The State of the Lionmark Archives

In Part I of this NJPW G1 Climax Post-Script/New Japan General Examination, we examined the match rating numbers of NJPW G1 Climax 33. We used them as an indicator of general public satisfaction and appeasement with the in-ring product, but we acknowledged that some would fundamentally repudiate our methodology. That is, using aggregated ratings, particularly Cagematch rating averages.

Here’s an outtake from that article:

For one, we have no fucking clue what we’re doing, so anyone with a basic understanding of maths, rhetorics, or basic general thought very easily have our number. But beyond that, many people in the wrestling sphere find match ratings to be a scurrilous anathema. For some, it seems like a genuinely profound disdain for any sort of critical engagement (or, more likely, an intense hatred of one specific person named David… I don’t recall anyone giving any fucks about Larry Csonka (RIP) evaluating and rating things, and he reviewed significantly more shows).

We’re not sure how, or if, these people interact with any other types of mediums of culture. Do they ignore all formalized criticism? Are they simply repelled by the formality? The distinction? The superciliousness? By the condensation of art and culture to a number? That’s trickier to process. Robert Christgau is the most significant music critic of the past 50 years, and he rates albums using cannonballs and pairs of scissors, for fuck’s sake. The great opera critic James Jorden doesn’t slap numbers or symbols on anything, but I’m pretty sure 99% of wrestling fan anti-critics would disintegrate if they read even one of his mildly rejective reviews.

Either way, the caterwaul is always framed by the notion of “subjectivity.” That’s one word you will never find in any one of our columns, reviews, or treatises. 

The words “subjectivity” and “opinion” have been so thoroughly debased, so recklessly employed in the crusade against critical thought, expertise, and self-assured interpretation that they have lost all useful function. They only exist as weaponized instruments, casually detonated. They don’t actually cause damage, they simply nullify. 

Conceptual thought is only acceptable if it’s mathematically logical and its conclusions exist outside human influence, bias, and predjudice (or, they can convince you of that). If you want to be taken seriously, you need tangible substance divorced from any human element. For instance, common thought tells us that Analytic Philosophy is a bunch of elegant professor-polymaths in impeccable suits deciphering and unveiling the building blocks of the universe; Continental Philosophy is a bunch of Marxist losers with awful haircuts and terrible eyesight babbling in circles about questions no one’s asked. 

This is all to say, you can handwave Part I, but you can’t handwave this part. At least, the numbers; there’s simply less leeway for attendance figures. We can contextualize, explain, and apologize for this company’s poor performances this year, but ultimately these numbers are not conceptual. They will not change with time. The interpretation of them may change, but the numbers themselves  are eternalized, and they were fine. Not great, but not as bad as you’d have expected after a rough first stretch.

Then again, it’s all a fucking sham and any number is suspect, rendering the previous 500 words totally impotent.

Japanese Attendance Tracking
A Fool’s Errand for Masochists and Fake Alchemists

Japanese attendances are almost certainly not worth the effort it took to research, contemplate, and write this article, much less the time it would take to read it (if people read these things). As Velkej’s images above clearly display, attendance figures have been, and always will be, a typical confidence trickster parlor game fuckstorm in the professional wrestling business. The WWE is a corporate entity subject to heavy scrutiny and they cannot resist exaggerating their numbers, to comical degrees. AEW just ran their big London show, with a major thrust being that they could set the legitimate non-DPRK attendance record, and they couldn’t resist fucking with the number. Or, they are playing some industry language-game with the phrase “paid attendance.” It’s a legitimate, highly specialized, contracted mental illness.

And even that American squabbling and brazen manipulation is preferable to Japan. In America, we have ways to actively combat the prevarications and hillocks of drivel. Venues and ticket selling websites have mostly accurate and precise seating charts, even for events with floor seating. Because of that, something like WrestleTix can exist. But such a thing is far more complicated Japan, a land of convention centers and prefectural gymnasiums. We’ve done our best below to work out capacities, but like we did in our response to Velkej, but often the best we can do is little more than the fixed seat number with a “+” sign after it.

Taken from @Velkej_Bracha, original source unknown.

Case in point: Korakuen Hall’s seating chart puts the capacity at about 1600+. In the picture above, from the Road to Destruction tour, New Japan claimed 1087. Does that look 60% capacity? For reference, below is a legally acceptable screengrab of the opening shot. If they had the side opposite the main camera curtained off, as they were forced to do many, many times during the pandemic, 1087 would make sense. But that’s not the case.

The point: the numbers are always going to be weird. But it does seem like this company is close enough to reality to make some general conclusions.

We conclude this five-part series with an epilogue on the attendance numbers. In some ways, this ties everything together; whatever the quality of the matches, or booking, or formatting, or whatever, the immediate success lies in these numbers. We would parry that thrust with the largely proven notion that long-term success in professional wrestling lies in legacy, impact, and ability. That gate receipts and attendance figures largely dissipate; they are as meaningful as the money itself. Despite being the most tactile of the wrestling metrics, it has the least amount of sturdiness. But they are a good measure for this piece, as we decipher where this company is, where it might be heading, and the force needed to get there.

Attendance: C-

The Short Explanation: Attendance numbers undulated in quality. Some nights were comparatively successful to the preceding 2-3 years, while some were flat and some ignominiously fell. None of the figures exceeded pre-pandemic levels, though the company did have strong showings in their more robust venues, and the final nights in Sumo Hall were encouraging. Because the weak nights were largely at the beginning of the tour, and the healthier ones buried in the latter half, the positive aspects of the numbers were dampened.

