In 2015, Mark Cuban owned AXS.TV began airing New Japan Pro Wrestling. Cuban, owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks and avowed wrestling fan sought to present an alternative to the dominating WWE on American TV. In the subsequent years, New Japan has expanded its footprint in the U.S., conducting live specials in California and co-running a show with current American partner promotion, Ring Of Honor, in New York City.
In 2019, AXS.TV looks to further compete for fans of professional wrestling by adding Women Of Wrestling to its programming. Owned by Jeanie Buss and David McLane (Founder of the original G.L.O.W.) WOW brings some very different things to the table. Originally launched in 2000, airing in syndication in regional markets on the west coast, WOW ran for about 2 years before going into hiatus until 2014. Buss and McLane rebooted the promotion into live shows and an online platform. Women Of Wrestling present their performers as “WOW Superheroes”, with a family friendly, entertaining, and very competitive atmosphere. WOW, as a promotion, has done a great job in being accessible to fans and media, doing meet and greets with every show, appearances at conventions, and an ownership in Buss and McLane that promote WOW at any and every opportunity. Dynamic performers like Amber O’Neal, Jungle Grrl, The Beast, and the current WOW champion Santana Garrett will present a compelling in ring product. WOW also looks to be stepping up their roster with the recent signing of 3rd generation wrestler and current Impact Wrestling Knockouts Champion Tessa Blanchard.
AXS.TV will not be the lone destination for professional wrestling on Friday nights, as the WWE will be moving wrestling back to broadcast television in October 2018 with SmackDown Live moving to Friday nights on FOX. This also means that cable and broadcast television will have more than two professional wrestling organizations airing content across a national platform, thus presenting options for wrestling fans.
This will not be an issue for AXS.TV however, as they will re-air both NJPW and WOW content through the weekends. AXS.TV and Mark Cuban have also voiced their commitment to NJPW by pushing for more live specials like the G1 Special 2018, which featured easily the most popular group in wrestling at present, the Bullet Club, many of whom work in New Japan and Ring Of Honor.