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Saturday, December 29, 2012

4 Reasons Why BJW Has Survived As Long As It Has

For many years now, the claim has been made that the hardcore wrestling scene is dying. State athletic commissions in the United States have eliminated the use of "weapons" (anything that is not a part of the human body) during matches, and the two biggest companies in the industry -WWE and TNA- no longer have chairshots to the head as a part of their shows. At first glance, it would appear that the dire predictions of the hardcore wrestling scene are true.

And yet, over 15 years after it's debut, Big Japan Pro-Wrestling continues to survive, while still focusing on it's hardcore niche. BJW draws very well at the 1,800 capacity Korakuen Hall in Tokyo (Japan's MSG), they have a television show on Fighting Samurai TV in Japan, and DVDs that feature the BJW product are still available across the country in the United States. Meanwhile, ECW, XPW, and FMW -three other hardcore promotions that were very popular- are now merely a part of wrestling's past. Which poses the question- why has Big Japan Pro-Wrestling continued to persevere, while other members of the hardcore scene have been unable to? There are 4 reasons:


1. BJW ISN'T ONLY ABOUT HARDCORE WRESTLING: The drawback of presenting a product that focuses solely on the hardcore style is that critics are quick to claim that it is being done because the talent on the roster are not very skilled wrestlers. And regardless of whether or not the claim is true, it will often appear that it is. However, BJW blends together hardcore and technical wrestling. Psychology is displayed from the opening bell to the end of the match. Ring presence and quick-thinking is included in matches, and every move that is executed is done for a reason.

Also, BJW has spotlighted their non-hardcore division (Strong Big Japan) by giving it a title of it's own: The BJW Strong Heavyweight Championship. This Championship is the third most important Championship in the company, with the BJW Deathmatch Heavyweight Championship being the most important, followed by the BJW Tag Team Championship.


2. STAYING TRUE TO THEIR NICHE: In order to be very successful in business, a product must be either better or different from the competition. Even though hardcore is not BJW's only style, it's definitely their niche and main focus. The hardcore style appeals to a segment of the pro-wrestling audience, and most promotions do not focus on that style. Therefore, BJW stands out.

FMW stood out at one time as well, with their hardcore style leading to multiple FMW DVDs being produced in the United States. Eventually however, FMW changed direction, becoming a product similar to WWE, presenting a sports entertainment style as opposed to a hardcore one. FMW was no longer different, and they were not better at the sports entertainment style than WWE. FMW's product change was a blow to the company; and less than 10 years later, FMW declared bankruptcy.


3. BOOKING HOUSE SHOWS IN SMALL VENUES: Since hardcore wrestling is a niche of the wrestling market, it's potentially more difficult for BJW to make money. The same goes for all hardcore promotions, as ECW and FMW proved when they went bankrupt. However, BJW spends money wisely. Their televised events are booked in large venues, such as Korakuen Hall (1,800 capacity) and Bunka Gymnasium (5,000 capacity).

Meanwhile, BJW's house shows are booked in much smaller (and likely less expensive) venues. The televised shows in big venues attract viewers enough to buy tickets to the house shows, and with the venues being smaller, a big profit can be made if the turnout is decent considering the size of the venue.


4. THE UNITED STATES IS NOT BJW'S MAIN TARGET AUDIENCE: Even though BJW branched out in 2009 via their English website (bjw-usa.com), BJW's main target audience is Japan. This is very beneficial to them, since BJW likely would not be as successful as they are now were they to make the US their main audience.

In Japan, BJW can have shows anywhere, and without having to tone done their product. That would be impossible for them to do in the US, due to many state athletic commissions and their rules regarding what wrestling promotions are allowed to do.

Also, BJW is in a very good position TV-wise in Japan, as they are on Fighting Samurai TV, a cable network that is dedicated to pro-wrestling. Although there has been interest from American networks in the BJW product, none of them were networks that would be competitive with USA (which presents WWE), or Spike (which presents TNA). Besides, even if BJW were on an American network, they would likely have to contend with groups holding extreme views that are against televised violence and would attempt to have BJW-TV removed from American airwaves. BJW has gotten around this potential roadblock however, with the product receiving American exposure on US PPV and across the country on DVD.


Harold Williams
@HWilliams13 on Twitter

Sunday, November 25, 2012

China and Pro-Wrestling

As everyone knows, China has been a regular topic in the news these days. It's the most populated country in the world, and has the second-largest economy. With that said, I'm surprised that the Chinese market isn't being utilized as much as it could be as far as pro-wrestling is concerned. The fan interest is definitely there- according to Internet information provider Alexa, China makes up a notable amount of regional traffic going to the official website of WWE.

Currently, there is only one promotion based in China, and it is an affiliate of ZERO1. It was a smart move for ZERO1 to form a relationship with a China-based promotion, as opposed to attempting to succeed there on their own. Networking is vital when it comes to doing business in China. It would be beneficial for other promotions outside of China to increase their involvement with the Chinese market, or for members of the industry who live in China to create additional promotions. Considering the size of China's market, they could potentially become a large pro-wrestling scene.

