Monday, April 30, 2012

Quick thoughts on Antonio Cesaro's Debut

I love me some Double C(AC was previously known as Claudio Castagnoli or by his nickname, Double C). He was one of the most over guys ROH had for a while, especially with all of the "Hey" chants. If allowed, he's going to get over huge as he's exactly what WWE wants minus some of the promo abilities. However, if he is allowed to do the "Hey" chants, he's going to get over like Daniel Bryan. He's different enough and is someone who usually sticks out. He's also a pretty cool guy in person. So without further adue...

Antonio Cesaro vs Tyson Kidd - Smackdown 4/27/2012
Starting off, what in the world is AC wearing on his legs? The announcers were wondering this and I am too. I've never seen anything like it before and honestly, I hope I never see it again. His tights are beyond generic as well, which is not AC like.

AC starts off with the basic kicking and punching with obviously faked crowd noise. Then he hits one of my favorite moves, The Karelin Lift, which the announcers simply called a gut wrench. Not quite...

AC continues on with a gorilla press into an uppercut and the crowd pops. WWE crowds have never really see anything like that on tv before. AC then finishes him off with a Gotch-style facedriver similar to Col. Debeers' finisher(see here at 6:23:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YmRhKDX0050) .

Thoughts:
The ringwork was good, but everything else needs fixed. AC needs new tights and new music and he should be okay. Seriously, his gear is the worst I've ever seen. I think AC can make it if he can fix the gear. The crowds are going to love his moves and once he gets a chance to show his quirky personality, he should get over.

Bouts to Book after Extreme Rules

In this post, I will talk bouts that should be booked after Extreme Rules. I hope to make this a regular feature on the blog when possible. I will select matches based more on the likelihood of them happening more than what I want to see as a fan. I will probably include my own suggestions though from time to time.

Brock vs Cena II
Let's get the obvious out of the way first. Cena may have won but I feel that there is alot of unfinished buisness left. Brock's probably going to be looking for revenge and I'd love to see if they could top their Extreme Rules match. My guess is no, but we will see...

Chris Jericho vs CM Punk - Last Man Standing or I Quit
While I am personally ready for both guys to move on, there is probably one last match they could get out of this. I'm thinking it should be I Quit since Jericho almost had Punk. Last Man Standing would be fitting as well since it's one of WWE's feud enders. I'd also be okay with a cage match, but I think it's unlikely we will see it since its lost a lot of its luster and it would be coming after the Taker/HHH Hell in a Cell.

Sheamus vs Alberto Del Rio
Again, this is not something I'm that interested in seeing, but WWE clearly has plans for Alberto and has plans for Sheamus to lead SD. I'd love to suggest Daniel Bryan instead of one of these two guys, but I think he's going to be taken out of the spotlight until the "YES" phenomenon dies.

Kharma vs Layla
The fans are ready for Kharma's return and since Layla randomly won the title, it will bring us to the same ending, albeit through different means. I don't think it makes a difference regarding who Kharma will beat.

Rhodes vs Big Show
Yeah, this one is never going to end. Again, I'd like to mention that these matches are not necessarily ones I want to see, but more matches that are likely to happen. After that goofy finish last night, they will probably match them up again. Either that or..

Ryback vs Rhodes
It's pretty obvious to me that Ryback will be getting a title shot soon and since there is alot going on with the world title scene, it's more likely that he would get a IC title shot. Ryback getting a shot would explain Show's strange loss and would stick with the face vs heel dynamic.

Clay vs Ziggler:
I wouldn't be surprised to see this happening again. Ziggler has become WWE's go to midcard guy and he's probably going to have to spend some time making Clay look good. Hey, it beats making Ryback look good!

The last one is unlikely but...
Daniel Bryan vs Randy Orton
Both of these guys are stuck out of the loop for right now(along with Kane, Miz and Big Show) so matching them up against each other might make sense. It's either this or putting them in three ways that no one would like to see.

The Debrockle

WWE Extreme Rules: John Cena vs Brock Lesnar 4/29/2012

What happened:

Oh boy, here we go.

I absolutely loved the opening to this match. It is what every Cena-hater and most internet fans have wished would happen for the last 9 years. John Cena gets destroyed. Not the typical pro wrestling style destruction either but a realistic destruction with possible hardway juice. Cena sold well and Brock played his character well. It's getting off to a hot start...Honestly, you could stop it here and I don't think anyone would complain. Somewhere during this we had our first ref bump.

Brock takes Cena to the outside and after tying him up, Cena attempts a good comeback. Brock quickly takes care of it. Cena again tries to make a comeback, but we get our second ref bump of the match. Another ref comes in and takes a nice shot for ref bump #3.

Brock goes to get ring steps which kind of doesnt make sense, since he's showing he doesn't need it, but let's see how it plays out. Brock turns the ringsteps into a posing platform and I love it. SuperCena returns and gets put in a kimura for his troubles.

Cena gets sent to the outside and we get AIR LESNAR. Holy crap. I have no idea what Lesnar was thinking but he takes a bump which may be more botched than his SSP WM 19 bump. Really wild bump.
Brock gets almost right up and celebrates the bump. During this time, Cena gets his chain. Cena hulks up and the crowd is loving it. We get an FU on the stairs and that's it! What?

Basic Thoughts:
Where to start, where to start...

I loved the opening. I'm always up for aggressive and quick matches like someone like Kana would do. I loved the initial beatdown and to be honest, it was so good that I would have just ended it there.

The crowd was hot and it honestly felt real. Cole was even using the word "fight" which shows you how WWE wanted to portray this.

I had no real problems with the middle. Brock went nuts and looked like the Terminator. Cena's comebacks were great. Usually, they are quite hokey, but he pulled it off. He brought the right amount of expression and all the blood made for great effects. It started to drag for a second, but they quickly moved on before it got to that point.

Then we come to the ending. Cena has to cheat in order to beat the terminator. However, the terminator goes down pretty quickly. Aside from a couple of punches and a steps slam, Brock goes down with a chain shot and an FU onto stairs. On paper I guess it doesn't seem bad, but if Brock's gigantic crash couldn't stop him, it's hard to believe anything else can.

While Brock's loss did not look as bad as it did when I read about it as opposed to watching, and credit to WWE for that, it was completely unnecessary. WWE had a chance to do something really special here. They finally had someone who was not just another guy, but by the end of it, he became just another guy. John Cena had the chance to go into a new non-SuperCena direction and instead we got more of the same.

I know some people are defending this booking and talking about how it doesn't make it difference but it does. Everyone who has done this so far has ended up having Brock get built up again to lead to another Cena/Brock match. They have it reach the same place but they have it taking a longer and more confusing route.If the goal is Brock/Cena II, then why redo everything again when it was already done? Brock was built up already. Brock looked strong coming into this and Brock could have stretched this out for over a year.

Cena winning really accomplishes nothing. First of all, he's going away. Who knows how long, but him going away after a crushing defeat from Brock would have built up more interest in a rematch, given Cena the break he needs and helped Brock look strong. Number two, where do you really go from here? Cena challenges Brock again? Why? He's already beat him. The only real way to go is to have Brock bring more pain to everyone in the WWE in order to build him back up. However, since this was already there before his loss, it makes no sense to go back to it. Really, the only way I can make logic of this decision is if they are not going to do anything else with Brock.

Some people have also suggested that this match was a test to see if Brock could do business. My response is, if Brock wasn't going to do buisness, why hire him in the first place?  To me, if Brock doesn't do what you want, then it's worthless to even have him in the first place. I think Vince knows this too as he fired Warrior for similar reasons and screwed Bret.

Here's how I would have booked this match:
I would have gone into the whole feud a different way. I would have tried to push the MMA vs Wrestling thing. I also wouldn't have made the first match until Summerslam. I would have done press conferences, a face to face interview and just about anything I could think of where they would interact without touching each other. I would have also tried to have gotten Brock to bring out his former UFC title just for show and for MMA vs Wrestling. As for the match...

I really would have just kept the opening and scrapped everything else. Brock would have again beat the crap out of Cena and would have busted him open. This would have been done quickly and the refs would have probably still gotten involved. Brock continues to pound on Cena until he lets off to pose or maybe to even hit another ref. During this Cena uses the ropes to get up and gives one last "you can't see me" gesture and Brock knocks his head into the 5th row with a right. Cena is out cold and Brock celebrates by standing over top of Cena.

The next night, WWE could claim Cena suffered a concussion or something to that effect and that they don't know when he would return. About 2 weeks later, Cena would make an appearance live from his hospital bed vowing revenge. Brock responds a week or two later and the challenge is made for Summerslam. Then you do it completely Rocky IV style. Cena is shown doing different physical feats of strength and exercises to build up again. Maybe Cena even does some kind of MMA training to prepare himself for battle. Really simple stuff again. From there, you have the match. Cena can either win or lose. Cena can win and end the whole thing there or WWE could try to milk it another ppv and Cena could finally get the big win the 3rd time around. You could even add some kind of stip that WWE hasn't killed yet along with that(Cena putting something up at stake in exchange for a third match). Cena wins a few matches to build up to it and finally gets the big win over Brock.


Rating:
This one is tough not overrate, but I think I'll have to. My immediate reaction was 5 stars and it's probably going to be in the 4.5-5 stars range. The match reminded me of the Punk/Cena match from last year and is going to be one of those matches that we remember for years to come.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Top 5 Reasons You Can't Blame Tom Magee for Never Making It

As quite possibly the one and only Tom Magee fan out there, I've always enjoyed it when his name has come up. I feel to this day that WWF dropping the ball on him was one of the biggest mistakes they have ever made. A person with a background like his is quite rare and combining that with some of the physical tools he had available, it's shocking that he never made it.

Backstory:
Tom Magee was a former Canadian everything. A runner up in the 1982 World's Strongest Man competition, a former Canada's Strongest Man(eat your heart out Dino Bravo), a blackbelt, a subject of a documentary(Tom Magee: Man of Iron - about 90% is available of it on youtube) and a man with a background in gymnastics. Let's not forget his 6'5, 275lb ripped to shreds frame and you can clearly see why promoters might be interested in him.

