New Japan Pro Wrestling returned today after an extended hiatus. Their first show back was an empty arena show with zero spectators, which is obviously a vastly different atmosphere than normal for New Japan. One of the men in the main event was Kazuchika Okada.
Okada, SHO and YOH took on Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi and Hiromu Takahashi in a losing effort but it was a unique situation for them. Okada has commented on New Japan running shows with no fans and mentioned they are being proactive. Here is the quote from njpw1972.com:
“We’re only able to do this now that the state of emergency has been lifted and we’ve all been antibody tested. Well, we’re being proactive at last, and that’s the main thing. Like, if you’re thirsty, you don’t go outside with a cup and wait for the rain to fall, you go and get water yourself.”
“Of course there’ll be people who say it’s all better with fans in attendance. But look at it another way; it might well be that these are the only nine events in NJPW history without fans in attendance.
“That’s a really rare chance, and it’s really cool that the fans get to see that. I think it’s up to us to create that sold out atmosphere through NJPW World and I hope the fans can join us in that. Watch the matches live and just share this experience with us.”
While the atmosphere was different, the no fans show came across very well. Perhaps it was because of Japanese fans being quiet but the lack of fans didn’t make as much of a difference as it has with WWE and AEW.
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