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By Mike Johnson on 2023-09-28 09:15:00

WWE has signed a deal to broadcast Raw, Smackown and WWE PPVs exclusively in Japan on ABEMA, a free ad supported streaming station first founded in 2016, it was announced earlier today.

This will be the first time Raw and Smackdown have aired in Japan for free and with Japanese commentary within 12 hours of their original broadcasts here in the United States.

Raw will debut there on 10/3 and air Tuesdays at 8 PM local time. 

Smackdown will air Saturday at 8 PM local time. 

The shows will be available for VOD as well.  

ABEMA will be airing an introductory WWE special tomorrow 9/29 with WWE Hall of Famer The Great Muta and WWE talents appearing titled "Emergency Raw Special Program!" at 9 PM local time.

The announcement was promoted via a number of Japanese promotions' social medial, including Pro Wrestling NOAH, as they have relationships with ABEMA as well.

The official release reads:


Raw® And SmackDown® Will Be Broadcast Free-To-Air with Japanese Commentary for First Time

Premium Live Events Including WrestleMania®, SummerSlam® And Fastlane® To Broadcast Live In Japan

STAMFORD, Conn., September 28, 2023 – WWE®, part of TKO Group Holdings (NYSE: TKO), and ABEMA have agreed to a new media rights partnership in Japan that will see WWE’s flagship programming broadcast exclusively on ABEMA platforms in Japan beginning October 2023.

Raw and SmackDown will both broadcast free-to-air in Japan every week with Japanese commentary immediately following first broadcast in the U.S., for the first time ever. Starting with Raw on Tuesday, October 3 (and every Tuesday night at 8pm local time) and SmackDown on Saturday, October 7 (and every Saturday night at 8pm local time), both weekly shows will also be available to watch on-demand. The new agreement will also see NXT® available to watch on-demand in Japan via ABEMA Video.

Additionally, all WWE Premium Live Events will air exclusively live on ABEMA, with all past editions of WrestleMania® available to view on-demand via ABEMA Video beginning October 1.

About WWE®

WWE, part of TKO Group Holdings (NYSE: TKO), is an integrated media organization and the recognized global leader in sports entertainment. The company consists of a portfolio of businesses that create and deliver original content 52 weeks a year to a global audience. WWE is committed to family-friendly entertainment on its television programming, premium live events, digital media, and publishing platforms. WWE’s TV-PG programming can be seen in more than 1 billion homes worldwide in 25 languages through world-class distribution partners including NBCUniversal, FOX Sports, TNT Sport, Sony India and Rogers. The award-winning WWE Network includes all premium live events, scheduled programming and a massive video-on-demand library and is currently available in approximately 165 countries. In the United States, NBCUniversal’s streaming service, Peacock, is the exclusive home to WWE Network. Additional information on WWE can be found at and                                                


ABEMA is a video distribution business that aims to innovate television and is being developed as a "new future of television". No registration is required, and approximately 25 channels are broadcast 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in a variety of genres, including Japan's only 24-hour news channel, original dramas, romantic programmes, animation, sports and more. It also boasts Japan's No. 1 number of original episodes among video services originating in Japan, and offers a rich line-up of hot new films, popular domestic and international dramas and topical animations, as well as a variety of live music and stage performances online. In addition to being able to enjoy programmes on TV and on-demand at any time and from any location, users can watch programmes on smartphones, PCs, tablets and TV devices to suit their lifestyles. Furthermore, by registering for ABEMA Premium for 960 yen per month, you can enjoy all ABEMA productions and all ABEMA functions, including access to exclusive content, the 'video download function' and the 'missed comment function'.


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