Sunday Night is the Best Night for Wrestling

When WWE broke new ground by debuting, "WWE RAW" in 1993 on a Monday night and delivered great ratings to USA Network that year (its best being 3.4), Monday night quickly became established in the minds of pro-wrestling fans as, "Wrestling Night". WCW followed suit in 1995 with, "WCW Monday Nitro" when Eric Bischoff (as Executive Vice President) suggested to Ted Turner that WCW needed a prime time show in order to be competitive with Vince McMahon and WWE. In 2010, TNA did the same when they temporarily moved, "IMPACT WRESTLING" from its regular Thursday night slot to Monday night. As Hulk Hogan explained regarding TNA's move, "From a wrestler's point of view, if you want to prove you are the best and you want to get in the fight, you have to let the fans make the choice and put out the best product you possibly can. I want to go head-to-head with the competition."

Even though going head-to-head is definitely the most effective way to gain fans from the competition, sometimes an attack from the side can be just as effective as an attack head on. Other than for PPV events, Sunday nights are devoid of wrestling. In fact, other than Tuesday nights, Sunday is the only night that doesn't feature wrestling programming. However, Sunday night is a great opportunity for the pro-wrestling industry. Most people are at home, watching television as they mentally prepare for their work week to start, while many students are watching television as they rush through homework that they procrastinated on all weekend.

A Sunday night, prime time slot would be beneficial to a promotion new to the TV landscape and looking to make waves, and it would be profitable for TNA as they continue to strive to make gains against WWE. Also, it would be advantageous to both WWE and TNA in the PPV department. In the past, WWE and WCW had Sunday evening shows ("Sunday Night Heat" and "Main Event", respectively) that would be used as live pre-shows, airing right before a PPV. It would help promote the PPV, encouraging a fan who didn't plan on ordering it to do otherwise.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Pro-Wrestling Interviews

In 2003, I began running my own website, World Wrestling Optimum, which consisted of news, articles, and interviews. My eBook, "Pro-Wrestling Interviews" contains interviews that I conducted for the website, along with an interview that I conducted in 2009 for the HULKAMANIA- Let the Battle Begin tour.

The featured interviews are with Alex Shelley, Angel Orsini Interview, Annie Social, Brandi Alexander, Cassidy Riley, Chris "The Brain" Kurtis, Craig Johnson (Jon Horton), Crusher, Dickie Rodz, Dusty Wolfe, Hawaiian Warrior, HWA Promoter, Josh Prohibition, Kenn Phoenix, Kronik, Lenn Oddity, Les Thatcher, Lotus, Mad Man Pondo, Matt Bentley, Matt Cross ("MDogg20"), Ms. Amy Lee, Navajo Warrior, Nigel McGuinness, Persephone, Solofa Fatu Jr. (Rikishi) for the HULKAMANIA- Let the Battle Begin tour, Tara Bush, Tony Atlas, Valley Doll, and Vik Dalishus.

Monday, November 12, 2012

TNA Turning Point 2012 Reaction

Last night's TNA PPV was a great event, which has been routine for almost three years now. TNA's talent roster has always been impressive, but the booking and creative direction now makes intelligent use of that talent, and in a very entertaining fashion. On a side note, although TNA does not report their PPV numbers (nor does any other private company), both "TNA" and "TurningPoint" were trending on Twitter last night, which serves as an indication that many viewers were watching the event.

A smart company gives it's customers what they want, and TNA is doing exactly that by having the TNA World Heavyweight Championship on Jeff Hardy, their most popular talent. Although he successfully defended the title last night in his, "Ladder" match with Austin Aries, the match put over both wrestlers. Many times throughout the match, it appeared that Aries was going to win. In fact, even though Aries is no longer champion, he has been put in a very good position this year. TNA saw main event potential in Aries, and they gave him the opportunity to live up to it by putting the championship on him in July. Aries didn't let TNA down, and even though he dropped the title in October, he remains a part of the main event scene, and most likely will continue to do so as we go into 2013.

One big topic emerging from TNA Turning Point has been the turning point for AJ Styles. The most popular TNA original on the roster, he was pinned in a, "3-Way" match that carried the stipulation that the wrestler who was pinned would not be eligible for a TNA World Heavyweight Championship title shot until after Bound for Glory 2013. Many fans feel that this match has hurt Styles' immediate future in TNA, but I think what everyone must keep in mind is that other than TNA management(and perhaps Styles), basically no one knows what TNA has planned for him. One year ago fans were calling for Samoa Joe to leave TNA due to lack of success he was seeing in 2011, yet as 2012 comes to a close, Joe accomplished becoming a TNA World Tag Team Champion, TNA Television Champion, and became the third Grand Slam Champion in TNA history. The key to success in the pro-wrestling business is patience, which has been proven many times in TNA as of late.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

How to Leave Comments on Blogger

I recently enabled comments on all of my blogs, but it may not be clear as to how comments can be left on blogs on the Blogger website.

At the end of each post, there is a, "comments" link. If there are not any comments to view at this moment in time, the link will say, "No comments". After clicking on this link, you will be taken to a comment box. Beneath the box will be identity options. Select the online identity that you would like to post via (anonymous commenting is enabled as well).

Along with commenting on posts, readers also have the option of sharing them (via e-mail, Blogger, Twitter, Facebook, or Google+). This can be done by clicking on one or more of the sharing buttons at the bottom of the post that you would like to share.

Monday, September 17, 2012

[WWE/TNA] Top Pro-Wrestling Accounts on Twitter

Social media has had a huge impact on the pro-wrestling industry in recent years, with Twitter being at the top of the list. From companies encouraging fan interaction, to talent using it as a promoting tool, to disgruntled employees using it as a ranting platform, members of the industry in various capacities use Twitter on a regular basis. In this article I will look at (in alphabetical order) the top pro-wrestling accounts from the two biggest companies in the industry- WWE and TNA. The criteria that I am using are their amount of followers and the frequency of engagement that the tweeter has with them.

