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COVID concerns force New Japan to cancel remaining January shows

Tokyo Records Record High Number Of Coronavirus Cases Photo by Yuichi Yamazaki/Getty Images

Six New Japan wrestlers (Toru Yano, Tomoaki Honma, Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, Taka Michinoku, and Satoshi Kojima) were pulled from three consecutive shows last week.

Today (Jan. 24), the company announced they’re cancelling all their shows for the remainder of the month “in accordance with event protocols”. While COVID is not specifically mentioned, that familiar concern is evident when NJPW gives “a number of wrestlers presenting elevated temperatures or being in close contact with same” as the reason for the decision to cancel three New Year’s Golden Series dates — Jan. 25 in Fukushima, Jan. 29 at Korakuen Hall, and Jan. 30 in Ibaraki, and postpone an Aichi show from Jan. 28 until April 18.

The omicron variant is spreading rapidly in Japan right now. A record number of daily COVID infections were reported in Tokyo last week, including more than 10,000 on Sat., Jan. 22.

New Japan plans to resume its schedule on Feb. 6 in Chiba. The next major cards are in Hokkaido, Sat., Feb. 19 and Sun., Feb. 20. Hiroshi Tanahashi defends the IWGP United States title against SANADA in the main event of the first, while Tetsuya Naito challenges IWGP World Heavyweight champ Kazuhcika Okada to close out the second.

Here’s hoping everyone on the New Japan roster gets or stays healthy.