There has been lots of change recently within New Japan Pro Wrestling as many of the “wrestling people” have been replaced with “business people.” There are reportedly many unhappy people at New Japan and the morale is as low as it’s been in a while.
Sean Waltman, who got his start in Japan, said on his X-Pac 1,2,360 podcast that those in charge at NJPW have to be careful to keep the wrestlers happy. Allowing them to have flexibility when it comes to working for other promotions is one way to do that, but if New Japan restricts talent flexibility, then problems will arise.
“Higher stakes are involved here,”said Waltman. “I can see how companies are going to get, ‘Hey, you can’t go do this because you’re with us and all that.’ And I understand that. However, you have to have somebody that deals with the talent that knows how to deal with the talent properly. Let morale go down in your company and see how quickly all that forward momentum you have going on comes to a halt. Trust me.”
Waltman also offered advice to new head of talent relations, Michael Craven.
“So, what’s his name [Michael] Craven? This is a message for you. You have to understand that… You’ve got some big egos that you want, that you have to have for people to care about these guys, they have to have an ego, a colorful character, an eccentric personality with them. That’s what makes people brilliant, that people want to get behind,” Waltman stated.
“And you have to understand that this is not some corporate job where you are dealing with a bunch of people that are working at the Amazon plant or whatever you call it. You can’t do that because they will leave. Trust me, as much as you think, ‘Okay everyone is happy here.’ Trust me, there can be a mass exodus to WWE in a second because WWE will cherry pick every single one of your guys you have, just to have them. Just to put them on the shelf and pay them good money if you don’t want to make them happy. Trust me on that.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit X-Pac 1,2,360 with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Sources: X-Pac 1,2,360