WWE

CM PUNK (@CMPunk): CM Punk tweets every day. He stands out because unlike many wrestlers who are out of character most of the time that they tweet, the CM Punk that you see on television is the same CM Punk that you see on Twitter. If he is a heel in WWE, Punk is quick to lash out on Twitter at any followers who rub him the wrong way with their mentions to him. Punk even goes as far as taking his feuds in WWE to Twitter, as he has done with The Rock.

JIM ROSS (@JRSBBQ): Jim Ross has 38 years of experience in the pro-wrestling industry, and has spent 19 of those years in WWE, where he has been working as an announcer (and currently also as a Talent Relations consultant) and also served as their Executive Vice President of Talent Relations. Ross engages with his Twitter followers more than anyone else in the pro-wrestling industry, tweeting every day, replying to his followers and retweeting them often. He also gives his opinions on goings-on in WWE, both praise and criticism. With Ross' lengthy period of experience in pro-wrestling both on camera and behind the scenes, his knowledge makes his viewpoints very valid.

JOEY STYLES: (@JoeyStyles): Best known for his days working as an announcer in ECW, Joey Styles is still involved in the pro-wrestling industry, as the Vice President of Digital Media Content for WWE.com; Styles tweets daily, providing information regarding website updates and additions. This is very useful for fans that don't have time to check WWE.com every day.

KOFI KINGSTON (@TrueKofi): Kofi Kingston tweets almost every day. He tweets like a "regular" person, talking about music, sports, his travels, and WWE topics involving him and others. Kingston's tweeting style makes him easily relatable to his followers.

MICK FOLEY (@realMickFoley): Mick Foley recognizes the true power of Twitter. Whenever he has had an opportunity to promote one of his non-wrestling related endeavors, Foley has taken it; and social media is one of those opportunities. The more followers he gains, the more he promotes, and even though he may lose followers from time to time as a result of it, his core followers remain. After all, why follow someone unless you want to be updated on their latest projects?

NATALYA (@NatbyNature): Natalya uses Twitter almost daily. Not only does she reply to and retweet her followers, she follows many of them back, and also engages in Q&A with them. Instead of using Twitter to promote only herself, Natalya uses it to promote WWE as a whole, commenting on various storylines that are taking place, whether they involve her or not. This encourages her followers to engage with her regarding a variety of WWE topics, making her Twitter account one of the most diverse accounts to follow out of all of the WWE wrestlers.

TYSON KIDD (@KiddWWE): Tyson Kidd keeps his followers updated on all of his upcoming appearances, both televised and non-televised. All pro-wrestlers should utilize Twitter this way.

WILLIAM REGAL (@RealKingRegal): William Regal usually tweets daily, and retweets his followers. He also is not a stranger to engaging in a Twitter war. This past spring, Regal went back and forth with Chris Jericho, as Jericho criticized Regal's career success, while Regal shot back that he was more willing to help younger talent than Jericho was. While it's unclear whether this was a legitimate battle or merely two co-workers "arguing" for the sake of entertaining themselves and their followers, it definitely caught the attention of fans that read their tweets, and made them anxiously await what was going to be tweeted next.

WWE UNIVERSE (@WWEUniverse): WWE has fully embraced social media so that fans can interact with the product, going as far as using it to further storylines and often inviting fans to go online and vote on what they want to see on WWE programs. The purpose of the WWE Universe account is to maintain fan interest in WWE. Followers are retweeted and replied to, polls are conducted, and links to videos of WWE matches from the past are presented on a regular basis.

ZACK RYDER (@ZackRyder): Zack Ryder is a daily Twitter user. He tweets in a style that his followers can relate to, because opposed to tweeting mainly for publicity purposes, he tweets like a "regular” person. However, Ryder uses it for professional purposes as well. When fans have ordered his T-shirt and sent a picture of them wearing it to him via Twitter, Ryder has sent them an autograph. Also, Ryder has used Twitter to speak out when he has been unhappy with directions that his career is taking (ie. lack of television time).

TNA

AJ STYLES (@AJStylesOrg): AJ Styles tweets daily, and replies to/retweets his followers often.

DIXIE CARTER (@TNADixie): Although TNA has its own Online Media staff, social media savvy TNA President Dixie Carter often takes to Twitter herself to announce TNA news and updates.

ERIC BISCHOFF (@EBischoff): The author of "Controversy Creates Cash", Eric Bischoff also proves that controversy can create followers, as his follower count is far from lacking, and continues to rise. Bischoff's outspokenness shines through whenever he comments on politics and current affairs, which inspires his followers to engage with him on a regular basis, whether they agree or disagree with him. Bischoff also gives updates regarding his endeavors outside of pro-wrestling, such as his production company (Bischoff-Hervey Productions) and brewing company (Bischoff Family Brewing).

HULK HOGAN (@HulkHogan): One of the main reasons why Hulk Hogan has remained one of the biggest names in pro-wrestling for as long as he has is because he always adapts to constant changes in the industry. So when Twitter became integrated into the industry and continued to grow, Hogan opened an account of his own. Unlike many stars at his level of popularity, all tweets coming from the account are done by Hogan himself. He replies to tweets; and also retweets his followers, sometimes simply because they ask him to.

