New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) has been at the forefront of professional wrestling in displaying ethical behavior during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus, 2019) pandemic, refusing to put anyone at risk by canceling or postponing events since late February.
After the promotion announced they were canceling all of their events in June and Wrestle Dynasty in August, former 5x IWGP Heavyweight Champion, Kazuchika Okada announced he was donating $5 millon yen (approximately $47,000) to the Nippon Foundation’s special COVID-19 relief fund. “The contribution will support doctors, nurses and volunteers working in the front lines combating the virus in Japan. Previously, Okada established the Rainmaker Foundation, which is dedicated to supporting those afflicted by childhood cancer,” the NJPW website said regarding Okada’s donation.
Okada released a statement concerning his donation as well:
I’m always grateful for NJPW fans’ support, and it’s my hope that I can get back to hearing the cheers of sold out crowds as soon as possible.
It’s usually me receiving the support and power of the people, but now I feel it’s my turn to lend support to medical staff fighting this disease.
I hope fans continue to stay home and stay healthy, so that we can return to the ring as soon as possible.
While major companies in the North America including World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), All Elite Wrestling (AEW), Lucha Libre AAA (AAA), and even the rebuilding IMPACT Wrestling (IMPACT) have ran events during the midst of the outbreak — NJPW has refused to do so until they are given the all clear regarding health concerns.
WWE and AEW continue to draw critique for their running of events, despite Tony Khan stating AEW began testing for COVID-19 this past Wednesday when the company began airing AEW Dynamite live once again.
Concerned parties wonder if the risk is worth having multiple individuals travel within the United States as COVID-19 related deaths climb over 70,000.