New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) has now announced plans for its US brand moving forward.
NJPW President Takami Ohbari recently confirmed that an announcement about the NJPW STRONG brand was coming soon.
The company has now announced a change to the way their US brand will work.
All US shows, including the weekly TV episodes and the pay-per-views, will be branded as NJPW STRONG events. Certain pay-per-views were previously only under the NJPW banner, without the ‘STRONG’ branding.
A format change was also announced, with NJPW introducing STRONG LIVE and STRONG On Demand models.
Previously NJPW would hold special STRONG tapings, and have matches from the tapings air over the next four weeks, before the next set of monthly tapings.
Now, NJPW will hold STRONG LIVE events, which will essentially be pay-per-views, airing in English on FITE, or in Japanese on NJPW World PPV. Matches from the event will air on future editions of STRONG On Demand, essentially treating the STRONG LIVE event as a taping.
NJPW shared the following:
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.
NJPW noted that this change is to help ‘fortify’ the NJPW STRONG brand, and to ensure that more fans pay attention to NJPW’s US shows.
The upcoming Battle in the Valley show, featuring Mercedes Mone, will be the first NJPW STRONG Live show, kicking off this new format.
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