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 record, here is the data that I collected for the month of February and these numbers are cross referenced with what Weekly Pro Wrestling Magazine reported and each promotion claimed on their website.
It sounds like a broken record again but New Japan is dominating Korakuen Hall in terms of running the most but they only ran three shows in March compared to the first two months. However, New Japan drawing 1700+ for their 45th Anniversary Show and their Road to Sakura Genesis Show after rebounding from the 1401 in their first Road to New Japan Cup Show paints the picture that they presented better lineups for the fans.
Dragon Gate leads single night attendance for the third straight month as they claim 1,850 fans, which is impressive but also points to what the Korakuen capacity actually is. They have already drawn the same number in April (which will be shown next month) so it’s safe to say that the new sellout capacity for Korakuen Hall in 1,850. This brings into account the number that joshi puroresu promotion OZ Academy claimed last year for their Dynamite Kansai Retirement Show with 2,100 spectators. That number was used for capacity dating back to the 1990’s and with Korakuen Hall having gone through renovations, Dragon Gate’s number proves that 1,850 is the capacity sellout number. I viewed the Retirement Show myself (which is broadcasted on the same channel as Dragon Gate, GAORA) and it was full crowd in Korakuen Hall but not the 2,100 that OZ Academy claimed to be.
Big Japan got the biggest bump in attendance with 1,589 on March 5th and 1,607 on March 30th because they held two nights of their popular Ikkitousen Death Match Survivor tournament. It also helped that Hideki Suzuki and Daisuke Sekimoto main-evented against each other on both shows for the BJW Strong Heavyweight Championship.
As a result of New Japan only running three shows, the pie chart above for the month’s total fans for each promotion is a bit more even as Big Japan got the second highest amount of fans to Korakuen next to New Japan. DDT did not run a show in the month of March because they were focused on running their Saitama Super Arena show that drew 10,702 fans but they will return to Korakuen on April 29th.
Even though the recent news of possible departures has covered Stardom, they managed to draw the third most amount of spectators from a promotion with 1795. This happened because they ran two Korakuen shows in a month for the first time in the promotion’s history with their Io Shirai 10th Anniversary Show and their Highest 2017 show. The Io Shirai Anniversary Show did better than WRESTLE-1, NOAH (who increased attendance by running only one show this month) and the deathmatch promotion FREEDOMS who did their first Korakuen Hall Show in 2017. It shows that they are the leader in joshi but only having Ice Ribbon (1,039) and SEAdLINNNG (802) right behind them. WAVE once again is pulling in the lowest numbers on record for Korakuen Hall as they drew 458 fans to their Joshi Pro Festival show that had a loaded lineup but took place in the middle of the week. WAVE’s number is alarming because other promotions can do that number in a smaller venue like Shinjuku FACE.
And going by the data that we have for the first quarter of 2017, New Japan laps the field by drawing 18,928 fans through the month of March. The second tier of promotions that have brought between nearly 4,000 to 5,600 fans are Dragon Gate, Big Japan, All Japan, NOAH, DDT and Stardom. It is also not a coincidence that these promotions run on a monthly basis. After the 3,438 seats that have been occupied by the native followers of Stardom, the number dip dramatically as WRESTLE-1 has only drawn 1,859 by themselves but Keiji Mutoh’s PRO WRESTLING MASTERS offshoot did help with their 1,589 attendance last month.
Speaking of the second tier promotions:
In terms of the monthly average, there a small boost for everyone from last month except for Big Japan as their monthly attendance grew by almost 200 fans.