While other aspects of Japanese sports and entertainment have recovered, notably the NPB, professional wrestling has not, although the two are not directly comparable. Even so, the fact that New Japan cannot simply regain their footing is somewhat comforting, a change from the soulless, fan-proof American corporate strategy… that said, new business reports suggest New Japan might be more emulous of that strategy than one would expect.

To be clear, the numbers were clearly up, unlike the match rating averages. The total attendance rose by roughly 5,000 and the per-night attendance average rose by 400 per night. In that regard, things are laudable. Restrictions fully lifted, the attendances rose. The questions remains the same as every other metric: was this good enough, considering the circumstances. Did it rise enough? Did it meet expectations?

That’s been a contentious topic, as post-COVID Japan is a complicated place to analyze. In some areas, numbers have rebounded much quicker than expected, like the NPB. But Japan hasn’t exactly psychologically recovered just yet. And, as we noted in Part I, it’s the post-COVID mindset that is the real leviathan for this company. New Japan was entering a new era of sorts in early 2020, and business was healthier than ever. The double-whammy of abruptly stopping all that momentum and the resultant sense of closure to that era, left the company pondering a long road back to previous orthodoxy, if such a thing is re-attainable.

The rise in average from 2407 to 2804 is the stat that stands out to us, an indicator of just how much time might be needed to get the numbers back up. While there were some aspects of this G1 Climax to quibble about, it most certainly outperformed and exceeded last year, simply by the pacing and formatting. A 16.5% rise over that is fine, but with the return of cheering crowds and so many new and youthful entrants, you’d expect better. Especially considering this: 2022 was really hurt by the three-night closing stretch at Budokan. Not in overall numbers, but in % of capacity reached (22%, 22%, and 46% respectively). In regards to reaching capacity, 2023 was significantly better:

G1 Climax 33 was concerning from the outset. Pretty much every number is paltry compared to pre-2020 numbers, both the total number and % capacity (which obviously go hand in hand, but that relationship became complicated, even perplexing, during the pandemic period). But the idea that any of these shows would draw less than pandemic-era shows was inconceivable. The crowds can cheer, the restrictions are essentially gone… how in the world would less people come to the same venues, for the same event, held during the same time of year.

Here’s what Night 2 of the tournament looks like: 

Night 2: Hokkaido Prefectural Sports Center – 2888

Estimated Capacity: 10000- (source: http://www.kitayell.jp/shisetsu/mainarena.html, unsure how many of those seats are eaten by ring/production/entranceways)

Recent New Japan Attendances:

Pandemic-era New Japan Attendances

7/17/22 G132 N2 – 2942

7/16/22 G132 N1 – 2891

Here are the cards for both shows:

(16.07.2023) NJPW G1 Climax 33 – Tag 2 – TV-Show @ Hokkaido Prefectural Sports Center in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan

G1 Climax 2023 Block C: David Finlay [2] (w/Gedo) defeats Tomohiro Ishii [0] (15:55)

G1 Climax 2023 Block D: Hirooki Goto [2] defeats Toru Yano [0] (w/Tomukun) (6:44)

G1 Climax 2023 Block C: Mikey Nicholls [2] (w/Kosei Fujita) defeats HENARE [0] (12:21)

G1 Climax 2023 Block D: Shane Haste [2] (w/Kosei Fujita) defeats Alex Coughlin [0] (10:55)

G1 Climax 2023 Block C: Eddie Kingston [2] defeats Shingo Takagi [0] (12:20)

G1 Climax 2023 Block D: Zack Sabre Jr. [2] (w/Kosei Fujita) defeats Hiroshi Tanahashi [0] (16:09)

G1 Climax 2023 Block C: EVIL [2] (w/Dick Togo) defeats Tama Tonga [0] (w/Jado) (17:34)

G1 Climax 2023 Block D: Jeff Cobb [2] defeats Tetsuya Naito [0] (14:20)

(17.07.2022) NJPW G1 Climax 32 – Tag 2 – TV-Show @ Hokkaido Prefectural Sports Center in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan

David Finlay & YOSHI-HASHI defeat Team Filthy (Royce Isaacs & Tom Lawlor) (7:30)

BULLET CLUB (Bad Luck Fale & El Phantasmo) defeat Suzuki-gun (Lance Archer & TAKA Michinoku) (8:21)

United Empire (Aaron Henare, Great-O-Khan, Jeff Cobb & Will Ospreay) defeat House Of Torture (Dick Togo, EVIL, SHO & Yujiro Takahashi) (10:22)

BULLET CLUB (Chase Owens & Jay White) (w/Gedo) defeat Guerrillas Of Destiny (Jado & Tama Tonga) (7:15)

CHAOS (Hirooki Goto & Kazuchika Okada) & Hiroshi Tanahashi defeat Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, SANADA & Tetsuya Naito) (5:50)

G1 Climax 2022 Block B: Taichi [2] (w/Miho Abe) defeats Tomohiro Ishii [0] (15:21)

G1 Climax 2022 Block A: Toru Yano [2] defeats JONAH [0] (w/Bad Dude Tito) by Count Out (9:01)

G1 Climax 2022 Block C: Zack Sabre Jr. [2] defeats KENTA [0] (21:33)

G1 Climax 2022 Block D: Juice Robinson [2] defeats Shingo Takagi [0] (21:38)

It’s hard to say if the card from this year was noticeably better or worse. Last year had some intrigue, as it was Juice Robinson’s first singles match in Japan since the heel turn, and against former champion Shingo. Even so, this year looks better, with a more robust main event, a main event that includes Tetsuya Naito, no less,  and the Tanahashi-Sabre match underneath. For those reasons alone, this should have drawn more than last year, probably by a healthy amount. 

