New Japan Pro Wrestling

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New Japan Pro-Wrestling
FoundedJune 1972
StyleStrong Style
Founder(s)Antonio Inoki
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New Japan Pro-Wrestling
FoundedJune 1972
StyleStrong Style
Founder(s)Antonio Inoki

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 video game 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.[1] 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[2] 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 Wrestle Kingdom banner.


Originally founded by Antonio Inoki in 1972, New Japan Pro Wrestling, also known as "Shin Nihon Puroresu", is considered the top promotion in Japan and is comparable to WWE in the United States in terms of popularity in the country. 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 Wrestle Kingdom, which is Japan's version of WWE's annual WrestleMania event.

In the past they have worked with WWE, World Championship Wrestling (WCW), and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) among others and currently have a working agreement with Mexican Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) promotion and American National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) governing body, 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.[3] 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).[4] New Japan aired its first internet pay-per-view, the fourth day of the 2012 G1 Climax, on August 5, 2012.[5] The October 8, 2012, King of Pro-Wrestling pay-per-view marked the first time viewers outside of Japan were able to order a pay-per-view by the promotion through Ustream.[6][7] 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.[8]

In February 2014, New Japan announced a partnership with Ring of Honor (ROH), which saw the promotion return to North America the following May to present two supershows; Global Wars and War of the Worlds.[9][10] During the tour, New Japan wrestlers also took part in an event held by Canadian promotion Border City Wrestling (BCW).[11] On June 21, 2014, New Japan announced a partnership with the new American Global Force Wrestling (GFW) promotion.[12]


Current championships[edit]

The championships recognized by NJPW are called International Wrestling Grand Prix (IWGP).

ChampionshipCurrent champion(s)Held since
IWGP Heavyweight ChampionshipA.J. StylesMay 3, 2014[13]
IWGP Tag Team ChampionshipBullet Club
(Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson)
January 4, 2014[14]
IWGP Junior Heavyweight ChampionshipKushidaJuly 4, 2014[15]
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team ChampionshipTime Splitters
(Alex Shelley and Kushida)
June 21, 2014[16]
IWGP Intercontinental ChampionshipBad Luck FaleJune 21, 2014[17]
NEVER Openweight ChampionshipYujiro TakahashiJune 29, 2014[18]


TournamentLast winner(s)Last heldTypeCreatedNotes
G1 ClimaxKazuchika OkadaAugust 10, 2014Open weight1991NJPW's biggest annual tournament, primarily for heavyweights but there is no official weight limit. Mostly in a round-robin format[Note 1]
World Tag LeagueBullet Club
(Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson)
December 8, 2013Tag team1991NJPW's annual tag team round-robin tournament.[Note 2]
New Japan CupShinsuke NakamuraMarch 23, 2014Open weight2005Single-elimination tournament
Best of the Super JuniorsRicochetJune 8, 2014Junior Heavyweight1988Annual round-robin tournament featuring top junior heavyweights from all over the world.
Super J CupNaomichi MarufujiDecember 23, 2009Junior Heavyweight1994Sporadic single-elimination 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 TournamentThe Young Bucks
(Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson)
November 6, 2013Junior Heavyweight Tag Team1994Sporadic tournament featuring junior heavyweight tag teams from all over the world.[Note 3]
Young Lion CupHirooki Goto2005Rookies1985Tournament that is not held every year.[Note 4]
J Sports Crown Openweight 6 Man Tag TournamentApollo 555
(Hirooki Goto, Prince Devitt and Ryusuke Taguchi)
June 23, 2011Six-man tag team2010

NJPW Greatest Wrestlers[edit]

The NJPW Greatest Wrestlers is NJPW's hall of fame, established in 2007 to honor wrestlers who have wrestled for the promotion.[19]

#YearRing name
(Birth name)[Note 5]
Notes[Note 6]
12007Inoki, AntonioAntonio Inoki
(Kanji Inoki)
NJPW founder and first IWGP Heavyweight Champion.
22007Sakaguchi, SeijiSeiji SakaguchiThree-time NWA North American Tag Team Champion and one-time NWF North American Heavyweight and WWF North American Heavyweight Champion.
32007Hoshino, KantaroKantaro Hoshino
(Takeo Hoshino)
One-time IWA World Tag Team Champion with Kotetsu Yamamoto as the Yamaha Brothers. Also known as a promoter and manager.
42007Kotetsu YamamotoOne-time IWA World Tag Team Champion with Kantaro Hoshino as the Yamaha Brothers.
52007Syoji Kai
(Motoyuki Kitazawa)
Winner of the 1976 Karl Gotch Cup.
62009Kobayashi, KuniakiKuniaki KobayashiOne of NJPW's top junior heavyweights of the 1970s and '80s.
72009Maeda, AkiraAkira MaedaTwo-time IWGP Tag Team Champion.
82009Black Cat
(Victor Mar Manuel)
One-time National Junior Heavyweight Champion and Naucalpan Tag Team Champion.
92010Hamaguchi, AnimalAnimal Hamaguchi
(Heigo Hamaguchi)
Trainer and two-time All Asia Tag Team Champion.
102010Hashimoto, ShinyaShinya HashimotoOne of the Three Musketeers. Three-time IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Tag Team Champion. Founder of Pro Wrestling Zero1.
112011Don ArakawaOne-time WWC Caribbean Tag Team Champion. Best known as an underdog and comedy wrestler.


