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All-Japan Still Re-adjusting, Rebirth of Wrestle-1

Big changes are underway for the pro wrestling landscape in Japan after a recent changing of the guard in the All-Japan Wrestling offices.

In 2011, pro wrestling legend Keiji Mutoh, better known in American wrestling circles as “The Great Muta”, who was also the president of AJPW, stepped down from his position and at the end of 2012 sold all of his shares in the company to Speed Partners corporation.

This act seems to have caused a mass exodus of most of the contracted talent of All-Japan Pro Wrestling including Masakatsu Funaki, Kaz Hayashi, Shuji Kondo, Ryota Hama, Masayuki Kono, Hiroshi Yamato, Koji Kanemoto, Minoru Tanaka, Yasufumi Nakanoue, Kai, Seiya Sanada and Andy Wu. All of these wrestlers handed in their resignation from the company recently.

In another recent turn of events, it was just announced that Mutoh will be starting another promotion “Wrestle-1”, a promotion which previously ran a few super-cards from 2002 to 2005. Mutoh announced in a press conference in Tokyo that their first card will be on September 8th and will feature himself along with several other familiar faces including Masakatsu Funaki, Kaz Hayashi, Shuji Kondo, KAI, Ryota Hama, Masayuki Kono, Yasufumi Nakanoueno, Hiroshi Yamato, and Minoru Tanaka. The promotion will be working with the Gen Sports Entertainment group.

As for AJPW, the company still moves forward with their currently contracted main roster consisting of current Triple Crown Champion Suwama, Takao Omori, Manabu Soya, KENSO, SUSHI, World Tag Champions Jun Akiyama and Go Shiozaki, Junior Champion Yoshinobu Kanemaru and All Asia Tag Champions Kotaro Suzuki and Atsushi Aoki. The new acting president is Nobuo Shiraishi.

Apparently Mutoh is open to cooperation with his former company stating that he “… will never isolate (the promotion), and will welcome both a cooperation and rivalry with other organizations”.

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