According to The Wrestling Observer Newsletter, New Japan Pro Wrestling’s “THE NEW BEGINNINGS USA” tour drew a total of 2,118 fans over 3 shows, with an average of 706 per show. In comparison, Ring of Honor drew 3,900 fans over 5 shows in January, and averaged 780 per show.

The three New Japan shows took place in the following locations:

* 1/30: Los Angeles, CA at the Globe Theater – 531
* 2/1: Charlotte, NC at the Grady Cole Center – 969 (sellout)
* 2/2: Nashville, TN at the War Memorial Auditorium – 618

Although there had been initial excitement with tickets moving quickly in Los Angeles and Charlotte, the tour became a public relations headache due to the lack of native Japanese stars being able to attend due to visa processing issues.

Ticket sales in the last week were likely hurt once the matches were announced as fans who had been expecting a “genuine” NJPW product were met by a card that included mainly Ring of Honor talents, independent regulars and dojo affiliated wrestlers.

Charlotte may have been the biggest missed opportunity as the configurations only allowed for a sold out crowd of 969 to attend, when a more ambitious setup for a 3,000 seat building would have likely led to more tickets sold.

Among many potential lessons learned is that a relationship with Ring of Honor is still an important one. Without access to U.S. exclusive Ring of Honor talent, filling up the card would have been difficult.

It will be interesting to watch how New Japan approaches further U.S. tours. The company will be teaming with Ring of Honor in April for the Madison Square Garden G1 Supercard show followed by the annual War of the Worlds tour in May.

Follow Lavie Margolin on Twitter @Laviemarg

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