January 20, 2015 by gorillapressonline
AXS have brought an hourly show to their network highlighting some excellent wrestling action from the NJPW archives, complete with English commentary, the lack of which was previously a huge turn-off for newer fans, as anybody who has watched a film without subtitles or even been lost in a foreign land will attest to, it can be a daunting experience.
After Jeff Jarrett and Global Force Wrestling helped bridge this gap with their Wrestle Kingdom 9 broadcast, with the legendary Jim Ross and Matt Striker on commentary, all eyes have been on NJPW and the huge following it already has in the west.
The first show kicks off with an interview with NJPW IWGP Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi. Tanahashi comes across as very personable as he talks about his Wrestle Kingdom 7 title defence against Kazuchika Okada.
This match took place in the Tokyo Dome, on 4th January 2013, with Okada and Tanahashi delivering a master class, and this is an ideal entry point for new fans and a smart decision on the part of AXS, to entice new viewers to their weekly show.
Seasoned NJPW fans will find snippets to enjoy with interviews both pre- and post-match subtitled accordingly. And. although they will already be familiar with the in-ring action, some of the promos/interviews will offer a new depth to the action, further enticing the revisit.
The wealth of wrestling from this amazing company offers no end to the matches that could be shown here, and future shows could focus on stables, wrestlers and even key bouts from the past two years.
This particular series is set to last 13 episodes, which should be plenty to showcase what NJPW has to offer.
The commentary feels a little speedy in places, akin to MMA/boxing commentary, but as the matches continue, the announcers settle down. The rivalry between Okada and Tanahashi is well-explained, with respect to history and prestige.
The other important thing to note is that, even though the footage is archive, the commentators still get excited and deliver the coverage with gusto. This will certainly help usher in new fans, while simultaneously keeping the energy of die-hards up as they revisit the material.
Overall, this is an interesting premise and if successful could introduce a spate of new fans to the strong style wrestling of Japan and its numerous talented performers.
The first episode is available to watch below and the next installment airs this coming Friday on the AXS.