(NOAH) Giving up Misawa, "The Last Voyage" is determined, within three years we aim for the "fixed second place in the industry".
|President Yosuke Fuwa|
"We are the industries best producers, Riki Choshu is our chairman, but Noah has cash flow and talent shortage, so if you combine the two...."
Pro Wrestling Noah will move offices on the January 29th. On the 30th it will have a new start from the LIDET offices.
The company is an advertising agency that promotes food, drink and entertainment. Since joining in November 15, managing director, Akihiro Takeda has produced box offices in rapid succession such as Poison 0, Ricky Choshu's Power Hall, Tokyo Gurentai, DNA (DDT) etc.
Noah are moving into the LIDET offices as they are now the parent company to them.
The President and Representative Director of the company and the new owner of Noah, Hiroyuki Suzuki, gave an interview.
Last December, it was announced that LIDET had bought 75% shares in Noah Global Entertainment Co, Ltd. As a result of this, President Masayuki Uchida, the chairman of the board, and two others resigned at the end of January. Only Representative director and President, Yosuke Fuwa, will remain. However, the former Chairman, Uchida, will assume a special adviser role at LIDET from February 1st.
In November 2016, Uchida & Fuwa bought a new regime to Noah, and only two years later (although he does not deny it was a sudden decision although he had the ambition for a while), President Suzuki had a desire to run a wrestling promotion, and when Takeda joined, they were two people talking about puroresu!
He had prepared to lower the curtains on this life, although it was his goal to have a promotion.
Takeda, who had formerly been an Executive Officer of New Japan, had contributed greatly to the recovery of the popularity of the promotion; he is industrious and has a good ability for production. For President Suzuki, who has an ambition for group management, talked to several promotions other than Noah behind closed doors, but it never came together.
Then when he dined with Noah's President Fuwa on November 12th, he took an interest in Noah. Afterwards he contacted Fuwa and three people met to talk on November 22nd just ten days later. When Suzuki spoke of his thoughts for management, Fuwa was convinced that this could be the regeneration, and the talk lasted only a short time.
To manage a promotion had been a dream until then, and the story progressed smoothly into reality.
"Through discussion we found out that we had the industry's best producer, Takeda, and we have President Riki Choshu, but, there is no package. President Fuwa on the other hand, has a promotion and staff and talent shortage. We have the human resources, and we have the know-how. Can we not unite there?"
Once the proposition was made, Suzuki moved quickly.
In May last year, the "Eastern Heroes" had signed a business alliance with Noah, on December 19th Takeshi Yukawa, the owner of Assist Co Ltd, who is their management company, he said (highly appreciative of Suzuki's motivation), "Lets leave it to LIDET, and the two people (Suzuki and Fuwa), who will do it."
It has been a rapid development in just over a month from the end of the year.
"The circumstance at the moment is a severe problem with cash flow, but we will try and make NOAH stand alone again, but we may have no choice but to consider a merger with LIDET. It starts with Noah. This is not Uchida's organisation, and we will build Fuwa as a representative. We acknowledge though, that the financial situation is severe."
Suzuki is the fourth owner to handle business, and although he is a pro-wrestling fan, he can only do so much shopping around.
He made the decision because he felt the possibility in the business. He likes Pro-Wrestling, but felt there was potential here as LIDET has a powerful contribution to make. Since he can see what the problems are, and there is hope that in solving them, he can make the cash flow in time.
In February wrestlers will renew their contracts, and there will be a new regime from Match for all employees. "Talking with them internally, I think we will have a company that will remain. Everyone is has a favorable story to tell currently, but I would like to judge this with conditions (amount of money) issued."
This system is now for wrestlers, and it will also depend on the full-blown negotiations with employees.
However, Suzuki already has a clear vision for Noah, "within three years, I want to reach second place. Only those who are dedicated to this will remain."
Now, when I hear him speak about Japanese wrestling, it sounds like a dream, but then of course, there is New Japan.
I don't know much about the circumstances it will take to make a fixed position in three years.
At the Tokyo Sports Awards the other day, Marufuji, who won "Outstanding Achievement" said, "New Japan has the monopoly now. We should not be defeated by this..."
Just the day before that, I was doing an interview, and to make it very clear cut, if we look at the current Puroresu scene, we must admit that it is New Japan's philosophy and attitude that you see when you look at the current puroresu scene.
It is not only Noah, but many people in the industry may have made or may make the excuse at some point that, "New Japan is exceptional".
This is why Suzuki has put "the second place in the industry" as a realizable goal, and it seems to be a feasible target.
"With the current staff, we can get to second place. I want to make this a certain fulfillment with everyone".
Another reform will be the "Giving up Misawa" as mentioned above.
Attracting customers is the final result, and I can imagine people will be sensitive. However, it is important to make major reforms now, rather than make efforts to avoid sensitivity. There is nothing wrong with the state of affairs in the match quality, so he wants to make it a proper condition to be understood. The environment of the promotion that Misawa built works, and creates a sense of competition. Although they are giving up Misawa, the fact that he is the founder is something that will never change, and although there is a respect for the founder of the promotion, they are heading towards leaving him behind.
Noah will still hold their tournaments to remember Misawa on the anniversary of his death in June. They will use the former ring and the original logo then, and hold them in Tokyo and Osaka, but he plans to do do a thoroughly memorable Misawa memorial service.
"There are some fans who follow Kiyomiya nationwide, it is very special that he has fans that will come back. If such wrestlers increase, it will spread by word of mouth."
There is hope with Kiyomiya, but there is also Kenoh, "I want a genuinely angry wrestler. I want him to show anger in the match, rather than point out the pros and cons of things. I want to show such antagonism."
Although the new regime aims to "Give up Misawa", Kiyomiya has professed to receive influence from him. So, whether he will go with the new regimes attitude, or he will adapt to the promotions policy, will be a critical moment for Kiyomiya.
"Kiyomiya looks upward, even if in the match he collapses. He may not have the figure of a champion, but I think that is Noah now. Noah keeps pointing up, and just the same, he expresses his feelings."
Among everyone, the current face of Noah is Kiyomiya, but I am not clear as to who the commonly identified recognition as to whom the face of Noah is.
The face is not Misawa, he wants to make it clear about who is here during this year.
"I want to decide who Noah is, as since Misawa died, Noah has again and again had a "new ship". That's why, "dead or alive", I want to do it. I may die tomorrow, and could be getting results three years later."
By repeating it, his impression is a strong one. Suzuki says that he could die tomorrow, and may be still having results three years later.
It is curious that there is no feeling of sadness here.
"There are problems with economy, but right now I am working hard on a very good situation. I feel alive. When I am talking with President Fuwa, everything is looking up. I think I can build something good".
Giving up Misawa and the last voyage.
What this is, will be presented to the fans in Yokohama on the 10th March.
Picture credit - Puroresu weekly