Things were even worse on Night 4 in Sendai, one of their better arenas and one of the better crowds of the entire tournament:

Night 4: Xebio Arena Sendai – 1657

Estimated Capacity: 4009 (source: https://www.xebioarena.com/facility and https://www.xebioarena.com/facility/floormap)

Recent New Japan Attendances:

Pandemic-era New Japan Attendances

7/20/22 G1 Climax Night 3 – 1919

Of the year to year drops, this was by far the biggest, a 13.65% drop from 2022. The cards complicate things yet again:

(19.07.2023) NJPW G1 Climax 33 – Tag 4 – TV-Show @ Xebio Arena Sendai in Sendai, Miyagi, Japan

G1 Climax 2023 Block D: Zack Sabre Jr. [4] (w/Kosei Fujita) defeats Toru Yano [0] (5:37)

G1 Climax 2023 Block C: David Finlay [4] (w/Gedo) defeats Mikey Nicholls [2] (9:52)

G1 Climax 2023 Block D: Jeff Cobb [4] defeats Alex Coughlin [0] (9:51)

G1 Climax 2023 Block C: EVIL [4] (w/Dick Togo) defeats Eddie Kingston [2] (15:15)

G1 Climax 2023 Block D: Hiroshi Tanahashi [2] defeats Shane Haste [2] (w/Kosei Fujita) (12:04)

G1 Climax 2023 Block C: HENARE [2] defeats Shingo Takagi [0] (19:38)

G1 Climax 2023 Block D: Tetsuya Naito [2] defeats Hirooki Goto [2] (17:40)

G1 Climax 2023 Block C: Tama Tonga [2] (w/Jado) defeats Tomohiro Ishii [0] (15:38)

(20.07.2022) NJPW G1 Climax 32 – Tag 3 – TV-Show @ Xebio Arena Sendai in Sendai, Miyagi, Japan

TMDK (Bad Dude Tito & JONAH) defeat Team Filthy (Royce Isaacs & Tom Lawlor) (8:38)

United Empire (Aaron Henare, Great-O-Khan, Jeff Cobb & Will Ospreay) defeat BULLET CLUB (Dick Togo, El Phantasmo, EVIL & SHO) (7:52)

CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI) defeat Ryohei Oiwa & Toru Yano (7:26)

BULLET CLUB (Jay White, Juice Robinson & KENTA) (w/Gedo) defeat Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kosei Fujita & Tomohiro Ishii (10:30)

Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, SANADA & Shingo Takagi) defeat Suzuki-gun (Taichi, TAKA Michinoku & Zack Sabre Jr.) (8:17)

G1 Climax 2022 Block D: Yujiro Takahashi [2] (w/Pieter) defeats David Finlay [0] (12:59)

G1 Climax 2022 Block B: Tama Tonga [2] (w/Jado) defeats Chase Owens [0] (13:18)

G1 Climax 2022 Block A: Bad Luck Fale [2] defeats Lance Archer [0] by Count Out (10:46)

G1 Climax 2022 Block C: Hirooki Goto [2] defeats Tetsuya Naito [0] (22:41)

Try making sense of that one. The 2022 card had the Goto-Naito main event, and nothing else of consequence or persuasion. Just a miserable experience. 2023, with the Goto-Naito run in the semi-main event slot, with Ishii vs. Tama on top.

Tama Tonga vs. Tomohiro Ishii main evented Night 7 of G1 Climax 32 last year. It drew 1323 to Korakuen Hall. It’s perplexing; the exact same main event drew 25% more people in a venue that holds roughly 150% more people. They went from drawing approximately 82% capacity to 41%. Of course, this isn’t totally fair, and we don’t mean it as an indictment of those two. They pushed into a bigger building and, somehow, the conditions were not propitious this time. It’s hard to explain why beyond just… because that’s how it is. That this is where we are. In that way, it’s a tidy microcosm of the whole company right now.

This is the exact reason we don’t use year-to-year capacity comparisons. Drawing year-to-year seems so precarious that slight changes in circumstances can yield wildly different results. And, more often than not, this statistical comparison often punishes ambition. A great example of that is 2019, which drew nearly 100,000 people to the tour in totality, and yet dropped in capacity % compared to 2018.

Why? That sweetheart deal to run Dallas, to cultivate a relationship with a billionaire owner of a network they voluntarily left in order to avoid working with Impact. Now, they are back on that network, they are happily working with Impact, yet again they sent their future fucking Ace for excursion… everyone is there except for Mark Cuban. As far as billionaires being failing to initiate threesomes, it’s not as bad as Elon’s imprisoning Azealia Banks in his mansion, in a bizarre attempt to get Banks into bed with Grimes. It’s not as bad as that, but it has to be on the list.

Finally, 2023 was outdrawn by 2022 at Edion Osaka. 

