NJPW News: NJPW WK will air on Fite TV app, changes to NJPW on AXS TV announcing, Radican on Eggshells podcast, Excalibur set to announce final days of World Tag League (w/Radican’s Analysis)


-Fite.tv has announced they will air NJPW’s Wrestle Kingdom on Jan. 4 in HD. The show is available for $34.99 through the Fite.tv app.

Radican’s Analysis: This is a great choice for casual viewers that just want to see the biggest NJPW show of the year. The show will have commentary in English with Kevin Kelly, Don Callis, and Chris Charlton. The show will also be available with a Japanese feed as well, so with one purchase you can choose either language feed. 

It would be beneficial for NJPW to get an app on Roku and apple for NJPW World. NJPW World is a much cheaper option when it comes to watching Wrestle Kingdom, as the monthly rate for NJPW World is usually around nine or ten dollars. NJPW World does have an app on Amazon Fire Stick, but it’s not as functional as most apps are on Roku. 

I reached out to some people familiar with NJPW’s line of thinking when it came to expanded their availability on Roku and was told it came down to the cost of launching an app that made NJPW reluctant in the past to launch a Roku channel. 

-AXS TV has announced some changes in their programming going forward. Jim Ross and Josh Barnett have finished up as announcers on AXS. PWTorch has learned that beginning with Wrestle Kingdom in January, AXS will have a quicker turnaround with NJPW programming, as they will use the feed that’s on NJPW World and edit it for their broadcasts. Kevin Kelly and a rotating cast of commentators. Don Callis is expected to be on with Kelly for most big shows.

AXS TV will present a two hour version of Wrestle Kingdom on Jan. 4 at 8p.m. EST that is considered “real-time.” The two hour edit of the show, which will air live in its entirety starting at 3a.m. EST on NJPW World. The Wrestle Kingdom special on AXS is headlined by IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi and IWGP Intercontinental Champion Chris Jericho vs. Tetsuya Naito.

By not having to dub in commentary post-production, most NJPW events will come quicker to AXS TV. The upcoming schedule of NJPW events on AXS TV for 2019 is as follows:

  • Jan. 4 – Wrestle Kingdom 13 (2 hours)
  • Jan. 11 – Wrestle Kingdom 13 (2 hours)
  • Jan. 18 – Wrestle Kingdom 13
  • Jan. 25 – New Year Dash
  • Feb. 1 – New Year Dash
  • Feb. 8 – New Beginning in Sapporo
  • Feb. 15 – New Beginning in Sapporo
  • Feb. 22 – New Beginning in Sapporo

Radican’s Analysis: This is a great announcement from AXS. There always seemed to be friction between the AXS announce team and NJPW and now that the English commentary will be uniform between NJPW World and AXS TV, that solves that issue. Jim Ross was good when calling the bigger matches on the U.S. NJPW shows live, but seemed lost a lot of the time when commentating on the undercard.

The change to using the English feed from NJPW World allows people in the U.S. to keep up with the big NJPW events faster than ever. I think this change will benefit both sides in the long run. Kevin Kelly is fantastic on commentary and has been joined by some great commentators other than Don Callis when he isn’t available. I’ve enjoyed Rocky Romero and Chuckie T a great deal in the past. Chris Charlton also does a great job as a translator/commentator.

-Chris Charlton is the author of Eggshells, which looks at every Tokyo Dome main event in Japan. PWTorch columnist Sean Radican joined Chris for his companion podcast series to Eggshells on POST Wrestling looking at Wrestle Kingdom VI. You can listen to that podcast here

-Longtime PWG announcer Excalibur announced he will be heading to Japan to announce the last three days of the World Tag League. Excalibur mentioned on Twitter that it was a dream of his to commentate a NJPW event. Excalibur recently served as one of the announcers of the All In PPV back in September.

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