After making a name in gymnastics circles and the World's Strongest Man competition(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BopjDnB_guo&feature=relmfu), Tom got trained in the Legendary Hart Family Dungeon.

Tom made his debut in an interesting different style fight with Riki Choshu at All Japan on 2/22/1986. Their match also featured a British style rounds system. The match was atleast passable for Tom's debut, but it is said that the match was considered so bad by Riki Choshu that he won't even talk about it.

Tom would then make his debut with the WWF on 10/6/1986 against Bret Hart in a match that had Vince proclaiming him to be the next Hulk Hogan. It has been considered to be one of the greatest carry jobs ever and is one of tape collector's Holy Grails.

Now that Vince had found his next big star, he wanted him to get some experience before making his big debut. Tom was put on WWF C-shows throughout 1987 as part of the 800+ shows WWF put on that year. No, I am not exaggerating that number.

During this time Tom would mostly go up against Terry Gibbs(including a good one here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMMWTxD1v9Y). However, by 1988, Vince's fascination with Tom would disappear. Tom would never make it past the "C" rotation.

Tom would then go on to have "The Worst Match of 1988" Observer award winning match with Hiroshi Wajima(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4zYfaTBLk0) and a televised tag match on All Japan TV before moving on.

Tom then did a few matches with Tim Horner in the WWF in 1989 including one that made youtube(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zylbKZhoHPQ).

Tom then made an appearance in an episode of Star Trek(TNG: Devil's Due) and an appearance in the movie "Stone Cold" after getting out of wrestling. Today, Tom is a personal trainer.

One last note is that Tom was known for his nosebleeds during big lifts in powerlifting.

So with all that said, let's get started.

Top 5 Reasons You Can't Blame Tom Magee for Never Making It:

Reason #5: Other interests
If you noticed Tom's background, you will see that he did alot of different things. While it is great that he could do so many things, it raises the question, why? Was Tom an early peaker who lost interest quickly or did he just have alot of things going on? Only Tom could really answer this, but as you'll see later in the list, there could be an explanation.

Reason #4: Not enough experience
Tom had his now infamous match with Bret Hart less than 1 year after he debuted. While it is natural to expect continued success, Tom had alot of things that just happened to click that night. After lightning strikes, the rain eventually clears and for Tom, everything cleared shortly after. Did Tom just get it for one night or was there something else...

Reason #3 Bret Hart vs Terry Gibbs
Let me ask you, the reader, a question. If you are going to debut, and you could choose either Bret Hart or Terry Gibbs as your opponent for the next 6 months, who would you choose? The WWF chose Terry Gibbs. Why Terry Gibbs was chosen after Tom had a supposed amazing match with Bret is beyond me. The Bret match would have probably told me a few things in 1987. If I was Vince, it would have told me that if this match was that good, then why wouldn't it be just as good the second time around. The second thing it would tell me is that Bret Hart may have been a better worker than I was giving him credit for. While this is easy to say in hindsight, it was pretty obvious who the workhorse of The Hart Foundation was.

Reason #2 The Ultimate Warrior
If I told you that I had a prospect with a ripped physique who had long hair and little experience and then made you guess who it was between The Warrior and Tom Magee, could you figure out who I was talking about? Tom and the Warrior were both pretty similar, but Vince ended up going with the Warrior. While I do love the Warrior, I can't help but wonder what would have happened if Tom was put in his place instead. Give Tom a bunch of squashes on Superstars where he can show off his cartwheels, moonsaults and where he doesn't have to do much else, and I could see Tom Magee in the exact same place as the Warrior. While Tom was not seen as a good worker, The Warrior definately was not seen as one by the majority of internet fans(I think he is a little underrated myself).

Reason #1 His booking sucked
Whether it was due to his weak strikes or due to him being in the land of no return on the C-shows, Tom made it nowhere in the WWF. He had one appearance on an edition of International Wrestling Challenge, which no one in the United States ever saw and he never appeared on WWF television again until his match with Tim Horner. No matter how good he was or wasn't, it was unlikely that Tom could have ever made any progress with the way he was booked.

Have I changed your mind or have I further solidified your stance on Tom? Either way, thank you for reading and keep an eye out for more!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Top 5 Reasons You Can't Blame...Shawn Michaels for throwing Marty Jannety through the Barber Shop window

I like ESPN and I like lists. I'm not going to lie. I also happen to love the show called, "Top 5 Reasons You Can't Blame...". If you have not seen this show, ESPN takes a look at moments in sports history and comes up with 5 reasons why the people involved should not be blamed for what happened. 

I started thinking about this show again when WWE announced that they were going to start a network around December. I was coming up with show ideas, both good and bad and this one hit me. I thought that this idea would be perfect for pro wrestling.

Think about it. Pro Wrestling has had many situations over the years where people have had opposing opinions. Whether it's the age old question of the fairness of the Montreal Screwjob or thoughts on Vince's 1980's expansion, there has been lots of discussion. Good points have been made and questionable points have been made. In this blog, I'm going to try to cover some of these topics and try to persuade you to take my stance.

One thing I'd like to note before I begin is that I will cover both kayfabe situations and real life situations. This is in order to provide something different and to help get into the mindset of the people involved.

So without further adue...

Top 5 Reasons You Can't Blame...Shawn Michaels for throwing Marty Jannety through the Barber Shop window.

Backstory:
The Rockers became one of the few bright spots of the dying AWA during the late 80's and their matches against Buddy Rose and Doug Sommers became classics. Building on this momentum and attempting to build their bank accounts, they joined the WWF in 1987. They were then fired and then rehired by June 1988.

From the start, the Rockers were a pretty impressive team. They were quick, creative and over. However, the Rockers joined the WWF when the WWF was at its peak for tag teams. Demolition were establishing themselves, The Hart Foundation was still going strong, the Rougeaus were still vastly underappreciated and the WWF had recently acquired both the Brainbusters and The Powers of Pain from the NWA. Suffice to say, The Rockers were not at the top of food chain.

The Rockers started to make a name for themselves with feuds against The Brainbusters, The Twin Towers, The Powers of Pain and then by 1990, The Orient Express.  The Rockers finally reached their peak in 1990 by winning the WWF tag team titles...or did they? A few days later, their title win was erased from history and The Rockers were stuck. The Harts moved onto Demolition and The LOD debuted.

Teams came and went but The Rockers never got their due. In 1991, The Rockers were looking for greener pastures. Supposedly, they were looking at a move to WCW, but it never panned out. Each member accused each other of being the turncoat and The Rockers were headed for splitsville.

Marty Jannety's interference backfired again Shawn Michaels during a match with Ric Flair, and then the turn was evident. Soon after, Jannetty caused Michaels to get pinned at the Surivor Series.

The Rockers met their demise on December 2, 1991. Shawn and Marty had it out at the Barber Shop and the rest is history.

Reason #5 - The Rockers were never going to be the top team in the WWF:
As I alluded to earlier, the Rockers always seemed to have gotten overpassed. Teams came and teams went, but the Rockers stayed the same. Everytime Vince got a new team from rival promotions, they usually became the focus. This happened with The Brainbusters, The Powers of Pain and The LOD. Shawn saw that the Rockers were never going anywhere and took care of buisness.

Reason #4 - The Rockers just weren't compatible:
The Rockers never completely got along throughout their careers. They were friends backstage and then enemies. Alcohol and drugs had alot to do with this, as did being together 24/7. Most tag teams end up hating each other by the end of their run and the Rockers were no different. The Rockers still seemed to have not cleared up their issues as Marty Jannetty sent out some negative tweets about Shawn a month or two ago.

Reason #3 - The right place at the wrong time:
The Rockers were always a few years ahead, especially in the WWF. They were both good workers and both were a little undersized. When you have Andre, Akeem and the other giants around, two sub-200 pound wrestlers are not going to stick out to Vince. Had The Rockers stuck around in 1993 after the steroid trial, they may have had better luck. WWF started to go the lighter route which lead to great matches with the likes of the 1-2-3 Kid, The Harts and actually both Rockers(feuding with each other).

Reason #2 - The freak accident:
In 1990, The Rockers had their usual squash match. However, disaster occured when a botched Rocker Dropper broke Charles Austin's neck. This lead to a lengthy lawsuit and it really hurt his WWF career. I feel that Vince never really forgave Marty for it, and by the time he seemed to have forgotten about it, Marty was in too much legal trouble to resume a career in the now WWE.

Reason #1 - Individual Aspirations and Shawn vs Marty:
One of the big reasons of the Rockers demise was that Shawn wanted to go the singles route. Marty wanted to keep the team alive, but since the WWF is never the type to not turn teammates who aren't teaming, it was over. The Rockers split up. While the debate began over who was the better Rocker, Shawn ended up becoming a main eventer, while Marty got put with Leif Cassidy. Marty never reached the peak that he could have and various legal problems stemming from arrests and the Charles Austin situation held him down. This caused Marty to have a phrase created about him years later when a team splits and the partner with less success becomes known as the "Marty Jannetty" of the team.

Anyway, that about wraps it up. Hope you enjoyed it and if you did, you can expect more in the future!



Sunday, April 22, 2012

General thoughts on WCW Saturday Night 1991

Due to being sick this week, I had some extra time on my hands.  I did what any normal, sane, pro-wrestling fan would do and pop in old footage. When my supposed one-day cold turned into a 5 day affair, I ended up getting alot of stuff watched!

For whatever reason, I felt the need to check out WCW Saturday Night 1991. WCW in 1991 was at an interesting intersection. WCW was always a little more sports-oriented but the powers that be were obviously taking ideas from the WWF. Around this time, the more gimmicky WWF ideas were coming into play.

