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New Japan postpones May stadium shows as country extends COVID lockdown

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Ospreay vs. Okada will have to wait.

NJPW Global’s Twitter

With their Wrestling Dontaku shows earlier this week, New Japan set the stage for Will Ospreay vs. Kazuchika Okada. That match, pitting the IWGP World champion against the company’s current top star, was going to take place in the Tokyo Dome at a May 29 Wrestle Grand Slam event.

But the Japanese government announced today (May 7) they are extending a state of emergency which was set to expire next week until the end of this month. COVID-19 infections continue to rise, especially in major cities like Tokyo and Osaka. Reports indicate only 2% of the Japanese population has received a coronavirus vaccination shot. With the Olympics still set to start in the country in July, officials believe a a “short and powerful” lockdown will slow the spread and buy them time to get more people vaccinated.

It means that both the Tokyo Dome show and a May 15 Wrestle Grand Slam at Yokohama Stadium will have to wait.

“On Friday May 7, the Japanese government announced an extension to the state of emergency currently in place in Tokyo and other prefectures. In light of this announcement, as well as current COVID-19 infection status, and in order to prevent any potential further spread of the virus, New Japan Pro-Wrestling has arrived at the decision to postpone the Wrestle Grand Slam events in Yokohama Stadium and the Tokyo Dome previously scheduled for May 15 and 29 respectively.

NJPW deeply apologizes to all fans looking forward to these events for the inconvenience and disappointment caused.”

The company goes on to say that fans who purchased tickets should hold on to those, as they’ll be good for the rescheduled shows. Refunds will be available for those unable to make the new dates.

We’ll keep you posted. Stay safe out these everyone.