  1. ^ Before the G1 Climax, NJPW had had an annual single tournament since 1974 under various names: the World League (1974-77), the Madison Square Garden (MSG) League (1978-82), the International Wrestling Grand Prix (IWGP) League (1983-88) and the World Cup Tournament (1989).
  2. ^ Before the G1 Tag league, NJPW had had an annual Tag tournament since 1980 under various names: the Madison Square Garden (MSG) Tag League (1980-85) and the Japan Cup Tag League (1986-87).
  3. ^ NJPW has previously held similar tournaments for junior heavyweight tag teams, the first being the Junior Heavyweight Super Grade Tag League in 1996, won by Eddie Guerrero as Black Tiger II and The Great Sasuke. They also held the G1 Junior Tag League in 2001: it was won by El Samurai and Jushin Liger. On May 8, 2010, NJPW also held a one night, single-elimination tournament, under the name Super J Tag Tournament 1st, which was won by El Samurai and Koji Kanemoto. On November 13, 2010, NJPW held the Super J Tag League, a round-robin tournament, which was won by Jado and Gedo.
  4. ^ In 1974, 1975 and 1976 NJPW held the "Karl Gotch Cup" a similar style rookie wrestler tournament.
  5. ^ Entries without a birth name indicates that the indcutee did not perform under a ring name.
  6. ^ This section mainly lists the major accomplishments of each inductee.


  1. ^ "新役員人事決定のお知らせ". New Japan Pro Wrestling (in Japanese). September 25, 2013. Retrieved September 25, 2013. 
  2. ^ "New Japan Pro Wrestling comes to the U.S.". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. October 3, 2010. Retrieved October 4, 2010. 
  3. ^ Caldwell, James (January 5, 2011). "NJPW News: New Japan to introduce new title on U.S. tour, officially announces dates & venues for "Invasion" tour". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved January 5, 2011. 
  4. ^ Caldwell, James (January 31, 2012). "NJPW News: New Japan sold to new owners, change-over taking effect February 1". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved January 31, 2012. 
  5. ^ Caldwell, James (August 1, 2012). "NJPW debuting on iPPV this weekend". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved August 1, 2012. 
  6. ^ "10月8日『キングオブプロレスリング』 PPV配信が更に規模を拡大して「全世界」へ! Ustream all over the world !". New Japan Pro Wrestling (in Japanese). September 28, 2012. Retrieved September 28, 2012. 
  7. ^ Caldwell, James (September 28, 2012). "NJPW offering Oct. 8 show on iPPV". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved September 28, 2012. 
  8. ^ "あの『NEVER』がリニューアル!! "無差別級王座"も新設!! 11.15&11.19Shibuya Axで再出発!!". New Japan Pro Wrestling (in Japanese). October 5, 2012. Retrieved October 5, 2012. 
  9. ^ "今年5月、新日本プロレスが北米再上陸!! ROHとの共同開催で、5月10日カナダ、17日ニューヨーク大会が決定!!". New Japan Pro Wrestling (in Japanese). February 24, 2014. Retrieved March 28, 2014. 
  10. ^ Carapola, Stuart (February 22, 2014). "Live ROH HonorCon coverage: the big announcement". Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved March 28, 2014. 
  11. ^ Meltzer, Dave (April 24, 2014). "Notes on New Japan/Border City main matches for 5-9 in Windsor, Ontario". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved April 25, 2014. 
  12. ^ "「G1」出場メンバー、各大会の主要カードを電撃発表!! 開幕戦で、中邑vs柴田が実現! 西武ドームにROH勢が参戦!!". New Japan Pro Wrestling (in Japanese). June 21, 2014. Retrieved June 21, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Heavy weight class". New Japan Pro Wrestling (in Japanese). Retrieved September 19, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Heavy tag weight class". New Japan Pro Wrestling (in Japanese). Retrieved September 19, 2011. 
  15. ^ "Jr. Heavy weight class". New Japan Pro Wrestling (in Japanese). Retrieved September 19, 2011. 
  16. ^ "Jr. Heavy tag weight class". New Japan Pro Wrestling (in Japanese). Retrieved September 19, 2011. 
  17. ^ "InterContinental champion". New Japan Pro Wrestling (in Japanese). Retrieved September 19, 2011. 
  18. ^ "NEVER open weight class". New Japan Pro Wrestling (in Japanese). Retrieved February 10, 2013. 
  19. ^ "Greatest Wrestlers". New Japan Pro Wrestling. Retrieved July 3, 2014. 

External links[edit]