If you’re lucky enough to be one of the people sitting at home with nothing to do (instead of one of the people on the front lines of our current hell) and also happen to be a fan of New Japan Pro Wrestling, unfortunately for you there hasn’t been much to watch of late. Sure, there’s always the NJPW World archive (and perhaps “The Quarantine Guide to NJPW World” would make a good future article…) but maybe you’re tired of just watching their old matches. New Japan hasn’t run a single show since February 26th, as they’ve shown no interest in running any of the “no fan” shows during the ongoing situation. With the country of Japan recently extending its nationwide state of emergency until at least May 31st, it seems unlikely that we’ll see shows in front of fans again anytime soon. That means unless NJPW reverses their policy on no fan shows, we won’t see any new events from them for at least another month (likely even longer).
Elsewhere in Japan, many other promotions are still running shows at the moment. If you’re willing to watch no fan shows you actually have a ton of options in the puroresu scene. Even if you’re not into these crowd-less events, perhaps you just want a second company to dive into the recent archives of; there’s certainly been plenty of great Japanese wrestling outside of New Japan in the last few years. But if you’ve only watched NJPW and have never tried to venture out into the wide world of other promotions, you may not have any idea where to start. I’ve had a number of people looking for a second Japanese promotion to watch reach out to me privately in the last couple of weeks, which was my inspiration to write this article.
A couple things to get out of the way first: none of the other streaming services offer apps like New Japan World’s Fire TV and Chromecast applications, so you’re talking strictly web browser viewing for all of them. Almost none offer English commentary, with Dragon Gate’s DG Net being the only one to provide it.
Think of this as your quick and dirty introduction guide to many of the rest of the men’s promotions in Japan (the joshi scene could be its own entire article, and frankly although I do watch joshi there are probably more qualified people than me to write that article). We’ll discuss a number of different promotions and break them down along the following categories:
History: We’ll try to sum up the often long and winding histories of these companies into one paragraph. Easier said then done, but we’ll do our best.
Style: Primarily I mean wrestling style here, but I may also discuss presentation and the like. Will compare and contrast it with NJPW which I expect most readers to be familiar with.
Current Champion: Who’s the current top guy, and when/who did they win the title from?
Streaming Service: All the promotions listed here have a streaming service of some kind, so we’ll discuss what it costs and how easy it is to use to follow the company.
Lockdown Plans: Are they currently running no fan shows or plan to in the future? What’s coming up from them?
3 Recent Matches: Finally, I’ll list three matches from either 2019 or pre-COVID 2020 that are worth checking out immediately, along with my star rating for the match.
Sound good? Then let’s get started!
All Japan Pro Wrestling
History: AJPW is the only promotion on this list that was founded the same year as NJPW, as both companies broke away from the Japan Pro Wrestling Alliance (the first professional wrestling league in the country) in 1972. The Inoki-led NJPW quickly eclipsed the Baba-led AJPW in popularity despite Baba being the bigger star in their JWA days, but AJPW was still a wildly successful promotion, thanks largely to its ties to the NWA that gave them access to huge foreign stars. But AJPW in recent decades has featured a number of large exoduses: the first one in the early 90s saw Genichiro Tenryu lead an entire crew out the door to form the short-lived SWS promotion, and that lead to massive pushes for the likes of Misawa, Kawada, Kobashi, Taue and Akiyama that resulted in one of the most celebrated eras in wrestling history. But the early 00s brought the far more devastating NOAH exodus, with the entire Japanese roster outside of two wrestlers leaving the company. AJPW somewhat amazingly survived, eventually coming to be run by ex-NJPW star Keiji Mutoh, but in 2013 Mutoh and many of his loyal wrestlers left in yet another exodus to form the Wrestle-1 promotion (which just recently went defunct). Jun Akiyama, back from NOAH, took over, and AJPW ended up rebuilding itself under babyface ace Kento Miyahara. But the company pre-COVID seemed to plateau, unable to grow beyond a certain level, and after losing his right-hand man Atsushi Aoki to a tragic motorcycle accident Akiyama ultimately stepped down as company President. Rumor has it that ex-DDT wrestler Shuji Ishikawa took over as booker earlier this year, and you can certainly see a change in booking style with more run ins and new units.
