Bushiroad founder Takaaki Kidani recently spoke with Sports Illustrated to discuss New Japan Pro Wrestling’s return from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that has drastically altered the wrestling industry. Bushiroad is the parent company of NJPW. Highlights can be found below.
On what it will take for NJPW to return:
Put simply, either an end to the pandemic, or alternatively establishing a strict and proper set of procedures for dealing with the virus. Which we will ensure is implemented for the safety of our staff, performers and fans.
On running empty arena events:
When it comes to decisions that have to be made regarding empty arena matches, or bringing fans back to buildings, it’s absolutely New Japan Pro Wrestling’s responsibility to assume a position of leadership. I think that events with fans in attendance in the near future is challenging, [but] New Japan Pro Wrestling is considering empty arena matches at present.
On the protection of NJPW wrestlers and its fans:
It’s only right that New Japan Pro Wrestling should protect their fans and wrestlers as best they can, so cancellations were the natural decision to make,” said Kidani. “As for wrestler pay, we want every wrestler to be in the absolute best shape that they can be when matches return, and wrestlers should be able to focus on their training without worrying about how they’re making a living.
On the Japanese wrestling industry coming together in solidarity during the pandemic:
I felt that this could be an opportunity for the Japanese professional wrestling industry to be able to organize together and present a united front,” said Kidani. “In times of crisis such as these, that solidarity is very important.
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