The descriptively named “19 O’Clock Girls’ Pro-Wrestling” group (or 19 Pro-Wrestling) has announced the institution of a brand new championship in Japan – the IW19 Championship (aka the Internet Wrestling 19 Championship), which is to be implemented soon. The announcement comes on the heels of a long term injury to 19 Pro-Wrestling’s top star, Sayaka Obihiro.
19 Pro-Wrestling (so-called because shows start at 7pm local time) is a sub-brand of ICE Ribbon, and as a promotion is actually at the cutting edge of technological distribution of content, as they run shows 2-3 times a week, streamed via Ustream to a worldwide audience. I think we’re still a good five years away (at least) from the time when the internet will become the norm for wrestling broadcasting, but even still, I’m not sure there’s any other promotion in the world outside WWE who can say they broadcast live wrestling worldwide on such a regular basis.
19 Pro was formed in May 2010 with former baseball player (and rookie pro-wrestler) Sayaka Obihiro as the main star, as ICE Ribbon explored the usefullness of the internet as a means to expand their audience. With Obihiro out as of last month with a serious shoulder injury that will require surgery (and a rehabilitation time of possibly up to one year) management have made the call to move the focus from Obihiro onto the first championship belt in the promotion’s history. At this point, the means to determine the champion is TBA, and Obihiro will continue to work backstage at 19 Pro in the meantime.
English speaking fans can follow ICE Ribbon Europe on twitter for reminders of upcoming 19 Pro shows on ustream.