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New Japan unveils new plan for their U.S. brand

New Japan’s YouTube

New Japan Pro-Wrestling opened a training center in Los Angeles back in 2018. Two years later, the Bushiroad-owned promotion launched their NJPW Strong streaming show.

Partially a solution to pandemic-related problems (how to use U.S.-based and other international talent when lockdowns made travel to & from Japan extremely difficult, and how to keep Dojo trainees live reps when there were very few shows running anywhere), Strong was also part of the company’s global expansion dreams. It had some of its own titles, and held PPV events in addition to its weekly pre-taped episodes.

But with COVID restrictions loosening & New Japan’s biggest stars working more shows on both sides of the Pacific, NJPW made it clear changes were coming to their American strategy.

Today (Jan. 30), they announced those plans. All shows in the U.S. will now be held under the Strong banner. They’ll be branded as Strong Live, and offered on PPV for fans to purchase individually & watch live (obviously). Matches from those shows will then be broken up into individual episodes of what will now be called Strong On Demand, which will be uploaded for NJPWWorld subscribers in the weeks after each event.

Feb. 18’s Battle in the Valley card in San Jose, California — which feature Mercedes Moné’s New Japan in-ring debut and a match for the top IWGP men’s title — will mark the start of the new model. The announcement also applies to the already announced WrestleMania week event at WrestleCon in Los Angeles, and April shows in Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia.

Moving forward, all events from New Japan Pro-Wrestling in the US will carry the branding of NJPW STRONG. In addition, the weekly ‘TV taping’ format of STRONG will shift to a dual model: STRONG LIVE and STRONG On Demand.

The first STRONG LIVE event will be Battle in the Valley on February 18 from the sold out San Jose Civic. With Mercedes Moné versus KAIRI for the IWGP Women’s Championship, Fred Rosser defending the STRONG Openweight Championship against KENTA, Jay White and Eddie Kingston in a grudge match, and the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship also on the line, this immense card is a must watch event for fans live in English on FITE, or in Japanese on NJPW World PPV.

All this action will also be made available in March with NJPW STRONG On Demand. STRONG On Demand will see matches from STRONG Live cards delivered in a four part weekly basis through the month, much as NJPW STRONG has been to date.

This model will continue with NJPW Capital Collision in Washington DC and Collision in Philadelphia from the world famous 2300 Arena!

This dual model will give fans on a budget the chance to stay up to date with the hottest action in the US through their regular NJPW World subscription, while the very best live experience on the planet awaits on pay per view as it happens.


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