Style: All Japan’s current wrestling style, especially in the main events, is probably the closest out there to New Japan’s at the moment. Fans of NJPW main events will find similarly structured major title matches, built around bomb-throwing, kickout-filled finishing stretches, plenty of striking and long setups for signature moves. This is likely because the style NJPW has used in what people usually refer to as the “Bushiroad era” greatly resembles the past King’s Road style popularized by All Japan in the 1990s (often people in the West refer to all Japanese wrestling as “strong style”, but strong style originally referred to NJPW’s very different style of wrestling that they’ve largely gotten away from in the last decade, with an emphasis on submissions and an air of legitimacy). Undercards are filled with an interesting mix of indie sleaze wrestlers and outsiders from other companies (the current Junior champion is Susumu Yokosuka of Dragon Gate, and BJW heavyweights frequently participate here as well). Overall I think most NJPW fans probably won’t have much difficulty adjusting to this company, though that also means if you’re looking for something completely different from what you’re used to I don’t think AJPW would really qualify.
Current Champion: Suwama, a 43-year old veteran powerhouse who started with the promotion during the Mutoh years of the mid-00s, won the Triple Crown Title for the 7th time from Kento Miyahara on March 23rd. This was essentially a battle of the current vs. former ace, with Miyahara trying to break Toshiaki Kawada’s record for most defenses in a single reign (he was at 10, having reigned since October 2018) but Suwama defeated him in what was a big surprise to many at the time.
Streaming Service: All Japan launched their streaming service AJPW.tv in March 2018. It costs 900 yen per month and features live and on-demand coverage of all of their biggest shows. Please note however that the archives are very limited; if you’re expecting to log on and watch a treasure trove of 90s classics from the likes of Misawa and Kobashi, there is none of that available as they do not own the footage. Recently they did begin uploading a few matches from the 00s Mutoh era, however.
Lockdown Plans: AJPW has been putting on no fan shows pretty regularly during the current pandemic. New shows just took place on 4/30 and 5/5, and they have two more on the books for later in May, 5/16 and 5/24.
3 Recent Matches: Kento Miyahara vs. Naoya Nomura, 3/19/19 (****1/2), Yuji Okabayashi vs. Zeus, 4/21/19 (****1/2), Kento Miyahara vs. Jake Lee, 10/24/19 (****3/4)
History: DG was founded on July 5th, 2004 but can really trace its roots back to the Toryumon promotion, which had its first show in Japan in January 1999. Junior heavyweight star Ultimo Dragon essentially created a training system meant to mirror his own upbringing, opening a school in Mexico that brought trainees over from Japan to receive lucha training and then sending them back to wrestle. Toryumon didn’t invent the lucha/puro hybrid that would become known as lucharesu (the Universal promotion of the early 90s, followed by Michinoku Pro featuring many of the same wrestlers, predated Toryumon by many years) but they without a doubt popularized it, as they were one of the most successful drawing indies in Japanese wrestling history. When the Toryumon crew split from Ultimo in mid-04 to start Dragon Gate they declared themselves a major league company, and despite some huge ups and downs they’ve largely backed that up. To this day, they’re the only company other than NJPW who can consistently draw major crowds outside of Tokyo; though other companies on this list can draw more in Tokyo and run bigger buildings there, DG is the undisputed king of the Kansai region (they’re based in Kobe, very close to Osaka) and do more nationwide touring than anyone other than New Japan. A major recent shakeup saw CIMA, top star dating all the way back to the promotion’s founding, leave the company alongside a few of his proteges, and Ultimo finally return to his original home after almost exactly 15 years. They also changed their logo for the first time in company history.
