The coronavirus pandemic has caused New Japan Pro Wrestling to cancel another tour. After Japan’s state of emergency was extended through May 31, NJPW announced it had canceled the entire annual Best of the Super Juniors tournament, which was scheduled to take place between May 12 and June 6.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Hiromu Takahashi responded to the announcement with a video, saying he hopes the tournament is just postponed and not canceled, and challenging the rest of his division. (That last part led him to post a (safe for work) video of himself washing his neck in the shower a couple of hours later.)
NJPW first started canceling shows in response to COVID-19 in late February. So far, the promotion has opted not to run no-audience shows, though several smaller wrestling companies in Japan have done so when possible throughout the pandemic. According to an interview with Tama Tonga and a report in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, New Japan has also committed to paying staff their usual salaries and not laying anyone off.
In a post on its website, NJPW apologized to fans looking forward to BOSJ and stated,
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 June 6 upon careful monitoring of this developing situation. We will soon announce refund procedures for the affected events.
NJPW is continuing to explore the possibility of presenting matches without fans in attendance if staff and wrestler health and safety can be protected to the highest possible standard.