New Japan Pro-Wrestling made some major inroads into the United States market in 2015. They landed a national cable television deal with AXS TV. Wrestle Kingdom was televised on American pay-per-view for the first time. The promotion had a hot partnership with Ring of Honor that led to a sellout crowd at Madison Square Garden. After that, the company seemed to slowly lose its presence and they also lost their AXS TV deal when Anthem Sports bought the channel and moved Impact Wrestling in.
The wrestling landscape in the U.S. has changed quite a bit since then. Most of the North American stars that peppered the NJPW roster at the time have moved on. The Young Bucks, Kenny Omega, and Cody Rhodes are now executives with All Elite Wrestling. The momentum NJPW had shifted to the new American company.
The TV deal with AXS ended in 2019. Then the global COVID-19 pandemic struck. Other than Ring of Honor, no major promotion was affected more than NJPW. It’s been a long road back to normalcy.
During Wrestle Kingdom, it was announced that NJPW will return to AXS TV in March. Dave Meltzer said on the latest Wrestling Observer Radio that this deal had something to do with NJPW’s working agreement with Impact Wrestling.
“I was told about that months ago that they had made the deal with AXS. Part of that was that they are working with Impact, so that was one of the things they had to do”
NJPW is currently holding its biggest annual event. Wrestle Kingdom kicked off on January 4th. Fans will likely see some of that action when the show returns to AXS in early Spring.
New Japan on AXS will offer yet another choice for American wrestling fans. WWE runs three nationally televised shows a week in addition to monthly premium live events. AEW has two weekly shows on cable. Impact has a weekly offering. Now, fans of NJPW will be able to get their fill without having to jump through hoops or subscribe to extra streaming services. More wrestling is always a good thing.
Are you excited for the return of NJPW to American television?
Transcription by Ringside News