Tuesday, October 31, 2023

[KAGEKI] Pro Wrestling KAGEKI 11/4/23 at SPORTS BAR M's Cafe (Gifu)

Active since 1997 and founded by Azteca (who has appeared in NJPW, NOAH, AJPW, DG, DDT, BJW, FMW, ZERO1, and Michinoku Pro), the Fukuoka-based Pro Wrestling KAGEKI was the first wrestling promotion to be established in the city, and also hosts events in other parts of western Japan. On Saturday, November 4, KAGEKI will present, “COSMIC BOX Vol.6” at SPORTS BAR M's Cafe in Gifu, with a 2 pm start time (doors open at 1:30 pm).

The card will be as follows:

Kyushu Junior Heavyweight Championship
El Brave (Kyushu Junior Heavyweight Champion)
Cosmo Soldier (as seen in NJPW, DG, DDT, BJW, ZERO1, and Michinoku Pro)

Spell T
Jack Kennedy (as seen in BJW)

Super Shisa (former Open The Brave Gate Champion)
Yasushi Sato (as seen in DDT, ZERO1, and Ice Ribbon)

Dragon Yuki (as seen in BJW and Ice Ribbon)
vs. Convoy Nishio

You can get ticket information by contacting KAGEKI via

Monday, October 30, 2023

How to Market and Brand Your Wrestling Promotion

In today's competitive wrestling landscape, it's more important than ever to have a strong marketing and branding strategy. Your marketing strategy should help you to reach your target audience and promote your events and merchandise. Your branding strategy should help you create a unique identity for your promotion and to stand out from the competition. If you're struggling to market and brand your wrestling promotion, I can help. I offer consulting services to help wrestling promotions develop and implement their marketing and branding strategies. I can help you identify your target audience, create a strong brand identity, develop a marketing plan, and use a variety of marketing channels. Contact me at

Identify your target audience, deciding on who you are trying to reach with your marketing messages. Once you know your target audience, you can tailor your marketing messages accordingly. In your writing, be sure the terminology you use matches the audience you are catering to. Is your target audience marks, smarks, or casual fans? Whether you use terms like "fan favorite/rulebreaker", "face/heel", or "good guy/villain" will dictate which audience you attract.

Create a strong brand identity- a strong brand identity for your wrestling promotion is what leads to taking your company to another level and experiencing things such as drawing good crowds at bigger venues, getting TV deals, and having successful DVD sales. Decide what the core values of your promotion are and what makes it unique. Your brand identity should be reflected in all aspects of your marketing, from your logo and blog/website to your social media posts and advertising. Also, be consistent with your branding, using the same branding elements across all of your marketing materials. This will help to create a cohesive and recognizable brand for your promotion. And no matter what the brand identity is, it should be authentic to your promotion's core values and mission. When a promotion tries to be something it's not, fans and critics can tell. Instead, create a brand identity that tells the story of your promotion's origin, what makes it unique, and what its goal is.

It's important to create a strong online presence for your wrestling promotion as well. This includes being active on social media. For example, a promotion should post on Twitter 3-5 times a day, with the purpose of the posts being to make people more aware of the promotion and what it has to offer. Some of the posts should be news/information about the promotion (including who is on the roster and why people should care), and other posts would promote the promotion's upcoming shows, DVDs, etc.

It's also important to develop a marketing plan that outlines your goals, strategies, and budget. The marketing plan should include a timeline for implementing your marketing activities.

Building relationships with other wrestling promotions could provide useful as well. It would enable you to cross-promote your events and merchandise and to reach a wider audience. A wrestling writer can help you build these relationships.

