NJPW alongside with their partner TV Asahi launched NJPW World on December 1st for a monthly fee of 999 Yen. This move is a part of trying to be more pro-active from a business standpoint, the promotion has felt that although its wrestling is the best in the world it is behind the WWE from an overall perspective.
In the last couple of weeks they have also announced a 13 week deal for NJPW programming to air on the American station AXS. They will be showing the best matches from January 2013 to August 2014 so that covers the last two Tokyo Dome shows and the last two G1 tournaments.
Interestingly though the programming doesn’t start until mid January which will be after the 2015 version of the Dome show. So their reasoning to cut this deal wasn’t specifically to help Global Force Wrestling (Jeff Jarrett’s group) promote the Tokyo Dome PPV in the United States.
The NJPW World service is thankfully available worldwide, although the site is in Japanese if you use Google Chrome as your internet browser there is an automatic translation option that easily allows anyone to sign up and more importantly navigate the site easily.
So what are NJPW offering those who sign up? Currently there is approx. 1000 matches available which covers from 1973 to the present. They have every major show from the last two years and every Tokyo Dome event from 1992. They also have live streaming for their events and just like the WWE they are including the big events in the monthly rate.
What that means is that Wrestle Kingdom 9 (aka Tokyo Dome 2015) is included in the 999 Yen fee. Without getting overly excited, WK9 looks like a certainty to be one of the best wrestling events in 2015 with the only question mark being how are they going to book the show in 4 hours without short-changing on time in the main events.
The 999 Yen fee equates to approx. £5.50 per month and the good news is that there are no tie in periods so you can cancel whenever you want to. You do need to have a credit card to order the service outside of Japan. If you are signing up and you’ve entered your password details it takes you to a new screen with 4 links. The top link is payment by credit card.
After looking at the site and reading comments from a number of wrestling forums there seems to be nothing but love for this service. NJPW have stated that they were looking to get 100,000 subscribers with the vast majority coming from Japan, since it’s been launched they have also said they ‘are blown away’ by the number of subscribers ordering from outside of Japan.
They are aware that they have English speaking fans and I’m sure that in time they will organise a fully English site to offer the service but that will take time. I would actually say though that if you are fan of NJPW then just jump in, the site isn’t that that difficult to search around especially using the translation option with Chrome. There are always forums where you can get advice on which matches to watch as well if you want to ask.
The one big difference to the WWE Network is that when you are watching a show in the archives (the link that looks like a ring) it takes you to a match by match option rather than watching the show in one big session. Still if your watching a show from 2013 or 2014 it means you can avoid the tedious Minoru Suzuki vs. Toru Yano feud.
It will also be interesting to see how this affects the relationship between Jeff Jarrett and NJPW, Jarrett has announced that the WK9 show will be available on traditional PPV in the States for a price of $34.95 with Jim Ross commentating live from the event. However I can see a lot of US fans who are already familiar with the NJPW product watching through NJPW World as they will be paying about $8.50 for the entire month. We will see just how much extra fans will pay to watch the Dome show with English commentary.
In closing I would strongly encourage any fans who enjoy watching NJPW to give it a go especially as the Dome show is now less than a month away. For the cost it really does offer great value for money and more importantly some awesome wrestling to watch.