New Japan Pro Wrestling
New Japan Pro-Wrestling (新日本プロレス Shin Nihon Puroresu?) (NJPW) is a major professional wrestling promotion in Japan, founded in June 1972 by Antonio Inoki, who sold the promotion to video game developer Yuke's in 2005 and sold in 2012 to Bushiroad. Kaname Tezuka is the current President of the promotion and has held that position from September 2013, when the previous president, Naoki Sugabayashi, was promoted to Chairman. Owing to its TV program aired on TV Asahi, it 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, NJPW was a member of the National Wrestling Alliance. NJPW is known for openly engaging in working agreements with various MMA and pro wrestling promotions around the world, including: World Wrestling Entertainment, World Championship Wrestling, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, Full Impact Pro, WAR, Ring of Honor, Pride Fighting Championships, and Jersey All Pro Wrestling and various other MMA and pro wrestling promotions. NJPW's biggest event of the year is the January 4th at the Tokyo Dome, an event they have held each year since 1992, currently promoted under the Wrestle Kingdom banner.
Originally founded by Antonio Inoki in 1972, 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 and American National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) governing body, additionally they 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 internet pay-per-view marked the first time viewers outside of Japan were able to order a pay-per-view by the promotion. 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 Ring of Honor (ROH), which would see the promotion return to North America the following May to present two supershows; Global Wars and War of the Worlds.
The championships recognized by NJPW are called International Wrestling Grand Prix (IWGP).
|Championship||Current champion(s)||Held since|
|IWGP Heavyweight Championship||Kazuchika Okada||April 7, 2013|
|IWGP Tag Team Championship||Bullet Club
(Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson)
|January 4, 2014|
|IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship||Kota Ibushi||January 4, 2014|
|IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship||The Young Bucks
(Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson)
|November 9, 2013|
|IWGP Intercontinental Championship||Shinsuke Nakamura||April 6, 2014|
|NEVER Openweight Championship||Tomohiro Ishii||February 11, 2014|
|Tournament||Last winner(s)||Last held||Type||Created||Notes|
|G1 Climax||Tetsuya Naito||August 11, 2013||Open weight||1991||NJPW's biggest annual tournament, primarily for heavyweights but there is no official weight limit. Mostly in a league format[Note 1]|
|World Tag League||Bullet Club
(Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson)
|December 8, 2013||Tag team||1991||NJPW's annual tag team tournament.[Note 2]|
|New Japan Cup||Shinsuke Nakamura||March 23, 2014||Open weight||2005||Single-elimination tournament (cf. the League Cup and the FA Cup in English Association football)|
|Best of the Super Juniors||Prince Devitt||June 9, 2013||Junior Heavyweight||1988||Annual tournament featuring top Junior Heavyweights from all over the world.|
|Super J Cup||Naomichi Marufuji||December 23, 2009||Junior Heavyweight||1994||Sporadic 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||The Young Bucks
(Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson)
|November 6, 2013||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|
- 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 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 and 1975 NJPW held the "Karl Gotch Cup" a similar style rookie wrestler tournament.
- "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.
- "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.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to New Japan Pro Wrestling.|
- Official website
- Official merchandise store
- Official Ustream channel
- 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