For their 2019 broadcast of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s biggest show of the year — Wrestle Kingdom 13, on January 4th, 2019 — cable channel AXS TV is shaking some things up a bit by airing a two-hour cut of NJPW‘s premiere annual show ON THE SAME, EXACT DAY that it airs in Japan. The show will feature a double-main-event with Hiroshi Tanahashi taking on Kenny Omega for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship and Chris Jericho defending the
IWGP Intercontinental Championship against Tetsuya Naito. The show airs on AXS at 8 PM Eastern/5 PM Pacific, and there are planned 2-hour re-broadcasts of Wrestle Kingdom 13 to air on January 11 and 18.
In a press release, AXS TV CEO Andrew Simon stated in a press release that drives the point home that this broadcast will completely change how the channel airs NJPW shows:
“Same-day coverage of NJPW’s Wrestle Kingdom 13 ushers in a new era of NJPW on AXS TV. Based on the tremendous growth of NJPW on AXS TV, we are making major changes to reward wrestling fans by delivering NJPW in primetime on Friday nights as close to when it takes place as possible.”
This broadcast of Wrestle Kingdom 13 will also feature the AXS TV debut of the English commentary team of Kevin Kelly and Don “The Jackal/Cyrus” Callis (who are the regular announcers for New Japan World programming), as both Jim Ross’ and Josh Barnett’s contracts are up. I guess they’re not looking for new talent, thus there go my dreams of calling a NJPW event… Sigh…