IMPACT WRESTLING (@IMPACTWRESTLING): Via this account, TNA does the best job at integrating social media with pro-wrestling events. It promotes TNA-related hashtags, retweets TNA stars, and previews upcoming, "IMPACT WRESTLING" episodes as well as does running commentary as the shows takes place, encouraging follower participation via hashtags.

SHAWN HERNANDEZ (@SuperMexGPW): Shawn Hernandez’ Twitter account is very informative, because even though he is not always active in TNA, Hernandez is always wrestling for promotions on the independent circuit (such as the Texas-based RCW), as well as making appearances. He keeps his followers up-to-date on all of this via Twitter. Hernandez also advertises shows that he helps run.

TAZ (@OfficialTAZ): Although Taz doesn't use Twitter on a daily basis, he makes productive use of it when he does. While feuding with former TNA Gut Check Contestant Joey Ryan on television, Taz made things interesting for his followers by extending the feud to the Internet, engaging in a Twitter war with Ryan. Also, Taz sometimes looks at his mentions during live TNA broadcasts, and talks about them.

OVW WRESTLING (@ovwrestling): As the official developmental territory of TNA, Kentucky-baed OVW is definitely a place to watch for stars of the future. They have a television show, but it is only available in Kentucky. Nonetheless, you can stay on top of OVW goings-on thanks to their Twitter account. It features retweets of tweets from OVW talent, and links to episodes of their TV shows.

As far as social media goes, TNA employees are some of the most accessible people in pro-wrestling, from in-ring talent, to important people who work behind the scenes. Below are TNA employees on Twitter who work behind the scenes that you may not have heard of, but should know.

BOB RYDER (@brydertna): Bob Ryder is the Director of Talent Booking & Travel, and has been a part of TNA from the very beginning. He's a TNA original.

DAVID SAHADI (@DavidSahadi): David Sahadi is a writer/producer/director for, “Impact Wrestling”. He has been with TNA since 2004.

SIMON EDWARDS (@yetiboomfilms): Simon Edwards has been the Senior Producer/Editor of, "IMPACT WRESTLING" since 2006. He is also the co-creator of "WROXER", an animated project aimed at pro-wrestling and MMA fans.





Sunday, September 2, 2012

Mystery Angles in Pro-Wrestling

As anyone who watches American pro-wrestling knows, angles play a large role in it. Fans enjoy seeing a storyline encapsulate the action that takes place in the ring. However, I feel that one genre that doesn't receive enough attention in pro-wrestling is mystery. A genre that makes fans sit on the edges of their seats while they watch the angle unfold, wondering what is going to happen next. After the show is over, they go online and speculate with fellow fans, the angle's details still fresh in their minds. And most importantly, they come back for more.

In truth, promotions have presented mystery angles many times in the past. Most of the time however, the angle falls flat, due to it either being rushed, not well thought out, or being scrapped before the mystery is revealed. There are a few mystery angles that I have enjoyed though, and one is TNA's current, "Aces & Eights" angle. Masked assailants running rampant throughout the company with possibly a mastermind within TNA controlling them behind the scenes, and the suspense of not knowing what is going to happen next. It reminds me of how WCW was in 1997, complete with closing segments that are the best part of the show. The last five minutes of the August 23rd episode of, "IMPACT WRESTLING" was the most exciting closing segment I have seen on an American pro-wrestling show all summer.

The fact that this angle is being kept under wraps very well is beneficial to it. Both fans and the pro-wrestling media are speculating on a regular basis regarding who it will turn out is supposed to be behind Aces & Eights (much like they speculated on who would be next to join the NWO back in the 90's). I too have been speculating. I notice that out of everyone who the Aces & Eights have given the dead man's hand to, the only people who they did not make good on their promise with were Brooke Hogan and Bully Ray. I also notice that Ray rarely joins in on brawls against the Aces & Eights members, and when he does, they don't put up much offense (if any).

What is your opinion of mystery angles in pro-wrestling? If you like them, which ones have you enjoyed the most? If you dislike mystery angles, what is it about them that turns you off?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

WROXER: Pro-Wrestling and MMA Meets Superheroes

With monthly PPVs, and weekly episodic programs that often garner the highest ratings on their respective networks, pro-wrestling is one of the most popular forms of entertainment. Many pro-wrestling fans in recent years have also become fans of MMA, which too has grown into a major presence on PPV and network television. And of course, animation has always been a big part of entertainment culture.

Robert Dickman and, "IMPACT WRESTLING" Senior Producer/Editor Simon Edwards have joined together to combine all three of these entertainment genres, creating "WROXER", an animated story with the goal of teaching kids the art of adaption & navigtation of life's challenges through a Mixed Martial Arts Superhero & friends.

In "WROXER", an underdog MMA fighter leads a group of misfit superheroes known as, "THE CORE" against the evil “VOID” in a battle that will determine the fate of humanity. Members of both factions are created by orbs that are scattered across the globe. The orbs symbolize the power of adaption (whether for good or evil). Those who have a dominant positive spirit and comes into contact with an orb becomes a member of The Core, while those who have a dominant negative spirit and comes into contact with an orb becomes a member of The Void. To keep the universe in balance, each orb has the ability to create one hero and one villain. Also, the orbs empower each member with one of five earthly elements: fire, water, wind, life, and lightning.

The WROXER project is receiving strong involvement from the pro-wrestling industry. One of the characters ("Fission") is voiced by Abyss, and there are plans to unveil a WROXER character voiced by Kurt Angle. Also, many other members of the industry have been very supportive of the project via Twitter.