The best example of this at this time was Big Josh. Big Josh was Matt Borne regimmicked as Tommy Rich's "Huntin' Buddy", Josh Jones(Bet you didn't know Big Josh had a last name!). Big Josh was your typical wrestling lumberjack. Flannel shirt? Check. Tossel Cap? Check Boots? Check. Obviously, WCW learned nothing from the AWA as they AWA tried this a year earlier with John Nord and Flapjack "298 pancakes" Norton. Josh started out without the crowd behind him and continued on with no one caring until May 1992 when he made his last appearance. Sadly, Matt Borne went on to even cartoonier gimmicks, but his next cartoon gimmick worked out a little better...However, WCW's gimmicks are going to get alot worse...

Watching the WCW shows at this time period and it really doesn't appear that WCW had any idea about what's going on. People are debuting like crazy such as Buddy Landell, One Man Gang, Dan Spivey, Stan Hansen and Vader. I felt like I needed a scorecard just to keep track of who's who. At this time, they also had two jobbers making some of their first appearances which were Bob Holley(they added the E, not me!) and Marc Mero.

The show is just overall pretty hard to follow. People keep debuting only to never be seen again, storylines are developing and not being mentioned and the long term goals appear to be missing. My friend and I were talking about this last night and it seemed to be a part of WCW's problem of having 5 shows with first run matches every week. You got Power Hour, World Wide, Saturday Night, Main Event and Pro along with the odd PPV and the odd Clash. Add this in with the fact that all the matches were taped in various orderings and you end up with the Freebirds losing the WCW Tag Titles before they even won them!

The biggest confusion for me was Arn Anderson not wrestling at the War Games. Double A beat up Brian Pillman along with the rest of the Horsemen the night before Wrestle War 1991 and then suddenly gets substituted by Larry Zbyszko. I didn't even know Larry was in the company yet alone in War Games!

Here are some other pieces of info for this time period:

Biggest Pushes:
Sid - Sid was by far getting the biggest push. He was doing the gimmick where different people were getting stretchered out by him every week. The crowd ate it up and Sid looked like a Monster.

El Gigante - El Gigante was also getting a pretty big push at this time period. WCW were getting ready to match him up with Ric Flair, but apparently thought better of it before any matches made air. To be honest, I was looking forward to seeing what Flair could do with the man Michael Hayes referred to as "El Stinko". El Gigante has done about 4 interviews in all of the shows I've watched so far and WCW has him repeating - "I want the belt" - each time.

Best Wrestlers:

Before I go into this, I'd like to mention that since most of these matches are squashes it is a little hard to gather who is good and who's not. Brad Armstrong would probably be my pick from tv work as he was in a good tag match with Tim Horner against Windham/Anderson that Jim Ross called, "The best tag team match I've seen in my life". It was a good match, but not half of the match the Steiners would have with Hase and Sasaki the month after.

Announcing:

WCW may have had more announcers at this time than any other promotion in history. They had: Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, Bob Caudle, Lance Russell, Paul E., Missy and Dusty. Lots of talent there and then there's Missy who was booked to be the most stereotypical woman ever.

MIA-Managers:

WCW had two of their biggest managers being MIA during this time period. The Freebirds and their two managers(Big Daddy Dink and DDP) were not seen often. I watched about 6 weeks worth so far and I did not see DDP until the PPV. Sucks to be DDP. One other missing manager was Teddy Long. He was in for maybe one show which should have changed since...

Doom breaks-up:

Doom randomly broke up at the WrestleWar 1991 pay-per-view. WCW lead into it a little by pushing that Teddy Long was buying houses for Ron Simmons and Butch Reed. Butch was talking about partying and Ron was setting him straight by telling him that they need to focus on keeping the tag titles. Maybe Butch should have listened as they lost to the Freebirds(who had already lost it to the Steiners at this point).  Doom breaking up seemed like a dumb idea to me at this time, but what do I know. WCW saw something in Ron and Butch was supposedly thinking about joining the rodeo(I'm not making this up). WCW ends up turning Ron face for a failed main event run. Had WCW kept Ron as a tough guy without the smiling and thumbs up and he might have worked out a little better.

Flyin' Brian:

Remember, that powerbomb on Brian from the world's safest worker Sid Vicious? Well, Brian comes on the show the week after and appears to be perfectly fine. WCW missed the boat on this one as they really could have pushed that Sid almost killed Brian. The powerbomb looked realistic enough to do so.

The Case of the Ric Flair clones:

Quick, how many Nature Boy's does one promotion need? My answer is 1 as long as he is the original. WCW decided to have two other wrestlers doing Ric Flair's gimmick along with Ric in 1991. Did Jim Herd see the writing on the wall? Or did WCW think Paul Lee was the next big thing? If you are wondering who Paul Lee is, then join the crowd. I don't know where they found him but he looked really similar to Charles Robertson's attempt at being Ric Flair. He had the gear and the entrance jacket down, along with similarly dyed hair. I guess WCW figured this out as in subsequent weeks he had his name changed to Ricky Nelson(Sure, rip off Ozzie & Harriet now).

Remember though that I said there were 2 Flair clones? Well #2 is none other than Buddy Landell. WCW explained that he was coming back and trying to get on the right path again, which is never really a good way a good way of promoting your talent. They recently also tried this with Tommy Rich, and that led to him being regimmicked. I like Buddy Landell, maybe more than others, but if you put him and Flair together, you know who I am taking.

That about wraps it up for now. I will try to get to some more WCW if I have time including some specific show reports.

My Fourth Japan Trip

Just got back from Japan. Here are some thoughts on some of the shows I went to:

LLPW's 12/25 1 yen show at Ginza: Not a good show, but it was free. Being so close, you really see how hard the girls land from all the missle dropkicks. I did get to meet Shinobu Kandori so it was worth it to me. She's a pretty nice lady and still tough.

K-Dojo 12/25 - The M-Pro tag was just a tribute and wasn't as long as it should have been. The main event was all chops and was really boring for me so I left early. It wasn't a bad show though. K-Dojo is usually fun. I got to meet Super Delfin, so that's one more off the list.

12/26 Ito Dojo - This was the best show I went to, and it was their last show. Every match was good and Toyota/Kato vs Takako/Hamada was the best match I saw on the trip. Lots of hard kicks and everyone did some dives. They really worked hard. Tomoko Watanabe had a good match with Ito and the main was fun too. They showed highlights of all the Ito Dojo shows prior since this was their last, and every clip featured Ito winning in some form. Of course Ito constantly going over and never pushing anyone new couldn't have led to their demise...

12/28 Osaka Pro - This was just a house show style card, but it was fun. Nothing too big but everyone enjoyed it including my gf who hadn't been to wrestling before. I got to chat with Aussie Osbone after show. He's a great guy and I hope it works out for him.

12/31 NEO - Their final show as well, but it was a good show overall. NEO finally gave someone new a push with Ayumi Kurihara winning the belt, but it was way too late. Ayumi hit the nastiest headbutt ever and had a huge red lump coming out of her forehead. Yuki Miyazaki was the star of the show though as she was in 3 different matches and really went all out. Afterwards, they signed stuff in a totally seperate building a few blocks away. NEO in their constant genius only gave out 100 tickets for pictures with Tamura and in the process lost a ton of people's money including myself and another's. Another brainy moment in NEO that night featured the 3 remaining younger girls still not being able to beat the 3 retiring girls. I'm sure Tamura/NEO MG's losing would have just killed their merchandise for that... Fuka was at the show but she didn't appear in any way at all.

I chose to head home on the 1st. Alot of stuff in Japan shuts down from the 1st-4th and it gets a little boring. I used to stay until the 5th, but I ended up wasting money trying to find things to do. In what is becoming a yearly tradition, I also got sick during the trip(over it now) and didn't sleep much for the first half of the trip.

Probably my last japan trip for now, as in 2012 I'll make the permanent move there and need to save up for that. I have handhelds of all the shows I listed, but I am missing the first few minutes and half of the main of K-Dojo.

My First Japan Trip

 This was my first time visiting Japan, and for a wrestling fan, it is a perfect place to go. There's more wrestling shows than anyone could see, wrestling stores(over 7), and even wrestling restaurants! What more could a wrestling fan ask for? It is the ultimate wrestling paradise. In this, I will share the day by day highlights of my stay in Japan.

Even though I was only in Japan for a few hours, the first day was fun. As soon as our group got off of the bus at the Tokyo Dome Hotel, we see none other than Travis "Tyson" Tomko! We immediately went inside to say hello, and when we did, we were approached by TNA cameramen asking us what we were doing in Japan. This was filmed, and should be on Spike TV's TNA in Japan Special. Later on, as we were walking around the Tokyo Dome, we accidently ran into Shoichi Funaki, Smackdown's Number 1 announcer. Funaki posed for pictures with us and was very nice. Soon after that, we headed to the hotel to rest.

Day two was possibly the best day of the trip. We woke up, and immediately went searching for New Japan's Puroresu Shop. After a half hour of searching, we could not find it. However, we asked someone walking on the sidewalk about it, and he walked us straight to the store! Talk about hospitality. New Japan's Puroresu Shop is one of the many amazing wrestling stores in Tokyo. They have everything you could ever want including over forty shirts, action figures, tickets(including other promotion's tickets) and New Japan tracksuits. After spending alot of money there, our group headed over to the Sizzler to meet a certain puroresu legend.

That puroresu legend was none other than Hayabusa! Getting to meet Hayabusa in person was nothing short of amazing. He was very nice to us, laughing along with us and sharing many stories. He was kinda enough to sign well over 150 items, as well as answer questions, and pose for pictures with his mask on. Since we took pictures outside, fans started to notice him. He was nice enough to even sign their photos and take pictures, when he didn't have to. Many wrestlers could learn from him.

After meeting Hayabusa, we stopped at more wrestling stores before putting our signed items down. As we walked near a wrestling store named Battle Royale! we see none other than Big Van Vader. Vader, looking in rough shape, was singing autographs and giving out free tickets to his tribute show the next night. Unfortunately, something must have happened in-between, because he was in the hospital during his show. Hopefully he is alright. Next we headed for the TNA vs New Japan Wrestling Kingdom 2 Tokyo Dome Show.

