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NJPW will not broadcast in the U.S. in 2020
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NJPW will not broadcast in the U.S. in 2020

No TV broadcasts and no Wrestle Kingdom 14.

In September of 2019 Anthem Sports & Entertainment acquired a majority stake in AXS and through the agreement brokered a deal that brought Impact!’s weekly two-hour broadcast to AXS. This was a momentous occasion for Impact!, as the company has received a lot of praise over the last year for reinventing itself, creating new stars, and vastly improving its image within the wrestling community.

Listen to the latest episode of our weekly wrestling podcast, PTW!

But there were some questions lingering from Anthem’s business acquisition, mainly what does this mean for the network’s relationship with New Japan Pro-Wrestling? Well, now we know and the answer isn’t good news.

Today on Twitter NJPW addressed its 2020 broadcast plans for the US — spoiler alert — there aren’t any.

“Anthem has been public that it has not made any decisions regarding current programming,” said Ed Nordholm, Chief Corporate Officer of Anthem Sports & Entertainment and President of Impact! Wrestling in a statement to Newsweek. “We have been long-time broadcast partners with TV Asahi for NJPW at Fight Network and hope to build on that relationship. We are in the middle of a season with WOW and about to tape another series of episodes next week, so no reason to make any decisions there in the short term. We’re looking forward to getting to know them better.”

Despite Nordholm’s statement, AXS has confirmed to a number of news outlets that NJPW will no longer air on the network.

It’s hard to say if this was a decision from the AXS or NJPW camp. While airing NJPW events would be creating competition for Anthem’s own wrestling brand, it would also bring a lot of eyes to their broadcasts that otherwise wouldn’t be there. NJPW has long been hailed as one of the best wrestling promotions in the world and boasts some of the most talented wrestlers working today.

But there’s been a lot of bad blood between TNA (Impact’s former branding) and NJPW ever since Kazuchika Okada was with TNA on a temporary excursion. To put it bluntly, TNA did a god awful job of booking Okada, made him look terrible, and absolutely wasted him. Understandably NJPW did not take kindly to the treatment that Okada received at the hands of TNA and has reportedly held a grudge ever since.

So while it’s a real bummer that US based NJPW fans won’t be able to catch any televised broadcasts in 2020, they can still watch Wrestle Kingdom 14 and other events though the NJPW streaming service, NJPW World.

Wrestle Kingdom 14 is set for January 4-5, 2020 at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan.


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