The coronavirus outbreak continues to heavily impact large group activities in Japan, including professional wrestling shows. Some wrestling companies started scaling down or calling off events in recent weeks, some turning them into streaming-only events with no live audience, and more followed suit after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urged the cancelation of public events for the next two weeks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
DDT, a promotion already well-practiced in putting on shows in unusual environments (campgrounds, train cars, an empty Tokyo Dome, etc.), has most embraced the opportunity to run shows with no fans in attendance. DDT put on a “no-people dojo show” last night and has three coming up within the next week. But it’s Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling, the all-women promotion under the DDT banner, that’s holding what looks like it will be the most creative, coronavirus-induced “empty arena” event: a one-day tournament to win free barbecue.
[TJPW 3.1 No-People Dojo Show Card]
– 20-match one-day singles tournament!
– Amazing how they even got a sponsor for the tournament in such short notice
— DDT English Update (@ddtpro_eng) February 28, 2020
On March 1 at noon (that’s February 29 at 7 P.M. PST/11 P.M. EST) Tokyo Joshi Pro’s Genghis Khan Kirishima Presents Spring Beautiful One-Day Tournament 2020 will stream live on DDT Universe. Twenty-one women will compete in a five-round, single-elimination tourney, with the winner receiving dinner coupons from the sponsor, Genghis Khan Kirishima, and barbeque restaurant in Tokyo.
Part of what makes this competition unique, apart from its grand prize, is the extremely short time-limit of most of its matches. For the first three rounds, bouts will have a five-minute time limit with two-count falls, and tie-breakers will be decided by rock, paper, scissors. The five-minute time limit remains for the semi-finals, but there are regular three-count falls and tie breakers will be decided in a sudden death period with no time limit, with only a one-count required for a winning pin. The final has the potential to be the most “normal” wrestling match: there’s a ten-minute time limit, typical three-count falls, and the same tiebreaker rule as the semi-finals.
The Spring Beautiful One-Day Tournament 2020 will feature basically the full regular Tokyo Joshi Pro roster except for its top champion, Yuka Sakazaki, who has recently been in the U.S. tearing it up for All Elite Wrestling. The first round includes a lot of pretty recent debuts, but there are some strong matchups in Nodoka Tenma vs. Mizuki, Pom Harajuku vs. Rika Tatsumi, and Hyper Misao vs. Mirai Maiumi in the mix too.
But more than epic, sports-like clashes, this tournament will probably be more about characters and comedy bits, two of TJPW’s strengths. And since Tokyo Joshi Pro has plenty of experience holding fun, one-day tournaments and similar gimmick shows, this no-audience battle for barbecue will probably be one of the most entertaining wrestling shows of the month.