|Industry|| Professional wrestling|
|Founded||January 13, 1972|
|Owner(s)|| Bushiroad 66.7%|
Takaaki Kidani 23.3%
TV Asahi 10.0%
|Headquarters||164-00011 Sumitomo Nakani-Saaue, Nakano Tokyo, Japan|
|Key people|| Naoki Sugabayashi|
|Operating income||¥ 92.5 million|
|Website||Official Japanese Website|
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 promotion founded in January 13, 1972 by Antonio Inoki. In 2005, Inoki sold the promotion to Yuke's, who later sold it to Bushiroad in 2012. Naoki Sugabayashi has served as the Chairman of the promotion since September 2013, while Katsuhiko Harada has served as the President of the promotion since February 2016.
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. NJPW is known for openly engaging in working agreements with various MMA and professional wrestling promotions around the world, including WWE, World Championship Wrestling, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, WAR, UWFi, Ring of Honor, Pride Fighting Championships, and Jersey All Pro Wrestling. NJPW's biggest event is the January 4th at the Tokyo Dome show, 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 Japan Pro Wrestling Alliance promotion. 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, NJPW has worked with WWE, World Championship Wrestling (WCW), and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), among others. The company currently has working agreements with the Mexican Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) promotion, the American National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), Ring of Honor (ROH), and Global Force Wrestling (GFW) promotions, and the European Revolution Pro Wrestling (RPW) and Westside Xtreme Wrestling (wXw) promotions. Occasionally, NJPW will host cross-promotional 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, shortened as IWGP. They currently have seven titles: the IWGP Heavyweight, IWGP Junior Heavyweight, IWGP Tag Team, IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team, IWGP Intercontinental, NEVER Openweight and the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championships. They also hold several tournaments each year, including the 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 New Japan talent and feature more outsider participation in the promotion. The final NEVER event was held in November 2012.
On January 4, 2011, officially announced the NJPW Invasion Tour 2011: Attack on East Coast, the promotion's first tour of the United States to be held in May 2011. The tour featured shows in Rahway, New Jersey on May 13, New York City on May 14 and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on May 15, as well as cross-promotion with American promotion JAPW. 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 to card game company Bushiroad for ¥500 million (6.5 million) of dollars or (4.4 million) of euros.
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 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 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 In June 2016, the show was also acquired by the Canadian Fight Network. On December 1, 2014, 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 the "New IWGP Conception", a global expansion strategy centered on their international partnerships with CMLL, GFW, NWA, ROH, RPW, and wXw as well as holding more shows in Thailand, Singapore, and Taiwan. Also announced was the 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.
On December 21, 2015, NJPW announced the creation of its seventh active title and the first six-man tag team championship in the promotion's history, the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship. On January 5, 2016, NJPW announced a partnership with the Amuse talent agency with the goal of making the promotion's wrestlers internationally recognized stars in the vein of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.
In March 2017, NJPW partnered with the New Zealand-based Fale Dojo, a pro wrestling training facility run by NJPW performer Bad Luck Fale. NJPW will utilize the partnership as an opportunity to scout talent from Oceania. The following month on April 24 2017, it was announced that NJPW would co-present the Japanese qualifiers for What Culture Pro Wrestling (WCPW)'s Pro Wrestling World Cup tournament. On May 12, 2017, during the third night of the War of the Worlds tour, co-produced by New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) and Ring of Honor (ROH), NJPW United States Ambassador George Carroll announced the creation of the IWGP United States Championship. The following day, NJPW revealed the title's official name as the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship. On May 16, NJPW held a press conference to announce plans to establish a subsidiary company, including a dojo, in the United States.