Also keep in mind that English is the universal language, so if you want to reach as many potential new fans as possible, marketing and branding your wrestling promotion in English should be a part of your strategy. The English market is still very untapped. Several major wrestling promotions that are based where English is not the native language, now provide information in English. If you do the same and your promotion is based in a country where English is a foreign language, you will connect with the English markets inside and outside of your country, your promotion will grow in visibility, show attendance, and streaming consumption. Whenever the popularity of a promotion grows and gains a larger audience, the English market is a part of it. A publicist can be very useful in helping a promotion reach this audience and build its brand. A publicist can be a valuable asset for any promotion that is looking to grow its audience and reach new markets. By working with a publicist, a promotion can increase its visibility, reach, and impact.

If you're struggling to market and brand your wrestling promotion, I can help. I offer consulting services to help wrestling promotions develop and implement their marketing and branding strategies. I can help you identify your target audience, create a strong brand identity, develop a marketing plan, and use a variety of marketing channels. Contact me at

Madison Square Garden Bags: A Surprisingly Popular Fashion Statement in Japan

Madison Square Garden is one of the most iconic sports and entertainment arenas in the world. It has hosted countless popular events, featuring WWE wrestling, NBA basketball, boxing, MMA, tennis, NHL ice hockey, concerts, and college sports.

But did you know that Madison Square Garden bags are popular in Japan? Originally created in 1968 by bag-making company "ace.", they were first popular about 50 years ago, with many young Japanese people using them during their school days. One reason why the bags are becoming popular again is that they are extremely rare now, along with people who used to own a Madison Square Garden bag feeling nostalgic upon seeing that they are once again available for purchase after all these years. The bags are not sold in stores, and can be purchased online or from specialized retailers. This makes them even more desirable to Japanese collectors.

Second, Madison Square Garden bags are high quality and well-made. They're made with durable solid polyester and feature a stylish design. This makes them popular not only with sports and music fans but also with people who are simply looking for a high-quality and fashionable bag.

Third, Madison Square Garden is a well-known and respected brand in Japan. A venue associated with a variety of sports and entertainment events, Madison Square Garden bags are appealing to a wide range of people, including sports and entertainment fans, casual readers, and anyone else who is looking for a high-quality and stylish bag.

The popularity of Madison Square Garden bags in Japan many years ago and its current resurgence is a testament to the enduring popularity of sports, entertainment, and the Madison Square Garden brand. The bags are seen as a fashion statement, a nostalgic item, and a collector's item, and are often sold at a premium on the Japanese market, so if you're looking for a high-quality and stylish bag that is sure to turn heads, check out a Madison Square Garden bag.

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Archive Interview: Les Thatcher

(originally published 7/27/05)

Not only is Les Thatcher a legend in the pro-wrestling industry, but he is also one of the most diverse people in the industry. Thatcher began his career as a wrestler, and made many accomplishments, including becoming an NWA (Mid-Atlantic) Tag Team Champion. Thatcher later became an announcer for Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, and also was involved with the production of the shows. During this stage of his career, Thatcher also involved himself with pro-wrestling publications in various capacities, even designing and editing the very first four color WWWF magazine in 1978! In recent years, he started the Heartland Wrestling Association, and has been training the wrestling stars of the future as a part of Elite Pro Wrestling Training.

Q: How long have you been involved in the business?

A: I had my first professional match 45 years ago this past July 4th in Blue Hills, Maine.

Q: Why did you enter the pro-wrestling industry?

A: I became hooked on wrestling at about 8 years of age, and turned pro at 19.

Q: Where did you receive your training to become a pro- wrestler?

A: At what was probably the first wrestling school in the country. It was Tony Santos School of Wrestling in Boston, Mass.

Q: What do you like the most about being in the business?

A: I enjoy using my creatively whether it e in the ring, hosting television, or laying out shows.

Q: Which do you feel was your best match?

A: That is tough to say, I was blessed to be a worker when some of the best ever were in their prime, and had the chance to work with most. Maybe one I remember most was 1975 in Knoxville against Danny Hodge. We went the time limit, and were given two 5 minute over times, and they finally flipped a coin to see who would wrestle Ken Mantel for the NWA Jr. Heavyweight Title, as Ken was champion at the time.