Style: I went with DG next mostly because they’re the exact opposite of AJPW- of any company on this list, DG would likely be the most challenging for a newcomer to get into. The style is completely different from New Japan in almost every way: the promotion is filled mostly with junior heavyweights doing very quick, lucha-influenced matches. If you really enjoy the Hiromu-Dragon Lee matches however I think you’d probably like DG’s style as well. One critique of it that probably holds some merit is it can get very repetitive, especially if you’ve been watching for a very long time, but on the other hand if you’re new to the company it will probably blow you away at first (especially the intricate multi-man tags). The other intimidating thing about DG for newcomers is that this is a company that definitely likes to reference its long history a lot; the recent generation war angle and Toryumon reunion show being a great example of that. On the other hand, the large number of distinct units will feel familiar to anyone who watches current New Japan, so that part is similar at least.
Current Champion: Naruki Doi, who defeated Ben-K on December 15th, 2019 at Final Gate (DG’s traditional final big show of the year). Doi has been a top star in the company for over a decade but this is just his second reign as Open the Dream Gate Champion, the first time he’s held the title since losing it on 3/22/10. Many people had expected the young Ben-K to reign a lot longer as champion after he won the title from PAC on 7/21/19 in the main event of DG’s biggest annual show of the year (the Kobe Pro Wrestling Festival, often referred to by fans as Kobe World, the name of the building) but there were apparently signs that he wasn’t catching on as strongly as the promotion hoped. Finding a new young top star has been a bit of a consistent problem for the company, with their previous pick for the spot T-Hawk also struggling to ascend to the position (he would ultimately leave the company with CIMA in early 2018 without ever winning the top title, so Ben-K has him beat there already I guess).
Streaming Service: DG Network is in many ways a frustrating service to deal with. It’s more expensive than its competitors at 1500 yen per month and features an extremely annoying feature when it comes to new programs. The shows all air live, but then you need to watch them on VOD within 7 days of their original air date. After 7 days passes, the show disappears from the archives until it airs on the GAORA satellite network in Japan (GAORA also runs this service which probably explains this), at which point it goes back up. So in practice, it means if a show took place on May 1st and you didn’t watch it by May 8th, you would then have to wait generally around 3-5 weeks from 5/8 before it shows back up on the service to watch on demand again. Very silly! However, on the other hand DG Net features a great archive of historically interesting shows, all of them uploaded in incredible video quality (better quality than NJPW World’s older shows for sure). I honestly think being able to follow along from the beginning of the Toryumon Japan days via the archive of their monthly TV digests, uploaded in by far the best quality any of that footage has ever been seen online (before this all we had were second- or third-generation VHS rips), is worth the 1500 yen alone. Your mileage may vary of course. And as mentioned earlier, DG Net is the only one of the services on this page that offers English commentary, which certainly adds to its value.
Lockdown Plans: DG hasn’t run any no fans shows since April 4th, however just before I started writing this article they announced plans to hold a no fan version of their annual King of Gate tournament. The tournament will feature 24 wrestlers and the first round will air on 5/15, 5/16 and 5/17. It’s single elimination except for a last chance battle royale, a nod to the original format of Toryumon’s El Numero Uno tournament. Future air dates for the following rounds are still to be announced.
3 Recent Matches: I got a bit burned out on DG a few years back and haven’t been keeping up with it for the most part, so I went and asked the hosts of Open the Voice Gate, Mike Spears and Case Lowe, for their picks. They both came up with the same three matches, all of which Case rated at ****3/4: PAC vs. Kzy on 2/10/19, Ben-K vs. Masaaki Mochizuki on 10/8/19 and Naruki Doi vs. Kzy on 2/7/20. Thanks Mike & Case!
