New Japan Pro Wrestling

njpw-logoOriginally founded by legendary wrestler Antonio Inoki in 1972, New Japan Pro Wrestling, also known as “Shin Nihon Puroresu”, is considered the top promotion in Japan and is comparable to WWE in the US in terms of popularity and size in Japan. They promote events throughout Japan with their biggest event being their annual blowout show held every year on January 4 at the Tokyo Dome, which is Japan’s version of WWE’s annual WrestleMania event. In the past they have worked with WWE, WCW and NWA among others and currently have a working agreement with TNA Wrestling, additionally they occasionally do cross-promotion matches with other Japanese promotions, currently they are doing such a program with NOAH. They also have a working partnership with the CMLL promotion in Mexico. They currently are owned by Japanese media/entertainment company Yuke’s. Antonio Inoki is no longer affiliated with NJPW although his son Simon is an executive with the promotion.
The promotion also has it’s own governing body, the International Wrestling Grand Prix (IWGP). Thus all the promotion’s titles are referred to as IWGP Titles. They currently have 4 titles: Heavyweight, Jr. Heavyweight, Tag Team, Jr. Tag Team. A 5th title, U-30 Openweight, is currently inactive. A 6th title, IWGP Intercontinental, will be introduced in May 2011 during a US tour. They also hold 4 annual tournaments each year, usually to determine a top contender for a title: G1 Climax (singles), New Japan Cup (singles), G1 Tag League (tag teams), and the prestigious Best Of The Super Junior (Jr. Heavyweights only).
Another unique aspect of New Japan is that all their talent work under one-year contracts. All contracts then are re-negotiated after the annual Tokyo Dome blowout show in January, the majority re-sign without incident or other issues but now & then a dispute arises and the process gets prolonged.
The promotion debuted a new series called NEVER in August 2010, designed to be a series of events spotlighting younger up-and-coming talent and feature more outsider participation in the promotion.
There are a number of factions in the promotion that the wrestlers are affiliated with and compete against amongst themselves, the current breakdown as of July 2010:
Unaffiliated Heavyweights: King Fale, Kyosuke Mikami, Manabu Nakanishi, Hirooki Goto, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima
Unaffiliated Jr. Heavyweights: Taichi, Ryusuke Taguchi, Prince Devitt, Koji Kanemoto, Jushin Liger, Tiger Mask 4, Hiromu Takahashi
Blue Justice: Yuji Nagata, Super Strong Machine, Wataru Inoue
CHAOS: Jado, Gedo, Takashi Iizuka, Tomohiro Ishii, Yujiro Takahashi, Tetsuya Naito, Shinsuke Nakamura, Toru Yano, Masato Tanaka, Hideo Saito
GBH (Great Bash Heel): Makabe, Tomoaki Honma
Bad Intentions: Giant Bernard, Karl Anderson
New Japan Factory (MMA): Katsuhiko Nagata

Current active talent based in promotion:
Hiroshi Tanahashi (棚橋弘至 / Shelf bridge Hiro reaching)
Yuji Nagata (永田裕志 / Nagata Yutaka will)
Hiroyoshi Tenzan (天山広吉 / Tenzan wide good fortune)
Manabu Nakanishi (中西学 / Nakanishi study) (Inactive-injured)
Wataru Inoue (井上亘 / Inoue 亘)
Mitsuhide Hirasawa (“ザ・マシンガン”カール・アン / Flat 澤 Mitsuhide) (Currently competing in Puerto Rico; May now be competing as Hideo Saito)
Kazuchika Okada (岡田かずちか / Okada or [zu] [chi]?) (Currently in TNA Wrestling)
Nobuo Yoshihashi (吉橋伸雄 / Good fortune bridge Nobuo) (Currently not with promotion-competing in Mexico)
Tiger Mask 4 (タイガーマスク / Tiger mask)
Koji Kanemoto (金本浩二 / Kouji Kanemoto)
Ryusuke Taguchi (田口隆祐 / Takashi Taguchi 祐)
Yujiro Takahashi (高橋裕二郎 / Jiro Yutaka Takahashi)
Tetsuya Naito (内藤哲也 / Tetuya Naito)
Taichi (タイチ / [taichi])
Riki Choshu (長州力 / Tiyousiyuu power)
Masa Chono (蝶野正洋 / Butterfly field correct ocean) (No longer with promotion) (Independent/Freelancer)
Super Strong Machine (S・S・マシン / S & S machine)
Jushin Liger (獣神サンダー・ライガー / Animal God Thunder Liger)
AKIRA (AKIRA) (Now affiliated with SMASH; Appears occasionally)
Hirooki Goto (後藤洋央紀 / Goto ocean middle period)
Milano Collection AT (ミラノコレクションA.T. / The milan collection A.T.) (Retired)
Prince Devitt (プリンス・デヴィット / Prince [devuitsuto]) (gaijin)
Shinsuke Nakamura (中邑真輔 / In 邑 truth 輔) (Currently competing in Mexico)
Toru Yano (矢野通 / Yano)
Takashi Iizuka (飯塚高史 / Kouzi Izuka)
Giant Bernard (ジャイアント・バーナード / Giant Barnard) (gaijin)
Karl Anderson (“ザ・マシンガン”カール・アンダーソン / “The machine-gun” cirque Anderson) (gaijin)
Tomohiro Ishii (石井智宏 / Hiroshi Satoshi Ishii)
Jado (邪道 / Wicked road)
Gedo (外道 / Outside road)
Makabe (真壁刀義 / Makabe sword justice)
Tomoaki Honma (田口隆祐 / Honma 朋 Akira)
Katsuhiko Nagata (永田克彦 / Katuhiko Nagata) (Primarily competes in MMA)
Naofumi Yamamoto (Currently competing in WWE as Yoshi Tatsu)
Kyosuke Mikami (三上恭佑 / Mikami 恭 佑)
King Fale (キング・ファレ / King [huare])
Hiromu Takahashi (高橋広夢 / Takahashi wide dream)
Takaaki Watanabe (渡辺高章 / Watanabe high chapter)
Tama Tonga (タマ・トンガ / [tama] Tonga) (gaijin)
MVP (MVP) (gaijin)
Lance Archer (gaijin)
Satoshi Kojima (Inactive-injured)
Masato Tanaka (ZERO1; Appears occasionally)
Red Shoes Unno (レッドシューズ海野 / Lead shoes Umino) (Referee)
Tiger Hattori (タイガー服部 / Tiger Hattori) (Referee)
Marty Asami (マーティー浅見 / [matei] Asami) (Referee)
Kimihiko Ozaki (尾崎仁彦 / Kimihiko Ozaki) (Ring Announcer)
Masayuki Hayashi (林 督元 / Forest 督 origin) (Ring Doctor)
Takeshi Misawa (三澤 威 / Three 澤 dignity) (Medical Trainer)

Titles & History:
IWGP Heavyweight Championship
IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship
IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship
IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championship
IWGP U-30 Openweight Championship (Inactive)
IWGP Intercontinental Championship

The promotion’s official websites (in Japanese) can be accessed via the following URL: (YouTube channel) (Ustream channel, features live & taped press conference videos) (Twitter feed of New Japan President Naoki Sugabayashi)