The legendary Japanese wrestler Genichiro Tenryu will direct the project of a new Hall of Fame dedicated to Japanese pro-wrestling, called “Nippon Puroresu Hall of Fame“ (abbreviated as NPH). This project will try to include the names of different companies to preserve almost 70 years of business history in Japan.
The presentation of the project was held last Friday, February 21, which was attended by different personalities. The direction of NPH will be formed by Genichiro Tenryu, his daughter-in-law, Muna Shimada and LEONA Fujinami, the son of Tatsumi Fujinami.
In addition, they have the support of Riki Choshu and Tatsumi Fujinami. Newspapers like Tokyo Sports or Weekly Pro-Wrestling will also be part of the group, along with NicoPro, the online video service.
The Hall of Fame is planned to start from this summer, choosing an enclosure to be established as its permanent headquarters. This will feature an exhibition of historical material from various legends, starting with Antonio Inoki, Giant Baba, Genichiro Tenryu, Tatsumi Fujinami and Riki Choshu. As detailed in the press conference, HJTProduction Co., Ltd (the company that manages the image rights of Giant Baba) and Baba’s granddaughter have given permission to use their image. Inoki has also given its approval for the idea.
As for Rikidozan, considered the “Father of Japanese pro-wrestling”, they have not obtained the approval of his family, but hope to reach an agreement in the future. Later they will include more legends from various companies.
Shimada declared at the press conference that the idea emerged last summer of 2019, in talks between Tenryu, Choshu, and Fujinami. The three former wrestlers decided to found an organization to celebrate the successes of the wrestlers and to give support to the talents once retired.
The goal is to preserve the history and culture of Japanese pro-wrestling through a “neutral” and independent organization. At the moment they have received support from New Japan Pro Wrestling, All Japan Pro Wrestling, Pro Wrestling NOAH, Big Japan Pro Wrestling, DDT Pro Wrestling, Dragon Gate, WRESTLE-1 and Active Advance Pro Wrestling.
According to Shimada, the idea of a permanent headquarters is to be a meeting point between legends, current fighters, and fans. They want to start with different exhibitions, the first one being a photo session reviewing Inoki’s career (the date will be announced later). Initially, there will be no ceremonies introducing new legends, but they hope to perform them eventually.
The other goal of NPH is to create an economic fund. Everything that is collected between visits, products and online subscriptions to the web (in order to acquire exclusive videos and images) will be used for the following purposes: first, to the wrestlers who retire to provide financial stability; second, to those wrestlers who currently need help and finally, to families and wrestlers affected by accidents or other unfavorable circumstances.