New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) was one of the first wrestling companies to cancel a major event in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The outbreak began as NJPW were gearing up for their annual New Japan Cup tournament.
New Japan’s Kota Ibushi recently sat down for an interview with njpw1972.com. During their conversation, Ibushi addressed the coronavirus and shared his thoughts on wrestling in front of empty venues in the way AEW and WWE have been doing.
“There’s a lot of different ways of thinking about it, but [in complete honestly,] I’m not a fan of empty arenas,” Ibushi admitted. “There’s, of course, a lot of merit to watching video, and you can get a closer sense of the action in the ring perhaps.”
“The thing is though, I’m not really about showing off what moves I can do. I want to be engaging a live crowd. In that sense, I really don’t see the point of running events if there aren’t going to be any people there.”
Kota Ibushi shared how he had previously wrestled in an empty arena during his time with Japanese promotion DDT. He joked how the empty arena wasn’t “by design” and that the show had started without any fans turning up.