Dramatic Dream Team
History: DDT began life as little more than an obscure indie when it was founded in January 1997 by four wrestlers who had been with the Pro Wrestling Crusaders promotion. One of them, Sanshiro Takagi, remains President of the company to this day. The promotion started to receive attention during the 00s primarily for two reasons: young dynamo Kota Ibushi, who started with DDT but quickly began making appearances all across the Japanese wrestling scene and made waves everywhere he went, and their over-the-top humor, a mix of very Japanese comedy and obvious parodies of Western pro wrestling tropes (the easiest example being one even many non-fans have heard of, the Ironman Heavymetalweight Title that’s existed under the old 24/7 defense rules of the WWF Hardcore Title for the past 20 years; there have been 1,479 title reigns, many of which were by non-wrestlers or even non-human beings). What started out as nothing more than a tiny indie has run shows in Sumo Hall, Nippon Budokan and even Saitama Super Arena. In September 2017 DDT was bought by the Japanese entertainment company CyberAgent, a larger corporation than the Bushiroad company that’s owned NJPW since 2012. Among many other things CyberAgent owns the AbemaTV internet streaming platform, and DDT and its sister organizations provide content for that platform (not just wrestling shows either, as many talk shows featuring DDT wrestlers also air).
Style: Like Dragon Gate this is another company that is very different from what NJPW fans are used to. The undercards are filled with comedy matches and gimmicks, so if the idea of a sex doll defeating a wrestler to win his Anytime/Anywhere Gauntlet (which can be cashed in for a KO-D title shot just like Money in the Bank!) upsets you then you’ll probably want to steer clear. That wasn’t a random example by the way- it happened on the last show. This isn’t to say DDT is nothing but comedy though; to the contrary, the company features a ton of talented wrestlers who frequently put on outstanding main events. The style of these serious bouts isn’t actually all that dissimilar from what you’re probably used to in NJPW, although since the wrestlers are on the smaller side (there are bigger wrestlers in DDT but this is also a promotion with a ton of junior-sized wrestlers) you’ll see more flying and the like than your average New Japan main event. Another note is that there’s more promos and random backstage segments than in any other Japanese company, but there’s a number of English language resources available for non-Japanese speakers to help follow what’s going on. The Dramatic DDT website has been providing excellent recaps of shows with detailed information on what went down for many years, and more recently the DDT English Update Twitter account began providing live translation threads during shows. It’s never been easier to follow this company as a Western fan, but it’s still a lot to take in for a newcomer so be prepared.
Current Champion: Masato Tanaka, who ECW fans will remember as a former champion there as well and who currently works for the ZERO1 promotion, won the KO-D Openweight Title from veteran ace HARASHIMA on January 26th, 2020. So they’re doing the “veteran outsider invades and wins the top title” thing, with all of DDT’s young wrestlers now gunning to be the one who brings the belt back to the company. The new generation ace (the Okada to HARASHIMA’s Tanahashi if you will), already four-time former champion Konosuke Takeshita, failed to take the title from him in what many felt was a surprising result. Fellow young wrestler MAO also came up short. Tanaka’s next defense will be against a DDT veteran, Yukio Sakaguchi, but I ultimately expect it will be one of DDT’s other younger wrestlers who finally dethrones him. Big heavyweight stud Kazusada Higuchi recently won the KO-D Challenger Sword (yes, an actual sword) from Tetsuya Endo, which would presumably grant him the next shot at the champion after the Tanaka-Sakaguchi match.
Streaming Service: DDT Universe is one of the most robust streaming services out there. It costs 900 yen per month with every major show (and many not-so-major shows) airing live or on VOD on the service. DDT also has many sister promotions including Tokyo Joshi Pro (an idol joshi promotion similar to STARDOM but with more DDT-esque comedy that’s a very easy and enjoyable watch), Ken Ohka’s bizarre offshoot Ganbare Pro Wrestling, and now the Pro Wrestling NOAH promotion (more on them in a sec), so Universe features live and archive shows from all of these companies as well. It also features archive content from BASARA, Isami Kodaka’s indie that until the end of 2019 was a DDT Group promotion too (it went off on its own at the start of 2020). Simply put there is a LOT of content here for you to dig into if you so choose, pretty easily the most of any of these services outside of New Japan World. The past archives are pretty much complete dating back to 2016, and there’s plenty of random pre-2016 shows too.
