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World Japan

World Japan

World Japan
World Japan
World Japan
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Sport Categories : Fighting
About
About

World Japan

Fighting of World Japan Pro-Wrestling, frequently shortened to World Japan or WJ was a professional wrestling promotion formed in Japan in 2002 by former New Japan Pro-Wrestling employees Riki Choshu and Katsuji Nagashima, who also served as chairmen along with Tomohiro Ishii. In January 2002, New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) ace Keiji Mutoh left the promotion, jumping to rival All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW) along with Satoshi Kojima and Kendo Kashin. Riki Choshu, head booker of NJPW, was blamed for their departure and removed from his position by president Antonio Inoki in February. Furious with Inoki's decision to do this, Choshu left the promotion altogether in May 2002 and blasted both Inoki and chairman Tatsumi Fujinami in interviews. At the same time Mutoh had left NJPW, Choshu's longtime friend Katsuji Nagashima, who worked as a booker and head of NJPW's advertising department, had also left the company and formed his own agency, Nagashima Promotions, working with Pro Wrestling Zero1 as a third party liaison to freelance wrestlers as well as a booking agency. Choshu proposed a partnership with Nagashima, and Nagashima Promotions was soon renamed "The Riki Nagashima Project". Shortly after this, the two began seeking a sponsor to fund their own promotion. They were backed by Seiji Fukuda, a well known entrepreneur from Hokkaido. Fukuda joined their project as president and representative director, Nagashima became managing director, and Choshu became the director. In November, Choshu officially announced the formation of Fighting of World Japan Pro Wrestling in a press conference. With WJ Pro Wrestling established, Choshu began seeking talent to sign to the newborn promotion. Kensuke Sasaki, a trainee of Choshu and the former ace of NJPW, had grown disillusioned with New Japan's focus on MMA fighters over pro wrestlers, and announced his departure from NJPW in October 2002 once his contract expired in January. Shiro Koshinaka, Kenzo Suzuki and referee Masao "Tiger" Hattori also announced they would not be renewing their contracts with New Japan in January, and the three committed to join WJ in December. Yoshiaki Yatsu (who had been Choshu's ally in New Japan, Japan Pro Wrestling Alliance, and All Japan Pro Wrestling in the 1980s), was also brought in as the head of the sales division, along with some of the talent from his regional SPWF promotion. Choshu filled his roster with young independent stars such as Tomohiro Ishii and Takashi Uwano, freelancers such as Genichiro Tenryu, Takao Omori and Atsushi Onita, gaijin including Vader, The Road Warriors, "Dr. Death" Steve Williams and Big Vito, and young American wrestlers such as Lex Lovett, Steve Madison, The Maximos, and The Shane Twins. Choshu himself also announced he would wrestle for the promotion, and booked himself into the main event of the first show against longtime rival Tenryu.

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