New Japan Pro Wrestling
|Headquarters||Nakano, Tokyo, Japan|
New Japan Pro-Wrestling Co., Ltd. (新日本プロレス株式会社 Shin Nihon Puroresu Kabushiki-kaisha?), operating as New Japan Pro-Wrestling (新日本プロレス Shin Nihon Puroresu?) and sometimes referred to as NJPW or simply New Japan, is a major Japanese professional wrestling promotion founded in January 1972 by Antonio Inoki. In 2005, Inoki sold the promotion to Yuke's, who sold it to Bushiroad in 2012. Kaname Tezuka is the current President of the promotion and has held that position since September 2013, when the previous President, Naoki Sugabayashi, was promoted to Chairman.
Owing to its TV program aired on TV Asahi, NJPW is the largest wrestling promotion in Japan and the second largest in the world in terms of attendance and revenue (behind WWE). From its creation in 1972 until 1986, it was a member of the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA). NJPW is known for openly engaging in working agreements with various MMA and professional wrestling promotions around the world, including WWE, World Championship Wrestling (WCW), Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), WAR, Ring of Honor (ROH), Pride Fighting Championships, and Jersey All Pro Wrestling (JAPW). NJPW's biggest event is the January 4th at the Tokyo Dome, held each year since 1992 and currently promoted under the Wrestle Kingdom banner.
The promotion was originally founded by Antonio Inoki in 1972, after he left the old Japan Pro Wrestling Alliance. The first card took place on March 6, 1972, in Tokyo. Inoki was president of the promotion until 1989, when he stepped down to pursue a political career as a member of the Japanese House of Councillors.
New Japan Pro Wrestling, also known as "Shin Nihon Puroresu", is considered the top promotion in Japan and is comparable to WWE in the United States in terms of popularity in the country. They promote events throughout Japan with their biggest event being their annual blowout show held every year on January 4 at the Tokyo Dome, currently billed as Wrestle Kingdom, which is Japan's version of WWE's annual WrestleMania event.
In the past they have worked with WWE, World Championship Wrestling (WCW), and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) among others and currently have a working agreement with Mexican Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) promotion, American National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) governing body, American Ring of Honor (ROH) promotion, American Global Force Wrestling (GFW) governing body, and occasionally do cross-promotion matches with other Japanese promotions, such as All Japan Pro Wrestling and Pro Wrestling Noah.
The promotion is currently owned by Japanese card game company Bushiroad, who parlayed their entry to the world of professional wrestling into a best-selling trading card game, King of Pro Wrestling, and appearances from NJPW stars in their various franchises.
The promotion also has its own governing body, the International Wrestling Grand Prix (IWGP). Thus all the promotion's titles are referred to as IWGP Championships. They currently have six titles: Heavyweight, Junior Heavyweight, Tag Team, Junior Heavyweight Tag Team, Intercontinental and the NEVER Openweight Championship. They also hold several tournaments each year, including G1 Climax, World Tag League, New Japan Cup and Best of the Super Juniors.
The promotion debuted a new series called NEVER in August 2010, designed to be a series of events spotlighting younger up-and-coming talent and feature more outsider participation in the promotion.
On January 4, 2011, New Japan Pro Wrestling officially announced the NJPW Invasion Tour 2011: Attack on East Coast, the promotion's first tour of the United States in May 2011, when they held shows in Rahway, New Jersey on May 13, New York City on May 14 and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on May 15. As part of the tour, NJPW introduced a new title, the IWGP Intercontinental Championship. On January 31, 2012, Yuke's announced that it had sold all shares of New Japan Pro Wrestling to card game company Bushiroad for ¥500 million ($6.5 million).
New Japan aired its first internet pay-per-view, the fourth day of the 2012 G1 Climax, on August 5, 2012. The October 8, 2012, King of Pro-Wrestling pay-per-view marked the first time viewers outside of Japan were able to order a pay-per-view by the promotion through Ustream. On October 5, 2012, New Japan announced the creation of the NEVER Openweight Championship, which would be contested for on the NEVER series. A two-day tournament to determine the inaugural champion was held between November 15 and 19, 2012.