The main WROXER site (http://wroxer.com) introduces their world in a unique and entertaining way. Displaying images of colorful and interesting WROXER characters, the site is reminiscent of the official website of a wrestling promotion, providing profiles of the WROXER characters, as well as giving information regarding the latest goings-on. There is also a promotional video available for viewing on the site.

After checking out the site, visit the official WROXER Facebook page to connect with them. Also, follow them on Twitter (@wroxer) to stay up-to-date as this project continues to develop and new characters are created. WROXER is also open to hearing everyone's thoughts on their diverse project as it comes closer to completion.

The next stage for WROXER is to bring their project to life by turning it into an animated series that would be seen via network television or a similar distribution avenue. I watched WROXER's promotional video, and I was very impressed. WROXER CEO Robert Dickman and Executive Producer Simon Edwards have created a formula that would appeal to all pro-wrestling, MMA, and animation fans. Although children are WROXER's target audience, their product would be enjoyed by all ages. "WROXER" has the potential to be a hit. Hopefully a television network will be sharp enough to see that potential and help bring this innovative new project to fruition.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Pro-Wrestling Schools

If you are serious about being a pro-wrestler, you need guidance and training from a reputable wrestling school. A useful tip is to look at a school’s rate of success. People enroll in training programs because they want to succeed in their chosen career. If a school doesn’t have former students who have wrestled for a major promotion, wrestled for an upper-level independent promotion, or wrestled internationally (or if the trainer themselves has not), then its training may be of poor quality.

In my eBook "Choosing a Great Pro-Wrestling School", you are given the best schools to go to, categorized by what your specific goal is. Some want to work for a major promotion in the United States. Others want to work for a promotion outside of the United States. Others simply want to wrestle, bottom line. No matter what your individual goal is, my eBook will direct you to the appropriate path.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

XWA Match Review: Spud vs. Axl Rage

Ever since 2007, XWA has been presenting their exciting product to fans of all ages in the United Kingdom. Thanks to the XWA website (http://www.xwawrestling.com/), fans all over the world have the opportunity to see XWA action via DVD. As the match reviewer for the XWA website, I will take a look at some of the many matches that are available. In this review, we will look at Spud vs. Axl Rage from October 8, 2011 at The Carleton, as a part of the, "Last Fight at the Prom 2011" event. Along with being a former XWA British Heavyweight Champion, Spud has also worked for TNA and PWG. Rage is a graduate of the XWA Wrestling Training School, which is the best training center in the UK (http://www.xwawrestling.com/index.php/icon-home-training-train-with-xwa). While still early in his career, Rage has worked for many promotions in the UK and definitely has a bright future in the business.

There is much history between Spud and Axl Rage. At one time, Rage (along with his Blackpool Blonds tag-team partner JD Sassoon) was a member of a faction named "Team Rockstar", which was led by Spud. After being out of action for months due to a neck injury sustained at the hands of Nathan Cruz, Spud returned to confront his fellow faction members, who were now allies with Cruz. As a result, Spud's affiliation with Rage and the other members of Team Rockstar was no more, which led to fans rallying behind him, turning Spud into an XWA favorite.

Axl Rage was accompanied to the ring for this match by JD Sassoon. Spud came to the ring alone, but obviously had the fans behind him, as they sang his entrance song, "Livin' on a Prayer" in unison. To show his distaste for Spud, Rage spat on a Spud T-Shirt that he was holding and threw it on the mat. Spud responded by taking off his ring jacket and throwing it at Rage. Spud took an early advantage in this match with kicks to Rage's midsection and a clothesline to the mat. He then prepared to deliver his satellite DDT finisher to Rage, who wisely escaped to the outside of the ring. Spud followed and chased him around the ring. Once they were back inside the squared circle, Rage attempted to hit Spud with a clotheslines off the ropes, but Spud ducked, dropped down when Rage rebounded, and then met him when he rebounded again with a dropkick, sending Rage to the mat.

Spud once again prepared to hit Rage with his satellite DDT finisher, but he was distracted by Sassoon. Rage took advantage of this by attacking Stud with a forearm to the back. He stayed on Spud with a back elbow, punches to the back, an eye rake, and kicks to the midsection. When Rage irish whipped him into a corner and charged after him, Spud met Rage with a boot to the face. He followed up by hitting the ropes and heading towards Rage at top speed, but Rage caught Spud in a backbreaker. Rage went for the cover, but couldn't keep him down long enough for even a one-count.

Rage stayed in control with stomps to Spud's back and chest. Spud attempted to make a comeback by getting to his feet and attacking Rage with a kick to the midsection and punches to the face, but Rage stopped him with a knee to the midsection, which sent him back down to the mat. Rage choked Spud against the ropes with his boot, and then hit Spud with a springboard butt drop to the back. Keeping the heat on him, Rage irish whipped Spud into a corner, and then charged towards him. Spud attempted to meet him with a boot to the face as she did earlier, but this time Rage caught Spud's foot. In a very unique counter, Spud used his other foot to kick his foot out of Rage's hand, and then kicked Rage in the chest. Spud attempted to follow up with a missle dropkick off the second turnbuckle, but Rage swatted him away, sending him crashing to the mat. Rage went for the cover, but Spud managed to kick out seconds before the referee could make a three-count.