Q: Which was your favorite match?

A: Any match where the fans were up for it, and my opponent and I both had fun, and didn't get hurt.

Q: Which do you feel was your best match that you ever called?

A: You, know I have never been ask this question, and I really don't know. I wrestled the average of 5 nights a week for twenty years, so I have called my share, but that is something you just went out there and did, and you really didn't stop to think about it.

Q: Which match did you enjoy calling the most?

A: I guess I would have to say, any match that was a good one.

Q: How did you come about deciding to start your own promotion?

A: Actually just started the promotion because the wrestlers I was training needed someplace to try what they were learning. Being a promoter in the one thing I enjoyed least in the business.

Q: When did you start the HWA?

A: I started HWA in 1995, and sold the company in 2003

Q: The HWA was fortunate enough to be a developmental territory for WWE and WCW. How did the developmental relationships with these two companies originally begin?

A: Some of my trainees had been used by both companies as enhancement talent, over a few years, and they knew that my people were technically sound, and were trained right. Plus people in both companies that worked in those departments had wrestled with me, and knew my work ethic.

Q: Did WWE give an explanation as to why they ended the WWE-HWA relationship?

A: Yes, very simple, they were showing a loss, they are publicly held, and they had to down size. The relationship was solid, and I still have a good relationship with the company today.

Q: How did the WCW-HWA relationship come to an end? Was it ended before WCW was purchased by WWE?

A: Yes, it was ended almost in the same manner. WCW had lost something like 60 million, and had to cut back. That was about 6 or 7 months before the sale.

Q: During your time running the HWA, the company was known for presenting, "Brian Pillman Memorial" Shows. What was the relationship between you and Pillman? Were you friends, or were these shows done out of respect for a fellow member of the business?

A: Brian and I were not extremely close. We were introduced by a mutual friend, and when he was trying to get back in ring shape after the wreck, he came up to my gym to use the ring, and to workout with some of the kids. The idea for the Pillman shows was out of respect for Brian.

Q: Why did you sell the HWA?

A: I sold HWA, because I was ready to move on to other things, and with my wife retired, I wanted to work from home, and we were just putting together EPWT, and traveling for that and trying to run a gym on a daily basis was just too much.

Q: You have taken your knowledge and experience within the pro-wrestling industry and put it to use as a trainer at Elite Pro Wrestling Training. How does your school differ from others? Also, has it produced any talent that you predict big things for in the future?

A: Actually EPWT isn't a school as such, and we don't have a building in that name. Harley has his school in Missouri, Dr. Tom is training guys at a school in Tennessee, and I am training just where ever we have a camp. I may get a small set-up here near home so i can do some private training because I have wrestlers wanting to come in for just a few days at a time. What we offer that you can't get anywhere else is a combined 150 plus years of pro wrestling experience between all of us. Ricky is offering our style backstage now with WWE as an agent, and between Harley, Doc, and myself we have touched the careers of a huge amount of wrestlers working for WWE, TNA, ROH, Japan, and others. Between Harley and I we have had six athletes signed to WWE developmental contracts this year alone. With EPWT we work with over 250 different athletes over the year, and there are several with bright futures.

Q: What do you do in your spare time?

A: What spare time? Besides the training company I write a weekly column, co-host "Wrestling Weekly", and I am on the board of directors for Cauliflower Alley Club, and consulting for a start up promotion in Oklahoma.

Q: What has been your proudest achievement in the business?

A: I am proud of my career in general, but this year may have the two things I am most proud of. I was awarded the second highest honor in the Cauliflower Alley Club in April by being given the Art Abrams Lifetime Achievement Award, coming from my peers that is huge, and our training manual will be in book stores in September. It is by Harley, Ricky, and myself, with Alex Marvez, and a forward by Jim Ross, and published by Sports Publishing LLC. The title is "The Professional Wrestler's Instructional and Workout Guide".

