Friday night's New Japan Pro Wrestling show on AXS TV has been a breath of fresh air for a lot of pro graps fans. Though the in-ring action isn't new, the hand-picked matches are premiering on U.S. television, and are presented with English language commentary in order to build the feuds and angles for new viewers as if they were first run content.
With the initial order winding down this month, regular viewers were hoping for more episodes, but nothing was confirmer. Today, AXS has announced that they've order 12 more episodes, and that they'll start airing on May 22nd after a little more than a month off.
In another smart play to draw fans in with programming that highlights New Japan's differences from WWE, the new order focuses on NJPW's tournaments, with last year's G1 Climax round-robin making up the bulk of the air time, and Dominion, the pay-per-view (PPV) event that pays off the Super Juniors tourney for an IWGP Junior Heavyweight title shot , rounding out the new episodes.
Here's the press release:
AXS TV EXTENDS ‘NEW JAPAN PRO WRESTLING' FOR 12 MORE EPISODES RETURNING MAY 22
LOS ANGELES - April 2, 2015 - Based on the success of NEW JAPAN PRO WRESTLING'S (NJPW) inaugural run on AXS TV, the network today announced it has exercised its option to extend the current season by 12 episodes. The second cycle of NJPW will premiere Friday, May 22 at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT with coverage of the "Best of the Super Juniors XXI" tournament.
Renowned combat sports commentator Mauro Ranallo and former UFC heavyweight champion and NJPW veteran Josh Barnett reprise their roles as critically acclaimed commentators for the series. The additional episodes feature a combined eight hours of comprehensive coverage of the 24th annual G1 Climax Tournament, including full matches and highlights, and three hours of coverage from "Dominion 6.21."
The first cycle of NJPW episodes will wrap up April 10 featuring the IWGP Heavyweight Championship match between A.J. Styles and Kazuchika Okada from "Back to the Yokohama Arena." New episodes air Friday nights on AXS TV leading into the network's weekly, live AXS TV FIGHTS broadcasts.
"In the second cycle of NEW JAPAN PRO WRESTLING on AXS TV, we will focus a majority of the episodes on G1 Climax 24, which was hailed by many as one of the best pro wrestling tournaments in history," said Andrew Simon, CEO of AXS TV FIGHTS. "We are thankful to New Japan Pro Wrestling and our programming partner TV Asahi in Japan for allowing us to acquire this unique series and share it with our audience."
AXS TV's NJPW episodes were produced by and acquired from TV ASAHI CORPORATION.