Appearing to be unable to keep Spud down long enough for a three-count, Rage then took the submission route, slapping a bear hug on him. After escaping with punches to Rage's head and ducking a clothesline and a back elbow as he rebounded off the ropes, Spud put Rage down with a lariat. When Rage attempted to clothesline Spud, he countered with a delayed hangman's neckbreaker, and then hooked Rage's leg and went for the cover, only getting a two-count. Attempting to take a breather, Rage made it over to a corner where he slumped until Spud came over to him, which was when Rage stood and kicked him in the stomach. Rage irish whipped Spud into a corner, but Spud stopped his momentum by putting his foot on the middle turnbuckle. When Rage charged towards Spud, he moved out of the way and hit Rage with an enzuigiri. Rage staggered out of the corner, and Spud hit him with a sunset flip powerbomb into a sitout pin, only getting a two-count.

Feeling that victory was within his grasp, Spud again prepared to use his satellite DDT finisher. This time however, Sassoon -perhaps fearing that Rage was moments away from defeat- got on the apron. Spud, turning his attention to Sassoon, knocked Sassoon back off the apron. This is a good time to mention that there was not any padding on the floor. So, when Sassoon landed, he felt nothing but a hard wooden floor. In any case, that distraction was all that Rage needed. When Spud turned back around to continue the match, Rage hit him with a superkick. Rage then hooked Spud's leg and went for the pin, but Spud lifted his left shoulder a moment before a three-count could be rendered.

Rage was shocked for a few moments, and then went into desperation mode, as he began untying a turnbuckle pad, apparently in order to attempt an illegal tactic. While the referee was preoccupied with him, Spud pulled a concealed studded belt from out of his pants. After the referee ordered Rage to get away from the turnbuckle pad so that he could retie it, Spud went into action. He tossed the belt to Rage, and then sat down on the mat and yelled out in "pain", causing the referee to think that Rage had used the belt as a weapon on Spud. As a result, the referee produced a yellow card. The yellow card is a part of the penalty system that XWA has adopted. A yellow card serves as a warning, and a red card leads to a disqualification. This system sets XWA apart from many other promotions in the industry, and it's based on the public warning system that was adopted by Joint Promotions, a UK pro-wrestling organization that was created in 1952. So this system, although unique in today's industry, is deeply rooted in the history of pro-wrestling in the United Kingdom, dating back to the time period when pro-wrestling first became a major part of British culture.

Rage complained to the referee and the crowd for a moment, before turning around and walking into Spud's sitout three-quarter facelock jawbreaker finisher. Spud went for the cover, hooked the leg, and gained the win. This match was a perfect example of how it's possible to present an exciting and entertaining wrestling product that is suitable for all fans, young and old alike. Don't wait, visit the XWA website right now to order Last Fight at the Prom 2011! Not only will you see Spud vs. Axl Rage, but you will also see: Joey Hayes vs. Max Angelus! Declan O'Connor vs. JD Sassoon! RJM vs. C J Banks vs. El Ligero! Nathan Cruz, Colossus & Dave Rayne vs. Johnny Phere, Stixx & Sam Slam!

Harold Williams
@HWilliams13 on Twitter

BJW Bout Review: Jun Kasai vs. Jaki Numazawa Madness of Massacre

In this review, we will look at Jun Kasai vs. Jaki Numazawa from March 12, 2009 at Shin Kiba 1st Ring in Tokyo. It took place on the eve of Friday The 13th, and was a death match titled, "Madness of Massacre". As a tag team, Kasai and Numazawa are one of the most successful teams in Big Japan Pro Wrestling history. They have won the Tag Team Championship three times as of this writing, which is a record. However, as dominant they are as a tag team, their skills shine even more when they compete against each other in singles matches, as this match proved.

The ring was prepared with everything that Kasai and Numazawa would need to present the fans in attendance with the promised massacre. A row of fluorescent light tubes were draped over the ropes on two sides of the ring, bundles of light tubes lied in all four corners, light tube crosses lied in two of the corners, and a double ladder stood on one side of the ring with one end of a scaffold lying atop it. The other end of it was atop a double ladder standing in the entrance way. Kasai and Numazawa started the match with a chain wrestling exchange, serving as a reminder that they are both more than death match wrestlers. The style of the match changed when they began trading forearm shots. Numazawa, thinking that he had gained the advantage after coming out of nowhere with a quick headbutt, looked to the crowd for approval. However, when Numazawa turned his attention back to Kasai, he was met with a light tube shot. Numazawa retaliated by grabbing a light tube of his own and smashing it over Kasai's head. The match then slightly became a game of can-you-top-this, as Kasai went on to headbutt a light tube into Numazawa's forehead, followed by Numazawa doing the same thing to Kasai. After kicking Numazawa in the gut, Kasai irish whipped him into light tubes that were draped over the ropes, exploding them, followed by Numazawa doing the exact same sequence of moves. Numazawa's sequence was a bit more effective however, proven by Kasai dropping to the mat.

When Kasai got back to his feet, Numazawa attempted to irish whip him into one of the light tube crosses that was in a corner, but Kasai reversed the move, sending Numazawa crashing into the cross instead. Kasai then bodyslammed him in the middle of the ring, placed two light tubes between Numazawa's legs, and stomped on them until they snapped. Hopefully the light tubes were the only things that snapped. Kasai grinned a sinister grin, taking joy in Numazawa's predicament, who was crouched face down on the mat in obvious pain. When he slowly got back to his feet, Kasai hit Numazawa with a knee lift, and then rammed his head into a turnbuckle. With Numazawa still in the corner and with his back against the turnbuckle, Kasai grabbed a light tube, got on the second turnbuckle, and headbutted the light tube into Numazawa's forehead. Feeling confident that he was firmly in control, Kasai came down from the second turnbuckle, walked away from Numazawa for a moment and checked to see if his head was bleeding as a result of his headbutt attack from a moment earlier. This turned out to be a mistake, because as he walked back over to Numazawa, he was met by a kick to the stomach. The two men then began exchanging blows until Numazawa gained the upper hand. He took a moment to play to the crowd, but it cost him, because it gave Kasai the opportunity to grab a light tube and smash Numazawa over the head with it when he turned back around.