I hope you enjoyed this interview with Les Thatcher. In 2003, I began running my own website, World Wrestling Optimum, which consisted of news, articles, and interviews, including this one.

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Japanese vs. American Wrestling: A Comprehensive Comparison

Japan and America are the two of the biggest professional wrestling markets in the world. Both countries have a rich history of wrestling, and they have produced some of the greatest wrestlers of all time.

Both Japan and America have a strong tradition of professional wrestling. Jack Curley Promotions began promoting wrestling shows in 1907, making it one of the first promotions to present wrestling in an organized form, when it previously was only presented at carnivals and other public events. Rikidozan established the Japan Pro Wrestling Alliance (JWA) in 1953, which represented the NWA in Japan, and was the first pro-wrestling promotion to be based in Japan.

Japan and America both have a large number of professional wrestling promotions in their histories. There have been over 200 Japanese wrestling promotions, and over 1,000 American wrestling promotions. In both countries, the fanbases are large and passionate.

While the wrestling scenes in Japan and America have a lot in common, there are also many differences. One difference is that while professional wrestling is generally considered to be a sport in Japan, in America it's debated whether professional wrestling is a sport or entertainment. I find this interesting considering the fact that all spectator sports are forms of entertainment. Perhaps the debate would be ended if the debaters agreed to refer to professional wrestling as a business, since wrestlers are paid to wrestle (hence the term, "professional"). Nonetheless, whether or not to refer to professional wrestling as a sport continues to be a common discussion topic in America.

A second difference between Japanese wrestling and American wrestling is what takes place in the ring. While both styles have matches that focus on technical skill and athleticism, showmanship is another important aspect of American wrestling. Also, while promos are often featured after a match takes place in Japan, promos mainly are used to help build anticipation for an upcoming match in America.

A third difference is roster sizes. Japanese wrestling promotions tend to have smaller rosters than American promotions. For example, NJPW's roster has less than 100 members, while WWE's roster has over 200 members. Also, many independent promotions in Japan have very small rosters and brings in wrestlers who have appeared in notable promotions outside of theirs. For example, Yanagase Pro Wrestling's roster members who wrestle reguarly are Yanagase Kamen Fuerza, Sae, Mari Manji, and Jack Kennedy- four wrestlers. However, NWA Intercontinental Tag Team Champions Kubota Brothers (Hide Kubota & Yasu Kubota) from ZERO1, former KO-D Openweight Champion Yuji Hino, FantastICE Champion Akane Fujita, and many others who are not members of the YPW roster wrestle at their events as well. So, what independent promotions in Japan lack in roster size, they often make up for in star power on their cards.

A fourth difference is how the promotions branch out to foreign markets. NJPW is viewed on television in America by an average of 58,000 viewers via AXS TV, while there are not any American wrestling promotions on televsion in Japan. Streaming has been the most impactful way for American wrestling to get into Japanese homes, as WWE has recently entered a partnership with popular Japanese streaming television service Abema, which has 6.52 million users per month.

Although Japanese wrestling promotions are not utilizing streaming as effectively as WWE, they stil are benefitting from it. 211,800 of the visitors in a month to the NJPW World video streaming website are in the United States, while other promotions use general-purpose streaming platforms such as YouTube (where Michinoku Pro streams, "Michinoku Pro Wrestling LIVE" and TwitCasting (where Yanagase Pro Wrestling streams regularly), all of which could impact major promotions in America.

DVD/Blu-ray is still a popular way to watch wrestling in Japan, with stores such as BIG BLUE having WWE, AEW, Impact Wrestling, and PWG titles available, as well as titles of smaller American promotions. Meanwhile, stores in America are basically not a source for Japanese wrestling videos, but that hasn't stopped BJW (Big Japan Pro-Wrestling) from getting their DVDs into the hands of fans in America, exporting BJW DVDs overseas directly to their customers.