In February 2014, New Japan announced a partnership with ROH, which saw the promotion return to North America the following May to present two supershows; Global Wars in Toronto and War of the Worlds in New York City. During the tour, New Japan wrestlers also took part in an event held by Canadian promotion Border City Wrestling (BCW). A year later, NJPW and ROH announced another tour together to produce four more supershows; War of the Worlds '15 on May 12 and 13 in Philadelphia and Global Wars '15 on May 15 and 16 in Toronto.
In June 2014, New Japan announced a partnership with the new American Global Force Wrestling (GFW) organization helmed by Jeff Jarrett. In November 2014, GFW announced that it would be broadcasting NJPW's Wrestle Kingdom 9 in Tokyo Dome on pay-per-view in the United States as a four-hour event. Also in November 2014, the American AXS TV network announced it had acquired rights to rebroadcast a series of thirteen episodes of NJPW matches from TV Asahi. The series premiered on January 16, 2015, airing weekly on Fridays. Averaging 200,000 viewers per episode, the show was considered a success, leading to AXS TV and TV Asahi signing a multi-year deal to continue airing the show. On December 1, NJPW and TV Asahi announced "New Japan Pro Wrestling World", a new worldwide streaming site for the promotion's events.
On July 18, 2015, NJPW announced "New IWGP Conception", a global expansion strategy centered on their international partnerships with CMLL, GFW, NWA, ROH, Revolution Pro Wrestling (RPW) and Westside Xtreme Wrestling (wXw) as well as holding more shows in Thailand, Singapore, and Taiwan. Also announced was "Lionsgate Keikaku" ("Lionsgate Plan"), which would feature up-and-coming outsiders working trial matches in an effort to earn a spot in the promotion. Finally, it was announced that there were plans to take the company public with a listing on the stock market within three to five years.
|Championship||Current champion(s)||Held since|
|IWGP Heavyweight Championship||Kazuchika Okada||July 5, 2015|
|IWGP Tag Team Championship||Bullet Club
(Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson)
|July 5, 2015|
|IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship||Kenny Omega||September 23, 2015|
|IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship||reDRagon
(Bobby Fish and Kyle O'Reilly)
|August 16, 2015|
|IWGP Intercontinental Championship||Shinsuke Nakamura||September 27, 2015|
|NEVER Openweight Championship||Tomohiro Ishii||October 12, 2015|
|Tournament||Last winner(s)||Last held||Type||Created||Notes|
|G1 Climax||Hiroshi Tanahashi||August 16, 2015||Open weight||1991||NJPW's biggest annual tournament, primarily for heavyweights but there is no official weight limit. Mostly in a round-robin format[Note 1]|
|World Tag League||Meiyu Tag
(Hirooki Goto and Katsuyori Shibata)
|December 7, 2014||Tag team||1991||NJPW's annual tag team round-robin tournament.[Note 2]|
|New Japan Cup||Kota Ibushi||March 15, 2015||Open weight||2005||Single-elimination tournament|
|Best of the Super Juniors||Kushida||June 7, 2015||Junior Heavyweight||1988||Annual round-robin tournament featuring top junior heavyweights from all over the world.|
|Super J Cup||Naomichi Marufuji||December 23, 2009||Junior Heavyweight||1994||Sporadic single-elimination tournament featuring top junior heavyweights from all over the world. The tournament has been hosted by other promotions than NJPW as well.|
|Super Jr. Tag Tournament||Matt Sydal and Ricochet||November 7, 2015||Junior Heavyweight Tag Team||1994||Sporadic tournament featuring junior heavyweight tag teams from all over the world.[Note 3]|
|Young Lion Cup||Hirooki Goto||2005||Rookies||1985||Tournament that is not held every year.[Note 4]|
|J Sports Crown Openweight 6 Man Tag Tournament||Apollo 555
(Hirooki Goto, Prince Devitt and Ryusuke Taguchi)