Numazawa dropped to his knees and slumped over the second rope. Taking advantage of the situation, Kasai brought him to his feet, irish whipped him into the double ladder, and then charged towards him, hitting Numazwa with a shoulder block to the gut. Kasai followed up by snap suplexing him to the mat, and then began a climb up the ladder. Numazawa got up to his feet and tried to climb up after Kasai, but Kasai sent him falling to the mat back first with a few kicks to the chest. Now at the middle of the ladder, Kasai came down onto Numazawa with a diving headbutt to his stomach. Kasai then went for the cover, only getting a two-count.

Kasai threw Numazawa out of the ring through the second rope, and followed him to the outside, where he irish whipped Numazawa into chairs in the crowd. When he got back to his feet, Kasai hit Numazawa with a knee lift and a forearm to the back. Kasai then set up two tables side by side, hit him with another forearm shot, and placed Numazawa onto the tables. Kasai then reentered the ring, and climbed up the ladder to the scaffold. When he got there, Kasai saw that Numazawa was climbing up the other side. Kasai met him with a couple of forearm shots, brought him over to the center of the scaffold, and attempted to suplex him off it. Numazawa blocked the move, but Kasai punched him in the side before releasing him. Next, Kasai knee lifted Numazawa and attempted to bodyslam him off the scaffold, but Numazawa blocked the move, escaped with two punches and a kick to Kasai's stomach, and in a move that has to be seen to be believed, gave him a scoop slam piledriver off the scaffold that sent them both crashing through the tables below!

Amazingly, Numazawa struggled back up to his feet, rolled Kasai into the ring, and went for the cover. Although obviously still feeling the effects from the bump through the table, Kasai managed to kick out at the two-count. Numazawa, seemingly confident that a pinfall victory was within his grasp, brought Kasai to his feet, delivered a Spinning Samoan Drop, and went for the cover once again, but once again only getting a two-count. Numazawa then attempted to climb the ladder, but Kasai got up, punched him in the back twice, and positioned his shoulders under Numazawa's legs so that Numazawa was in an electric chair sitting position. Kasai then released him and intended to hit Numazawa with a clothesline, but Numazawa turned around, saw Kasai and ducked, kicked Kasai in the stomach when Kasai turned around, and then lifted Kasai onto his shoulders to attempt another Spinning Samoan Drop. However, Kasai slipped out of his grasp, and standing behind Numazawa, grabbed him around the waist to attempt a German suplex. Numazawa escaped by delivering three back elbows to Kasai's head, rebounded off the ropes, and appeared to intend to do the same on the other side of ring, but stopped short when he realized that the ladder was right in front of him. Upon turning around, he was hit with a lariat by Kasai, who then went for the cover, only getting a two-count.

Many colorful synonyms have been used to describe Kasai during his career, such as, "crazy" and, "psycho". It's understandable, considering the fact that he has done many incredibly risky spots over the years that has given him the reputation of being one of the best hardcore wrestlers in the industry. At the same time however, Kasai is also one of the most unpredictable, in a very positive way. After Numazawa kicked out, Kasai glanced at a corner of the ring and slowly moved over to it. Then, he stood up and simply watched as Numazawa (who was back up at this point) charged towards him from the other side of the ring. At the last second, Kasai moved out of the way, and Numazawa collided with a light tube cross that was in the corner. Kasai then hoisted him onto the second turnbuckle, placed him in an electric chair sitting position, and dropped him into a facebuster.

Numazawa rolled out of the ring seeking an opportunity to recover, but Kasai followed, where he set up another table and placed Numazawa on top of it. Wanting to make sure that Numazawa would not get up, Kasai duct taped him to the table (now you know who was one of the first wrestlers to use duct tape during a match!), hit him three times with three different chairs (Kasai is nicknamed, "Crazy Monkey" after all), and then climbed up to the balcony of the arena (hence the, "Monkey" part). Kasai moved himself into position right above where Numazawa was lying, and leaped from the balcony onto Numazawa with his, "Pearl Harbor Splash" finisher. Even more impressive than that was the fact that Kasai got right back up. His adrenaline pumping, Kasai picked up a piece of the now-broken table and smashed it again a turnbuckle post.

Kasai rolled Numazawa back into the ring, bodyslammed him to the mat, and to add insult to injury, blew snot on him. Ready to finish off his opponent, Kasai climbed up to the top rope, donned his eyes with Pearl Harbor bomber goggles (as he traditionally does before ending a match), and once again delivered his, "Pearl Harbor Splash" finisher. Kasai then went for the cover, but Numazawa kicked out when the referee's hand was inches away from making a three-count. Not letting up for a moment, Kasai removed his goggles, bodyslammed Numazawa to the mat, and blew snot on him once again, before placing a bundle of light tubes on top of him. Kasai then climbed the ladder to the scaffold and prepared to leap onto the light tubes with another "Pearl Harbor Splash", but Numazawa quickly got to his feet and climbed up the ladder after Kasai, who met him with punches to the head. Numazawa put a stop to Kasai's offensive attack with a forearm shot to Kasai, and superplexed him off the scaffold to the mat below.

