Big Japan Pro Wrestling was founded in March 1995 by former AJPW wrestlers Shinya Kojika and Kendo Nagasaki, during the boom period for Deathmatch wrestling in Japan. Kendo Nagasaki left in 1999; Shinya Kojika is still president of the company to date.
The promotion followed in the footsteps of organisations such as Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling (FMW) and the International Wrestling Association of Japan (IWA Japan), who helped popularise a hard-hitting, violent and bloody style of wrestling known as the Deathmatch, or in more recent years, "hardcore" wrestling. These matches are usually weapon filled, using both "conventional" weapons (such as chairs and tables), as well as "extreme" weapons not usually seen in main-stream wrestling, and previously unused in wrestling at all. These weapons include, but are by no means limited to, nails, thumbtacks, fire and fluorescent light tubes. Barbed wire is also often used liberally in these matches, sometimes wrapped around other weapons, laid on the floor surrounding the ring, wrapped around the ring ropes or even replacing the ropes altogether. In it early years, BJW was unable to directly compete with the budgets of its competition. This led to the innovation of a number of unique gimmick matches, many of which helped hide its monetary shortcomings. These include:
Steel cage deathmatch with 200 fluorescent light tubes - Ryuji Ito vs. Yuko Miyamoto at BJW 15th Anniversary Show ~Death & Crazy That's The Way Of The BJ-World~ on May 4, 2010
Circus Deathmatch- above the ring is a scaffold and under that scaffold there is a type of circus net made of barbed wire. When a wrestler falls off of the scaffold the barbed wire spider net is there to "catch" the wrestlers. After a wrestler, or a team of wrestlers, have been thrown into the net it is cut down and the match continues to a pin fall.
Piranha Deathmatch- Barbed wire boards are placed in the corners. In the middle of the ring, there is a tank full of Piranhas. To win you must hold your opponent in the tank for ten seconds.
Scorpion Deathmatch- This match is similar to the Piranha Deathmatch. However, instead of barbed wire boards, there are two cacti. And instead of Piranhas, there is a tank full of scorpions.
Crocodile Deathmatch- Two wrestlers compete in a non-specific death match. The loser of the match must then go on to wrestle a crocodile.(This match has only been performed once in a death-match between Shadow WX & Mitsuhiro Matsunaga.)
Fire Stone Deathmatch- Both the inside and outsides of the ring are lined with electrified space heaters wrapped in barbed wire. The match is won by pin fall.
Big Japan W*ING Crisis Big Born Deathmatch- Barbed-wire-board, thumbtacks, bed-of-nails, circus-style-scaffold into a barbed-wire-trampoline, tub of scorpions, cactus plants, light bulbs, fire stones, dry Ice, barbed-wire-bat, drills, swords, knives and buzzsaws.
"Ancient Way" Death Match- Both fighters wrap their hands in hemp rope, which is then coated in honey and dipped in broken glass to make them deadly weapons.
Big Japan CZW Crisis Big Born Cage of Death Deathmatch- a steel cage match with various weapons, objects, and plenty of wrestling violence which combining several types of deathmatches; a steel cage with various weapons and objects will be contested under "BJW's Crisis Big Born Deathmatch" rules. Electrified cage walls, tables, ladders, chairs, crowbars, Singaporean canes, barbed-wire-board, thumbtacks, bed-of-nails, circus-style-scaffold into a barbed-wire-trampoline, tub of scorpions, cactus plants, light tubes, light bulbs, glass, fire stones, dry Ice, barbed-wire-bat, drills, swords, knives, guns, buzzsaws and all other weapons have been used in it.
Big Japan WWE Crisis Big Born Hell in a Cell Deathmatch- This is a 24-foot-high roofed cell structure which combining several types of deathmatches; a 24-foot-high roofed cell structure will be contested and competed under "BJW's Crisis Big Born Deathmatch" rules. The match starts out on a scaffold above a barbed wire net over a ring. The ring and the cell structure itselves are surrounded by cactus, fire stones (electric space heaters wrapped in barbed wire), dry ice, and all other weapons. Thumbtacks and Japanese kenzans are scattered in the ring and the cell. In the middle of the ring and the cell are all tanks of scorpions and every other thing else. Various weapons and objects including light bulbs, bats, drills, saws, swords, guns, and every other thing else whatsoever are permitted. The match is fought with all other different formats and stipulations (singles, tag team, gauntlet, etc.) active at the same time under street fight rules. There are no disqualifications, no count-outs, and no knock-outs (also no escape). The only way to win is by pinfall or submission inside the ring.
Away from the Deathmatches, BJW also has had well-established normal wrestling titles. On February 3, 1998, Yoshihiro Tajiri won a one night only 8 man tournament in Tokyo to crown BJW's first World Junior Heavyweight Champion. This match showed a distinct departure from the violent matches BJW is known for. The company also has had a World Heavyweight Championship, a World Women's Championship, a World Tag Team Championship, and a World 4-Man Tag Team Shuffle Championship. Although the World Tag Team titles and Deathmatch titles are the only ones still active.
Big Japan has feuded with both New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) and Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW). These were both kayfabe feuds that were done in order to generate more income for both companies. During late 1996 and early 1997, Big Japan entered into an agreement with New Japan. Being a relatively new promotion, BJW was in need of mainstream publicity. NJPW agreed to a feud, which would allow Big Japan wrestlers to appear in their company and use New Japan's popularity to give exposure to their company. In return, Big Japan agreed to lose the feud and the majority of the inter-promotional matches, therefore strengthening the New Japan brand. The situation provided an interesting clash of wrestling styles, as NJPW often favored a strong style of competition. The biggest show featuring both companies occurred at the Tokyo Dome on 4 January 1997.
In the late 1990s and into the 2000s, Big Japan competed against Combat Zone Wrestling. CZW was a relatively new American promotion at the time, and also largely focused on an extreme style of wrestling. Wrestlers feuded in both companies having matches in the United States and Japan. During the CZW feud, top star Tomoaki Honma departed the company to become a freelancer. He would later sign with All Japan Pro Wrestling.
In October 2008 several BJW wrestlers came to America and faced Chikara in The Global Gauntlet. BJPW did well, winning the best of 5 series on night one, but narrowly lost the Global Gauntlet match on night 2.
In 2012, BJW established a three-way working relationship with CZW and German promotion Westside Xtreme Wrestling (wXw), which led to the creation of the World Triangle League tournament.
BJW has also had a long working relationship with the Union Pro promotion, which has included BJW workers holding titles in Union Pro and vice versa.