Continuing to be ravished by the Coronavirus outbreak, Japan’s wrestling scene has been forced to rethink its plans for March. In mid-February, both Stardom and New Japan Pro Wrestling opted to cancel shows through the beginning of March. Now, with the coronavirus continuing to spread and worsen with no end in sight for the near future, NJPW, Stardom and All Japan Pro Wrestling have all announced plans to shut down all shows through March 22nd.
This announcement comes on the same day that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe extended his request for all big sporting and cultural events to be canceled or postponed due to the coronavirus. While the wrestling community is feeling the effects of this now, all eyes will be on what Japan decides to do in a few months when the Tokyo Summer Olympiad is set to begin. In the meantime, NJPW, AJPW, Stardom and other Japanese companies continue to cancel shows in an effort to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, which according to Worldometers, has now affected 116,707 people worldwide and resulted in 4,091 deaths. With 581 cases as of the time of this writing, Japan has the 10th most cases of coronavirus in the world.
Due to the Coronvirus situation, we are cancelling the following shows:
March 20 Gunma
March 21 Shinkiba
March 22 Shinkiba
We apologize for any inconvenience. For refunds, please check https://t.co/OnR4AsvAiX
— We Are Stardom (@we_are_stardom) March 5, 2020
In a statement made on March 5th, Stardom announced the cancellation of their next three tournaments, notifying fans that ticket refunds would be available for any of the purchased shows. In February, Stardom was the first major Japanese company to cancel shows, originally canceling all shows from February 22nd through March 14th with one exception. On March 8th, Stardom held an empty arena, no people gate show at Korakuen Hall. As noted prior to the show on Stardom’s twitter, all wrestlers and staff were checked for their temperature and overall wellness before performing. Any of the wrestlers/staff who did not pass the wellness test were not cleared for the show.
March 8 Korakuen Hall
No People Gate
◆No fans in attendance! All wrestlers and staff were checked for body temperature and overall wellness; anyone that was ill did not perform.
Jushin Thunder Liger in the broadcast booth! pic.twitter.com/bUw9eQ1qDX
— We Are Stardom (@we_are_stardom) March 8, 2020
A week or so after Stardom’s announcement, Japan’s most prominent wrestling company, NJPW, announced they’d be canceling 11 shows, also through March 14th. This list included the March 3rd Anniversary Event which was set to feature the much-anticipated match of Tetsuya Naito vs Hiromu Takahashi as well as eight shows taking place as part of the New Japan Cup. On March 10th, following “recommendations laid out by a specialist government task force meeting,” NJPW canceled the remainder of shows as part of the cup, announcing they would no longer be holding events from March 16th through March 21st. This brings the company’s total of canceled shows due to the virus at nearly 20 different cards. Much like Stardom, NJPW announced refunds would be issued and noted they are continuing to monitor the situation and will make a decision on shows scheduled after March 22nd closer to the date.
In response to the Coronavirus outbreak, NJPW events for the remainder of the New Japan Cup between March 16 and 21 have been cancelled.https://t.co/FKfzPR2tPh#njpw #NJPWTogether pic.twitter.com/VtTgSArg8E
— NJPW Global (@njpwglobal) March 10, 2020
Also on March 10th, All Japan Pro Wrestling announced the cancellation of their March events through March 22nd, noting that refunds will be made available to all fans who purchased tickets for these events.
As Japan and the rest of the global community continue to be affected by the spread of the coronavirus, make sure to stay tuned to Last Word on Pro Wrestling for any updates on canceled or postponed shows. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world.