As Kasai lied on the mat, out cold, Numazawa attempted to crawl over to him to make the cover, but collapsed. When they both eventually tried to stand, Numazawa made it to his feet first, irish whipped Kasai into a corner and followed him with a corner clothesline. Numazawa then perched Kasai on the top turnbuckle, lifted him up and carried him to the middle of the ring, where he delivered a sitout powerbomb on top of the bundle of light tubes that Kasai had introduced into the match earlier. Kasai kicked out at two, but also impressive was the display of psychology presented in that spot. After Kasai had placed the light tube bundle on top of Numazawa, everyone had forgotten about it once Numazawa got up from the mat- except for Numazawa. Being very aware of his surroundings in the ring, not only did Numazawa remember that the bundle was there, but he also utilized it, taking advantage of a "weapon" that Kasai intended to use.

Staying on Kasai, Numazawa bodyslammed him to the mat, and climbed to the top rope, where he attempted a moonsault, but Kasai rolled out the way at the last second. Kasai quickly grabbed another light tube bundle from a corner of the ring and charged towards Numazawa with it once he had gotten to his feet, but Numazawa grabbed hold of the bundle. They both struggled for control of it, until Numawza gained it after kicking Kasai in the stomach. He swung the bundle, but Kasai ducked, positioned himself behind Numazawa, and grabbed him around the waist in preparation for a German suplex. Numazawa responded by swinging the light tube bundle backwards over his head, bashing Kasai in the cranium. Unbeknownst to Numazawa -who still had his back to Kasai and was taking a moment to catch a breather- his light tube attack had no effect on Kasai. Making a superman-like comeback, he once again grabbed Numazawa around the waist, and successfully delivered a German suplex, almost getting a three-count.

Something that must be noted is that Numazawa had not kicked out of the German suplex, Kasai had simply released the hold- he wanted more pain to be inflicted. Not only on Numazawa- but himself as well. He grabbed two light tubes, broke them over his knee, and carved into his chest with the remnants that he was holding in his hand. Throwing the light tubes aside, Kasai then ran across the ring, rebounded off the ropes, ran across the ring to rebound off the ropes on that side (crashing into light tubes that were draped over the ropes in the process), and sent Numazawa to the mat with a lariat. Kasai then quickly went for the cover, and Numazawa barely escaped a three-count.

Kasai quickly got to his feet, and bodyslammed Numazawa back down onto the mat, before placing another light tube bundle onto him, and scaling the ladder up to the scaffold. Kasai once again donned the goggles and leaped off the scaffold with his, "Pearl Harbor Splash" finisher, this time making contact onto the light tube bundle and Numazawa. Kasai hooked the leg and awaited a three-count, but somehow, Numazawa kicked out instead. It was almost shocking, but considering the fact that Numazawa is a former Deathmatch Heavyweight Champion, his resiliency is of no secret to anyone. At the same time however, Kasai was far from giving up, as he looked at the crowd and drew his hand across his throat, signaling that he was going to finish Numazawa off. Kasai brought him to his feet, hooked Numazawa's arms, and prepared to deliver a lifting sitout facebuster. Numazawa quickly escaped however, and delivered his side small package, "Shineway" finisher. Numazawa's version of a small package is the most effective one in the industry, because he pins his opponent's shoulders to the mat with the same force that he would administer a scoop slam piledriver. Still, Kasai managed to kick out of the move, proving his intestinal fortitude.

Numazawa's was fired-up with energy, as he grabbed a light tube and broke it over his own head. Numazawa then attempted to clothesline Kasai, who ducked and disoriented Numazawa by seeming to attempt a full nelson one moment, but then spun him around the next, before hooking him in a back slide into a sitout pin, only getting a two-count. Kasai was still in control of the match though, and had no intention of giving that up. He brought Numazawa to his feet, and once again hooked his arms to set up the lifting sitout facebuster that he had attempted before, and this time he was successful. Kasai then made the cover and gained the victory.

The best aspect of this match is that it was ironically titled, "Madness of Massacre". Even with tables and light tubes being used, Kasai and Numazawa presented a match with psychology from the opening bell to the end of the match. Ring presence and quick-thinking were included in this match, and every move that was done by both men, was done for a reason. This is a match that should be watched by all pro-wrestling fans, both hardcore wrestling and non-hardcore wrestling enthusiasts alike. So don't wait, visit the Big Japan Shop right now to order Dainichi Daisen 09 Vol 2! Not only will you see Jun Kasai vs. Jaki Numazawa, but you will also see: Shadow WX & The Winger vs. Abdullah Kobayashi & MASADA in a, "Fluorescent Light Tube & Barbed Wire Board" tag match! Isami Kodaka & Masashi Takeda vs. Katsumasa Inoue & Kankuro Hoshino in a, "Barbed Wire Board Death Match"! Atsushi Ohashi & Yuji Okabayashi vs. Daisuke Sekimoto & Masato Tanaka! Shinya Ishikawa & Yoshihito Sasaki vs. Yuko Miyamoto & Takashi Sasaki! Masada & Abdullah Kobayashi vs. Shuji Ishikawa & Ryuji Ito in a, "Hardcore" tag match! Yuko Miyamoto & Takashi Sasaki vs. Masashi Takeda & Isami Kodaka in a, "Fluorescent Light Stick & Double Board Deathmatch"!

Harold Williams
@HWilliams13 on Twitter