Night 13: EDION Arena Osaka – 3150

Night 14: EDION Arena Osaka – 3275

Estimated Capacity: 6131+ (source: https://www.furitutaiikukaikan.ne.jp/facilities.php, listed 3131 fixed seats and 3000 possible movable seats. New Japan has several shows listed at 5555, which suggests that was their peak capacity)

Recent New Japan Attendances:

Pandemic-era New Japan Attendances

8/7/22 G1 N13 – 2609

8/6/22 G1 N12 – 3370

This one is really dejecting… this is EDION, the mid-island mothership. And Night 12 of 2022 outdrew both 2023 shows. By minor amounts, for sure, but they still dropped year-to-year. Obviously, this one has to be tempered by three facts:

  • 2022 Night 12 main event: Shingo Takagi vs. Will Ospreay
  • 2023 Night 13 main event: Shota Umino vs. Hikuleo
  • 2023 Night 14 main event: ELP vs. Will Ospreay

And, to be very clear, we’re not saying that the 2023 main events were not substantive or worthy to main event. Both nights were well structured and as exciting as they could have been in a two-advance system, as we described in Part III of this series. Very few main events, anywhere in the world, could match Shingo-Ospreay; it’s one of the greatest series of matches in the history of professional wrestling.

The point is, it’s weird. The EDION shows in 2023 were the A and B Block finals. Adding in the lifting of restrictions, and outdrawing last year should have been a fait accompli. 

It wasn’t. But, as it turns out, EDION, and Xebio, and Hokkaido… they do not tell the entire story. In fact, they present a fairly distorted one. Later, we’ll show that the emphasis on the early night stumbles probably sullied the perception of the overall attendances. In short, there were some big year-to-year gains later in the tour. But the numbers above, at some of their most reliable venues, show that people aren’t just automatically coming back just because they can cheer, just because restrictions have been relaxed. 

People Are Strange
(Especially When They Are Literally Corporations, as Defined by
the Dumb Fucks in the Robes)

We actually find this comforting. Not encouraging, of course, but there’s a nostalgic, poignantly reassuring feeling that a wrestling company of this stature can’t simply fill buildings or perpetuate momentum from name value and vacant corporatism alone. That’s where we stand with the Worldwide Leader, and it fucking sucks.

The WWE spent the better part of the last 15-20 years stumbling towards this fan-resilient strain of amoral corporate positioning. Like all grand corporations, they sought to divorce themselves from the thing that brought them notoriety and credibility, and instead become some Kantian thing-in-itself. That is, the business of being a business. 

Not any specific kind of business, and certainly not a business breeding success from the product/service they specialize in. If they’re breeding anything, it’s currency. That’s not to say that they don’t welcome profits and adoration from the peasantry to watch the fake carnival diablerie. They just simply don’t have to court the people to succeed. Ticket sales, ratings, merchandise… what once was the armature of the business, without which everything crumbled, is merely a cosmetic bonus.

For nearly three decades, they oscillated between shrewd maneuvering and outright bumbling malfeasance until their brazenly misanthropic ambitions finally aligned with the market. Or, rather, the market came to them, the sports media world’s Vladimir and/or Estragon, hoping for validation solely by existing. And that’s where we stand now: all WWE has to do is make stuff and other corporations will reward them, a brutally fascinating, amoral Rube Goldberg machine.

This is all a pretentiously verbose way of saying: WWE does not give a fuck, and they don’t have to give a fuck. And, sadly, this has distorted their concept of the actual product they churn out, in a way that is somehow both phlegmatic and rapacious. 

Let’s take the example of Sami Zayn. Zayn almost single-handedly resurrected the Bloodline story, which had modestly boosted interest and metrics from its inception, but by mid-2022 had become banal and repetitive. Two awful impulses complemented each other here: they had no clue how to stick the landing, and they were also scared to even try to land. How to perpetuate this tired act must have consumed them.

That’s where Sami Zayn, a generational talent in every possible facet of professional wrestling, was crudely grafted onto the program. His innate talents enhanced the story, and his chemistry with Roman Reigns elevated the whole enterprise to unforeseen heights. Roman’s going into the WOF HOF, before Tomohiro Ishii, because of the catalytic effect Zayn had in 2022. This culminated with Zayn’s challenge of Reigns in Zayn’s hometown of Montreal, a heartbreaking loss which propelled the larger story towards a baffling end at WrestleMania.

Zayn was famously despondent in the post-match press conference. His sorrow and bitter disappointment was captivating. It channeled something often missing from modern American wrestling (though not as much as the Used to Be Better crowd espouse): a profound, zealous rooting interest in the outcome of a match. Montreal supported Zayn as they would their true home team, the loathsome, repugnant, unforgivably corrupt Montreal Canadians. Zayn responded to such a loss in a natural way, a real-sport feel not many could project.

His feedback: “you’re a fucking idiot and you need to stop taking this so seriously.” Zayn recalls:

“I was feeling that funk a little bit, and Hunter talked to me a day or two later. He was like, ‘Dude, what was with you in that press conference? You were such a downer. You gotta think of what those people saw. Those people just saw the culmination of this amazing story for the last year. They saw one of the most electric crowds ever. The whole night was amazing. You brought it down with that interview.”

Let’s pair that with Hunter’s equally resin-brained, nauseating comment at the post-WrestleMania press conference: “the story never ends.” And, to that point, he’s right. Why should the story ever end? The WWE doesn’t need to take caution from the past, and the pitiful way bookers of yesterday desperately and myopically held onto a hot act. If anything, their own history shows the capriciousness of attempting foresight in this dreadful carny business: they did everything right in 1990 trying to transition from Hogan to Warrior, and look what happened there. 

By becoming a vacuous content monster, they’ve escaped the event horizon of history. They don’t need to take heed from the downfall of the nWo, or any other cautionary tale. Don’t attempt risky landings, just stay in the air in perpetuity. For now, they’re immune. Fuck the future. And fuck the product, too. 