|June 23, 2011||Six-man tag team||2010|
NJPW Greatest Wrestlers
(Birth name)[Note 5]
|1||2007||Inoki, AntonioAntonio Inoki
|NJPW founder and first IWGP Heavyweight Champion. Also won many top titles, including the WWF World Heavyweight Championship, NWA United National Championship and NWF Heavyweight Championship.|
|2||2007||Sakaguchi, SeijiSeiji Sakaguchi||Three-time NWA North American Tag Team Champion and one-time NWF North American Heavyweight and WWF North American Heavyweight Champion.|
|3||2007||Hoshino, KantaroKantaro Hoshino
|One-time IWA World Tag Team Champion with Kotetsu Yamamoto as the Yamaha Brothers. Also known as a promoter and manager.|
|One-time IWA World Tag Team Champion with Kantaro Hoshino as the Yamaha Brothers.|
|Winner of the 1976 Karl Gotch Cup. Famous as the debut opponent of many legends, including Masa Saito, Tatsumi Fujinami, Osamu Kido, Mitsuo Momota, Satoru Sayama (the original Tiger Mask) and Hiro Saito.|
|6||2009||Kobayashi, KuniakiKuniaki Kobayashi||One of NJPW's top junior heavyweights of the 1980s and of a few to win the junior heavyweight titles in both New Japan and All Japan Pro Wrestling.|
|7||2009||Maeda, AkiraAkira Maeda||Two-time IWGP Tag Team Champion. Founder of the Japanese UWF and Rings|
(Víctor Manuel Mar)
|One-time National Junior Heavyweight Champion and Naucalpan Tag Team Champion.|
|9||2010||Hamaguchi, AnimalAnimal Hamaguchi
|Trainer and two-time All Asia Tag Team Champion. Also four-time IWA World Tag Team Champion.|
|10||2010||Hashimoto, ShinyaShinya Hashimoto||One of the Three Musketeers. Three-time IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Tag Team Champion. Founder of Pro Wrestling Zero1.|
|One-time WWC Caribbean Tag Team Champion. Best known as an underdog and comedy wrestler.|
- Before the G1 Climax, NJPW had had an annual single tournament since 1974 under various names: the World League (1974-77), the Madison Square Garden (MSG) League (1978-82), the International Wrestling Grand Prix (IWGP) League (1983-88) and the World Cup Tournament (1989).
- Before the G1 Tag league, NJPW had had an annual Tag tournament since 1980 under various names: the Madison Square Garden (MSG) Tag League (1980-85) and the Japan Cup Tag League (1986-87).
- NJPW has previously held similar tournaments for junior heavyweight tag teams, the first being the Junior Heavyweight Super Grade Tag League in 1996, won by Eddie Guerrero as Black Tiger II and The Great Sasuke. They also held the G1 Junior Tag League in 2001: it was won by El Samurai and Jushin Thunder Liger. On May 8, 2010, NJPW also held a one night, single-elimination tournament, under the name Super J Tag Tournament 1st, which was won by El Samurai and Koji Kanemoto. On November 13, 2010, NJPW held the Super J Tag League, a round-robin tournament, which was won by Jado and Gedo.
- In 1974, 1975 and 1976 NJPW held the "Karl Gotch Cup" a similar style rookie wrestler tournament.
- Entries without a birth name indicates that the inductee did not perform under a ring name.
- This section mainly lists the major accomplishments of each inductee.
- "Company Profile". New Japan Pro Wrestling (in Japanese). Retrieved August 28, 2015.
- 新役員人事決定のお知らせ. New Japan Pro Wrestling (in Japanese). September 25, 2013. Retrieved September 25, 2013.
- "New Japan Pro Wrestling comes to the U.S.". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. October 3, 2010. Retrieved October 4, 2010.
- Caldwell, James (January 5, 2011). "NJPW News: New Japan to introduce new title on U.S. tour, officially announces dates & venues for "Invasion" tour". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved January 5, 2011.
- Caldwell, James (January 31, 2012). "NJPW News: New Japan sold to new owners, change-over taking effect February 1". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved January 31, 2012.
