Pro Wrestling NOAH has been purchase by CyberAgent, the company that also owns DDT. While the promotion says its identity will stay the same, this new relationship means there will be a change in how people can watch NOAH, as well as possibly the balance of power in the Japanese wrestling scene.
Tokyo Sports broke the news yesterday with an article reporting that media company CyberAgent had purchased Pro Wrestling NOAH. CyberAgent is NOAH’s third new owner in the past four years: they were purchased by IT company Estbee in 2016 and LIDET Entertainment (which will remain connected to NOAH as a sponsor) in 2017.
CyberAgent got into the wrestling business in 2017 when it bought DDT, and the purchase of NOAH means the two promotions will have a much closer relationship going forward, including that DDT’s president, Sanshiro Takagi, serving as the President of NOAH Global Entertainment Inc.
At a press conference last night, representatives of DDT and NOAH explained that Takagi and NOAH’s former President, Narihiro Takeda (who will stay with the company as Executive Officer), started talking about NOAH’s issues in November 2019, and the “discussion escalated into working together.” Takeda explained that “2019 was a year of great progress for NOAH inside the ring, but the management of the company was in a very difficult situation.” With better financial management, Takeda says NOAH hopes to once again be able to run larger venues like Budokan Hall and Tokyo Dome.
Takagi explained that DDT and NOAH haven’t merged, but he thinks their partnership will make them a greater force in the Japanese wrestling industry, stating:
NJPW has established itself as the top promotion in the industry, but by NOAH and DDT entering into a partnership within the CyberAgent Group, I feel that we will be able to show you a new scenery.
I will be assuming the role of President of NOAH concurrently with being President of DDT… but my role in NOAH will be strictly to manage the company. I will not get involved in the in-ring product; that will be delegated and remain in the hands of [Naomichi] Marufuji and Takeda. By assuming managerial responsibilities of the company, I hope to create an environment in which the wrestlers may focus on wrestling, to the best of my abilities.
The timeline of CyberAgent buying Pro Wrestling NOAH is pretty similar to that of Bushiroad, the parent company of New Japan Pro Wrestling, buying Stardom last year. Both companies were purchased by larger companies that already own other wrestling promotions after WWE reportedly tried to buy them to use as foundations for NXT Japan.
Though it wasn’t purchased by an international company, CyberAgent buying NOAH will make it a lot easier to watch legally for wrestling fans outside of Japan, where it previously wasn’t accessible beyond occasional free shows NOAH would put up on YouTube. NOAH shows will now stream once or twice a month on DDT Universe, the service that also streams Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling, BASARA, Ganbare Pro Wrestling, and, of course, DDT. The NOAH logo is already on the service and the company says it will be “enhancing VOD services” for its new partner. To promote this, NOAH’s January 30 show at Korakuen Hall will broadcast on DDT Universe for free.