Listen to Uncle Paul: “You’re sad over the outcome of a match? Was the journey worth nothing, you little bitch? Stop crying and move on to the next thing. Like how we seamlessly moved on to the next generation of silent legal separations in our family.”

New Japan and Anadromous Fish: The Sole Winners in Streaming

Circling back to New Japan, their attendance figures sucked for at least half of this G1 Climax, they drew less than 50% of what they drew pre-pandemic, and the American market continues to aimlessly, casually circle around them. None of this is positive, but if anything, it shows that the business is not entirely corrupted by the barren, self-loathing mindset that has infected other markets.

OR IS IT, actually?!

Taken from @Velkej_Bracha, original source unknown.

Shortly after the G1 Climax reached its final phase, a report emerged that Bushiroad, and specifically the NJPW portion, has produced revenue roughly equal to 2019, which was the apex of their business (clearly, all of Japan bought their tickets a year or more in advance, solely for the chance to see the Elite in action, and begrudgingly showed up to the venues anyway after those guys left to form AEW). This is with the very clear acknowledgement on their end that ticket sales have not recovered with alacrity.

The biggest factor appears to be NJPW WORLD. The chart above notes that World, amongst other sales streams, has been healthy, through and out of the pandemic. This possibly contributes in two ways: the strong revenue numbers, and the weak attendance numbers. Are people simply staying home and watching on the streaming service? They didn’t do this before the pandemic, despite World having been in existence a half decade prior, but the pandemic changed habits. This could have been one of them.

But let’s not overlook the supplementary aspect of the NJPW WORLD numbers; they also mentioned PPV. That might be a more disquieting emergence. If the numbers, with PPV revenue, are so close to their 2019 peak, that’s a harrowing portend to a future where the gouge the fuck out of us. 

That will take time to unpack. The main point is this: even if they are not getting their money from the consumer through the gates, they are still receiving their money from the consumer. They’ve maintained the human element. Considering how openly they lust for American-style profits and cultural penetration, we’re slightly unnerved by this development. It seems like a very plausible slippery slope, that once they’ve noticed alternate ways of getting revenue, outside literal physical contact in some way, that they could explore the ideas of 

Of course, we’re not worried. The Japanese media system is largely incomparable to the American one. Even further, they already have partnerships with media entities; it would take a monumental shift, a Hulk Hogan in ‘84 type figure to blow the lid off of Japanese culture to upend those dynamics. Japanese corporate culture could not be upended by anything else.

When You Stumble Out the Gates and Don’t Win, No One Cares Which Place You Finished
(Even if It’s 2nd)

Another reason not to worry: the examples cited above, of shows where they drew less in 2023, with no-restricted cheering crowds, than in 2022 in the throes of mandated crowd silence, don’t paint the entire picture.  As it turns out, they actually did outdraw year-to-year venues more than they were outdrawn.

That chart is a bit wonky, since the Night numbers are different year-to-year, and some venues were run twice in 2022 and only once in 2023, but we tried to match them as well as we could. But, as you see, there is significantly more green than red. Huge gains in Aichi. Impressive gains in Hiroshima. And, despite being outdrawn by one of the dates in Hokkaido, Ota Ward Gym, and EDION, they weren’t outdrawn twice in either venue. In the case of EDION, for instance, the second night in 2023 outdrew the second night in 2022 by 25.53%

But the report itself is a nice way to conclude this five-part series; they reached many of the same conclusions that we, and many other analysts, have promulgated. The time is not ripe for apocalyptic fervor, or dismayed melancholy. There’s plenty of reasons to be hopeful. And, frankly, it hardly matters on our end what the company’s revenue is. They aren’t totally disconnected; if they aren’t getting the revenue from ticket sales, our viewing experience is going to be fucking miserable. But the in-ring will be increasingly captivating, the returnees look more than capable of carrying the next decade, and the numbers show more signs of hope than despair.

So, we’ll have to just sit here and wait. Thank you to anyone that made it through all five section of this unintentionally massive, 20,000+ word odyssey. 

Appendix: All the Attendences

Night 1: Hokkaido Prefectural Sports Center – 3145

Night 2: Hokkaido Prefectural Sports Center – 2888

Estimated Capacity: 10000- (source: http://www.kitayell.jp/shisetsu/mainarena.html, unsure how many of those seats are eaten by ring/production/entranceways)

Recent New Japan Attendances:

2/5/23 New Beginning in Sapporo Night 2 – 3316

2/4/23 New Beginning in Sapporo Night 1 – 3073

Pandemic-era New Japan Attendances

7/17/22 G1 Climax 32 Night 2 – 2942

7/16/22 G1 Climax 32 Night 1- 2891

2/20/22 Golden Series Night 15 – 3751

2/19/22 Golden Series Night 14 – 2068

2/2/20 New Beginning in Sapporo Night 2 – 5690

2/1/20 New Beginning in Sapporo Night 1 – 4569

Pre-pandemic New Japan Attendances:

7/15/19 G1 Climax 29 Night 4 – 6946

2/3/19 New Beginning in Sapporo Night 2 – 6089

2/2/19 New Beginning in Sapporo Night 1 – 4868

Other Company’s Recent Attendances

No recent cards

Night 3: Yamagata General Sports Center – 1239

Estimated Capacity: 3976 (source: http://park.montedio.co.jp/beni/outline/sports.html)

Recent New Japan Attendances:

No recent cards

Pandemic-era New Japan Attendances

10/14/21 G1 Climax Night 16 – 862

Pre-pandemic New Japan Attendances:

8/10/16 G1 Climax 26 Night 16 – 2183

7/25/14 G1 Climax 24 Night 3 – 2700

Other Company’s Recent Attendances

11/10/18 Dragongate Gate of Evolution Night 4 – 608

10/29/14 AJPW Raising an Army Memorial Series Night 2 – 1535

Night 4: Xebio Arena Sendai – 1657

Estimated Capacity: 4009 (source: https://www.xebioarena.com/facility and https://www.xebioarena.com/facility/floormap)

Recent New Japan Attendances:

None

Pandemic-era New Japan Attendances

7/20/22 G1 Climax Night 3 – 1919

2/11/22 New Year Golden Series Night 9 1842

10/13/21 G1 Climax Night 15 – 1303

10/12/21 G1 Climax Night 14 – 961

3/21/21 New Japan Cup Final – 2299 

3/20/21 New Japan Cup Semi-Final – 1230

Pre-pandemic New Japan Attendances:

None

Other Company’s Recent Attendances

4/16/23 NOAH Green Journey 2023 in Sendai – 1277

Night 5: Ao-re Nagaoka Arena – 2361

Estimated Capacity: 5000 (source: https://ao-re.jp/floormap/arena, 3722 listed seating)

Recent New Japan Attendances:

3/21/23 New Japan Cup Final – 3384

10/16/22 Battle Autumn Night 3 – 1545

Pandemic-era New Japan Attendances

3/21/22 New Japan Cup Night 13 – 1450

3/20/22 New Japan Cup Night 12 – 1707

10/01/20 G1 Climax 30 Night 8 – 1685

Pre-pandemic New Japan Attendances:

3/24/19 New Japan Cup Final – 3991

3/23/19 New Japan Cup SF – 2832

7/26/18 G1 Climax 28 Night 8 – 3106

3/21/18 New Japan Cup Final – 3996

7/27/17 G1 Climax 27 Night 8 – 2821

3/20/17 New Japan Cup Final – 4074

Other Company’s Recent Attendances

9/3/23 AJPW Giant Series Night 2 – 1560

Night 6: Nagano Big Hat – 1180

Estimated Capacity: 4976+ (https://www.nagano-mwave.co.jp/bighat/faq/medias/uploads/zaseki.pdf)

Recent New Japan Attendances:

None

Pandemic-era New Japan Attendances

None

Pre-pandemic New Japan Attendances:

7/27/16 G1 Climax Night 6 – 1730 

Other Company’s Recent Attendances

11/24/13 AJPW Royal Road Renaissance Night 3 – 1743 (Most recent non-NJPW show)

Night 7: Korakuen Hall – 1471

Night 8: Korakuen Hall – 1472

Estimated Capacity: 1619+ (source: https://www.tokyo-dome.co.jp/hall/seat/pdf/pdf_pro-wres.pdf)

Highest overall attendance in 2023:

9/17/23 NOAH Marufuji 25th Anniversary – 1539

Recent New Japan Attendances:

7/5/23 STRONG Independence Day Night 2 – 1401

7/4/23 STRONG Independence Day Night 1 – 1433

5/21/23 Best of the Super Juniors 30 Night 8 – 1436

5/12/23 Best of the Super Juniors 30 Night 1 – 1401

4/3/23 Road to Sakura Genesis Night 3 – 902

4/2/23 Road to Sakura Genesis Night 2 – 1298

3/17/23 New Japan Cup Night 8 – 1351

2/28/23 Fantasticamania Night 6 – 1383

2/28/23 Fantasticamania Night 5 – 1384

Pandemic-era New Japan Attendances

Too many goddamn pandemic shows, like two straight years of daily PPV’s

Pre-pandemic New Japan Attendances:

7/20/19 G1 Climax Night 7 – 1722

7/20/19 G1 Climax Night 6 – 1725

7/20/19 G1 Climax Night 5 – 1726

Other Company’s Recent Attendances (Limited  because, you know, it’s almost fucking impossible to keep up with Korakuen shows, or make sense of the day-to-day attendances)

7/16 BJW @ Tokyo – 581

7/15/23 NOAH One Night Dream – 1515

7/9/23 STARDOM in Korakuen Hall – 1411

7/7/23 Dragongate King of Gate Night 1 – 1189

7/6/23 FREEDOMS Death Match Carnival Vol. 1 – 612

7/2/23 AJPW Summer Action Series 2023 Night 1 – 1047

6/30/23 Michinoku Pro 30th Anniversary – 884

6/25/23 DDT What Are You Doing? 2023 – 755

Night 9: Ota Ward General Gymnasium – 2316

Estimated Capacity: 4012 (https://www.ota.esforta.jp/pdf/english.pdf and https://www.ota.esforta.jp/introduction/index.html)

Recent New Japan Attendances:

5/28/23 Best of the Super Juniors 30 Final – 3132

3/6/23 51st Anniversary Show – 2020

1/5/23 New Year’s Dash – 2713

Pandemic-era New Japan Attendances

7/24/22 G1 Climax Night 5 – 2518

7/23/22 G1 Climax Night 4 – 1919

5/29/22 Best of the Super Juniors  29 Night 11 – 1890

3/7/22 New Japan Cup Night 3 – 777

9/24/21 G1 Climax 31 Night 4 – 816

9/24/21 G1 Climax 31 Night 3 – 1284

3/6/21 New Japan Cup Night 2 – 1410

1/23/21 Road to New Beginning Night 5 – 1325

Pre-pandemic New Japan Attendances:

1/6/20 New Year’s Dash – 4078

Other Company’s Recent Attendances

7/23/23 Stardom 5* GP Night 1 – 1747

7/9/23 Gan*Pro Wrestle Sekigahara 2 – 667

7/8/23 TJPW Summer Sun Princess ‘23 – 1222

6/17/23 AJPW Dynamite Series 2023 – Day 3 ~ New Age ManiaX – 1966

5/7/23 AJPW Champion’s Carnival Night 10 – 2437

9/19/22 Dragongate Dangerous Gate 2022 – 1790

8/20/22 DDT Peter Pan 2022 – 1250

Night 10: Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium – 3545

Estimated Capacity: 7407 (source: http://www.aichi-kentai.com/sisetu-1.html)

Recent New Japan Attendances:

3/11/23 New Japan Cup Night 4 – 2190

1/22/23 New Beginning in Nagoya – 1650

Pandemic-era New Japan Attendances

11/27/22 World Tag League/Super Junior Tag League Night 6 – 1911

7/31/22 G1 Climax 32 Night 9 – 2741

7/30/22 G1 Climax 32 Night 8 – 2225

3/12/22 New Japan Cup Night 6 – 1722

11/21/21 Best of the Super Juniors 28 Night 4 – 1735

10/3/21 G1 Climax 31 Night 9 – 2483

7/24/21 Summer Struggle in Nagoya – 1786

3/13/21 New Japan Cup Night 7 – 1591

1/30/21 New Beginning in Nagoya – 2156

11/15/20 World Tag League 2020 /Best of the Super Juniors 27 Night 1 – 2558

10/11/20 G1 Climax 30 Night 14 – 2550

7/25/20 Sengoku Lord in Nagoya – 2200

Pre-pandemic New Japan Attendances:

11/24/19 World Tag League Night 7 – 3536

7/28/19 G1 Climax 29 Night 10 – 5278

7/27/19 G1 Climax 29 Night 9 – 6142

Other Company’s Recent Attendances

5/5/23 Dragongate Dead or Alive – 2710

9/25/22 NOAH Grand Ship in Nagoya – 1933

Night 11: Takamatsu City General Gymnasium #1 – 1559

Estimated Capacity: 1998+ (source: http://www.taka-spo.or.jp/sou2.html; based on historical data, we believe the capacity for wrestling to be around 3000)

Recent New Japan Attendances:

None

Pandemic-era New Japan Attendances

9/23/22 Burning Spirit Night 13 – 915

3/14/22 New Japan Cup Night 8 – 636

4/24/21 Road to Wrestling Dontaku Night 11 – 673

10/5/20 G1 Climax Night 30 9 – 1247

Pre-pandemic New Japan Attendances:

7/30/19 G1 Climax 29 Night 11 – 2820

3/11/19 New Japan Cup Night 4 – 1526

7/30/18 G1 Climax 28 Night 11 – 2555

3/12/18 New Japan Cup Night 4 – 1365

8/1/16 G1 Climax 26 Night 10 – 2144

7/25/15 G1 Climax 25 Night 4 – 2070

Other Company’s Recent Attendances

3/14/14 Wrestle-1 2014 Tour After Outbreak Night 2 – 700 (Earliest non-NJPW show)

11/12/11 NOAH Global LEague 2011 Night 7 – 750

Night 12: Hiroshima Sun Plaza – 2006

Estimated Capacity: 6052 (source: https://www.hiroshima-sunplaza.or.jp/hall. For some reason, the Hiroshima Convention and Visitors Bureau lists the capacity as 6670: https://www.hiroshimacvb.jp/en/venues-accomodation/737.html)

Recent New Japan Attendances:

4/27/23 Road to Wrestling Dontaku Night 6 – 1614

Pandemic-era New Japan Attendances

8/10/22 G1 Climax 32 Night 15 – 1522

8/9/22 G1 Climax 32 Night 14 – 1525

4/25/22 Golden Fight Series Night 7 – 1118

10/7/21 G1 Climax 31 Night 11 – 1364

4/26/21 Road to Wrestling Dontaku Night 12 – 1111

2/11/21 New Beginning in Hiroshima Night 2 – 2007

2/10/21 New Beginning in Hiroshima Night 1 – 1135

10/7/20 G1 Climax 30 Night 11 – 1430

10/6/20 G1 Climax 30 Night 10 – 1422

Pre-pandemic New Japan Attendances:

7/24/19 G1 Climax 29 Night 8 – 3481

9/15/18 Destruction in Hiroshima – 3761

9/16/17 Destruction in Hiroshima – 3601

9/22/16 Destruction in Hiroshima – 2801

3/15/15 New Japan Cup Night 7 – 5120

Other Company’s Recent Attendances

11/3/22 STARDOM Hiroshima Goddess Festival – 1045

8/14/22 NOAH N-1 Victory Night 3 – 704

Night 13: EDION Arena Osaka – 3150

Night 14: EDION Arena Osaka – 3275

Estimated Capacity: 6131+ (source: https://www.furitutaiikukaikan.ne.jp/facilities.php, listed 3131 fixed seats and 3000 possible movable seats. New Japan has several shows listed at 5555, which suggests that was their peak capacity)

Recent New Japan Attendances:

