(AXS TV)AXS TV Partners with New Japan Pro Wrestling José Youngs November 25, 2014 AXS TV FIGHTS, News, Spotlight Building on the success of the AXS TV FIGHTS Friday night franchise, AXS TV has announced they have acquired the rights to a 13 episode series from New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), Japan’s largest professional wrestling promotion. Set to premiere on January 16, 2015, NJPW will air every Friday night starting at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT leading into the network’s weekly live MMA, Muay Thai, and kickboxing broadcasts. This historic partnership will also mark the first time NJPW has ever aired in the United States. Former UFC Heavyweight champion and NJPW veteran Josh Barnett will providence English language commentary alongside famed combat sports commentator Mauro Ranallo. “With this acquisition, AXS TV FIGHTS now offers one of the most diverse combat sports and sports entertainment programming line-ups on television,” stated AXS TV FIGHTS CEO Andrew Simon in a press release. “There is a strong relationship and influence between professional wrestling and MMA, and with the addition of Josh Barnett and Mauro Ranallo as our commentators, we’re confident this new venture will be a crossover hit with wrestling and MMA fans alike.” Founded in 1972, NJPW has established itself as the premier wrestling organization in Japan and the second largest and fastest growing wrestling promotion in the world. In recent years, NJPW has gained widespread international recognition, which includes winning the Wrestling Observer Newsletter “Promotion of the Year” award two years running and boasting three-year reigning “Wrestler of the Year” Hiroshi Tanahashi. The series premiere will feature Tanahashi put his IWGP Heavyweight Title on the line against his long-n time rival Kazuchika Okada in front of 29,000 fans at the Tokyo Dome.