The show was pretty good, with both Yuji Nagata vs Kurt Angle and Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Shinsuke Nakamura being very good matches. Unfortunately, the dome was very empty, as no more than 13,000-15,000 fans could have been there. After the show was over, we all figured that was the end of our night, wrong! We went over to Roppongi and met Abdullah the Butcher, and then ran into many wrestlers in the Hard Rock Cafe, such as Ricky Marvin, Jeff Jarrett, Hirooki Goto, Scott Steiner, and many others. Most of them signed autographs and took even more pictures with us, making everybody happy as we went to bed.

Day three was yet another great day. Some people headed over to ICE RIBBON(a women's wrestling promotion with some workers being only 10-years-old), while others waited for All Japan Pro Wrestling in Saitama to begin. All Japan was a very unique experience.

Before we even got in, we were told to take our shoes off, and had to watch the show in socks or 500 Yen slippers. The show was so much fun, with two things sticking out. During the second match, us gaijin(foreigners) became the spotlight of the show. NOSAWA cursed and yelled at us in English, while Kaz Hayashi, Taiyo Kea, and Phil Atlas defended our honor. Abdullah the Butcher was up next, and after his match, proceeded to sing Happy New Years Gaijin! Hearing Abdullah sing was surreal, and maybe the biggest surprise of the trip.

The fourth day of our trip was very unique for everybody. One brave fan decided to take a very long journey to Big Japan Pro Wrestling, and got of all things, a Big Japan toolbelt! Myself and others headed out to NEO's 10th Anniversary show at the legendary Korauken Hall. Korauken Hall, for those not knowing, has had probably more wrestling shows than any other arena. A normal month for them can have anywhere from 8-17 wrestling shows!

NEO was another fun show, with lots of interesting characters on the card. Survival Tobita(a wrestler known for fighting monsters) wrestled, along with Ramu-chan(a grade school girl), and Lingerie Mutoh(a Keiji Mutoh impersonator who wrestles in lingerie). Kyoko Inoue returned to win a battle royale, which caused some fans to happily cry. The show also featured a very good Fuuka vs Haruka Matsuo, title vs title 15-minute draw. After the show, every wrestler came out to sign autographs and take pictures in a dangerously hot and crowded room.

Less than three hours after that, Kaientai-Dojo(TAKA Michinoku's promotion) took over Korauken Hall. The show was one of the best shows we saw with everybody working extremely hard. There were no bad matches, and many promotions came together to make it a success including DRAGON GATE, Big Japan, ZERO-1 MAX, and Michinoku Pro. The show had everything including fast paced matches, a death match, and even an intergender tag. If you get a chance, check it out, because you will not be dissappointed. After the show, we headed out to the gimmick table and parking lot, meeting wrestlers like The Great Sasuke, TAKA Michinoku, SHINGO, and Masato Tanaka. Boso Boy Raito even came up to me just to give me an autographed ball. What a great bunch of guys!

The next days were good without seeing anymore wrestling shows. On the 5th day, we met up with Manami Toyota and Sonoko Kato. Manami is just as beautiful as ever, and Sonoko was no slouch herself. They were having just as much fun as we were especially Minami, who was marking out over program books she hadn't seen in years. Then we headed over to the fighting sports bar, Fighting Cafe Colosso(http://www.fightingcafe.com/), and proceeded to watch Zero-1. The owner was so surprised that we knew of the bar, that he took our picture to add to his wall! How cool is that?

On the 6th day, we found the most amazing wrestling store bar-none. The store, named Toudoukan(http://www.toudoukan.com/Page/TOP) has the greatest collection of wrestling merchandise in the world. Want an American Wrestling magazine from the 1970's? No problem. Want a Crush Gals album or a signed Ultimo Dragon mask? You got it. The owner also speaks some English, and gladly took my picture with a life-size Giant Baba stand-up. We later found a store that is closing called Ambition. This is another great store, featuring 2 Kenta Kobashi jackets on display, and a Genricho Tenryu Revolution jacket. All the while playing NOAH matches on the television. We also ate a famous wrestler hangout named Ribera's steakhouse, which is covered in wrestling pictures.

For every non-japanese speaking person(like myself), do not fear, because almost everything there has some English on it, and mostly everybody knows basic English words. If you haven't been to Japan, but would like to go, stop making excuses and get to it. You will not be dissappointed!

My Third Japan Trip

12/21 - In a prelude to the trip, I got sick on this day and got little sleep. This ended up affecting my whole trip and is still bothering me right now.

12/22 - To start off the trip, It took over 3 hours to get to the hotel from the airport. I gave up when the bus got within a few stops of the hotel and took a train instead. Unfortunately, somewhere around then one of my suitcase wheels gave up on me, so I had to drag my bag to the hotel. By this time, I was already late for the J Cup and missed atleast the first match.

J Cup Night 1 - From what I can remember, this was a pretty good show. Kanemoto/Hayato was easily the match of the night, being exactly what I thought it could be. The crowd was more into Hayato and Ibushi than anyone else the whole night. So, of course they both lose in the first round. What really made no sense is that Ibushi lost while Danshoku Dino advanced into the next round. I missed a little bit of the main event but that seemed to be alright.

12/23 - I was probably more excited for this day than any other. I had a choice between 3 joshi shows at the same time(JWP Dojo Show, Fuka Matsuri and Oz Academy). However, there was no way that I was skipping Oz.

After getting to the show, I saw Takako Inoue arriving. With her huge sunglasses and American attire, I almost didn't notice her. Then I bought a ticket and immediately saw Sonoko Kato. I've met Kato 3 times now and am always friendly with her during my trips. She spotted my friend and I and went insane nearly knocking both of us down with hugs. That pretty much made it worthwhile right there. She was so excited and happy to see us. Because of her and puroresu in general, I started studying Japanese in May. She talks way too fast for me to understand, but fortunately she could at least understand me. Surprisingly, she said that she had also been studying some English to communicate with us! I was really impressed by that. Then she called up Manami Toyota and we all got to chat for a little while. They asked us to cheer for them loudly during their matches that day. It was a huge mark out moment and something that I will not forget.

The show itself was really good. Nao Komatsu made her debut and had a great debut. Her family supported her cheering loudly and bringing signs for her. She didn't mess anything and showed a little fire. She's a little small and a little chubby(by japanese wrestling standards), but she's cute.

Kyoko Inoue(substituting for Hiren) had a good match with Takako Inoue. Kyoko bumped huge for her and ended up being a great replacement.

The next match between Aja Kong & Hiroyo Matsumoto vs Ayumi Kurihara & Dynamite Kansai was probably one of the best matches of the trip. Aja was awesome and may be the best older AJW worker. Her and Kansai stiffed each other alot and made for a great match.

The next 3 matches were all pretty long. We had bleacher seats at Korakuen which did not help. They are so hard and become unbearable after an hour or so. Ozaki had a good but long match against Kaoru with Kaoru getting a big beating. Kato/Nagashima vs Ran/AKINO followed. It wasn't bad, but immediately their pacing showed that it would be a draw. Then Manami Toyota main evented against Carlos Amano. Toyota did a great job bullying Carlos around. Toyota has gotten into better shape now and is showing signs of the Toyota of old. She messed up her shoulder somewhere along the way during this and Carlos took home the Oz Academy gold.

After the show, my japanese friend joined us in the gimmick room. I got pictures with Dynamite Kansai and Toyota in there. Fortunately, my friend translated for us, so we actually got to have a good conversation with Toyota and Kato. They enjoyed our gifts that we brought them, and in return they gave us signed pictures of them. Because Kato is so popular, we had to make it quicker than we would have liked, so we forgot to get our picture with her. She said that she was really excited to see us again and considered us her friends. Toyota said that she plans to keep going strong and wants us to be able to come see her wrestle every year that we come.

After leaving the J-Cup show, we got to chat with my japanese friend about wrestling for a few hours. Unfortunately, around this time my sickness started kicking in. I barely made it through awake. I attempted to go to the J Cup show that night, but by the first match I was already done for. I ended up leaving at intermission and got some much needed rest.

12/24 - Due to some miscommunication with my friend and I, I didn't get to go to the NOAH show that night unfortunately. I ended up just chatting with one of the japanese wrestling shop owners, which ended up being just as fun.

12/25 - I went to Dragon Gate on this day. Dragon Gate was totally disappointing. They had Gurentai on the show(which is never a good thing) and everything was being built towards the big show on the 27th at Fukuoka. They mentioned it so many times that I was asking myself why they even bothered having this show. What sucked was that there were 3 consecutive Korakuen crowd brawls during 3 matches. It got extremely old and at pretty much every other show they had another crowd brawl. I never want to see another Korakuen crowd brawl again. It went along badly with the usual 2.9 style of DG.

12/26 - I went to the NEO Dojo show in Yokohoma. The NEO Dojo is a small little dojo. It only holds 50 fans and is pretty much just a ring and some weights. It's very different. The wrestlers even sell homemade soup there.

The dojo show was actually pretty fun. It lasted about 75 minutes and features 5 matches with 10 women. None of the matches were too serious, and the women were stuck with not being able to brawl outside the ring or to jump too high due to the low ceiling. There was a really strange spot with Matsumoto intentionally nailing the ceiling. The main event was a really weird graffiti battle royale. Anytime a woman was eliminated, the other girls would hold her down and draw designs on her face. Kyoko got Tamura's glasses drawn on her and in return, Kyoko started acting like Tamura. Even Nagisa Nozaki, who wasn't in the match, got involved. After the show, for only 1,000 Yen, there was an opportunity to take a picture with all of the girls at the show(minus Esui) in the ring. The girls got a big kick out of this, as did I. They probably could have charged 4 times as much and I would have paid it. It's probably one of my more favorite photos.

The show was fun overall. All of the matches were interesting and getting the wrestlers pictures was great. It cost about 5,500 Yen overall to get out there and back, so the price was a little high.

After the show, my friend and I headed to Shin Kiba for Fukumen. After a long day of travel, again I was completely out of it. I slept through most of the show and the only highlight for me besides Koriyuki's mask was talking with the announcer from DREAM MMA. He's a really cool dude and has a great voice.

