New Japan Pro Wrestling continues to prove that they are one of the fastest growing wrestling companies in the world.
Less than one month after the company's biggest show of the year, WrestleKingdom 12, drew over 40,000 fans to the Tokyo Dome, NJPW has sold out their second weekend ever in the United States in record time.
Following the success of last year's G1 Special shows in Long Beach, California at the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center, NJPW announced a return to the same city this year on March 25. The 2018 event, billed as Strong Style Evolved, will take place at the larger Walter Pyramid on the campus of Long Beach State University.
While the two G1 Special Shows in July 2017 drew about 2,300 fans each, the Walter Pyramid seats close to 5,000 fans. Add in the fact that the show is scheduled for two weeks before WrestleMania 34, and there were some doubting that the company could sell out the show in a venue twice as big, in the same city, less than a year later, with WrestleMania serving as competition for wrestling fan's travel dollars.
Those worries proved to be short lived as the the on sale Monday immediately crashed the Long Beach State ticketing website due to the heavy demand. 20 minutes later, every seat in the venue was sold. Tickets were priced from $50 to $200.
While the show is taking place in the second biggest metropolitan area in the United States, there's no doubt that there will be droves of fans traveling in to Long Beach for the show. Many of them are also probably also traveling to New Orleans two weeks later for WrestleMania but still deemed the NJPW show worthy of their hard-earned money.
Due to another quick sell out (both 2017 G1 Special shows also immediately sold out), New Japan should be looking hard at booking more events in the United States this year. The company has made it clear in the past that 2018 is going to be a year of North America expansion for them, and it's pretty clear now (if it wasn't before) that their product is a major draw that is capable of running even larger venues across the country.
No matches have been confirmed for Strong Style Evolved on March 25 as of yet. There are rumors that Chris Jericho could wrestle Tetsuya Naito, as Jericho attacked Naito at New Years Dash the night after WrestleKingdom. Kenny Omega vs. Cody is also being talked about as a possibility.