Five years after their relationship began, New Japan Pro Wrestling and AXS TV will go their separate ways starting in 2020.
NJPW tweeted Friday they have no further plans to broadcast matches, including Wrestle Kingdom, in the U.S. outside their New Japan World streaming service. AXS confirmed NJPW will no longer air on their network.
The two sides came together on a deal in late-2014 for 13 episodes of their World Pro Wrestling show that previously aired on TV Asahi with Mauro Ranallo (later Jim Ross) and Josh Barnett doing the English commentary. The viewership was so strong that they extended their deal for several years and extended to re-broadcasts of big events and some live shows as well.
With availability in 50 million homes, the American TV version was a key driver in NJPW's increased popularity stateside where they have increased touring in recent years and will continue to do so in 2020.
In September, a majority interest in AXS was purchased by Anthem Sports & Entertainment, the parent company of Impact Wrestling who is expected to get the focus now that NJPW is gone. AXS has also aired Women of Wrestling, a group that features Tessa Blanchard, since January of 2019.