12/27 - This day started off with Azumi Hyuga's retirement show. Azumi is the ace of JWP and is really the last thing they have to hold onto. They are going to be completely screwed without her and may have a rough few years.

The show was really good. There were no bad matches and there were some appearances by Meiko Satomura, the Great Kabuki and Jaguar Yokota. As well, Cuty Suzuki and Shinobu Kandori came by to give Hyuga flowers. The main was not very heated even for Hyuga's last match, but it was still good. I probably had one of the best times at this show. After it, I managed to get photos with Jaguar, Meiko(who speaks a little English), Nanae Takahashi, Ray and Emi Sakura. I also watched as a whole group of fans chased Hyuga out of the building to get an autograph. Unfortunately, she would not sign. Another interesting note is that apparently Kaori Yoneyama drives the JWP van(an everyday van with JWP posters taped to it).

DDT followed after and had a good show as well. Every year DDT constantly surprises me. Due to their comedic style, I often don't expect much, but they always deliver. The main event in particular really delivered and was one of the best matches on the trip. Ishikawa and HARASHIMA did a great job and hopefully will have a rematch somewhere down the line. DDT had a great crowd for this show as well, and seems to be one of the fastest growing promotions.

12/28-12/30 - I didn't go to any shows on these days. Instead I did some other fun things like karaoke(singing Beauty Pair songs!), eating yakiniku, and seeing the Japanese version of Disneyland. Tokyo Disneyland is very different and not really worth it if you have already been to an American Disney. The language barrier is a huge problem and the place was super packed. Anyone who's been to Japan knows about their habit of pushing in lines, and combined with everyone going in different directions at Disney, makes for an annoying time. I can't say I'd recommend it. With cold weather and being sick, it was not the happiest place on earth for me. I also went to a maid cafe on one of these days. It was a complete waste of time. I have no idea why anyone would spend their money on that.

12/31 - I hit NEO and the BJW/DDT/KDojo show this day. NEO had a great main event, but had possibly the worst match I've ever seen. It was a stupid comedy match and featured West Gate Puroresu. All of the wrestlers are terrible imitations of other wrestlers and are just flat out annoying. Of course, their match was one of the longest of the night. The show did feature a great match between 3 different Matsumoto's - Dump, Hiroyo and ICE RIBBON's dancing queen Miyako(who does indeed come out to Dancing Queen). Dump beat the crap out of Miyako, and Miyako sold it so well. This was one of the most entertaining matches I saw. Kana was probably the best performer on the show during her main event match. She is super hot and is the hardest kicker out there right now. She's on track to being the best woman wrestler in the world. After the show I talked to Nagisa Nozaki for the 3rd time. She's a really friendly and nice girl, but is always getting injured unfortunately. She plans to make another comeback in 6 months, so hopefully she can stay injury free for awhile. I also talked to the Shirai's and got to pose for them!

According to a rumor, Nanae and Kana got into a real fight after the match with Nanae supposedly delivering a real beat down to Kana. Obviously, Passion Red is having some problems, but hopefully they can stay together, as they are by far the best thing in joshi right now.

The 3 promotional show had a really funny blindfold match with Antonio Honda. It was super entertaining and should be worth checking out. The show also featured Bambi whipping wrestlers with her whip, and the return of TIGER CHUNG LEE to the ring. Overall, it had something for every kind of fan and was pretty wild. Oh yeah and it also featured a 108 man battle royale.

1/1 - Zero-1 had the only show this day and had two great matches. Before the show started I got to meet Akebono. Akebono is huge in person and may be a little too big for his own good anymore.

The show had a great match between Toshiaki Kawada and Daisuke Sekimoto. It could have been a classic, but it was atleast pretty good. It was a big moment for me to finally see Kawada live. The other good match on the show featured a tag between Hidaka & Mochizuki vs Sawa and Hayato Fujita Jr. This was just as good as you would expect and featured a ton of kicking.

1/2 - I saw a mediocre All Japan show this day and BJW. All Japan just does not produce entertaining shows for the most part. The talent is there, but pretty much every show I've been to of theirs has been disappointing. It feels like WWE sometimes, as the wrestlers just don't really go fully out of their way to do something special.

BJW featured an amazing 4 vs 4 elimination death match. It was 27 minutes of straight action and violence. It was undoubtedly the best match I saw on this trip. Every wrestler brought their own weapon including a light tube tree decorated for New Years. Of course, the wrestlers took pictures while bloody after the show. Because of this, I have been able to get pictures with nearly all of the BJW roster at some point. BJW is undoubtedly number 1 in dealing with fans.
1/3 - I went to an even worse All Japan show on this day. Too much Gurentai, and the main event was too long for my tastes. However, I must say that Hama is awesome. He is amazing for his size and is so much fun to watch. If there was a fat wrestler of the year award, he would own it.

1/4 - This was probably the most interesting day wrestling wise for me. I went to see ICE RIBBON and WAVE. Yes, I skipped the NJ Dome show.

ICE RIBBON was actually a really good show. There are very few underage girls left(except for Riho who is better than most wrestlers already at the age of 12) and to fill out the card they brought Nanae, Natsuki Taiyo, Kenny Omega and Yoneyama. Every match was pretty good and I had a great time there. Having not watched much ICE RIBBON, I was surprised by how much these girls have grown.

WAVE was also really good. Because WAVE is not shown anywhere, I couldn't skip this. Fortunately, I managed to record this show myself, since I'd never get to see it again otherwise. It had a great comedy match featuring Mima Shimoda(who almost died of laughter) and the returning Sakura Hirota. They did a spot where they worked super slow and then had to work super fast right after. After the match, GAMI and Misaki Ohata both got cake put in their face, since it was their birthday. Aja Kong also was on this show working an anime gimmick where if she is unplugged, she only has 5 minutes to live until dying. No, I'm not making this up.

After the show, I caught up with my friend who was hanging out with Terry Funk. They went to a bar with an already very drunk Funk. Due to my allergies to smoke, I was not able to stay very long.

1/5 - While taking the bus to the airport, I talked with Matt of Zero-1. We saw a wrestler in a New Japan suit on the bus, but could not figure out who it was. After seeing his haircut and hearing his accent, we figured out that it was Ultimo Guerrero! Let's just say that he wears a mask for a reason.

I was supposed to leave on this day, and technically I did. However, I also technically made my 4th trip to Japan on this day. What happened was that during preparation for the flight, someone got a whistle stuck inside the door of the plane. This cracked a window and became a real problem. So, our plane randomly made a U-turn and circled around. No one had any clue what was going on. Eventually, we landed back at the airport where another problem was discovered with the wing. Since it was late at night, there was a curfew. This meant that we were stuck in Japan for one more night. They put us in a hotel and fortunately we flew back safely the next day.

Overall, it was a fun trip but it was hurt by my sickness and fatigue. DVDVR was really represented in Japan with me getting to hang out with Osito, Matt, LeMuso, JacquesRougeau, Ohtani's Jacket, Ka-to, and possibly some others. I think that really made the trip, as it wouldn't have been as much fun without these guys. They are all great guys. So thanks to everyone and I can't wait until I return!

Here are my pictures with wrestlers in japan(All pictures up until Shingo on the 2nd page are new):
http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v723/rzombie1988/Wrestlers%20I%20met%20in%20Japan/?start=0

My Second Japan Trip: Part 3 (Miscellaneous)

Here is a link to all of my pictures from the trip(over 2,700 of them!):
http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v723/rzombie1988/japantrip2009/
http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v723/rzombie1988/japantrip2009pt2/

Wrestlers I got pictures with:
http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v723/rzombie1988/Wrestlers%20I%20met%20in%20Japan/
I apologize, as some of these were taken in an insanely packed Korakuen Hall, where you don't have much time.

My Top 5 matches of the trip:
1. Fuuka vs Natsuki*Taiyo - Queen Bee 12/28/2008
2. Nanae Takahashi & Kana vs AKINO and Chihiro Oikawa - Queen Bee 12/28/2008
3. New Year´s Present Scramble Match: Jun Kasai, "Black Angel" Jaki Numazawa & MASADA beat Shadow WX, Abdullah Kobayashi & The Winger (17:04) - BJPW 1/2/2009
4. Koji Kanemoto & Minoru vs Masaaki Mochizuki & Shinjiro Ohtani - Dragon Gate Buyuuden 12/27/2008.
5. Awesome Kong vs Genki Misae - NEO Grand Final 2008 12/31/2008
Honorable Mention - Best 2 of 3 Falls: Kaoru Ito, Ayako Hamada, & Aki Kanbayashi vs Yumiko Hotta, Manami Toyota, & Hanako Kobayashi

My Top 5 shows of the trip:
1. Queen Bee 12/28/2008
2. BJPW 1/2/2009
3. Dragon Gate Buyuuden 12/27/2008
4. Marvelous Night 5 - Devil Masami's retirement 12/29/2008
5. NEO Grand Final 2008 - 12/31/2008

