New Japan’s Wrestle Kingdom Night 1 has set the record for the most-watched event ever on the company’s streaming platform NJPW World, as per Dave Meltzer.
With current COVID restrictions in Japan, only around a third of the Tokyo Dome was full for the event. Speaking on Wrestling Observer Radio, Meltzer said:
“The first night of the Tokyo Dome was the most watched live event in the history of New Japan World. Which actually, if you think about it, makes sense because if they had let’s say 15/16,000 in the building, and normally they would have like 43,000. There’s 27,000 people right there that would normally be in the building watching it live that are probably watching it.
And that’s a big difference when your subscriber number is just over 100,000. Maybe a bit more over 100,000 because, I don’t have a number yet, I may have it in a couple of days, but I did hear they had a surprisingly good bump. Which may be the people who would usually go to the show live that couldn’t go and said ‘well I can’t go live so we’re gonna subscribe and watch the show.’
With so much uncertainty still surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide, companies may have to adapt well into this year. WWE have so far continued to run shows with no fans inside the WWE ThunderDome. AEW have, on the other hand, seen a limited number return by keeping them socially distance in Daily’s Place in Jacksonville for their Dynamite tapings.
Night 1 of Wrestle Kingdom this year saw Kota Ibushi dethrone Tetsuya Naito to become IWGP Intercontinental and Heavyweight Champion. Kazuchika Okada took on former CHAOS teammate turned-Empire leader, Will Ospreay and Hiroshi Tanahashi faced off with Great-O-Khan.
With news of a TV deal in the US and UK imminent, this record-breaking start to the year could signal a very good 2021 for NJPW.
Credit to WrestleTalk for the transcription.