By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AXS issued the following press release on Friday to tout the launch of Friday Night Fights on January 18.
AXS TV brings more action than ever to Friday nights in 2019 as the network unveils a new “Friday Night Fights” roster that packs four and a half hours of original MMA and pro wrestling every week beginning Friday, Jan. 18 at 8pE/5pP. The new line-up includes the return of Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA), the premier MMA organization for rising stars and top prospects. AXS TV is the exclusive U.S. broadcast home for LFA’s thirty live events this year, which will air at its new time, 10pE/7pP.
Check out a first-look at AXS TV’s new “Friday Night Fights” here.
“For over 15 years, Friday Night Fights have been a staple on AXS TV and we are proud to expand our MMA and pro wrestling lineup in 2019,” said AXS TV FIGHTS CEO Andrew Simon. “Legacy Fighting Alliance is the number one MMA promotion in the world for cultivating talent and delivering on the promise of watching tomorrow’s champions today. In the last two years, LFA has sent over 50 fighters to the UFC and we expect to create more legendary champions inside the octagon on AXS TV in 2019.”
“Friday Night Fights” kicks off each week with the “King of Strong Style” NEW JAPAN PRO WRESTLING at 8pE/5pP featuring real-time, same-week coverage of the promotion’s biggest events in 2019 anchored by critically acclaimed commentator Kevin Kelly. On Jan. 18, AXS TV premieres the final hour of NJPW’s “Wrestle Kingdom 13” with a special episode showcasing IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion Kushida against challenger Taiji Ishimori and a Gauntlet Match to determine the number one contender for the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship. NJPW on AXS TV continues with two weeks of “New Year Dash!! 2019” starting Jan. 25 and five weeks of “New Beginning in Sapporo and Osaka” starting Feb. 8.
From the Los Angeles Lakers Owner Jeanie Buss and founder of the original GLOW “Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling” David McLane, the groundbreaking all-female wrestling promotion WOW – WOMEN OF WRESTLING makes its AXS TV debut Jan. 18 at 9pE/6pP. The premiere episode features four powerhouse matches and also includes the arrival of third-generation wrestling superstar, the Born Legend, Tessa Blanchard, as she sets out to immediately make her mark by demanding a Championship Title Match.
The season gets off to a roaring start as the phenom, The Beast looks to destroy fan-favorite Stephy Slays. Then, “The Governor’s Daughter,” Abilene Maverick, tries not to get burned when she elects to take on Fire in a sizzling singles match; and WOW bombshells “The All Natural” Khloe Hurtz and Eye Candy go toe-to-toe in a battle of beauty and brawn. It all leads up to the highly-anticipated main event, when WOW legend Jungle Grrrl gets her long-awaited shot at redemption, putting her legacy on the line as she faces off with WOW Champion Santana Garrett for the coveted WOW title in a high-stakes match to close the show.
LFA heads to Denver, Colorado for its first event of 2019, LFA 57 live at 10pE/7pP. The AXS TV FIGHTS’ commentary team of UFC Hall of Famer Pat Miletich, veteran broadcaster Ron Kruck and cageside reporter Phoenix Carnevale call the action as top undefeated featherweight prospect Youssef Zalal (6-0) takes on International Mixed Martial Arts Federation champion Jose “Chepe” Mariscal (8-3) in the main event.
Next on the schedule, LFA 58 on Jan. 25 marks the promotion’s first event in Albuquerque, New Mexico and will be headlined by a lightweight battle between top prospects Harvey Park (10-2) and Jaleel Willis (9-1). Then on Feb. 1, LFA 59 features rising welterweight stars Kyle Stewart (11-1) and Jared Gooden (12-2) in the main event from Phoenix, Arizona.
Powell’s POV: It’s a fun lineup for wrestling and MMA fans. It will be interesting to see how AXS responds to Smackdown moving to Friday nights in October. Even now, it’s a busy night for pro wrestling with MLW Fusion and Impact Wrestling both airing on different networks.
Check below for the new Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and Brian Fritz discussing the formation of All Elite Wrestling and their launch rally.