Over the past few years, New Japan Pro Wrestling has done whatever it takes to expand in the United States. From big events to enhancing its dojo, the company is looking to become one of the top promotions in the world. There appears to be a blockade in their way in the form of AXS.
The company announced via Twitter that AXS will not be providing NJPW broadcasts in the United States in 2020.
"In response to US fan queries: There are currently no plans for TV broadcast of NJPW events in 2020 (WK14 included) in the US. Thank you for joining us on TV so far. We invite you to join @njpwworld for all the action in 2020, LIVE and in English!"
The relationship between AXS and NJPW has been rocky ever since Anthem Sports & Entertainment, the parent company of Impact Wrestling, announced they acquired a majority interest in Mark Cuban's AXS TV and HDNet Movies. AXS TV has been a NJPW broadcast partner since 2014, and the deal between the two is set to expire in January 2021, according to a previous version of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
Recently, a number of AXS TV members were laid off, including Adam Swift, the former Vice President of Legal Affairs that helped New Japan land on AXS. AXS TV Fights CEO Andrew Simon was also let go. Anthem Chief Corporate Officer Ed Nordholm previously stated that Impact and AXS were hoping to build on the relationship with NJPW, though that appears to have changed.
"Anthem has been public that it has not made any decisions regarding current programming," Nordholm stated. "We have been long-time broadcast partners with TV Asahi for NJPW at Fight Network and hope to build on that relationship. We are in the middle of a season with WOW and about to tape another series of episodes next week, so no reason to make any decisions there in the short term. We're looking forward to getting to know them better."
There has been no official comment by AXS at this time, nor are there any reports of an alternative plan for NJPW.
In response to US fan queries— NJPW Global (@njpwglobal) December 27, 2019
There are currently no plans for TV broadcast of NJPW events in 2020 (WK14 included) in the US.
Thank you for joining us on TV so far. We invite you to join @njpwworld for all the action in 2020, LIVE and in English!https://t.co/ldAvP7y3CH#njpw pic.twitter.com/C0gV2JuJ37