My Second Japan Trip Part 2

After a great main event, my friend and I had to rush out to Shin-Kiba 1st RING for the combination 666/CPE/Naoshi Sano show. The show began at 11:30, instead of 2:00 as we were told online, so we ended up missing most of the first show. We wanted to stay for the main event of the summit show though, so we had no choice anyway.
We got there in the middle of a pretty good looking 8-man tag match. Then, there was an intermission. 666 has the absolutely weirdest intermission I've ever seen. Some promotions like to shill items during intermission, and some like to bring out wrestlers, well 666 decided to have a dancing performance outside in the 20 degree weather. There was some odd wrestler beating a drum, while another danced. Then there was a naked woman begging for water to be thrown at her, while another wrestler pretended to throw water at her. My friend has video of this, so hopefully he will be able to put it up somewhere.
Then we saw a pretty good match with Onryu & Pale One vs Cho-un Shiryu and Dinasty. Dinasty looked pretty good, but he blew a spot at the end and almost hurt himself pretty good. From there, the fans lined around the ring. We knew something had to be up, and sure enough women came out and fought until they were naked(they had tape on their backsides). This put the sleazy in sleazy indy scum. There was also another match featuring a guy called Senpai who prenteded to inject some substance into his head with a fake needle. We too got to see a cool tag with the Battlarts crew and the infamous, HOT STAFF. Until about 4 AM, they rotated between 20 minute intermissions, men's matches and women's matches. Then, they kicked everybody outside again to do something to the ring. Because it was freezing cold, late, and the dancing/singing were annoying, my friend and I headed to the hotel weirded out of our minds.
The next day(1/1) we saw a great Zero-1 show. I personally think Z-1 puts out the best cards usually. Unfortunately, the audience must not agree because this was the least packed show next to MUSCLE. This card had an awesome match between Fujita/Hidaka and Sawa/Minoru. It didn't reach the greatness it could have, but it was still a very good match and a highlight of the trip. It also had a good tag match between KAORU & Hikaru vs Saki Maemura & Toshie Uematsu. Hikaru really stiffed everyone in this bigtime, and KAORU looked a little akward out there to be honest. I haven't seen enough her to see if this is usual for her though. After the match Koji Kanemoto came out and announced he and Hikaru would be getting married. The crowd chanted "KISSU" loud after this, making a really cute moment. The next two matches were just okay, and really not that exciting.
After the show, we tried to see if any wrestler owned restaurants would be open. Unfortunately, Yamada's Izakaya & Chigua's Super Freak were not. We did get a picture of Yamada's place though, and found Michiko Ohmukai's EGOIST store on accident.
The next day (1/2) we had two shows lined up, AJPW's first day of the All Asia tag tournament and BJPW. AJPW's show was really disappointing, partly because we bought cheap tickets and could not see because of a tall guy in-front of us, and because the show just sucked for the most part. The only real highlight was a heavyweight battle royal that was entertaining. In-between shows, we checked out an arcade near the Tokyo Dome. The arcade was really cool with a live-action horse racing game, and a Kinnikuman game. The Kinnikuman game in particular was really fun. Also, I got to play one of the new versions of Tekken 5, and even managed to sweep a group of japanese friends somehow.
The BJPW show that day was so much better. It started off slow for two matches, with Benki, and a long tag match, but it really picked up. MEN's Club came out and shined like they always do. After the match, the crowd joined in on a happy birthday song for Hecules Oosenga. Then, there was a sweet shark cage gimmick match. There was tons of blood and brawling in this, and at one point, MASADA stuck wooden needles into Abdullah Kobayashi's head. Abdullah wore these throughout the match, even during intermission, where I got a picture with him, and the rest of the BJPW crew like Kasai, Shadow WX, and Jaki Numazawa. They came back from intermission with a good Yoshihito Sasaki/Ishikawa vs Sekimoto/Mammoth Sasaki match, which Yoshihito was overenjoyed at winning. Then it was main event time. MASADA warned us that it would be crazy at intermission, and he wasn't lying. Everyone got to eat the lighttubes a few times, leading to a great match.
After the show, we met Shuji Ishikawa, who's back was a mess from the lighttubes, along with Great Kojika and the BJPW female referee. The BJPW crew is insanely nice, and deserve all the credit for having their wrestlers out there greeting the fans. Not enough promotions do this, and they at stupid not to. I also managed to snag some pictures of the various wrestlers scarred backs, which have to seen. You wouldn't believe some of the scars.
The next day(1/3) may have been the best day of the trip. We saw a much better AJPW show, with a few good matches(some odd booking though). We had great seats for this, and we will probably be visible on the show because of it. Inbetween shows, we made an amazing trek to Mr. Danger's Steakhouse. Mr. Danger's is a must see place. It's not hard to find at all, as long as you remember that the station needed to go to this is not visible on the Tokyo Subway map(Higashi Azuma). Once at the station though, it's on the same street, and the locals were nice enough to walk us there.
The steaks there are very good, and the surroundings of the place are good too. Nowhere else will you see barb-wire and chains hanging from the ceiling, along with various Matsunaga pictures. After eating, we requested a picture with Mr. Danger himself, and he was more than happy to oblige.
On the train back, we ran into another japanese fan who came out just to see the restaurant. We talked for a few minutes, and it's really amazing how so many people know about puroresu in japan compared to America. We then headed to the MUSCLE show at Korakuen hall.
Neither one of us knew what to expect from this show, other than comedy. We didn't expect much, but we were actually blown away. The Sato's were on this card, along with some of the Battlarts crew, Cho-un Shiryu, Kenny Omega, both MASADA and MAZADA, and the legend himself, Atsushi Onita.
The show had alot of screwy booking, but it was entertaining for the most part. There were many Kinnikuman influences, with the NEO Machine Guns appearing(their name was taken from a Kinnikuman tag team), and Omega dressing up as Buffaloman. Onita was the major highlight of the show though.
He did a quick brawl, a long speech, and even dropped a fall to Muscle Sakai of all people. I watched this from the balcony, and couldn't believe it was actually him. I ended up moving before the end of the night, and watched the last minute or two of the show next to one of the internet's favorites, joshi wrestler Cherry. Then, as soon as the show ended, me and my friend ran down to the parking lot and managed to catch Atsushi Onita for a picture. He happily obliged, leaving us marked out. We then saw Yutaka Yoshie, Aoki of NOAH, Toru Owashi, Atonio Honda, and even Munenori Sawa for the 9th and final time. While there, I had asked Sawa if Keita Yano left yet, and Sawa went to grab Yano for us! After thanking Sawa many times, I managed to get a pic with Yano, leaving me happy. Sawa's kindness is just unbelieveable.
The last wrestling day of our trip, was quite a day. We ran down to the sketchy Shinjuku area to look around. While looking around, we saw many XXX and hostess style clubs, and even had some kind of hooker/massuse come up to us. She asked if we wanted to massages, and we turned that down.
A little later, we watched Yumiko Hotta's 20th(or it may have been 25th) Anniversary. The show like the last Ito-Dojo show was a little rough in the beginning, but picked up. The midget and cosplay matches just didn't do it for me. Chigusa, Shinobu Kandori, and the Matsunaga brothers all came out to give Hotta gifts for her anniversary, then there was a great tag match featuring Toyota & Shimoda vs Kana & Arisa Nakajima. They went at a fast pace and just killed each other with big moves. Finally, the main event featured Nanae Takahashi vs Yumiko Hotta in a pretty good match.
Before leaving, we ran into Awesome Kong and talked to her for a bit. Then outside, I ran into AKINO, and got a second picture with her, since my first picture got deleted somehow. We got to the dome late enough to miss the dark match, but early enough before the main show began.
No matter what anyone says, the dome is a crappy place to watch wrestling. There are nets near the bottom of the stands, small seats, and a pretty long stretch from the stands to the ring. The matches were okay, with Nagata/Tanaka being the best by far, and the main event boring me and my friend. Mistico did a good job as well, being the star of his match. The problem is that the dome crowd just does not care about juniors, and having 3 or so junior matches in a row kept them quiet. The main also made no sense to me, as Mutoh worked Tanahashi's knee for a long time, but Tana forgot about it and quickly jumped off the top rope twice. After the dome, we met up with one of my japanese friends, and had a great conversation about wrestling, which was really fun. I then saw another gaijin before leaving, who told me the WAVE show was really good and worth skipping the dome for.
That pretty much puts my japan trip to a rest. I'd like to thank the people at joshifans, puroresufan, and DVDVR, with special mention to Kurt, Ohtani's Jacket, and Mecha Chuchu for some of the harder to find information. I also would like to thank Martin(for a great trip), June, Taka, Masa, Takashi Izumi, the guys at Backdrop and CHAMPION, Sonoko Kato, and Munenori Sawa. It was a great trip, and has left me with memories I'll never forget.

My Second Japan Trip Part 1

Warning - This is a long post, but there's no filler.

