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New Japan Pro Wrestling enters US television deal with AXS TV

New Japan Pro Wrestling, Japan's largest wrestling promotion, is continuing to grow its global influence and it landed another milestone Monday.

AXS TV has acquired a 13-episode series from NJPW, which will begin airing Friday, Jan. 16 at 9 p.m.

The one-hour program is NJPW's first-ever television venture in the United States and will feature Josh Barnett and Mauro Ranallo as the English commentators.

The series premiere will feature current IWGP Heavyweight Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi defending his title against Kazuchika Okada in a match between the two biggest names in Japanese wrestling today.

"With this acquisition, AXS TV Fights now offers one of the most diverse combat sports and sports entertainment programming line-ups on television," said AXS TV Fights CEO Andrew Simon in a statement. "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."

[Video courtesy of New Japan Pro Wrestling and AXS TV]