Pro Wrestling NOAH Struck by COVID-19 Cases, Announces Card Changes

Pro Wrestling NOAH Logo COVID-19

After a spectacular start to the year, Pro Wrestling NOAH recently suffered an unfortunate COVID-19 sparked setback. Just days away from their Bumber Crop show, headlined by Katsuhiko Nakajima defending his GHC Heavyweight Championship against former Aggression tag team partner Masa Kitamiya, NOAH has suffered a heavy blow of multiple COVID-19 positive tests.

A number of wrestlers scheduled to feature on Sunday 16th January’s card in Sendai will be missing because of positive Coronavirus tests or being close contacts to positive cases. NOAH listed, in no particular order, Yoshinari Ogawa, Junta Miyawaki, Kaito Kiyomiya, Yoshiki Inamura, Kinya Okada, Yasutaka Yano, Super Crazy, Tadasuke, Daiki Inaba, and Masato Tanaka as the wrestlers who will miss Sunday’s show.

Tanaka is the only absence not related to a positive Coronavirus result, as NOAH stated on Twitter that he will miss the show due to “poor physical condition”, although he has received a negative PCR test.

The main event of Nakajima vs Kitamiya and the semi-main of Kenoh and Manabu Soya’s challenge for Keiji Muto and Naomichi Marfuji’s GHC Heavyweight Tag Team Championship remains intact. Although, the rest of the card will be subject to significant reshuffling.

We await the full altered card, but one match added so far is the new GHC Junior Heavyweight Champion, Daisuke Harada facing Seiki Yoshioka in a non-title affair, with the cancellation of an eight-man tag team contest. Harada and Yoshioka are two of the very best junior heavyweight wrestlers in the world, so even though the deck is stacked against them, NOAH is pulling through. 

One of the wrestlers who have received a positive test, Kaito Kiyomiya, recorded a short video for Pro Wrestling NOAH’s Twitter account. He sincerely apologized for the inconvenience caused to fans, while words of encouragement for wrestlers and staff were urged. 

NOAH is a company undoubtedly familiar with crisis and challenge, so it won’t be a surprise to anyone that the company will carry on and still look to produce a top-notch card for their first big show since the Budokan on New Year’s Day. However, the number of COVID cases will pose some meaningful concern within the Japanese wrestling scene, as it quickly follows All Japan Pro Wrestling receiving five positive results a few days prior. 

Yuma Aoyagi, Shotaro Ashino, Rising HAYATO, and Masanobu Fuchi, as well as one staff member, all tested positive, as AJPW confirmed on January 12.

Hopefully, these strings of cases in both AJPW and NOAH are a blip, and won’t persist into a greater number of positive cases. We wish a speedy recovery to all of those who have tested positive.

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. You can watch Pro Wrestling NOAH as well as DDT, TJPW, and more on Wrestle Universe and ABEMA.