As far as live shows goes, while Michinoku Pro and BJW have made an impact in America in the past, NJPW currently has events in America regularly. Meanwhile, WWE has not hosted an event in Japan since 2019. However, the company still has a strong fan base in Japan, and it has expressed interest in returning. Plus, WWE has recently made a renewed effort to expand its international presence, the streaming deal with Abema being one of them. So it's possible that live American wrestling will return to Japan in the future.

The wrestling scenes in Japan and America are both unique and thriving, having much to offer fans. Which one is better? That's a matter of opinion, as some fans prefer the fast-paced, exciting, and unpredictable in-ring action of Japanese wrestling, while others prefer the added focus on feuds, promos, and comedy of American wrestling. In any case, recent years have seen a growing exchange between the Japanese and American wrestling scenes, with many Japanese wrestlers competing in America, and vice versa. This has helped to raise the profile of both wrestling scenes.

It's also worth noting that not all of the promotions in Japan and America are alike. For example, Michinoku Pro has an annual, "Space War" match, which features comedy and cosplay. Meanwhile, there are some small American promotions that don't have feuds and promos, only shows filled with one-off matches.

In the end, I recommend that you experience both. In my opinion, Japanese wrestling and American wrestling have something for everyone, no matter what you prefer in a wrestling product.

Monday, October 23, 2023

How to Use Streaming Services to Reach a Wider Audience for Your Independent Wrestling Promotion

In today's digital world, streaming services are a must-have for any independent wrestling promotion. They allow you to reach a global audience with your events, and streaming services can also help you generate additional revenue, as there are an estimated 3.5 billion video streamer users worldwide, and that number is expected to increase to 4.6 billion by 2027. Reaching this worldwide audience would increase the awareness of your promotion's brand and generate revenue from new markets.

If you're not sure how to get started with streaming services, or if you're looking for ways to improve your streaming strategy, this blog post is for you. In this post, I'll share some tips on how to choose the right streaming service for your promotion, how to promote your events on streaming platforms, and how to use streaming services to generate additional revenue.

There are a number of different streaming services available, so it's important to choose the one that's right for your promotion. Consider factors such as the cost of the service, the features that it offers, and the size and demographics of its audience. Some popular streaming services for wrestling promotions include TwitCasting, FITE, YouTube, and Premier Sports Network. They all allow you to stream your events live to viewers around the world.

Once you've chosen a streaming service, you need to promote your events on the platform. This includes creating a profile for your promotion, uploading videos and photos of your events, running ads, partnering with other streaming channels / promotions, hosting live chats during your events, and running social media contests. You can also promote your events on social media and via a blog or website.

In addition to selling tickets to your events, you can also use streaming services to generate additional revenue. For example, you can sell merchandise, run sponsorships, and sell advertising space. through your streaming platform.

Streaming services are a great way to reach a wider audience for your independent wrestling promotion. By following the tips in this blog post, you can choose the right streaming service for your promotion, promote your events on streaming platforms, and use streaming services to generate additional revenue. If you need help with any aspect of streaming, I offer a variety of consulting services. I can help you choose the right streaming service, create a streaming strategy, promote your events on streaming platforms, and generate additional revenue from streaming. To learn more about my consulting services, contact me directly at

Sunday, October 22, 2023

How to Write a Compelling Wrestling Storyline

A compelling wrestling storyline is one that keeps fans engaged and invested in the outcome of the feud, with at least one of the wrestlers having something to gain or lose. The resolution of the feud should be one that satisfies the fans, since the goal of a business is to satisfy the customer, which in the pro-wrestling industry, is the fan.

When developing a compelling wrestling storyline, it must start with a strong concept. After choosing who the main wrestlers are, decide what is the core of the feud, what the wrestlers involved are attempting to achieve, and what at least one of the participants has to gain or lose. If the wrestler has something to gain or lose, they have a reason to care about the outcome of the feud, which means the fans will care as well, making the feud more intriguing and exciting for them. And of course, conflict should be the driving force behind the storyline, whether it's a clash of wills/ideals, or simply an attempt to prove who is better once and for all. This is what creates the drama and tension, giving the fans more reason to care.

