New Japan’s top players traded the squared circle for the rectangular catwalk when they surprised the lingerie world at Victoria’s Secret’s latest fashion show.Traditionally, Victoria’s Secret declines celebrity model requests, but Bushiroad – New Japan Pro Wrestling’s parent company – made an offer that the Secret of Victoria simply couldn’t refuse. The move is just one of the latest attempts by Bushiroad to increase its fanbase and appeal to the modern woman. The deal also gave Victoria’s Secret an opportunity to make up for past controversies. Some of you may remember the ill-advised Go East collection and the negative attention it brought Victoria’s Secret.
It wouldn’t be a fashion show without a little extra controversy. The word on the inside is that Bushiroad stole the idea of a Victoria’s Secret/NJPW cross promotion after viewing a leaked Super Sasadango Machine Powerpoint presentation on expanding the DDT Pro fanbase. Bushiroad refused to comment on the accusation.
Drama aside, the show was a huge success. Victoria’s Secret officials was reportedly very pleased with the style and grace of the New Japan players, and is rumoured to have signed at least two of them on as their latest Victoria’s Secret Angels.
Famed fashion photographer and world-renowned artist Tapla was the only member of the press invited to the show. Below are never before seen photos of the event.
First up! He’s more commonly known as “The Wrestler”, but on this night, Katsuyori Shibata was “The Model”. Shibata really puts the Go 2 Sleep in sleepwear.
Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. Not anymore! It won’t be long before one lucky lady/fella snaps up the IWGP IC Champ if he continues rocking the Final Fantasy inspired numbers like this.
Hiroshi Tanahashi literally High Fly Flew down the runway with his luscious angel’s wings.Victoria’s Secret noted that no angels were hurt in the making of the wings. One did die though, but it died painlessly. The screams were of delight.
Next down the runway was resident Sex Bomb-aye Shinsuke Nakamura in classic red and black colours, but this time replacing the leather with lace.
Finally, the highlight of the show, The Golden Angel Kazuchika Okada. The Rainmaker’s runway prowess put even the likes of Adriana Lima and Miranda Kerr to shame. Okada donned a, I don’t know, gold thing, complete with golden wings. Because angels! Just look at him work the audience. Not seen in the photo is Okada’s manager Gedo, who confused onlookers by constantly holding his hands up in the air and rubbing his fingers together.
While the show was a massive hit, not everything went exactly according to plan. Former IWGP Heavyweight Champion Manabu Nakanishi was supposed to join the other New Japan stars in their catwalk debut. Sources say that during rehearsal, Nakanishi, let’s say, couldn’t quite handle the pace of catwalk life. You know, he’s slow. Togi Makabe also pulled out at the last-minute stating he had come down with the flu. However, everyone knows the real reason. Ol’ Sweets Makabe suffered a severe tummy ache just moments before showtime from eating too many delicious pastries.
A replay of the show will be airing on NJPW World’s streaming service for a limited time only. Don’t miss it!
Big thanks to Tapla for her amazing photographs.