Lockdown Plans: DDT has begun airing a new weekly TV show, called simply “DDT TV SHOW”, which will air every Saturday in the month of May on DDT Universe. The first episode debuted on May 2nd and featured what I think is the very best “no fan” match I’ve seen, a ****1/4 banger of a main event between Tetsuya Endo and Kazusada Higuchi. It also featured a sex doll declaring war on an entire unit of wrestlers. DDT is a land of contrasts.
3 Recent Matches: Tetsuya Endo vs. Keisuke Ishii, 5/19/19 (****1/2), Konosuke Takeshita vs. Tetsuya Endo, 7/19/19 (****3/4), Kenny Omega & Riho vs. Antonio Honda & Miyu Yamashita, 11/3/19 (****1/2)
Pro Wrestling NOAH
History: As mentioned earlier, nearly the entire AJPW roster (all native Japanese wrestlers other than Toshiaki Kawada and Masa Fuchi) left the company to found NOAH on May 28th, 2000. The company was looked at by fans as the true successor of the King’s Road style, though this would be complicated a bit when a number of NOAH wrestlers (lead by Jun Akiyama) would jump back to All Japan in January 2013. NOAH thrived in the early to mid-00s when the rest of the Japanese wrestling scene (including most notably NJPW) were struggling, as they rode hot stars of the 90s Mitsuharu Misawa and Kenta Kobashi and stayed true to a more traditional Japanese wrestling style at the same time most other companies (again including NJPW!) were heavily influenced by the MMA boom. However, a new generation of wrestlers struggled to catch on after Misawa & Kobashi, and by the time Misawa tragically passed away in June 2009 the company was clearly already well on its way down, which the death of their top star only accelerated. Kobashi too would retire in 2013, and the decade saw the once-giant struggle mightily. At one point Bushiroad owned a substantial chunk of the company and attempted to revitalize it by sending the Suzukigun heel stable there for nearly two years, but the company continued to struggle. It was eventually sold in late 2016 to an IT company, with the end result being Bushiroad pulling all NJPW wrestlers and the two companies ending up with an extremely chilly relationship. After three years that showed some small signs of improvement that clearly wasn’t enough, the company was ultimately sold again in January 2020, this time to CyberAgent, the same corporation that owns DDT. There have been few signs of immediate changes so far, with seemingly the same booking team (reportedly lead by indie veteran NOSAWA Rongai, who has received a lot of praise for his booking in the past year or so) having been left in place, but who knows what the future will hold.
Style: NOAH has transformed into an extremely unique promotion that features a wide range of wrestling styles, so it’s difficult to pin down anything and just say that’s “the NOAH style”. They have guys like Go Shiozaki and Kaito Kiyomiya that really wouldn’t be out of place in NJPW or AJPW, but they also have guys like Hideki Suzuki and Kazuyuiki Fujita who wrestle what is frequently referred to as “shoot style”, or with a heavy emphasis on MMA-style realism, submissions and mat wrestling. This style certainly isn’t for everyone, but personally I’m glad to see wrestlers keeping it alive in 2020. The junior division is dominated by indie sleaze but also features wily veteran Yoshinari Ogawa, possibly the most underrated wrestler in the world today. They also book all sorts of different foreigners from across the world. Simply put this company is all over the map, and you will probably see more variety on a NOAH show right now than virtually any other company in wrestling. I think that’s very much a good thing, but of course, your own mileage may vary.
Current Champion: Go Shiozaki won his fourth GHC Heavyweight Title on 1/4/20 from young ace Kaito Kiyomiya in an excellent main event that was right up there with the best Wrestle Kingdom had to offer (and this show sold out Korakuen Hall while Night 1 of WK was going on across the street, as they went head-to-head). Shiozaki was a protege of Kenta Kobashi who, like many other wrestlers of his generation, was unable to carry the company in the post-Misawa/Kobashi era. He actually left NOAH for AJPW with Jun Akiyama in January 2013 before ultimately returning a little under three years later in late 2015, but his career renaissance really took off when he formed the AXIS tag team with Katsuhiko Nakajima at the end of 2018. They were my tag team of the year for 2019, as Shiozaki put on some of the best performances of his career. He’s only continued to do outstanding work since moving back to the singles division in 2020, including his win over Kiyomiya and an extremely memorable empty arena title defense against Kaz Fujita.
