Japan’s next major hurdle. The historic venue has hosted wrestling for generations, with as many as 13,000 fans in attendance at its peak. The promotion will once again double its ticket potential, and could end up being the single biggest wrestling show in the U.S. not put on by WWE since the death of WCW.
Anther major obstacle is that they are running on the same night, at the same time as WWE runs Madison Square Garden with Ronda Rousey. UFC also has a major pay-per-view in Las Vegas that night with Stipe Miocic defending the heavyweight title against Daniel Cormier, so it will be very interesting to see not only how NJPW does in ticket sales but how AXS – which will likely be broadcasting the show live – does in viewership that night.