Stardom was recently acquired by Bushiroad, the company that owns New Japan Pro-Wrestling. Under that deal, Stardom will remain a separate promotion running its own shows, and not much will change outside of logistics and money. However, somewhere out there, things are very different.
As reported in this week’s Wrestling Observer Radio, Vince McMahon was another party interested in acquiring Stardom in recent months. WWE was planning on merging Stardom with a local men’s promotion, building a local performance center, and kickstarting NXT Japan. WWE offered to sign their entire roster to contracts, bring them in for WrestleMania and induct Stardom CEO Hiroshi “Rossy” Ogawa into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2020.
Despite that offer, Dave Meltzer reports that Ogawa never strongly considered selling Stardom to NXT. Bushiroad offered the CEO a plan of action for the promotion going forward, while WWE’s offer was vaguer. WWE didn’t know who would run the organization, what other promotion would be acquired as part of the deal, or other logistics. They were also unclear on doing house shows, and Dave notes that NXT UK has promised house shows in the past and failed to deliver. Stardom currently does between 100 and 125 events per year, and this likely would have changed under WWE’s watch.
Beyond all that, Japan’s culture looks down upon business owners who sell a majority interest to an American company. All these factors and more seemingly made the Bushiroad acquisition a much more logical way forward. As for WWE, we’ll see if and when a new NXT ever emerges in the land of the rising sun.