Streaming Service: NOAH is a bit of a strange beast at the moment when it comes to where they air. As mentioned, they’re now owned by CyberAgent and they have their own page on DDT Universe, so some live and VOD NOAH shows are included with your Universe subscription at no additional cost, which is certainly nice. However, some shows only air live on the AbemaTV service, which while free is not available outside of Japan (you’ll need to use a VPN service to watch). It sounds like the recent 5/3 show actually was made available worldwide on Abema, but only during the live airing. Still other major shows only air on the G+ satellite network in Japan, which will require you to search out someone who uploaded it on Twitter. Perhaps all of this will change in the future, but the bottom line is that right now it’s a bit more work than it should be if your goal is to watch every NOAH show. Following @Hi5ame on Twitter and her excellent NOAH blog will certainly help you keep it all straight.
Lockdown Plans: NOAH aired a no fan show on 5/3 and has two more shows planned this week, on 5/9 and 5/10. The 5/3 show as mentioned aired on Abema, and you can find it on places like torrent sites already. The 5/9 show, which is the biggest of the three featuring two title matches, will air live on DDT Universe. The 5/10 show will be back on Abema. There are currently no announced dates beyond 5/10.
3 Recent Matches: Go Shiozaki & Katsuhiko Nakajima vs. Masa Kitamiya & Yoshiki Inamura, 11/2/19 (****1/2), Kaito Kiyamiya vs. Go Shiozaki, 1/4/20 (****3/4), Hideki Suzuki vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima, 2/16/20 (****1/2)
Big Japan Pro Wrestling
History: Big Japan Pro Wrestling was founded in March 1995 by two ex-AJPW wrestlers (one left in 1999 and the other is the Great Kojika, who remains active to this day), making them actually the second-oldest company on this entire list. BJW virtually since the start has served a unique niche in the Japanese wrestling scene by serving up both gruesome deathmatches and normal wrestling matches on the same cards. The modern era of BJW has become as well known especially here in the West for beefy heavyweights trading lariats as it is for guys hitting each other with light tubes, with “Strong BJ” (the name of the traditional wrestling division) wrestlers like Daisuke Sekimoto and Yuji Okabayashi making names for themselves by touring many of the other promotions on this list, and both having some fantastic reigns as BJW Strong World Heavyweight Champion. Over in the deathmatch division, outsider Masashi Takeda had an equally fantastic reign as BJW Deathmatch Heavyweight Champion, holding the title from 8/2017 to 11/2018 and receiving widespread critical acclaim for many of his defenses, even among people who don’t normally enjoy deathmatches. But BJW has struggled to follow Takeda in the DM division or Sekimoto/Okabayashi in the Strong division, and last year was viewed by many as a major down one. And while all companies are undoubtedly struggling during the current COVID-19 crisis, it appears BJW is in especially poor shape, as they are currently running a crowdfunding campaign just to keep the promotion’s lights on (but in good news, as I write this the company has currently raised 6,919,700 yen of their 10,000,000 yen goal, or nearly 70% in just a few days). Still, just having to run such a campaign implies we could be in danger of losing them, and though they are far from the most consistent promotion on this list I would personally miss them a great deal.
