NJPW on AXS TV: New multi-year deal!

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Rich Kraetsch
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NJPW on AXS TV: New multi-year deal!

Post by Rich Kraetsch » Thu Jul 23, 2015 3:47 pm

Awesome news that we mentioned briefly on last night's podcast. here is the full press release below:
LOS ANGELES – July 23, 2015 – AXS TV FIGHTS today announced a multi-year agreement with TV Asahi to continue to air the hit series NEW JAPAN PRO WRESTLING (NJPW), which first premiered on the network in January. As a part of the agreement, AXS TV adds 17 additional episodes to its current season, bringing the total number aired in 2015 to 42.

Starting Aug. 14 through the end of the year, NJPW episodes feature matches from Destruction in Kobe, King of Pro-Wrestling 2014, Power Struggle 2014, World Tag League 2014, Wrestle Kingdom 9, Fantasticamania 2015, The New Beginning in Osaka 2015 and The New Beginning in Sendai. Former UFC heavyweight champion and NJPW veteran Josh Barnett and renowned combat sports commentator Mauro Ranallo, will continue to provide their critically acclaimed commentary for the series.

In the past 12 months, AXS TV expanded its Friday night combat sports and professional wrestling programming line-up, adding the hour-long NJPW series at 9 p.m. ET along with two new promotions, CES MMA and Legacy Kickboxing, to its weekly, live AXS TV FIGHTS broadcasts at 10 p.m. ET. The network is on pace to broadcast 41 live MMA, Muay Thai and Kickboxing events this year, the most in its history and more than any other U.S. television network in 2015.

Additionally, in the past year AXS TV FIGHTS has increased its global presence with agreements to broadcast its combat sports events in over 15 countries, including live broadcasts of Resurrection Fighting Alliance to the Fight Network in Canada and Legacy Fighting Championship to Esporte Interativo in Brazil.

“With this multi-year agreement, AXS TV is poised to offer a more diverse combat sports and professional wrestling programming line-up than any other TV network, offering an exciting mix of exclusive live events, New Japan Pro Wrestling and MMA news coverage,” said Andrew Simon, CEO of AXS TV FIGHTS. “We are humbled by the viewer’s and media’s response to Mauro Ranallo and Josh Barnett’s commentary and presentation of the series and are excited to continue to work with our great partners at TV Asahi and NJPW for years to come.”

AXS TV’s NJPW episodes are produced by and acquired from TV ASAHI CORPORATION.

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Re: NJPW on AXS TV: New multi-year deal!

Post by DETROIT_KEJB » Thu Jul 23, 2015 4:33 pm

ROH and NJPW are the only wrestling shows that aren't DVR-FF for me. Even though I have already seen all the matches, it's still must view. Stoked on the news.

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Re: NJPW on AXS TV: New multi-year deal!

Post by br26 » Fri Jul 24, 2015 1:18 am

Even though these shows feature older matches, it's worth watching them again because Ranallo and Barnett are really good together and add a lot of insight. Glad this got renewed for a long term deal.

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Re: NJPW on AXS TV: New multi-year deal!

Post by EvanDeadlySins » Fri Jul 24, 2015 2:24 am

Did you guys see what the Observer had to say about this? Crazy stuff.

The shows have become a strong success story, as they are averaging 200,000 viewers for matches that for the most part have been more than a year old (they will have closed the gap somewhat to less than ten months by the end of this year) with English subtitles since virtually all the interviews are in Japanese. There were no expectations for numbers since nothing of this sort had ever aired in the U.S., but the show's success and reaction has been described as a very pleasant surprise and that's clear since AXS pays for the programming and has renewed the show twice now.

The show would be the fourth most watched weekly wrestling series in the country on cable, behind Raw, Smackdown and Impact, beating ROH and Lucha Underground, although both of those shows do the bulk of their audience on syndicated platforms instead of cable and would have more overall viewers for that reason.

The plan is to try and catch up the time lag, although the one hour show is the Japanese language show that airs on BS-Asahi, a satellite channel in Japan. In the past, World Pro Wrestling Returns would air on a six month lag in Japan, and until those show are produced, they can't air in the U.S. However, the plan in 2016 would be to get the lag to three months in Japan, and slightly longer than that in the U.S.

The plan in 2016 is to run the show just about 52 weeks per year, instead of seasonal as they did in the first year. In addition, most weeks will air a two hour block, where the show from the prior week will be replayed at 8 p.m. the next week, with a new episode coming at 9 p.m. The show will remain as the lead-in for the station's popular Friday night live fights. Some weeks the show will only air one hour, with the new show at 8 p.m., when live fights on the East Coast start at 9 p.m. instead of 10 p.m.

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Re: NJPW on AXS TV: New multi-year deal!

Post by InYourCase » Fri Jul 24, 2015 3:57 am

I think NJPW on AXS is the best wrestling show on TV. I completely understand why people wouldn't vote for it on the Observer Awards, but if voting ended today, this show would be getting my top spot. Yes, the matches are a year old and most of them are hand-picked to ensure the best quality, but I get so much from the interview segments. It's a fascinating look at Shibata or Nakamura and it makes those matches better. I LOVE the format of the show. I feel like ROH should be presenting their product much more like this instead of just another American wrestling show. Clip some of the undercard matches and really focus on presenting a big, important main event. I think it's nothing short of tremendous.

I am obviously very excited to hear this being renewed and even more excited to hear Mauro and Barnett call the WK9 show, especially Nakamura/Ibushi. I watched the Japanese version live but went back and watched the Striker/Ross commentary for most of the matches the next day. Those two were TERRIBLE for the Nakamura match. JR seemed lost by the psychology and Striker was just Striker. The narrative Dave has that JR did this excellent job calling WK9 is absurd to me. Went on a little bit of a tangent but the bottom line is I am super excited to see this series is continuing.

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Re: NJPW on AXS TV: New multi-year deal!

Post by LuckyLuuk » Fri Jul 24, 2015 11:42 pm

InYourCase wrote:I am obviously very excited to hear this being renewed and even more excited to hear Mauro and Barnett call the WK9 show, especially Nakamura/Ibushi. I watched the Japanese version live but went back and watched the Striker/Ross commentary for most of the matches the next day. Those two were TERRIBLE for the Nakamura match. JR seemed lost by the psychology and Striker was just Striker. The narrative Dave has that JR did this excellent job calling WK9 is absurd to me. Went on a little bit of a tangent but the bottom line is I am super excited to see this series is continuing.
I'm with you on this. Did not like JR and Striker at all. They were distracting way too much. Enjoyed it so much better with the Japanese commentators.

Haven't had the chance to check out AXS but will try when I have the time. Everyone seems really positive.
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Re: NJPW on AXS TV: New multi-year deal!

Post by Leo C » Sat Jul 25, 2015 12:56 am

Really good news, from what I recall this show is pretty great. I've only watched the first season, but I'll try to catch up some time.

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