Japanese wrestling finds unity...

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Japanese wrestling finds unity in coronavirus battle

Richie McCormack
Richie McCormack

05:26 15 Apr 2020


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Representatives from all of the major wrestling promotions in Japan have called on the country's government to safeguard their industry during the COVID-19 shut down. 

Unlike WWE and AEW in the United States, the likes of New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), All Japan, STARDOM have all shut their doors during the pandemic.

They met with Japanese Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Hiroshi Hase (himself a NJPW legend) to discuss the impact of the virus on their industry.

NJPW is currently the most popular promotion in Japan, but the business in the country thrives with the likes ofPro Wrestling NOAH, All Japan and DDT-Pro.

All of the companies presented a joint proposal to Minister Hase which read, "Professional wrestling is a contact sport, and even matches without the public present is a dangerous undertaking in the current climate.

"We can not allow the flame of professional wrestling that has burned brightly in this country for over half a century to be exterminated."

With that in mind, they have asked for their performers to be tested regularly, adding, "While we understand that top priority for medical supplies must go to those in centres on the front lines of battling this disease, if at all possible, we request that kits may be supplied to test and protect wrestlers and staff within the industry."

They've also asked for government assistance for their contracted performers who find themselves unable to work in the current circumstances.

"We ask that contracted wrestlers be met with benefits and protections befitting of full time employees", said their statement on Wednesday.

Hiroshi Tanahashi is a NJPW veteran and is currently one half of the IWGP tag-team champions along with Kota Ibushi. He told Minister Hase, "While events have been cancelled, our wrestlers have been training diligently and maintaining their focus for an eventual return.

"Yes, not being able to wrestle does make a lot of us concerned for our livelihoods, but in the world of sports, be that baseball, soccer, or sumo, I feel that professional wrestling should be the anchor.

"I think it should be acceptable for professional wrestling to be the last sport to return to full activity. I want people to know that when professional wrestling is back, then and only then it means truly that Japanese entertainment has properly recovered."

Hase told the representatives that there are government measures to help promotions and wrestlers, adding, "Professional wrestling has a huge and very important role in raising the flag of victory over COVID-19.

"I ask all staff members and all wrestlers to keep working to be in the best shape possible to spread joy to the fans with incredible matches very soon."


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AEW All Japan Pro Wrestling Coronavirus Covid-19 Hiroshi Hase Hiroshi Tanahashi Japan NJPW New Japan Pro Wrestling WWE

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