Style: BJW features a mix of “normal” Japanese pro wrestling and deathmatches. The actual ratio of the two can vary on any one card; sometimes you’ll have a card that’s very deathmatch-heavy, and sometimes you’ll have a card with more regular wrestling matches. In addition, the annual G1-style league alternates each year between the two divisions, with even years featuring the Strong Climb (as just wrapped up for 2020) and odd years featuring the Ikkitousen Deathmatch Survivor (both take place around the same time in March each year). In addition to the Strong World & Deathmatch Heavyweight Titles, the top of each division, there’s also a tag team title that’s competed for in both death & regular matches depending on who the champions are at the time, the Yokohama Shopping Street Six-Man trios titles which are also defended in death & normal matches, and finally, there’s a junior title, reactivated in July 2017 for a criminally underutilized junior heavyweight division. Matches in the Strong division will greatly appeal to any NJPW fan who loves the NEVER-style hard-hitting lariat-fests, but of course whether or not you enjoy the Deathmatch division will depend on how you feel about that style of wrestling.
Current Champions: Veteran Ryuji Ito won his 7th Deathmatch Heavyweight Title on March 16th, 2020 from fellow veteran Abduallah Kobayashi in the main event of their 25th Anniversary Show in Yokohama, and has yet to defend it during our current COVID hell. Over on the Strong side, Daichi Hashimoto won the Strong World Heavyweight Title from ZERO1’s Kohei Sato on November 4th and has already made three defenses, including wins over Strong division stalwarts Daisuke Sekimoto & Yuji Okabayashi. He also just won the Strong Climb (which concluded with a recent no fans show after the COVID outbreak cut it short) as champion, so clearly they’re all the way behind him right now. Daichi is a bit of an odd duck- he’s the son of NJPW legend and ZERO1 founder Shinya Hashimoto who has disappointed many over the years with his lack of progression, and personally I think he was downright horrible last year, but at the same time he’s really been on an upswing so far in 2020. As mentioned BJW seems to finally be really behind him after several stops and starts in the past, and he’s rewarded them by putting on some very strong performances so far this year. I think he would be a strong candidate for most improved wrestler of the year so far.
Streaming Services: Oh boy. BJW Core costs 888 yen per month, and is easily the worst service we’ve discussed here so far. The good news is that everything gets uploaded eventually; the bad news is when “eventually” might be is almost impossible to tell you. Shows that air somewhere else, mainly the Samurai TV satellite network in Japan (which covers basically all of their major shows and monthly Korakuen Hall events), generally take anywhere from 4-6 weeks to end up on the service, which is quite the delay. Even worse, shows that don’t air anywhere else are uploaded in seemingly random batches, so there’s no good answer on how long they take to go up other than “it takes until they feel like uploading them”. However, the good news when it comes to following BJW is that the Samurai TV broadcasts of their major shows can generally be found on Twitter and other places online without much hassle usually only a day or so after they air thanks to devoted fans, so you can see their bigger shows very easily at least. But the Core service itself is of more value for its archive than for following the current shows. Monthly Korakuens can be watched dating back to 2018, and their archive of bigger Yokohama and Ryogokutan shows actually go back to 2015, so there’s lots of great content on there for sure. Just don’t expect new stuff to be uploaded quickly.
Lockdown Plans: BJW has run some lockdown no fan shows recently, including the finals of the Strong Climb on 4/25 and 4/26, but to my knowledge have nothing on the books at the moment.
3 Recent Matches: Daisuke Sekimoto & Yuji Okabayashi vs. Suwama & Shuji Ishikawa, 1/13/19 (****1/2), Isami Kodaka vs. Yuko Miyamoto, 11/4/19 (****1/4), Daisuke Sekimoto & WALTER vs. Yuji Okabayashi & Yuji Hino, 11/4/19 (*****)
And here’s where we’ll call this a wrap folks. There are still some even smaller promotions we could talk about (ZERO1, BASARA, 2AW and more), but BJW as the last promotion with an easily accessible streaming service seems like a good place to cut things off. Hopefully, you’ve found a new promotion or two to tide you over for however long it takes New Japan to come back, and perhaps you’ll even discover a brand new favorite in the meantime. You can always ask me any questions about any of these companies on my Twitter (@toshanshuinla) and don’t forget to check out my podcast Wrestling Omakase (@wrestleomakase) which covers all of these promotions and much more. Thanks for reading!