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May 17, 2021 Observer Newsletter: NJPW shows postponed, Brian Pillman Dark Side of the Ring

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The state of emergency in Japan, combined with nine COVID test failures, has led New Japan Pro Wrestling to postpone both its 5/15 show at the Yokohama Baseball Stadium and 5/29 show at the Tokyo Dome.

It had become curious coming off the 5/4 Dontaku show at the Fukuoka Convention Center that no direct angles happened to set up matches with three major shows in the next five weeks. It was more notable when no press conference was held in the two days after Dontaku for the stadium shows.

The government announced a state of emergency through the end of May. It had already been decided that attendance at the 5/15 and 5/29 show and all entertainment events in a number of major cities in Japan be capped off at 5,000. The capacity limit had been known for some time, so the shows being called off is likely because of being cautious due to the COVID outbreak as they legally could run the events at a limited capacity. Also, most likely, the nine wrestlers affected would be available for the Tokyo Dome show, even if it would be touch-and-go for Yokohama Arena. WWE and AEW both have put people on the show 11 days after positive tests so a 5/15 date would have been touch-and-go, but New Japan as a company also may have been more cautious. Given we don’t know who tested positive, there could be other issues such as the advance for both of the shows and if they could put together a show worthy of stadium events, and certainly 5/15 would appear to have been hard to do so.

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