Stardom at Wrestle Kingdom 14: The Impact
New Japan is one of the biggest wrestling companies in the world, next to WWE.
The company founded in 1972 by legend Antonio Inoki, has also served home to countless famous American Wrestlers such as Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, Kurt Angle, Rob Van Dam, Bret and Owen Hart, AJ Styles, just to name a few. However, there is one thing the company has never done in their illustrious 47-year history.
New Japan Pro Wrestling had never hosted a women’s match. Women’s wrestling has come leaps and bounds since the days of valets and irrelevant matches. The resurgence of women’s wrestling is the result of hard work over the years. Between companies like TNA/IMPACT and WWE recently, women’s wrestling is in the forefront. But New Japan refused to showcase it.
WWE’s recent “Women’s Revolution” gets a lot of judgement from wrestling fans. However, buzzwords aside, they have given women’s wrestling a significant role in the last few years. For once, New Japan Pro Wrestling looked outdated.
Women had never competed at a New Japan Pro Wrestling event, until January 3. At Wrestle Kingdom 14, Mayu Iwatani & Arisa Hoshiki faced Hana Kimura & Guilia. The match was un-televised and was only seen by the live crowd. Although it was not televised as part of Wrestle Kingdom, this is a massive step.
New Japan featuring women’s wrestling is still a long ways away, but this has started to open the door. If anything NJPW holding this match is a reflection. It is a reflection of the promotions and wrestlers that have elevated women’s wrestling to this level. The fact that New Japan is (tentatively) taking notice for the first time shows a lot. It shows women’s wrestling is only getting bigger.
NJPW has been vocal about wanting to move into the American market. If they want to be successful in the states, they are going to have to include women. This is a small step in the right direction, but it is still a step.
Congratulations to all the women involved, and congratulations to all the women that have been fighting for this recognition since 1972.
It is coming.
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