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NJPW Strong is a professional wrestling television program produced by the Japanese professional wrestling promotion NJPW American sub-brand New Japan Pro-Wrestling of America (NJoA) and airs worldwide on NJPW's streaming service NJPW World. The show debuted on August 7, 2020 and served as a flagship program for NJPW's American talent and NJPW's U.S. Young Lions.

History[]

Background[]

In November 2014, NJPW and AXS TV made a deal for AXS to broadcast a new series, called NJPW World Pro Wrestling, which would air weekly on Friday evenings starting in January 2015. This was the first time NJPW has aired on an American television network since its formation in 1972. However, on December 27, NJPW ended its television deal with AXS TV.

In April 2017, NJPW went public with their plan of an American expansion, which included establishing a subsidiary and running extended tours in the United States with California as the base, while also establishing a dojo for training Americans in Los Angeles, run by Rocky Romero. The full-scale running of the American market was set to launch in 2018. According to NJPW owner Takaaki Kidani, the plan was a direct response to WWE taking four wrestlers, including AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura, from NJPW in January 2016. On May 12, 2017, during the third night of the War of the Worlds tour, co-produced by New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) and Ring of Honor (ROH), NJPW United States Ambassador George Carroll announced the creation of the IWGP United States Championship. The following day, NJPW revealed the title's official name as the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship. On July 2, Takaaki Kidani announced that NJPW would be opening an office in Los Angeles before the end of 2017, and a dojo to be inaugurated at the start of 2018.

The first NJPW shows to be held in the United States was the G1 Special in USA on July 1 and 2, which was a success, with tickets and meet-and-greets selling out within 2 hours after being available for purchase. Afterwards, NJPW held "Strong Style Saturday" at the newly-opened NJPW LA Dojo, where they announced that Katsuyori Shibata would be serving as head trainer for the newly established dojo. In addition to the opening of the NJPW Dojo in the United States, on July 6, 2018, it was announced a developmental branch in the United States the Lion's Break Project a counterpart of the Lion's Gate Project shows in Japan, which would feature NJPW Young Lions trained in the USA dojo. On October 21, 2019, NJPW announced the creation of its American subsidiary named New Japan Pro-Wrestling of America, based in California, with the goal of expanding in the American market. On June 19, 2020, NJPW held a weekly series called Lion's Break Collision that aired throughout the month of July, with the series airing on NJPW's internet streaming service NJPW World and digital network FITE TV worldwide. Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the United States, the shows were held in closed doors without a live audience, with only essential personnel in the arena.

Establishment[]

On July 31, during an online press conference, NJPW of America CEO Takami Obari announced a new weekly series NJPW Strong, which would air on Fridays at 10 pm ET on NJPW's streaming service NJPW World, starting on August 7, with the inaugural New Japan Cup USA tournament, the American version of the New Japan Cup, featuring the NJPW's American talent and NJPW's U.S. Young Lions, with the winner receiving an opportunity for the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship. On August 1, NJPW announced that Juice Robinson would miss the tapings of the New Japan Cup USA, due to a leg injury. The premiere episode of the event was held on August 7 and broadcasted live from NJPW's L.A. Dojo on NJPW World. The event was held behind closed doors with essential staff and personnel due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the United States. On August 19, it was announced that NJPW Strong would also air on FITE TV in conjunction with NJPW World.

Special episodes[]

NJPW Strong usually brands 3-4 episodes at a time as special events to mimic the normal touring schedule of the main promotion.

Episode Date Notes
New Japan Cup USA August 7–August 21, 2020 Featured the inaugural New Japan Cup USA tournament.
Fighting Spirit Unleashed September 4–September 11, 2020 Featured an IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship challenge rights certificate match.
Lion's Break Crown September 18, 2020–October 9, 2020 Featured the Lion's Break Crown tournament.
NEVER October 16–October 23, 2020 Featured heavyweight vs. junior heavyweight matches.
New Japan Showdown November 13, 2020–November 20, 2020 Featured an IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship challenge rights certificate match.
Detonation December 11, 2020–December 18, 2020
Lion's Break Contender January 22, 2021–January 29, 2021
The New Beginning in USA February 19–26, 2021 Featured an IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship match.
Strong Style Evolved March 19–26, 2021 Featured qualifying matches for the New Japan Cup USA tournament.
LA Dojo Showcase April 30, 2021 Featured NJoA L.A Dojo young lions.
Collision 2021 March 7–14, 2021
Ignition June 18–25, 2021 Featured an Strong Openweight Championship match.
Tag Team Turbulence July 16–30, 2021 Featured the Tag Team Turbulence tournament.
Fighting Spirit Unleashed (2021) August 16, 2021 First NJPW Strong show with fans after COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.

Roster[]

The wrestlers featured on NJPW Strong take part in scripted feuds and storylines. Wrestlers are portrayed as heroes, villains, or less distinguishable characters in scripted events that build tension and culminate in a wrestling match.

Commentators[]

Language Commentators Dates
Japanese Hiroshi Tanahashi and Katsuyori Shibata August 7, 2020 – August 22, 2020
September 19, 2020 - October 10, 2020
December 12, 2020 - December 18, 2020
Katsuyori Shibata and Shigeki Kiyono August 29, 2020 - September 12, 2020
October 17, 2020 - October 24, 2020
November 28, 2020 - December 5, 2020
January 15, 2021 – January 29, 2021

March 19, 2021 – March 27, 2021

Katsuyori Shibata, Hirooki Goto, and Shigeki Kiyono October 31, 2020 – November 21, 2020
Hiroshi Tanahashi and Shigeki Kiyono January 8, 2021

February 19, 2021 – March 12, 2021

April 30, 2021

May 21, 2021 – present

Togi Makabe and Shigeki Kiyono May 7, 2021 – May 14, 2021
English Alex Koslov and Kevin Kelly August 7, 2020 – present

Ring announcers[]

Language Ring announcers Dates
English Adnan Kureishy August 7, 2020 – Present
Japanese Takuro August 7, 2020 – Present

See also[]

External links[]