Recently, New Japan Pro Wrestling debuted their English website to provide information and news to their new crop of English speaking fans. Subscriptions for the New Japan World service were on the rise post Wrestle Kingdom 11 and even more specifically, the Kenny Omega/Kazuchika Okada main event, and so finally implementing an English bases site is a simple and easy way to draw in a new fanbase.
The site is well laid out with the perfect amount of information any wrestling fan getting into the company will need to know. Their “news” section involves match announcements, upcoming show information and posts about specific wrestlers, all translated into English. In terms of posts regarding an upcoming show, they also includes links to the New Japan World streaming website, as well as to the match cards for the event and ticketing information. One of the most appealing aspects of this section is that it also includes interviews held with the members of the roster, translated into English. For example, prior to their match, Minoru Suzuki participated in an interview with New Japan World and the transcript is posted, entirely translated for an English audience. This is a great way for fans to keep up to date on feuds and new developments within the company and its roster.
Another great feature of the website is their schedule. They list all their upcoming shows with dates and times, which makes it easy to convert into your own local time, as well as visuals of the match listings. The matches are listed in the order they will appear, along with the time limit for said match and small photos of the participants. This is a great tool if you’re looking to only watch a match with someone you’re a fan because you can see exactly where it will fall in the card lineup and roughly estimate how far into the show you need to watch.
To me, the single greatest aspect of this website is their incredibly comprehensive “Results” page. This is by far the best listing for results I’ve ever seen in a wrestling company. The past few shows are listed in date order, and once one is chosen, the results of that show are given in order as well. This function is great for those who want to get a recap of the show or are looking for a bit of information but don’t have the time to tune in. The match is listed with its number on the card, time limit, and photos of the participants complete with “x’s & o’s” representing the pinned participant and the victor. The match time is included as well, along with the finishing maneuver or sequence that resulted in the pin or submission. In some cases, mostly for title matches, the site also includes photos and a listing of what transpired after the match, as seen in this photo where Taguchi appears post-match to challenge the current champion, Hirmou, at the next show.
The “movie” option leads the user to the New Japan World streaming site if one wants to watch a show or sign up for the service. Following that is the “Social” section, which provides a grid of the most recent Instagram posts by those on the New Japan Roster and external links to follow them on Instagram. The final sections of the website are external links to the New Japan Pro Wrestling shop, as well as their social media presences on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
All in all, this is a great start to an English website for New Japan. The important information regarding upcoming shows and show results are presented in an easy to read fashion with visual and text, and their interviews and translations help to keep English speaking fans in the know. Hopefully more things will be added to this site eventually, like a roster page of some sort, but until then this is a great stepping stone into New Japan cornering more of an English language based market.