Recently appointed New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) President Harold Meij announced yesterday at the G1 Special press conference in San Francisco that NJPW is planning three more NJPW events this year, with two of them being Young Lions showcases. Meij announced the Young Lions dates as being November 10 and 11 in Anaheim, California. It would appear that the Young Lions dates will be showcases as part of a Japanese Manga, Anime, Gaming and Cosplay convention, CharaExpo USA, that is also run by Bushiroad (NJPW’s parent company).
CharaExpo was created in 2015 and is usually based out of Singapore, but this year they are holding their first one in the US, at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California. The eventbrite ticket site states “CharaExpo USA 2018 is a Japanese Manga, Anime, Games and Cosplay event that will feature activities like Live Performances by the famous talents, merchandise sales and TCG tournaments including, Cardfight!! Vanguard, Weiss Schwarz, Future Card Buddyfight and more!!”
It won’t be the first time NJPW has co-produced wrestling events with CharaExpo – at the first one in 2015, New Japan legend Jushin “Thunder” Liger made an appearance, and the fans were treated to matches featuring the likes of Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kazuchika Okada, and Shinsuke Nakamura had matches.
The addition of the Young Lions showcase to the CharaExpo USA convention follows on the successful pairing of NJPW at the CEO Gaming Convention last week for the CEO x NJPW event, that saw The Golden Lovers (Kenny Omega & Kota Ibushi) face Tetsuya Naito and IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Hiromu Takahashi in the main event, that aired for free on Twitch. While NXT is going the rock and roll route, doing showcases at music festivals like Download in the UK and Aftershock in the US, New Japan is targeting perhaps a far more suitable demographic – that of fans of combat fighting video games and fans of Japanese pop culture like Manga and Anime – to help with their US expansion.
Special thanks to our New Japan correspondent Walt Yeates for finding out about the CharaExpo USA dates. For all your G1 Analayis, check out Walt’s “Inside the G128” series now!