Although it's not necessary, it may help to pencil out the beginning, middle, and end before executing the storyline, planning the incident that sets the storyline, and the major plot points that lead to the ending of the feud. However, keep in mind that unforeseen incidents can happen, such as one of the participants in the storyline getting injured.

Feature twists and turns in the storyline that will keep your fans guessing, keeping them engaged and invested in the outcome of the feud. Mystery storylines are great at accomplishing this. It's a genre that makes fans sit on the edges of their seats while they watch the storyline unfold, wondering what is going to happen next. After the show is over, they go online and speculate with fellow fans, the storyline's details still fresh in their minds. And most importantly, they come back for more.

No matter what genre the storyline is, balancing the pacing of the storyline is important. While it should be well thought out and not rushed so that it does not fall flat, the storyline should have enough momentum so that the fans stay engaged throughout it and don't lose interest as a result of the storyline dragging on.

Keep in mind that even though storylines play a large role in American pro-wrestling, the wrestling action is what your fans are mainly paying to see. So make sure that the storyline encapsulates the action that takes place in the ring, instead of replacing it.

If you are struggling to write a compelling wrestling storyline, I can help. I offer consulting services to help wrestling promotions develop and execute their storylines. I can help you create strong concepts, and write satisfying resolutions. Contact me at

Saturday, October 21, 2023

Archive Interview: Lenn Oddity

(originally published 2/28/06)

Nicknamed "A Side Show Freak", Lenn Oddity is definitely one of a kind. Claiming that the Republicans are helping bunny rabbits and penguins take over the world, Oddity has the time of his life putting smiles on the faces of all of his fans with his ring antics.

Q: How long have you been involved in the business?

A: I've been involved in this business for about 4 years now. I started the same week of my 18th birthday. My family was not too supportive of me becoming a wrestler, so I had to wait 'till I was on my own.

Q: Why did you enter the pro-wrestling industry?

A: I love everything about this industry. The athletic capability that you must posses to perform in the ring. The actual performance to the crowd. Being able to make what you do in the ring believable and/or funny and incorporate it into a story. Basically everything that consists of entertaining the fans is what draws me towards wrestling. Making people forget about all their every day problems and have them have fun for a few minutes.

Q: Where did you receive your training to become a pro-wrestler?

A: I started my training in 24/7 wrestling in Schenectady, New York. That company is now no more so I continue my training through S.A.W. Trust me when I say that I'm still "green".

Q: What do you like the most about being in the business?

A: The fans. Seeing them laugh and smile during my matches. Seeing the kids hold up plastic spoons and cheer when I smile and yell something incoherent when the "bad guy" tries to hurt me and it doesn’t work. Just the laughs and kids.

Q: Which persona appeals to you the most: Face, Heel, or Tweener?

A: It would have to be "Face". I am far from a typical "Baby Face" but I love the laughs like I said before.

Q: What is your gimmick?

A: My gimmick is that I am a guy named Lenn Oddity. I believe that there is a conspiracy between evil outer-space penguins, soul-sucking bunny rabbits, and republicans, and with in all that the turkey media is covering it all up. Spoons are the only weapons to fight with, and the only thing to stop them from reading your minds is by wearing facepaint and always drawing an X on your forehead.

Q: Which do you feel has been your best match so far?

A: My best match by far would have to be my match against Drake Evans in 2003. I currently have pictures of that match up on my MySpace page.

Q: Which has been your favorite match so far?

A: My favorite match . . . hum. That ones hard to pick. I'd have to say me vs. J.C. Money. It wasn't the best but he played along with my crazy gimmick so well that I still laugh watching the tapes.

Q: Whom would you like to wrestle, that you have not yet done so?

