Tickets went on sale today for NJPW’s second solo excursion to the United States for the March 25, 2018 NJPW Strong Style Evolved and the event sold out the 5000 seat Walter Pyramid venue in under 25 minutes today.
— Brandon Howard Thurston (@BrandonThurston) January 29, 2018
The success of Strong Style Evolved can be attributed to a well planned US “invasion” into the wrestling zeitgeist of North America, that was boosted immensely through a partnership with Ring of Honor since 2014. It began with a series of co-promoted cards, such as Global Wars and War of the Worlds, that resulted in NJPW taking the leap to having it’s first ever NJPW show on US soil last year for the G1 Special in USA, which sold over 2300 fans for both nights of the two day affair at the Long Beach Convention Center in early July of this year that crowned the inaugural IWGP United States Champion in Kenny Omega.
At 5000 seats sold, it makes Strong Style Evolved one of the largest non-WWE wrestling events since the end of the territory days. The current record is Impact Wrestling‘s 2013 Lockdown event, which drew 7200 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. Impact’s Slammiversary 2012 drew 5500 people at the College Park Center in Arlington, Texas for it’s 10 year anniversary show. NJPW’s Strong Style Evolved will break Ring of Honor’s highest attendance for a live event in the US, beating ROH Supercard of Honor XI from last spring in Lakeland, Florida during WrestleMania weekend, which drew 3500 people to the Lakeland Center.
So far, no matches have been announced for the March 25 card for Strong Style Evolved, but rumors seem to point to Chris Jericho‘s match against Tetsuya Naito, based on Jericho’s attack at New Year Dash 2018, as happening at the event, plus a potential showdown between Kenny Omega and Kota Ibushi against Cody Rhodes and Hangman Page, following the events of The New Beginning in Sapporo Night 2. New IWGP US Champion “Switchblade” Jay White is also expected to defend his new title on the US event.
The largest non-WWE event in North America was the inaugural TripleMania for AAA at Plaza de Toros in Mexico City in 1993, with 48,000 in attendance. In the territorial days, the largest non-WWE/WWF event was WCCW Parade of Champions in 1984, that drew 32,123 people to the Texas Stadium in Irving, Texas (headlined by NWA World Champion Ric Flair vs Kerry Von Erich), followed by AWA Comiskey Park in 1970 (headlined by The Vachon Brothers vs. Dick The Bruiser & The Crusher for the AWA Tag Team titles), with 30,000. The NWA’s largest attendance was the 1985 Great American Bash, headlined by Dusty Rhodes vs Magnum TA for the NWA World Television title, with Ric Flair defending his NWA World title against Nikita Koloff, drawing 27,000. WCW’s largest live audience in the US was the Monday Nitro at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, where 41,412 people watched Goldberg defeat “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan for the WCW World title on July 6, 1998. Strong Style Evolved‘s 5000 seat number falls just short of the original ECW‘s largest attendance number, 6000 people for 1999’s Anarchy Rulz at the Odeum Expo Center in Villa Park, Illinois, which was headlined by ECW World Television Champion Rob Van Dam defending against Ballz Mahoney and also saw Mike Awesome win his first ECW World title.