The Great Kojika, the oldest active professional wrestler in Japan at 78 years old and the co-owner of Big Japan Wrestling (BJW), was interview by Tokyo Sports on Tuesday and expressed his concern for the Japanese puroresu scene should the current lockdown during the global COVID-19 pandemic continue much longer.
In the interview, Kojika said that “there has never been such a crisis since the beginning of the professional wrestling world. I’m sorry, but if this situation continues for six months, it’s wouldn’t be strange that all promotions except New Japan Pro Wrestling have collapsed. Compensation from the national or local government? It’s impossible because there’s no such thing. Some wrestling promotions didn’t even register.”
The Great Kojika, who has had to cancel multiple BJW events since the shutdown in Japan, stressed that the financial burdens of shutting down are very real. “What is the damage if I cancel a tournament? Well, depending on the scale, I would say hundreds of thousands per competition. I don’t think it will fit in 300,000 yen [the government relief]. In our case, we book the gymnasium four to six months in advance to hold a tournament, and then spend expenses to travel around the region and advertise.”
The Great Kojika is the last surviving student of Rikidōzan, the founder of modern pro wrestling in Japan, who made his own debut in 1963 with Rikidōzan’s Japan Pro Wrestling Alliance (JWA). In 1973 he joined fellow disciple Giant Baba in All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW), before co-founding BJW in 1995.
Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. 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.