AXS TV to start new year with packed New Japan Pro Wrestling schedule
AXS TV Fights / YouTube

New Japan Pro Wrestling kicked off 2018 in a big way on AXS TV. The Japanese wrestling promotion held their most significant event of the year, Wrestle Kingdom 12 on Jan. 4 and AXS TV aired the top matches for U.S. television just two days later, including the giant match that pitted Chris Jericho against IWGP U.S. Champion Kenny Omega. That was just the start because TV Asahi/NJPW reported that the next six weeks would see some of the best action from Wrestle Kingdom 12 as well.

On Friday night, Jan. 12, the first of six weeks of Wrestle Kingdom 12 action kicks off on AXS TV and will feature two title matches. Both matches include talent that many U.S. wrestling fans are very familiar with. First, Roppongi 3K (Sho and Yoh) defends their IWGP Jr. Tag Team titles against the most prominent team on the U.S. indie scene, The Young Bucks.The second match that night sees IWGP Jr. heavyweight Champion Marty Scurll (a former Ring of Honor TV champion) defend his title in a four-way match against Will Ospreay, Hiromu Takahashi and Kushida.

On Jan. 19, the NEVER Openweight title is on the line as Minoru Suzuki defends his belt against Hirooki Goto. The IWGP tag titles are also on the line that night as Killer Elite Squad (which includes WWE legend Davey Boy Smith's son) defends their titles against Los Ingobernables de Japon. Finally, that night will also see highlights from the Gauntlet Match for the NEVER Openweight 6-man titles.

Jan. 26 sees former WWE superstar Cody Rhodes battle the exciting Kota Ibushi. A second match that night will be for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship, as Jay White returns to New Japan after a stint in Ring of Honor and tries to win the title from Hiroshi Tanahashi.

The next two weeks will only include one match each night. On Feb. 2, the colossal match with Chris Jericho and Kenny Omega will repeat. On Feb. 9, the main event of Wrestle Kingdom, with Kazuchika Okada defending his IWGP title against Tetsuya Naito takes place.

The final and sixth week of these special New Japan shows on AXS TV takes place on Feb. 16. Every year, the night after Wrestle Kingdom, New Japan holds their New Year's Dash show where new angles start and the new wrestling year kicks off. AXS TV has not announced which matches will air yet but a huge name showed up at the event and surprised everyone and that big moment should appear on this episode.

New Japan on AXS TV airs on Friday nights at 8 p.m. EST. For a list of providers, visit