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To the joy and surprise of every pro-wrestling fan in Australia, New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) has chosen Australia as its first ever full international tour, fresh off the massive success of their biggest yearly event Wrestle Kingdom 12. Joining some of the best wrestlers in the world on this tour is second-generation wrestler Cody Rhodes.
After a successful 10 year career, Cody shocked the wrestling world after he unexpectedly left the WWE, the world’s biggest wrestling company that had seen the rise of the Rhodes families’ wrestling legacy through himself, his father Dusty Rhodes and brother Dustin Rhodes [Goldust].
Now as an independent wrestler Cody is living up to his full potential having been the Ring Of Honor World Champion and challenging Kota Ibushi at Wrestle Kingdom 12. Now Cody is spending the year continuing to tour with NJPW overseas.
“New Japan has been breaking into markets outside of Japan, like the United States and Australia,” says Cody. “I’m personally very excited as I haven’t been to Australia in a really, really long time. It’s such a cool crew to be going over with whether it be Okada, The Bullet Club, or whoever it may be, it’s a really great tour.”
NJPW is making more noise than ever and in recent years has become closer to being a true competitor to the behemoth that is the WWE. Cody and other New Japan western wrestlers such as Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks and a special Wrestle Kingdom 12 appearance from former WWE Champion, Chris Jericho, are helping to capture the attention and online subscription dollars of fans from America and Australia.
“Well I think particularly Chris Jericho had a really large influence on subscriptions when it comes to North American, fans that may have been more accustomed to WWE came to see what’s been going on. I think that’s an area where I’ve been humbled too, it’s one of the reasons New Japan treat me as well as they do. I don’t think they realise that but it’s really easy to promote when we have a roster like New Japan does, as far as the sports side of ‘Sports Entertainment’, it’s the best, there is nothing that can compete with a Wrestle Kingdom or the shows we have coming up.”
“I feel like it’s the absolute best time, the last time that there was this type of feeling in the industry was in the late 90s when you had the Monday Night Wars going back and forth and talent jumping ship. It’s a really good time to be a professional wrestler and an even better time to be a wrestling fan.” [Cody Rhodes]
Australian fans were unexpectedly thrilled when they first heard NJPW was doing a national tour of Australia. It has already become one of the most anticipated live wrestling events to come to Australia with the second announcement of talents such as Kenny Omega and IWGP United States Champion, ‘Switchblade’ Jay White joining the tour. However, NJPW has a close connection to Australia and New Zealand that can be thanked for the tour reaching Australian soil so soon.
“I think there’s a great deal of Australian and New Zealand based talent that is currently in New Japan, for example, I know ‘The Underboss’ Bad Luck Fale had a great deal to do with this tour happening. If fans get a chance to run into that guy at one of these shows you should thank him because, in the early stages of this, he was the person I talked to, he organised and he pushed forward on this. It could have gone somewhere else but the first place outside of America and Japan this is happening is going to be Australia, a true New Japan tour and in a large part that is thanks to him.”
NJPW is enjoying a meteoric rise as Wrestle Kingdom 12 in January took over the 55,000 capacity Tokyo Dome. As independent wrestling promotions thrive, Cody believes it’s the best time to be a fan.
“I don’t think it’s so much about competition as it is about variety. You’re able to really choose who your favourites are, ‘who do you think is the best wrestler in the world?’ it’s not a guarantee or a given that it is a guy from the WWE at this stage and that only can help. I feel like it’s the absolute best time, the last time that there was this type of feeling in the industry was in the late 90s when you had the Monday Night Wars going back and forth and talent jumping ship. It’s a really good time to be a professional wrestler and an even better time to be a wrestling fan.”
New Japan Pro Wrestling Fallout Down Under Tour starts in Adelaide on Friday 16th February before coming to Melbourne, Sydney, and Perth. Tickets Available Here.
New Japan Pro Wrestling Fallout Down Under Tour
Friday 16th February – ADELAIDE, Titanium Arena
Saturday 17th February – MELBOURNE, Festival Hall
Sunday 18th February – SYDNEY, Quay Centre
Monday 19th February – PERTH, HBF Stadium