Bushiroad Terminates Contract of Stardom Founder Rossy Ogawa & Backstage Details Over Ogawa’s Firing

Stardom and New Japan Pro Wrestling’s parent company Bushiroad announced that they have terminated the contract of Stardom founder and head booker Rossy Ogawa.

In an official statement, Bushiroad claimed that Ogawa was trying to poach Stardom talent and staff in an attempt to leave the company without their knowledge and once they found out, they made the decision to fire him.

Official statement (via Google English translation):

Since 2019, our company has entered into a contract with Rossy Ogawa, the founder of Stardom, and has appointed him as an executive producer and outsourced work related to Stardom. However, we would like to inform you that we have come to know that he has poached many Stardom players and staff, and we have decided to cancel this contract.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you. As a company, we will continue to aim for the further development of Stardom, and the players and staff will continue to work together to deliver excitement to all the fans, so we will continue to receive the same compliments as before. I am very fortunate.

Following his firing, Ogawa responded on Twitter stating that he was informed of his firing this past Saturday and claimed that “the truth of the matter may be told someday.” Ogawa also stated that he is currently “worried about the players right now” in regards to Stardom’s talent.

Prior to his firing, Ogawa had been with Stardom since its founding in 2010.

In regards to the backstage reaction to Ogawa’s firing, Dave Meltzer reported in a special preview edition of this Friday’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter that the origin of Ogawa’s firing dates back to about nine months ago when Bushiroad executives started to meddle in Stardom’s creative plans. This reportedly involved Ogawa being constantly overruled on booking and business decisions leading to a dismayed reaction from both himself and Stardom talent.

Meltzer reported that his sources stated that Ogawa had made the decision to leave Stardom over his issues first with former Bushiroad Fight President Katsuhiko Harada and later with current Bushiroad Fight President Taro Okada.

Ogawa reportedly had been under the impression that he would have autonomy in regards to Stardom’s booking and business decisions when he had sold the company to Bushiroad in 2009. This deal reportedly included a five year non-compete clause for Ogawa.

Meltzer reported that Ogawa had given his notice some time ago to Bushiroad informing them that he would be leaving the company on February 18th. Ogawa reportedly was originally planned for Sunday’s show to be his final show but both sides agreed to push this final date to February 18th instead.

In regards to the reason why Bushiroad decided to not wait and fired Ogawa on Sunday, Meltzer reported that this was due to Bushiroad officials wanting to get ahead of the story. Bushiroad officials reportedly held a meeting with Stardom talent following Sunday’s show in Osaka informing them of Ogawa’s firing before making their public announcement later.

In regards to the reaction within Stardom, Meltzer reported that a lot of Stardom’s talent is loyal to Ogawa due to him being the one who gave most of them their career breaks. Meltzer also reported that the current expectation is that a talent exodus will occur starting this March since that is when most of their current contracts will expire. Mayu Iwatani reportedly is the only known talent who is currently under a longer term contract due to a movie being based on her life is scheduled to be released this May.

In regards to the reaction within Bushiroad, Meltzer reported that Bushiroad officials had known about several Stardom talents planning to leave with Ogawa and some of them were given legal threats by the company over this issue in recent weeks. Meltzer also reported that those who will be leaving the company will not be doing so until their contracts expire. This reportedly was one reason why NJPW officials recently dropped their plans for Giulia to defend her NJPW Strong Women’s Championship at their Windy City Riot 2024 event this April in Chicago, Illinois.

In regards to the recent rumors of Ogawa going to WWE, Meltzer reported that his sources denied these rumors being true.

In regards to Ogawa’s replacement in Stardom, Bushiroad announced that Okada and Bushiroad Fight Merchandise Manager Oyama will be taking over as the new head bookers for Stardom effective immediately. Meltzer reported that neither Okada nor Oyama have any real experience booking wrestling shows but Okada was part of a pro wrestling club during his itme in college that staged wrestling matches.