Wow, it’s sort of turned into “wrasslin” week here at Infinite Hollywood. That wasn’t intentional, but I’ll roll with it. Big news out of Jakks Pacific, the former holder of the WWE license and current holder of the UFC and TNA license. Check it out:
Jakks Pacific’s Marketing Director of Boys Entertainment Michael Wilde has confirmed that the company has signed a deal with New Japan Pro Wrestling. The deal will allow Jakks to use the NJPW name, logo, and championships in their forthcoming Legends of Wrestling action figure set. The deal opens the door for the company to do New Japan wrestling action figures, but the company would have to sign the wrestlers on an individual basis. The first figure in the legends line under the New Japan deal will be the NJPW era Hulk Hogan action figure. Jakks also has deals with TNA and the NWA.
I had wondered about the NWA line as I wasn’t certain that Jakks would be able to be serious about it. By branding the TNA and NWA line together I thought they were onto something. Now though, announcing that they’ve also picked up the NJPW license? Clearly Jakks is taking the wrestling business seriously. That NJPW Hogan is an awesome figure and definitely one I’ll be picking up. This news has completely flown under the radar of all the big toy websites, but it’s super exciting news to me. Of course I question how many NJPW stars could be marketed to US audiences, but there have been a few big crossover stars.
What has me super excited though is the potential to see other New Japan stuff, like the IWGP title. They specifically mention logos and titles in the press release, which means they likely have the intention of making them. Although the Great Muta doesn’t work for NJPW anymore, I have to think that Jakks will pursue him. They could easily make many of his NJPW versions. Plus with guys like Jushin Liger, Masahiro Chono and Antonio Inoki, the sky is the limit.
I wonder if this is a strictly American agreement? Jakks could easily sell these figures in Japan as well. The Japanese wrestling market is still a big place and if they sold direct to them that could mean that many of those Japanese wrestling stars could trickle into the states as well. Hopefully Jakks makes plenty of NJPW, NWA and TNA guys for fans to enjoy.