New Japan Pro Wrestling is on the cusp of a new era, one that could lead to success in a market that was otherwise unavailable until now.
This past fall, the powers that be brought the promotion to the world of internet pay-per-view (iPPV) by way of USTREAM. Numbers from the outlet ranged around 600 or so by estimates from those in the know. As a comparison, the event was drawing around 50,000 buys in Japan for both October and November shows.
Their version of Wrestlemania, dubbed Wrestle Kingdom 7, which was held at the Tokyo Dome was ultimately a success. The internet pay-per-view portion drew a reported 1500 buys outside of Japan and domestic pay-per-view buys have been rumored in the 100,000 range, which is outstanding for the promotion, especially in Japan where pay-per-view is not commonplace.
The top three matches of the night got network TV attention, airing on TV Asahi and pulled in a very respectable 3.4 rating, granted the time slot of 1:10am-2:10am.
Revenue from the USTREAM feed was likely in the $50,000 range which is money they otherwise were not privy to before.
Management, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, and owners made NJPW a priority again and looked to make their brand a mainstream product. While hindsight is 20/20, the future is looking quite nice for New Japan. The lucrative American PPV market is something they want, and with people dishing out $35.00 to watch their last event, it seems that the New Japan product is something that those outside the country are taking a liking to.