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New Japan Pro-Wrestling (新日本プロレス Shin Nihon Puroresu?) (NJPW) is a major professional wrestling promotion in Japan, founded in June 1972 by Antonio Inoki, who sold the promotion to Videogame developer Yuke's in 2005 and sold in 2012 to Bushiroad. Kaname Tezuka is the current President of the promotion and has held that position from September 2013, when the previous president, Naoki Sugabayashi, was promoted to Chairman. Owing to its TV program aired on TV Asahi, it is the largest wrestling promotion in Japan and the second largest in the world in terms of attendance and revenue (behind WWE). From its creation in 1972 until 1986, NJPW was a member of the National Wrestling Alliance. NJPW is known for openly engaging in working agreements with various MMA and pro wrestling promotions around the world, including: World Wrestling Entertainment, World Championship Wrestling, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, Full Impact Pro, WAR, Ring of Honor, Pride Fighting Championships, and Jersey All Pro Wrestling and various other MMA and pro wrestling promotions. NJPW's biggest event of the year is the January 4th at the Tokyo Dome, an event they have held each year since 1992, currently promoted under the WrestleKingdom banner.
Originally founded by Antonio Inoki in 1972, New Japan Pro Wrestling, also known as "Shin Nihon Puroresu", is considered the top promotion in the Eastern world and is comparable to WWE in the United States in terms of popularity in Japan. They promote events throughout Japan with their biggest event being their annual blowout show held every year on January 4 at the Tokyo Dome, currently billed as WrestleKingdom, which is Japan's version of WWE's annual WrestleMania event.
In the past they have worked with WWE, World Championship Wrestling (WCW), National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) among others and currently have a working agreement with Mexican Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) promotion, additionally they occasionally do cross-promotion matches with other Japanese promotions, such as All Japan Pro Wrestling and Pro Wrestling Noah.
The promotion is currently owned by Japanese card game company Bushiroad, who parlayed their entry to the world of professional wrestling into a best-selling trading card game, King of Pro Wrestling, and appearances from NJPW stars in their various franchises.
The promotion also has its own governing body, the International Wrestling Grand Prix (IWGP). Thus all the promotion's titles are referred to as IWGP Championships. They currently have six titles: Heavyweight, Junior Heavyweight, Tag Team, Junior Heavyweight Tag Team, Intercontinental and the NEVER Openweight Championship. They also hold several tournaments each year, including G1 Climax, World Tag League, New Japan Cup and Best of the Super Juniors.
The promotion debuted a new series called NEVER in August 2010, designed to be a series of events spotlighting younger up-and-coming talent and feature more outsider participation in the promotion.
On January 4, 2011, New Japan Pro Wrestling officially announced the NJPW Invasion Tour 2011: Attack on East Coast, the promotion's first tour of the United States in May 2011, when they held shows in Rahway, New Jersey on May 13, New York City on May 14 and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on May 15. As part of the tour, NJPW introduced a new title, the IWGP Intercontinental Championship. On January 31, 2012, Yuke's announced that it had sold all shares of New Japan Pro Wrestling to card game company Bushiroad for ¥500 million ($6.5 million). New Japan aired its first internet pay-per-view, the fourth day of the 2012 G1 Climax, on August 5, 2012. The October 8, 2012, King of Pro-Wrestling internet pay-per-view marked the first time viewers outside of Japan were able to order a pay-per-view by the promotion. On October 5, 2012, New Japan announced the creation of the NEVER Openweight Championship, which would be contested for on the NEVER series. A two-day tournament to determine the inaugural champion was held between November 15 and 19, 2012.
The championships recognized by NJPW are called International Wrestling Grand Prix (IWGP).
|Championship||Current champion(s)||Held since|
|IWGP Heavyweight Championship||Kazuchika Okada||April 7, 2013|
|IWGP Tag Team Championship||Bullet Club|
(Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson)
|January 4, 2014|
|IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship||Kota Ibushi||January 4, 2014|
|IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship||The Young Bucks|
(Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson)
|November 9, 2013|
|IWGP Intercontinental Championship||Hiroshi Tanahashi||January 4, 2014|
|NEVER Openweight Championship||Tomohiro Ishii||February 11, 2014|
|Tournament||Last winner(s)||Last held||Type||Created||Notes|
|G1 Climax||Tetsuya Naito||August 11, 2013||Open weight||1991||NJPW's biggest annual tournament, primarily for heavyweights but there is no official weight limit. Mostly in a league format[Note 1]|
|World Tag League||Bullet Club|
(Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson)
|December 8, 2013||Tag team||1991||NJPW's annual tag team tournament.[Note 2]|
|New Japan Cup||Kazuchika Okada||March 23, 2013||Open weight||2005||Single-elimination tournament (cf. the League Cup and the FA Cup in English Association football)|
|Best of the Super Juniors||Prince Devitt||June 9, 2013||Junior Heavyweight||1988||Annual tournament featuring top Junior Heavyweights from all over the world.|
|Super J Cup||Naomichi Marufuji||December 23, 2009||Junior Heavyweight||1994||Sporadic tournament featuring top junior heavyweights from all over the world. The tournament has been hosted by other promotions than NJPW as well.|
|Super Jr. Tag Tournament||The Young Bucks|
(Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson)
|November 6, 2013||Junior Heavyweight Tag Team||1994||Sporadic tournament featuring junior heavyweight tag teams from all over the world.[Note 3]|
|Young Lion Cup||Hirooki Goto||2005||Rookies||1985||Tournament that is not held every year.[Note 4]|
|J Sports Crown Openweight 6 Man Tag Tournament||Apollo 555|
(Hirooki Goto, Prince Devitt and Ryusuke Taguchi)
|June 23, 2011||Six man tag team||2010|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to New Japan Pro Wrestling.|