Major international expansion is a huge part of WWE's strategy this year. It started with the UK Championship, continues through their attempts at breaking India with Jinder Mahal's push, and with Vince McMahon continually stressing the importance of creating "local content" in foreign markets, we can expect it to progress 2017.
WWE aren't the only company intent on making major waves in 2017, however. New Japan Pro Wrestling will put on their first solo North American shows this summer, and if all goes well, they intend to make serious inroads into the market. Using "the best in-ring wrestling in the world" as a selling point, company President Takaaki Kidani hopes to eventually secure an American television deal, and put a serious dent into WWE's imposing market share.
Genuinely competing with WWE seems a far-fetched goal, but NJPW come armed with an original product, a glittering history, and plenty of buzz. At worst, failure means they lose some money, and are forced to abandon the project. Success, however, would be a net positive for all involved, particularly those yearning for a US-based alternative to WWE's increasingly repetitive programming.
With new details emerging every week, here's what we know so far...