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New Japan coming to American television

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AXS TV released a promo video for 2015 that includes New Japan Pro Wrestling as a "new series".

The network was once HDNet (and used to be the television home of Ring of Honor), and is now owned by that entity as well as a consortium of partners that includes Ryan Seacrest and CBS.  The channel is carried on DirectTV, Dish Network and Verizon FIOS, plus several other cable systems in the United States.

According to PWInsider, the show will contain old footage from 2013 and 2014 events as a clip or highlight show.  It will be the first time the material will be available legally in North America.  Fight Network provides more details, stating that the series will be 13 episodes long and include English language commentary by Mauro Ranallo and UFC heavyweight Josh Barnett.  No word on if the show will include wrestler promos, and if those will be dubbed.  Hopefully, they'll go the Lucha Underground route and subtitle any Japanese so audiences can experience something other than an American voice actor reading wrestling promos.

There's no news on a start date other than 2015, but the first episode is said to include the Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada match from the 2013 Tokyo Dome show.  Those men are set to continue their rivalry in January in the main event of Wrestle Kingdom 9 from the same building, a pay-per-view (PPV) that will be available in North America with Jim Ross on commentary thanks to Jeff Jarrett's Global Force Wrestling (GFW).

GFW has not been mentioned in any of the news of this announcement, and it's unclear if they played any role in making it happen.  With AXS is an extremely niche channel, NJPW is certainly making moves into English-speaking markets.

It'll be interesting to see what role Jarrett's company plays in those moves, and how ROH, AAA, TNA and others respond - or if WWE feels the need to do anything to counter expansion into their home turf.

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