Mark Cuban and New Japan are expanding their partnership as they grow further into West.
New Japan Pro Wrestling may never be direct competition for the WWE, but the company is making strides toward taking a major dent out of the WWE’s audience and companies like NJPW and ROH (Ring of Honor) have really stepped forward. Names like Mark Cuban — the Billionaire, television personality and owner of the Dallas Mavericks — have helped these two promotions reach a much larger audience and he doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
Cuban is the chairman of AXS TV and long been a wrestling fan. Having placed ROH on his HDNet years ago he’s now working directly with New Japan Pro Wrestling’s distributor TV ASAHI Corporation to create an English language show for New Japan.
With NJPW growing in popularity and AXS TV looking for additional ways to expand its reach, Cuban found that wrestling has been a major player and huge factor in the growing success of his service. Using Wrestle Kingdom 12 as an example of just how much these other companies have blossomed, Cuban stated, “The numbers keep on going up. Other TVs are declining, and ours are going up. That’s a good sign. There are some nights when it beats MMA, it’s doing that well.”
As a result, Cuban plans to invest more money into his partnerships with wrestling. During an interview with Justin Barrasso of SI.com, Cuban explained of his relationship with the TV ASAHI Corporation, “We’re looking to expand it on Friday nights. We want to do more live, as opposed to the delay, and we’re talking to them about special events. We’re getting to know them better. We went from a delay to a short delay to live, so we’re going to get smarter about it.”
Former full-time—now part-time—announcer Jim Ross worked with both ASAHI and AXS TV to call NJPW matches in English before and Mark Cuban and New Japan want to continue that relationship knowing that getting this superior brand of in-ring talent to an English speaking audience is huge to their growth.
Mark Cuban and New Japan know the WWE doesn’t think much of them as competition, citing the language barrier as the biggest hurdle. But, his plan is to change the way fans view the product and he intends to put a little of his billions of dollars behind that plan. He knows that the wrestling itself speaks its own unique language and true fans understand what they’re watching when they see it.
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