It was a big shock to me as a fan when New Japan Pro Wrestling announced that all their events for the first two weeks of the month of March had been canceled due to the ongoing issues with the Coronavirus. It was a decision the company made with the recommendations of the Japanese Ministry of Health. So it wasn’t something they just pulled out of their butts.
The events canceled for the time being include the events for the New Japan Cup tournament and the March 3rd event marking the Anniversary of New Japan itself.
These events all have their highlights as usually the Anniversary show is headlined by the IWGP champion facing off against a challenger you don’t normally see go against the champion. Recent years included matches like Okada against the version of Tiger Mask that was tied to the newest anime (Tiger Mask W) and Will Osprey had gotten the shot against Okada before too. They may not be the biggest matches that have been drawn out for months, but they still are really good matches most times.
After that, events were a string of shows taking place centered around the New Japan Cup and the big tournament that announced. Those events on that tour go well beyond the 15th of March but everything up until that point has been canceled. Who knows what is going to happen there. This year’s New Japan Cup tournament may not be going off quite what NJPW had announced before all of this, but they haven’t announced much of anything yet of what they are going to do without those shows.
But the canceling of shows and maybe making them up later is a minor issue when thinking about why. NJPW isn’t the only wrestling company to cancel shows, for the time being, STARDOM and DDT have done the same thing. And rearranging the tournament and the Anniversary show can be done while hopefully providing some safety and seeing to stop the spread of the nasty sickness is way more important than any of those wrestling shows themselves.
Maybe the Anniversary show will be canceled for the year. Matches for the New Japan Cup will probably be rearranged or changed differently than what had been scheduled. In the end though, it will hopefully be worth it and help stem the tide and cut down on the spread of this awful sickness.
Let’s hope this gets solved before the Olympics come around!