After my first trip last year, I finally made a second trip to Japan to see pro wrestling again. This time the stakes were upped, with over 16 shows in 10 days. This was an absolutely insane trip, and in this article, I will talk about some of my experiences during the trip.
I arrived on 12/27 in the evening. Not even an hour after arriving into Japan, I had run into a K-1 fighter. I did not catch his name, but I believe he was Errol Zimmerman. After arriving into Tokyo, it was time for the first show of the trip, Dragon Gate’s Buyuuden show at Korakuen Hall featuring Masaaki Mochizuki’s celebration for 15 years in professional wrestling.
Buyuuden ended being a terrific show. There were no bad matches, and the card was packed with many stars like The Great Sasuke, Minoru Tanaka & Koji Kanemoto of New Japan Pro-Wrestling, and Shinjiro Ohtani. One of the best matches on the show featured Cyber Kong versus Daisuke Sekimoto. They provided a very entertaining match where they showed off various feats of strength, and fought to a double count out. Another match featured Kikutaro against Stalker Ichikawa in a comedy match where both wrestlers impersonated Stan Hansen. It was a hilarious match, filled with many Hansen mannerisms. The main event on the show featured Masaaki Mochizuki & Shinjiro Ohtani versus Koji Kanemoto & Minoru Tanaka. On paper it looked like an amazing match and it did not let me down. This was a hot 22 minutes of strikes and false finishes which kept the crowd hot throughout. In the end, this was a very good show. When they show ended, I got to meet Kikutaro and Munenori Sawa (one of the nine times I ran into him there), who were both very friendly and helpful.
After leaving the show, I was dead tired from 16 brutal hours on planes, and wanted to head to bed. Getting back to the hotel was no easy task though, as there were 1,000 teenage girls leaving some concert at the Tokyo Dome at the same time.
The next morning I had woken up and rushed over to JWP’s show at Korakuen Hall to purchase a program since I could not attend the show. While there, JWP wrestler Kayoko Haruyama was nice enough to sign my program. I then headed over to one of the top wrestling stores in the world, Toudoukan (www.toudoukan.com). Toudoukan is an absolute must-see for any fan of Japanese puroresu. The store has anything you could ever imagine including signed memorabilia, rare programs dating back to the 1960’s and American merchandise, making this a true dreamland for any fan. The crew at Toudoukan were even kind enough to let me enter the store before opening time and give me directions to the next show, Ito Dojo at Shinjuku FACE.
The show was pretty stacked in my opinion, with Ayako Hamada(who is very nice in person, and speaks english and spanish), Manami Toyota, Miho Wakizawa(coming out of retirement for her match), Yumiko Hotta, and the ZAPS. The Ito Dojo show ended up being very good after a slow-start. Before the show even started, I ran into some English speaking Japanese fans that were very friendly and helped me out. The top match on the show was the main event. This match was 2 out of 3 falls and was filled with brawling and numerous dives from all over the arena. Ayako Hamada, the daughter of wrestler Gran Hamada, particularly shined along with Manami Toyota. I got to meet Toyota after the show, and after a little translation help from my Japanese friends, Toyota excitedly remembered me from last year. If you think the lobby's at Korakuen are crazy, they are even worse at Shinjuku FACE. There you get pushed in 5 different directions and angles. At one point, I almost even got toppled into a guy on a wheelchair which was no fun at all.
As soon as I finished talking to Toyota, I ran to meet my friend and get ready for the next show, Queen Bee at Shin-Kiba 1st Ring. However, after my friend and I met, we ended up meeting a few more wrestlers as well. We first ran into Misae Genki. She was very nice and directed my friend and me on where to buy tickets to her retirement show on 12/31/2008, since the Korakuen ticket office said they weren't selling them(Wrong!). Then, when going up to the Korakuen Hall ticket office, we ran into Sonoko Kato. We had previously met Kato, and she instantly remembered us. She was surprised and excited to see us, which alone made the trip worthwhile. We then talked to her and found out what shows she would be on in the upcoming days. We also got to meet her friends, two other popular wrestlers named Carlos Amano and Chikayo Nagashima. With time running out, we rushed over to Shin-Kiba 1st Ring for Queen Bee.
The card only featured four matches, two of which were good, and two of which were awesome. We also got to sit front row for this, which made the matches even better. One of the awesome matches was Fuuka versus Natsuki*Taiyo. Fuuka recently won a real kickboxing match against another wrestler, so this style was a perfect fit. Both women hit each other very hard during the match, with Natsuki giving Fuuka a particularly nasty looking spin-kick to the face. This was my pick for the best match on the show, though the main event was great as well. The main event featured the Passion Red team of Kana & Nanae Takahashi versus newcomer Chihiro Oikawa and AKINO. The match featured Oikawa getting her nose busted open, leaving the ring a mess. At one point she got kicked in the face, and blood went squirting three rows. I’ve seen many matches, but I’ve never seen anything like that. Oikawa, even though she is a rookie, is really skilled and should have a very bright future ahead of her. After the show, Oikawa was crying because of the pain. She was fine after a few minutes, and was generous enough to talk to the fans. Munenori Sawa was also at the show, and remembered me from the night before. He then gave me a free Queen Bee poster signed by Oikawa, which was very nice of him. I also managed to get a picture with Yuki Ishikawa during intermission. I almost snagged one with Esui and Yuko Yamada too, but oh well.
The next day (12/29/2008), there was only one puroresu show going on. Because of this, my friend and I had a lot of time to check out the various puroresu stores. One of these stores is called CHAMPION. CHAMPION has an amazing selection of videos and puroresu merchandise, and is definitely worth checking out. The staff is also incredibly nice, which I cannot stress enough.
That day's show was Kasu Ichi. As soon as we got in, we thought we saw SUWA. Unfortunately, he was a little busy selling tickets so we couldn't find out if it was actually him. In the opener, MEN’s Club made its presence known. The highlight of the match was actually before the match started. Danshoku Dino found a child and tried to kiss him. The kid ran up and down two flights of stairs to get away from Dino, which he did successfully. It was hilarious, and was something that would never happen in America. It sounds really creepy, and I’d say it probably was, but those that have seen Dino before might be able to understand the psych behind it.
The show had two very cool surprises in an Ultimo Dragon match, then a SUWA appearance. Since this show featured many Toryumon students, it was only natural that the old boss of Toryumon, Ultimo Dragon, would have a match. SUWA, a popular but recently retired wrestler, came out to help Ultimo Dragon after his match.
The top match on this show was the Brahman Brothers of Shu and Kei Sato versus Minoru Suzuki and Yoshihiro Takayama. The Sato brothers are another pair of wacky characters. They come to the ring in KKK and Wiccan outfits, they puke slime (this is something that must be seen), and have haircuts that very strange. The match featured the Sato’s doing many odd things, like throwing worms at their opponents and into the crowd, throwing water balloons, and spitting black mist in the face of Takayama. It was a really wild match, and had the crowd in it throughout. In the end, Takayama’s team prevailed. After the show, my friend and I were fortunate enough to meet Ultimo Dragon and get a picture with him, which was really special for me. Ultimo also knows some english, so I could ask him a question or two.
The next day (12/30/2008) featured a show I had been waiting for. This show was Devil Masami’s retirement show. Because of how important Devil Masami is to women’s wrestling in Japan, her retirement show was very big. The show had over 6 promotions come together, and featured more names that I could possibly ever describe. Because of how many matches and wrestlers the show had, each match besides the main event had a 10 minute time limit. This sucked because all of the wrestlers worked house show style matches for the most part, minus the Oz Academy match. The card also featured two song performances by Devil Masami, and a retirement ceremony that Ric Flair would be jealous of. While many people think that Ric Flair’s retirement ceremony was the first of its kind, they would be very wrong. Japan has had many big retirement ceremonies for years, and may have even possibly inspired Ric Flair’s. Devil’s retirement ceremony alone lasted over 40 minutes and had appearances by many top wrestlers. At the end of ceremony, the bell was rung 10 times, and with a packed ring full of presents and flowers, streamers were thrown which covered the ring and Devil herself. It was a nice ceremony and was something special. When the show finished, my friend and I waited around. Luckily we did, because we got to meet the Hulk Hogan of joshi, Chigusa Nagayo. Chigusa is possibly the biggest name ever in joshi, and was unmatched in popularity during her top run. Meeting her was something I will never forget.
On 12/31/2008, I closed out the year with a bang. My friend and I traveled to Akihabara in the morning, and found Backdrop. Backdrop (http://www.b-drop.com/) is an American wrestling store in Japan. They have very unique items, including some that I have never even seen in American stores. It’s somewhat funny, because their selection of American wrestling items is much better than any store in America. The staff there is very nice and friendly. They gave me a small Original Sheik figure and a magazine as a present, which goes to show just how wonderful some people can be.
After Backdrop, it was time for the second retirement show of the trip, this time featuring NEO’s Misae Genki. This was another stacked show. Genki was the bulk of the show, as she competed in 3 different matches. First she fought and easily defeated one of her protégé’s, Aya Yuki. Then, in a match that I’m sure TNA will not even mention, she defeated TNA’s Awesome Kong. The match with Kong was a great match, and one of the better matches of the whole trip. It featured Genki getting powerbombed from the ring through a table, and all kinds of crazy brawling around Korakuen Hall. It was great to see Kong back where she belongs, in the style that she does best. The final match of Genki’s retirement featured Genki versus legend and NEO boss, Kyoko Inoue. The match couldn’t compare with the Genki/Kong match, but it still was good. Kyoko ended up pinning Genki after a lariat. After the match, Genki had her retirement ceremony, and may have had even more streamers than Devil the night before.
The card also featured two good tag matches. One of the tag matches (Kyoko Kimura and Atsuko Emoto versus The Neo Machine Guns) got bloody with light tubes even coming into play. This was unexpected and added to the drama of the match. Kimura & Emoto won, defeating the long time champs. The other really good tag match on the show was the Passion Red team of Kana & Natsuki*Taiyo versus Yoshiko Tamura & Ayumi Kurihara. The tag match had a scary ending unfortunately. A powerbomb finished got messed up, and to cover it Natsuki punted Ayumi Kurihara in the head so the finish would look strong. Ayumi had just come back from a pretty bad injury, and I was worried that she may have gotten injured again. Fortunately, she was only out for a minute and only ended up with a shiner under her eye.
After the show had ended, there was a meet and greet in the one room of Korakuen Hall. Crazy is not the word to describe it. It was jam-packed, and the only way to get through the room was to hope someone would you push you through. It was honestly a human death trap. It was worth it though, as we got to say goodbye to Kato, and get our pictures taken with Kyoko Kimura, who is not usually available for pictures. I'm also sad to report that Kimura got rid of her trademark afro.
Later on in the day, there was one more show. This show was the annual Pro Wrestling Summit at Korakuen Hall. Every year, this show closes out the year by bringing many top names from different companies in Japan. Since there are over 50 companies in Japan, there are many different wrestlers available.
MEN’s Club again came out for the show. This time the leader, MEN’s Teioh fought different members of his club in a very odd gauntlet match. On the screen at Korakuen, different names would be drawn and after MEN’s was able to successfully hit a move on one wrestler, another would come in. Instead of a bell for this match, they had a big drum that was beat by Big Japan Wrestler, Abdullah Kobayashi, wearing only a sumo thong. TAKA Michinoku also oversaw the match, and tried to put MEN’s down unsuccessfully himself.
The show also had an important moment as The Great Sasuke wrestled his first light tubes match ever. Sasuke’s arm was bloodied, and glass was everywhere (including in the stands) after this match was over. I was really surprised to see Sasuke working this, and I don't expect to see him doing another one anytime soon. The match was not that great, but it left the ring and the fans covered in light tubes. Me being a wuss put glasses on, just to avoid getting any glass in my eye. The BJW website actually warns the fans ahead of time of the possible dangers such as this when coming to a BJW show.
Almost all of the matches on this show were good, with Yuji Okabayashi in the opening match shining along with Yuta Yoshikawa of Battlarts. Okabayashi has the body to be a star, and has tons of intensity, which will get him places. My favorite match was Keita Yano and Shuji Ishikawa vs Suzuki and Takayama. Suzuki in particular just beat the ever-loving crap out of Yano, and seemed to enjoy every second of it. The main event was also good as it featured many power moves between the likes of Sekimoto, Mammoth Sasaki, and Yoshito Sasaki.
I'll put the next part in a seperate post.