Up until the 1980s, NJPW signed its workers to multi-year contracts, before changing to a system, where the promotion signed its wrestlers to one-year deals that expired at the end of every January. Following the departures of AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura, NJPW owner Takaaki Kidani announced in February 2016 that the promotion was returning to the multi-year contract system. The contracts forbid negotiations with other promotions. Any side contracts or agreements offered to wrestlers under NJPW contracts need the promotion's approval before being signed.
|Championship||Current champion(s)||Reign||Date won||Days held||Location|
|IWGP Heavyweight Championship||Kazuchika Okada||4||June 19, 2016||372+||Osaka|
|IWGP Intercontinental Championship||Hiroshi Tanahashi||2||June 11, 2017||15+||Osaka|
|IWGP United States Championship||TBD||1||July 2, 2017||N/A||Long Beach, California|
|IWGP Tag Team Championship||Guerrillas of Destiny|
(Tama Tonga and Tanga Roa)
|3||June 11, 2017||15+||Osaka|
|IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship||KUSHIDA||5||June 11, 2017||15+||Osaka|
|IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship||The Young Bucks|
(Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson)
|6||June 11, 2017||15+||Osaka|
|NEVER Openweight Championship||Minoru Suzuki||1||April 27, 2017||60+||Hiroshima|
|NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship||Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, EVIL and SANADA)||3||May 3, 2017||54+||Fukuoka|
|Tournament||Last winner(s)||Last held||Type||Created||Notes|
|G1 Climax||Kenny Omega||August 14, 2016||Openweight||1991||NJPW's biggest annual tournament, primarily for heavyweights but there is no official weight limit. Mostly in a round-robin format|
|World Tag League||G.B.H.|
(Togi Makabe and Tomoaki Honma)
|December 10, 2016||Tag team||1991||NJPW's annual tag team round-robin tournament.|
|New Japan Cup||Katsuyori Shibata||March 20, 2017||Openweight||2005||Single-elimination tournament|
|Best of the Super Juniors||KUSHIDA||June 3, 2017||Junior Heavyweight||1988||Annual round-robin tournament featuring top junior heavyweights from all over the world.|
|Super J Cup||KUSHIDA||August 21, 2016||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||Roppongi Vice|
(Beretta and Rocky Romero)
|November 5, 2016||Junior heavyweight tag team||1994||Sporadic tournament featuring junior heavyweight tag teams from all over the world.|
|Young Lion Cup||Hirooki Goto||2005||Rookies||1985||Tournament that is not held every year.|
|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||Single-elimination six-man tag team tournament held in 2010 and 2011.|
|G2 U-30 Climax||Hiroshi Tanahashi||June 16, 2005||Openweight||2003||Tournament for wrestlers under the age of 30.|
NJPW Greatest WrestlersEdit
The NJPW Greatest Wrestlers is NJPW's hall of fame, established in 2007 to honor wrestlers who have wrestled for the promotion.
|1||2007|| Antonio 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||Seiji Sakaguchi||Three-time NWA North American Tag Team Champion and one-time NWF North American Heavyweight and WWF North American Heavyweight Champion.|
|3||2007|| Kantaro Hoshino|
|One-time IWA World Tag Team Champion with Kotetsu Yamamoto as the Yamaha Brothers. Also known as a promoter and manager.|
|4||2007|| Kotetsu Yamamoto|
|One-time IWA World Tag Team Champion with Kantaro Hoshino as the Yamaha Brothers.|
|5||2007|| Shoji Kai|
|Winner of the 1976 Karl Gotch Cup. Famous as the debut opponent of many legends, including Rusher Kimura, Masa Saito, Tatsumi Fujinami, Osamu Kido, Mitsuo Momota, Satoru Sayama (the original Tiger Mask) and Hiro Saito.|
|6||2009||Kuniaki 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||Akira Maeda||Two-time IWGP Tag Team Champion. Founder of the Japanese UWF and Rings|
|8||2009|| Black Cat|
(Víctor Manuel Mar)
|One-time National Junior Heavyweight Champion and Naucalpan Tag Team Champion.|
|9||2010|| Animal Hamaguchi|
|Trainer and two-time All Asia Tag Team Champion. Also four-time IWA World Tag Team Champion.|
|10||2010||Shinya Hashimoto||One of the Three Musketeers. Three-time IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Tag Team Champion. Founder of Pro Wrestling Zero1.|
|11||2011|| Don Arakawa|
|One-time WWC Caribbean Tag Team Champion. Best known as an underdog and comedy wrestler.|
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