None

Pandemic-era New Japan Attendances

8/7/22 G1 Climax 32 Night 13 – 2609

8/6/22 G1 Climax 32 Night 12 – 3370

10/9/21 G1 Climax 32 Night 13 – 1620

9/19/21 G1 Climax 31 Night 2 – 2188

9/18/21 G1 Climax Night 1 – 1963

7/23/21 Summer Struggle in Osaka Night 2 – 1804

7/22/21 Summer Struggle in Osaka Night 1 – 1490

11/7/20 Power Struggle 2020 – 2834

10/10/20 G1 Climax 30 Night 13 – 2369

9/20/20 G1 Climax 30 Night 2 – 2640

919/20 G1 Climax 30 Night 1 – 2401

Pre-pandemic New Japan Attendances:

11/3/19 Power Struggle 2019 – 5558

8/4/19 G1 Climax 29 Night 14 – 5555

8/3/19 G1 Climax Night 13 – 5555

2/11/19 New Beginning  in Osaka – 5570

Other Company’s Recent Attendances

2/12/23 NOAH Great Voyage in Osaka – 2092

2/4/23 STARDOM Supreme Fight 2023 – 1832

Night 15: Yokohama Budokan – 2360

Estimated Capacity: 3000 (source: https://budokan.buntai.jp/app/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/施設概要・案内【211107】.pdf

Recent New Japan Attendances:

None

Pandemic-era New Japan Attendances:

9/2/22 Burning Spirit Night 1 – 1421

10/18/21 G1 Climax Night 17 – 874

8/10/21 Summer Struggle Night 12 – 759

4/10/21 Road To Wrestling Dontaku Night 1 – 719

10/14/20 G1 Climax 30 Night 16 – 1498

Pre-pandemic New Japan Attendances:

None

Other Company’s Recent Attendances

8/6/23 NOAH N-1 Night 1 – 804

7/2/23 Stardom Midsummer Champions – 1307

5/4/23 BJW Endless Summer – 1828

5/3/23 DDT Mega Max Bump in Yokohama – 1160

3/26/23 STARDOM New Blood Premium – 734

3/19/23 NOAH Great Voyage in Yokohama – 1308

1/3/23 STARDOM Triangle Derby Night 1 – 1605

Night 16: Act City – 2001

Estimated Capacity: 3000+ (source: https://www.actcity.jp/visitor/exhibition/;  https://www.actcity.jp/english/facility/exhibition/, lists the max capacity as 5300 for some reason)

Recent New Japan Attendances:

3/18/23 New Japan Cup Night 9 – 1101

Pandemic-era New Japan Attendances

4/3/22 Hyper Battle 22 Night 1 – 789

4/11/21 Road to Wrestling Dontaku Night 2 – 816

7/29/20 Summer Struggle Night 3 – 599

Pre-pandemic New Japan Attendances:

11/27/19 World Tag League Night 9 – 1320

3/21/19 New Japan Cup Night 10 – 2406

7/27/18 G1 Climax 28 Night 9 – 2800

3/18/18 New Japan Cup Night 8 – 2750

8/6/17 G1 Climax 27 Night 15 – 3567

Other Company’s Recent Attendances

8/6/23 STARDOM 5*Star GP Night 5 – 728

7/8/23 Dragongate King of Gate Night 2 – 304

5/13/23 TJPW Live Tour in Spring Night 4 – 316

4/22/23 NOAH Sunny Voyage Night 11 – 337

4/16/23 AJPW Champion’s Carnival Night 4 – 479

Night 17: Funabashi Arena – 2790

Estimated Capacity: 4240+ (https://www.funabashi-arena.com/mainarena/ lists 2714 fixed seats, 1526 movable seats, and a max capacity of 6,000 for standing room)

Recent New Japan Attendances:

1/27/23 Road To New Beginning Night 3 – 760

Pandemic-era New Japan Attendances:

None

Pre-pandemic New Japan Attendances:

Nothing more recent than 2003

Other Company’s Recent Attendances

1/28/23 Stardom Triangle Derby Night 7 – 563

Night 18: Ryogoku Sumo Hall – 6579

Night 19: Ryogoku Sumo Hall – 8283

Estimated Capacity: 11098 (source: https://www.sumo.or.jp/Kokugikan/)

Recent New Japan Attendances:

4/8/23 Sakura Genesis – 6510

Pandemic-era New Japan Attendances

10/10/22 Declaration of Power – 4059

4/9/22 Hyper Battle 22 Night 5 – 4755

12/15/21 World Tag League 2021 /Best of the Super Juniors 28 Final – 3215

4/4/21 Sakura Genesis 2021 – 4484

10/18/20 G1 Climax 30 Night 19 – 2928

10/17/20 G1 Climax 30 Night 18 – 2917

10/16/20 G1 Climax 30 Night 17 – 2863

Pre-pandemic New Japan Attendances:

6/5/19 Best of the Super Juniors 26 Final – 7650

10/8/18 King of Pro Wrestling 2018 – 9152

4/1/18 Sakura Genesis 2018 – 9882

10/9/17 King of Pro Wrestling 2017 – 9234

8/13/17 G1 Climax 27 Night 19 – 10280

8/12/17 G1 Climax 27 Night 18 – 7591

8/11/17 G1 Climax 27 Night 17 – 7495

Other Company’s Recent Attendances

8/4/23 GLEAT Ver. Mega – 2215

7/23/23 DDT Peter Pan 2023 – 3465

6/9/23 All Together Again – 6569

5/4/23 NOAH Majestic 2023 – 2721

12/29/22 STARDOM Dream Queendom 2022 – 3808

6/29/19 WWE @ Tokyo – 7520

6/28/19 WWE @ Tokyo – 6724

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