According to Dave Meltzer on the latest edition of Wrestling Observer Radio, AXS reached out to NJPW about bringing them back to the station, but NJPW turned them down. New Japan feels like Roku Channel was the better move strategically since it is not an exclusive deal and if they were to return to AXS they would have to sign a contract, and they would be stuck. New Japan ultimately wants to be on a bigger station than AXS and being on Roku gives them the flexibility to continue talking to other networks.
Mike’s Take: I get wanting to be on a bigger station than AXS, and New Japan was in talks with several bigger stations, but I just don’t see a top tier network picking them up. pro Wrestling is already over saturated on TV as it is, with shows airing 4 out of 5 weeknights. Pro Wrestling is already niche, and watching a company other than WWE is even more niche, now you’re watching Japanese wrestling which is a niche within a niche within a niche. Hope I’m wrong though.
If you’re Anthem, you would love to bring them to AXS and Fight Network. They are perfect for your branding. But just don’t air them on the same night as IMPACT.