LLPW 5/11/1993 Review

I watched LLPW 5/11/1993. Had the best Bat Yoshinaga match I've ever seen. It was her and Minami Suzuka vs Rumi/Osawa and it was great. Osawa and Bat were stiffing each other with Osawa getting the better of her. Bat was super over and was the most inspired I'd ever seen her. The show also had a Miki Handa vs Mima Shimoda match where Handa botched atleast 2 powerbombs on Shimoda. A cool part of the match was both of them biting each others legs to get out of holds. Shimoda was pretty fired up for the first half too. The match was alright, but it went a little too long. There was also a tag match with the Kandori vs Yasha sections being the highlight. The rest of the show was just 5 second clips of earlier matches, so I missed out on more Utako Hozumi. BOO!

LLPW 11/9/1993 Review

LLPW 11/9/1993 Thoughts:

- The crowd seems to fill in more as this show goes on(good call on their part).
- The announcer for LLPW is wearing a stupid fur winter hat that has got to be atleast 10 inches tall.
- LLPW's camera crew totally sucks. Instead of seeing the full motion of move, we see the landings and reactions of opponents only. I can't complain though as some of the dives were missed completely.

Sakie Hasegawa & Chaparrita ASARI vs. Leo Kitamura & Michiko Nagashima - This had a really quick pace but the moment that stands out to me most in this was Asari doing her cartwheel/backflip kick and coming up about 3 feet short of her opponent.

~Sky Flower Rock~: Manami Toyota vs. Carol Midori
~Technical Flash~: Kyoko Inoue vs. Mikiko Futagami
~Dream Kickoff~: Toshiyo Yamada vs. Yukari Osawa
I might as well review all of three of these at the same time. Three full squashes and burials right in a row. It was weird seeing all these girls go down so quick, but soon I would figure out the reason. It was also weird seeing a very sun-tanned Yamada.

Aja Kong vs. Miki Handa - This is yet another squash. Kong shows alot of cockiness in this. Kong is at her best when she can be cocky as her personality really comes out. Makes me wonder what a face Aja Kong would have been like. She hits some really great "screw you" kicks on Handa in this.

~Elimination Battle Field~: Yumiko Hotta & Suzuka Minami & Etsuko Mita & Mima Shimoda & Numacchi vs. Eagle Sawai & Harley Saito & Noriyo Tateno & Yasha Kurenai & Mizuki Endo - Numacchi??? Was Bat Yoshinaga busy this day or something? She was seriously the best they could come up with? Anyway, this match was to payback LLPW for jobbing their girls out 4 matches in a row. Eagle got to play Superman and helped her team win from a 4-2 deficite with Eagle beating Numacchi to get the win. Naturally, LLPW decided to clip 5 minutes of this. The camera crew missed a ton of stuff going on in this, but it was a good match. Best match on the show so far for sure.

Bull Nakano & Takako Inoue vs. Shinobu Kandori & Utako Hozumi - Hozumi is so tiny. She makes Takako look like a giant. Hozumi made this match though. She looked like one of the fastest wrestlers I had ever seen in this match. It's a shame that LLPW never did anything with her, as she was talented, one of the few attractive girls of LLPW, and one of the few with some kind of character. This match raised her stock in my eyes. Too bad that there is probably less than 15 matches of hers on tape. Bull looked extra evil in this and her segments with Kandori were really good(which lead to their big chain singles match). Kandori at one point puts a Fujiwara on Bull and then uses her leg to pull the arm back more which was totally sick. Team LLPW gets the win, getting some payback for the 4 straight jobs.

Hair match - Akira Hokuto vs Rumi Kazama - They show clips from a promo between the two with Hokuto wearing a jean vest and kaki shorts. It made her look like the evil blinging wife of Bob Villa. They show even more talking clips between the two which last somewhere between 5-10 minutes and never end. The match starts off weird from some kind of backbreaker botch, leaving both crawling around the ring(I think Hokuto tweaked her already hurt knee a little in this). LLPW mic'd up Rumi making it possible to hear her groans. There was alot of matwork and extended selling in this. Hokuto randomly ends up winning this lay-around fest after a sleeper. This was a totally strange match and finish, which makes me think someone actually got hurt. Rumi cuts some of her own hair, gives Hokuto the chance to cut some(she doesn't), then some guy finishes buzzing her hair. Most of the LLPW girls cry during this including Kandori, while Endo smiles and gets ideas for her next 'do.

This was the usual mixed bag of LLPW. Like always, Kandori & Eagle are super protected while most of the other girls are made to look like idiots. Kandori ended up even being one of the focuses of the main by getting into it with Hokuto! I was pretty surprised to see how big of a roster LLPW had at one time with 14 LLPW girls on the show. Just for reference, no promotion currently even has 14 girls(LLPW now has 5-7 depending on who you count). The 2 tag matches near the end of the show were the best matches for sure, while the main event was totally disappointing.

My Favorite Wrestlers

This will be a quick post about some of my favorite wrestlers. In future posts, I will dedicate individualized posts towards my favorite wrestlers.

I have alot of favorite wrestlers and they change all the time. Since my interests are joshi and 80's/90's American wrestling, most will probably belong in one of those two categories.

My favorite wrestlers:

Toshiyo Yamada - Toshiyo Yamada was a wrestler for All Japan Women's Pro Wrestling from the 80's until the late 90's when they collapsed. She emphasized a kick heavy offense and was one of their top prospects until she levelled off. She was the first person that stuck out to me when I first started watching joshi. I loved her kicks and I thought her gear was pretty cool.  Her matches teaming with Manami Toyota vs Mayumi Ozaki and Dynamite Kansai were legendary and make up most of my top 10 matches.

Skayde - Skayde is a veteran luchador and is the master of Llave. Llave is a complicated style of chain wrestling that combines quickness and multi-step submission holds. It is a constant flowing style of wrestling and is really beautiful when done right. While Skayde was not a big name wrestler during his career, he gained a reputation as an excellent trainer from training the wrestlers belonging to Toryumon and T2P. Simply put, I think he is probably the most fluid and amazing wrestler that I have ever seen.

Ultimate Warrior - WHAT? I'm not joking you. I have been an Ultimate Warrior fan since I was 2. I love his colorful outfits and facepaint and I really liked his quick style of wrestling. While I do not understand his promo's, I find them interesting too. I think Ultimate Warrior is a criminally underrated worker and was involved in more than a fair share of good matches.

Demolition - To a child, Demolition is about the coolest team ever. They have boss theme music, cool gear and wear awesome facepaint(if you are noticing, I like face paint). They were also very underrated and were the tag team during the late 80's. Road Warrior Clones? I think The Road Warriors were Demolition clones.

The Great Muta - Muta was a revolutionary wrestler in the 1990's and sparked my longtime interest in Japan. He was an amazing high flyer for his time and his green mist was the coolest thing to me when I was a kid. He also had some of the greatest costumes known to man. Getting to meet Muta in 2003 was a highlight of my life.

Other favorites:

While I do like all of these wrestlers, I don't know if I could put them at the same level of the five listed above.

The York Foundation - I may be the only person besides my friend who liked this crew. They had awesome theme music, goofy names and they were really entertaining to me for whatever reason.  My goal is to someday re-unite the York Foundation.

Hayabusa - Hayabusa was my favorite wrestler throughout 2003-2005. I was fortunate enough to meet him years later in which was a great experience. While I still like him, I once watched a 6-hour tape of him and I have not watched much of him since. I actually had the same issue with Demolition and...

Doom - Doom was a powerhouse tag team in WCW throughout 1990-1991. They were managed by Teddy Long in arguably his greatest role and they were a big, mean team. I felt that the breaking up of Doom was odd and I think WCW made a big mistake by doing so.

The Von Erichs - I idolized the Von Erichs. Since I was an only child and a wrestling fan, the VE's were really cool to me. I've always had an interest in wrestling families and they probably peaked my interest. I would rank them: Kerry, Kevin, David, Mike, Chris.

Shinobu Kandori - Kandori is maybe the most underrated joshi wrestler alive. She had a ton of great matches including the classic with Akira Hokuto and her no-bs character is what wrestling needs. She's super intense and easily one of my favorites.



Moving to Japan

Have you ever wondered how far pro wrestling fandom can go? Well, I think I have gone pretty far.

Starting in June, I'll be working in Japan. While Japan is great, my biggest motivation in moving there is the wrestling. Japan has the best wrestling in the world bar-none and I can't wait to share reports/photo's/videos and maybe even podcasts down the line.

For those that do not know, wrestling is not hard to find in Japan. There were over 50 promotions at my last count, and more than half of them are located in Tokyo. There's usually 3 or 4 shows going on at a time every weekend in Japan and various shows throughout the week.

It isn't just about the shows though. Japan is the only place that features wrestling stores, wrestler owned restaurants and more fan-wrestler meetings than anywhere else.

Introduction

Hey everyone,

I am longtime fan of Pro Wrestling. I started watching when I was 2 years old and aside from a short period in the 1990's when I didn't watch, I've been a huge fan since.

I discovered wrestling on the internet in 2003 and my life has changed completely since. I've read and watched almost anything I could find and have probably posted over 10,000 times about wrestling on various message boards.

I love almost any style of wrestling. Japan, Lucha, Joshi, Hardcore, American, Shoot, you name it and I've watched it. While I like all kinds of wrestling, Joshi and Late 80s/Early 90s American Wrestling is my favorite.

I've also been fortunate enough to attend many Wrestlemania's and attend shows in Japan on 4 occasions.

I hope you enjoy my various thoughts on pro wrestling and I look forward to reading your comments!