After the Japanese Government issued a State of Emergency yesterday, it should come as no surprise that NJPW has been forced to cancel all events until May 4 at the earliest.
In a statement on their site they say;
In response to the continuing Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, and in light of state of emergency measures across Japan announced on April 7, New Japan Pro-Wrestling has arrived at the decision to cancel all events that were scheduled up to and including Wrestling Dontaku 2020 on May 3 & 4.
We deeply apologise to fans who were looking forward to these events. Our thoughts are with everyone affected by the disease. As eager as everyone at New Japan Pro-Wrestling is to return to the ring as soon as possible, the health and safety of our fans, wrestlers and staff, as well as society at large is our utmost concern.
We will make announcements about events scheduled after May 4 upon careful monitoring of this developing situation. We will soon announce refund procedures for the affected events.
NJPW is currently exploring the possibility of presenting matches without fans in attendance; this would only happen if staff and wrestler health and safety can be protected to the highest possible standard.
Meanwhile, programs like the NJPW Together Project will continue to see wrestlers and staff come together to bring the best possible content to fans while we eagerly await the opportunity to entertain live crowds once more.”
This isn’t the first time that the company has been forced to change its plans, but there may be a light at the end of the tunnel.
The idea of No-Fan Shows isn’t one that anyone wants to really see happen as the audience is a vital part of any performance, but if they could find a way to go down this route at least they would be able to pay their wrestlers.
It would also see a spike in NJPW World membership as wrestling fans worldwide are starved for live shows, with AEW and WWE currently being the only companies that are still allowed to put out any new product, even if that product is pre-taped.
Whatever happens, you can be sure that you’ll hear about from Sports Obsessive as soon as we do.