In January, we launched the Wrestling With Words/Puro In The Rough Korakuen Hall Tracker. The goal of this tracker to show the attendance numbers in the most used building for professional wrestling in Japan but also present what the trends would be for Japanese wrestling through charts and to show which wrestling shows fans in Tokyo decide to spend their money on.
For the month of April, there was a significant increase of shows from 17 different promotions as Japan was approaching Golden Week towards the end of the month. 14 shows alone drew more than 1000 people in Korakuen Hall with 8 shows doing 1400 fans or better. One show I did not include in this inforgraphic was Dradition’s 45th Anniversary show for Tatsumi Fujinami and the main reason was that Dradition claimed 2,473 people attended the show. It is possible that Dradition made a mistake and put down 2,473 instead of 1,473 but judging from the monthly attendance figures and from last month that 1850 was the max capacity that a promotion would claim, Dradition’s attendance is completely false.
Speaking of capacities, Tsukasa Fujimoto tweeted out a photo promoting the April 24th Ice Ribbon Show with a floor plan of the configuration that they use. From the photo, it appears to be 1172 seats available in Korakuen for a configuration with a stage that you usually see at joshi shows and less popular men’s shows. They attracted 931 fans on April 24th so if you look at drawing 931 out 1172, Ice Ribbon did a good job that day.
Other than the usually trends that have happened in the last four months (New Japan dominating attendance, Dragon Gate’s 1,850 attendance number, NOAH’s attendance declining), six promotions had their first Korakuen shows of the year including DDT’s offshoot promotion BASARA, K-DOJO celebrating their 15th Year Anniversary with Kota Ibushi vs. Taka Michinoku and Sendai Girls with 2016 Rookie of Year Chihiro Hashimoto vs Aja Kong.
Two promotions that had their first Korakuen shows of the year were Real Japan Pro Wrestling (Satoru Sayama’s promotion) and IGF’s new venture called NEW (Next Exciting Wrestling) drawing 1,564 and 1,435 respectively. Real Japan Pro Wrestling usually pops up sporadically throughout the year while NEW is something to look out for.
JWP drew its biggest Korakuen crowd since December 2015 with the last ever show under the JWP label on April 2nd. The oldest existing Joshi puroresu promotion closed its doors and the wrestlers from JWP will be under a new promotion called PURE-J which will hold their first ever Korakuen show on August 11th.
Usually, in previous months, New Japan almost takes up close to 50% of the patrons that march into Korakuen Hall on the pie chart but not here. Out of 22,992 spectators, New Japan only attributes to 5,036 which means wrestling across the board is healthy in Tokyo.
Last month, I decided to cut off certain promotions from this list because of the frequency of running Korakuen Hall. For this month, I included WRESTLE-1 as they ran the venue in May also and don’t seem to have any gaps soon. There are three tiers in popularity in Tokyo as the first tier consists of New Japan, Dragon Gate and DDT. The second tier would be All Japan and Big Japan, which makes sense since they do work together. Finally, the third tier includes Stardom, WRESTLE-1 and NOAH with only Stardom having an average in the 900 fan range.