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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 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. 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 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. 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 pay-per-view marked the first time viewers outside of Japan were able to order a pay-per-view by the promotion through Ustream. 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.
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. During the tour, New Japan wrestlers also took part in an event held by Canadian promotion Border City Wrestling (BCW). On June 21, 2014, New Japan announced a partnership with the new American Global Force Wrestling (GFW) promotion.
The championships recognized by NJPW are called International Wrestling Grand Prix (IWGP).
|Championship||Current champion(s)||Held since|
|IWGP Heavyweight Championship||A.J. Styles||May 3, 2014|
|IWGP Tag Team Championship||Bullet Club|
(Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson)
|January 4, 2014|
|IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship||Kushida||July 4, 2014|
|IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship||Time Splitters|
(Alex Shelley and Kushida)
|June 21, 2014|
|IWGP Intercontinental Championship||Bad Luck Fale||June 21, 2014|
|NEVER Openweight Championship||Yujiro Takahashi||June 29, 2014|
|Tournament||Last winner(s)||Last held||Type||Created||Notes|
|G1 Climax||Kazuchika Okada||August 10, 2014||Open weight||1991||NJPW's biggest annual tournament, primarily for heavyweights but there is no official weight limit. Mostly in a round-robin format[Note 1]|
|World Tag League||Bullet Club|
(Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson)
|December 8, 2013||Tag team||1991||NJPW's annual tag team round-robin tournament.[Note 2]|
|New Japan Cup||Shinsuke Nakamura||March 23, 2014||Open weight||2005||Single-elimination tournament|
|Best of the Super Juniors||Ricochet||June 8, 2014||Junior Heavyweight||1988||Annual round-robin tournament featuring top junior heavyweights from all over the world.|
|Super J Cup||Naomichi Marufuji||December 23, 2009||Junior Heavyweight||1994||Sporadic 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 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|
(Birth name)[Note 5]
|1||2007||Inoki, AntonioAntonio Inoki|
|NJPW founder and first IWGP Heavyweight Champion.|
|2||2007||Sakaguchi, SeijiSeiji Sakaguchi||Three-time NWA North American Tag Team Champion and one-time NWF North American Heavyweight and WWF North American Heavyweight Champion.|
|3||2007||Hoshino, KantaroKantaro Hoshino|
|One-time IWA World Tag Team Champion with Kotetsu Yamamoto as the Yamaha Brothers. Also known as a promoter and manager.|
|4||2007||Kotetsu Yamamoto||One-time IWA World Tag Team Champion with Kantaro Hoshino as the Yamaha Brothers.|
|Winner of the 1976 Karl Gotch Cup.|
|6||2009||Kobayashi, KuniakiKuniaki Kobayashi||One of NJPW's top junior heavyweights of the 1970s and '80s.|
|7||2009||Maeda, AkiraAkira Maeda||Two-time IWGP Tag Team Champion.|
(Victor Mar Manuel)
|One-time National Junior Heavyweight Champion and Naucalpan Tag Team Champion.|
|9||2010||Hamaguchi, AnimalAnimal Hamaguchi|
|Trainer and two-time All Asia Tag Team Champion.|
|10||2010||Hashimoto, ShinyaShinya Hashimoto||One of the Three Musketeers. Three-time IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Tag Team Champion. Founder of Pro Wrestling Zero1.|
|11||2011||Don Arakawa||One-time WWC Caribbean Tag Team Champion. Best known as an underdog and comedy wrestler.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to New Japan Pro Wrestling.|