This year's Best of the Super Juniors tournament is the latest professional wrestling event to be affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
NJPW announced tonight that all 19 shows that were scheduled for this year's Best of the Super Juniors tour have been canceled. NJPW wrote that the decision was made in response to the pandemic and in light of the extension of state of emergency measures in Japan.
The Best of the Super Junior tour was set to kick off at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo on May 12 and conclude at Tokyo's Ota City General Gymnasium on June 6. Refund information for the canceled shows will be announced soon.
In their statement about the cancellation of the tour, NJPW noted that they will make announcements regarding events that are scheduled for after June 6 upon careful monitoring of the developing situation with the pandemic. NJPW also wrote that they're "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."
Will Ospreay won last year's Best of the Super Juniors tournament by defeating Shingo Takagi in the finals. That match was voted Match of the Year in the 2019 Wrestling Observer Newsletter Awards.
Ospreay went on to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship from Dragon Lee at Dominion 2019. At Wrestle Kingdom 14 night one this January, Ospreay lost the title to Hiromu Takahashi.
Here's NJPW's full statement on the cancellation of this year's Best of the Super Juniors tour:
In response to the continuing Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, and in light of the extension of state of emergency measures across Japan, New Japan Pro-Wrestling has arrived at the decision to cancel all events on the Best of the Super Junior 27 tour that was scheduled between May 12 and June 6.
We deeply apologise to fans who were looking forward to these events. Our thoughts are with everyone affected by the disease. 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.
Meanwhile, programs like the NJPW Together Project will continue to see wrestlers and staff come together to bring the best possible content to fans while we eagerly await the opportunity to entertain live crowds once more.
The following events are covered by today’s cancellations:
- Tuesday, May 12: Korakuen Hall, Tokyo
- Wednesday, May 13: Korakuen Hall, Tokyo
- Thursday, May 14: Korakuen Hall, Tokyo
- Saturday, May 16: Yamagata Big Wing, Yamagata
- Sunday, May 17: Morioka Takaya Arena, Iwate
- Monday, May 18: Iwaki City Gymnasium, Fukushima
- Tuesday, May 19: Sendai Sun Plaza Hall, Miyagi
- Thursday, May 21: Korakuen Hall, Tokyo
- Friday, May 22: Korakuen Hall, Tokyo
- Saturday, May 23: Korakuen Hall, Tokyo
- Sunday, May 24: Kamisu Bousai Arena, Ibaraki
- Wednesday, May 27: Saku City General Gymnasium, Nagano
- Thursday, May 28: Nagoya Congress Center Event Hall, Aichi
- Friday, May 29: Osaka Municipal Central Gymnasium Sub Arena
- Saturday, May 30: Osaka Municipal Central Gymnasium Sub Arena
- Monday, June 1: Item Ehime
- Tuesday, June 2: Takamatsu City General Gymnasium #1, Kagawa
- Thursday, June 4: Korakuen Hall, Tokyo
- Saturday, June 6: Ota City General Gymnasium, Tokyo