- Caldwell, James (August 1, 2012). "NJPW debuting on iPPV this weekend". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved August 1, 2012.
- "10月8日『キングオブプロレスリング』 ＰＰＶ配信が更に規模を拡大して「全世界」へ！ Ustream all over the world !". New Japan Pro Wrestling (in Japanese). September 28, 2012. Retrieved September 28, 2012.
- Caldwell, James (September 28, 2012). "NJPW offering Oct. 8 show on iPPV". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved September 28, 2012.
- "あの『NEVER』がリニューアル!! "無差別級王座"も新設!! 11.15＆11.19Shibuya Axで再出発!!". New Japan Pro Wrestling (in Japanese). October 5, 2012. Retrieved October 5, 2012.
- "今年5月、新日本プロレスが北米再上陸!! ROHとの共同開催で、5月10日カナダ、17日ニューヨーク大会が決定!!". New Japan Pro Wrestling (in Japanese). February 24, 2014. Retrieved March 28, 2014.
- Carapola, Stuart (February 22, 2014). "Live ROH HonorCon coverage: the big announcement". Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved March 28, 2014.
- Meltzer, Dave (April 24, 2014). "Notes on New Japan/Border City main matches for 5-9 in Windsor, Ontario". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved April 25, 2014.
- Caldwell, James (March 7, 2015). "ROH news: ROH adds fourth New Japan show to May tour". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
- "「G1」出場メンバー、各大会の主要カードを電撃発表!! 開幕戦で、中邑vs柴田が実現! 西武ドームにROH勢が参戦!!". New Japan Pro Wrestling (in Japanese). June 21, 2014. Retrieved June 21, 2014.
- Caldwell, James (November 4, 2014). "NJPW/GFW news: Tokyo Dome Show to air on U.S. PPV". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved November 24, 2014.
- "AXS announces New Japan TV deal, official details, time slot, debut date and more". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. November 24, 2014. Retrieved November 24, 2014.
- Meltzer, Dave (July 27, 2015). "July 27, 2015 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: The Undertaker returns at Battleground, NXT/ROH insanity with Liger booking, and more". Wrestling Observer Newsletter (Campbell, California): 24. ISSN 1083-9593.
- Caldwell, James (December 1, 2014). "NJPW news: New Japan announces streaming service like WWE Network, will include live shows". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved December 1, 2014.
- "新日本プロレス３～５年後上場目指す". Daily Sports Online (in Japanese). Kobe Shimbun. July 18, 2015. Retrieved July 18, 2015.
- "木谷オーナーが「ファーム設立プラン」「21世紀のIWGP構想」、そして「新日本プロレスは株式上場を目指す」と宣言! 【7.18戦略発表会】". New Japan Pro Wrestling (in Japanese). July 18, 2015. Retrieved July 18, 2015.
- Caldwell, James (July 18, 2015). "NJPW news: New Japan announces big int'l expansion plans, including expanded N. America partnerships & NXT-like program". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved July 18, 2015.
- "Heavy weight class". New Japan Pro Wrestling (in Japanese). Retrieved September 19, 2011.
- "Heavy tag weight class". New Japan Pro Wrestling (in Japanese). Retrieved September 19, 2011.
- "Jr. Heavy weight class". New Japan Pro Wrestling (in Japanese). Retrieved September 19, 2011.
- "Jr. Heavy tag weight class". New Japan Pro Wrestling (in Japanese). Retrieved September 19, 2011.
- "InterContinental champion". New Japan Pro Wrestling (in Japanese). Retrieved September 19, 2011.
- "NEVER open weight class". New Japan Pro Wrestling (in Japanese). Retrieved February 10, 2013.
- "Greatest Wrestlers". New Japan Pro Wrestling. Retrieved July 3, 2014.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to New Japan Pro Wrestling.|
- Official website
- Official merchandise store
- Bushiroad official website
- Puroresu.com: New Japan Pro-Wrestling
- Wrestling-Titles.com: New Japan Pro-Wrestling
- Strong Style Spirit – NJPW Fan Page
- World Pro Wrestling – NJPW official program – TV Asahi