In Japan's Wrestle Kingdom 15, cheers, boos banned as attendance drops 71%

Jan 6, 2021

THE new normal was in full effect as Wrestle Kingdom 15 saw a considerably reduced audience show up at Tokyo Dome.

With the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic still ongoing in Japan, New Japan Pro Wrestling limited the attendance capacity for both nights at 20,000, a significant drop for its biggest show of the year.

Only 12,689 fans showed up for Night One on Monday, while 7,801 came for Night Two.

That's a stark comparison to its staging last year where almost a combined 70,000 fans worldwide trooping to watch some world-class wrestling inside "The Big Egg."

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Still, strict protocols were put in place, with fans required to have their temperatures checked and properly disinfected before being placed in socially distanced seating and asked to wear face masks.

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Also, the promotion was stern in telling its fans that no cheering or booing were allowed... only clapping.

Still, it wasn't without drama as Kota Ibushi finally scaled the promotion's pinnacle and won the IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Championships, first beating Tetsuya Naito to capture the titles in a 31-minute slugfest before successfully defending it against Jay White a day later in a 48-minute main event classic.

It was a treat for professional wrestling fans everywhere, all the more to see people watching the event live.

But it doesn't diminish the threat of the dreaded virus, as all over Japan, reminders are constant about full precautions as the fight against COVID-19 is not yet over.

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