NJPW President Takami Ohbari
Photo Credit: New Japan Pro-Wrestling

NJPW President Takami Ohbari: We Can’t Stick To Outdated Idea Of Male-Only Pro Wrestling

New Japan Pro-Wrestling President Takami Ohbari discusses the growth of women’s wrestling in NJPW.

NJPW crowned the inaugural IWGP Women’s Champion at Historic X-Over in November 2022. The title was then defended at Wrestle Kingdom 17. NJPW added the NJPW STRONG Women’s Champion to the mix and crowned the first champion at NJPW Resurgence.

In an interview with Monthly Puroresu, NJPW President Takami Ohbari was asked to speak about the growing position female competitors have in the company. Ohbari noted that many traditions in Japanese wrestling stem from sumo wrestling, where there are no women competitors. He stated that the world is changing, so it’s important to adapt.

“Many traditions in Japanese pro-wrestling derive from professional sumo wrestling. There are no women wrestlers in Japanese professional sumo,” Ohbari said. “On the other hand, the ratio of men and women participants in the Olympics is almost 5:5.

The world has changed and the speed of change has been exponential. We cannot stick to the outdated ideas of male-only professional wrestling. We often say that professional wrestling is a mirror reflecting the world. All wrestlers and all matches should be appreciated, and any wrestlers should be provided fair opportunities in the ring regardless of gender or anything else. If we can maximize the business value of that, then so much the better.”

Takami Ohbari Teases Growth Of Women’s Wrestling In NJPW

Takami Ohbari continued by stating that he believes this change will first be seen in the United States before it is evident in Japan. He also highlighted STARDOM’s growing prominence.

“I think this will be realized in the US first, and then in Japan,” Ohbari said. “In the last few years since STARDOM has become one of Bushiroad’s group companies, I think Japanese pro wrestling fans’ way of thinking is getting closer to a global standard.

“The first time we had STARDOM wrestlers participate in our Tokyo Dome show, we faced major criticism from fans and our partners in and outside the company. But now, it is taken for granted.”

The NJPW STRONG Women’s Championship was defended in a buzzworhy bout at IMPACT x NJPW Multiverse United 2. More information is available here.