A: Me, I'm not picky about who I wrestle. I like to wrestle guys that are much, much bigger then myself. I like to make it look like they kill me when they give me a big move. I love to over sell and make it look like they dropped me on my head when I take moves like chokeslams, powerbombs, suplexes and finishers. As long as they are willing to throw in a little humor here and there, they can wreck me in the ring. The crowd is all I really care about. I'm compared to Mick Foley when it comes to those that know me because I'm the first one to say, "I'll take anything you wanna give me".

Q: What do you do in your spare time?

A: I love to read books of all kinds. I watch horror movies alot. I am a real geek, because I play Dance Dance Revolution, and just about any Dungon & Dragons game out there. I love to get tattooed and work on my body modification.

Q: What is your long-term goal in the business?

A: I have 2 long-term goals in this business. Main event just ONE WrestleMania. Win or lose I don’t care. And my second goal is to wrestle for a federation that holds shows every week. TNA, WWE, anyone like that. Originally my goal was for ECW but since they are no more, I'm going to have to find some one else that'll like to have the comedy stylings of Lenn Oddity. SPOON!

I hope you enjoyed this interview with Lenn Oddity. In 2003, I began running my own website, World Wrestling Optimum, which consisted of news, articles, and interviews, including this one.

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

[TwitCasting] Osaka Style Wrestling (OSW) vs. YMZ on 10/18 LIVE

Osaka Style Wrestling (OSW) is a Tokyo-based promotion that was launched in 2019. Named after the city of Osaka, which is known for being a popular source for comedy in Japan, this promotion presents an often comedic product. On Wednesday, October 18th, OSW will be going head-to-head with YMZ, a promotion that blends action and comedy in its own unique way. The event starts at 19:00 Japan Time and will be broadcast LIVE via TwitCasting, a livestreaming service based in Japan that has over 33 million registered users worldwide. You can use a time zone converter to find out what time that is in your area to make sure that you don't miss any of the live pro-wrestling action.

The card will be as follows:

Billy Ken Kid (of OSW)
Space Galaxy Warrior Andros (of OSW)
Makoto (of YMZ)
Matsuzawa (of YMZ)

Joker #1 (of OSW)
Kaori Yoneyama (of YMZ)

Joker #9 (of OSW)
Kengo Mashimo (of YMZ)

Mitsugi Mouse (of OSW)
Hikaru Sato (of YMZ)

Kuma no Pa-san (of OSW)
Yuu (of YMZ)

[OZ Academy] [PREVIEW] 10/22/23 OZ Academy Event at Yokohama Budokan

Active since 1998 and based in Tokyo, OZ Academy frequently books some of the best freelance women wrestlers available on their shows. Their next pro-wrestling event will take place on Sunday, October 22 at Yokohama Budokan, with a 4:00 pm starting time, as OZ Academy presents ~YOKOHAMA Burning Destiny~.

The card will be as follows:

OZ Academy Openweight Championship
AKINO (OZ Academy Openweight Champion)
Takumi Iroha (of Marvelous)

"3 Way", match
Sonoko Kato (former OZ Academy Tag Team Champion)
Ryo Mizunami (former OZ Academy Tag Team Champion)
Hiroyo Matsumoto (former OZ Academy Tag Team Champion)
Chihiro Hashimoto (Sendai Girls Tag Team Champion)
Yuu (Sendai Girls Tag Team Champion)

Elimination 6-person tag judgment chain death", match
Chigusa Nagayo
Tomoko Watanabe
Mio Momono
Mayumi Ozaki
Saori Anou (former Artist Of Stardom Champion)

Shuji Ishikawa (former AJPW World Tag Team Champion)
Maika Ozaki (former International Ribbon Tag Team Champion)
Suwama (former AJPW World Tag Team Champion)
Maya Yukihi (former OZ Academy Tag Team Champion)

Jaguar Yokota (former AJW star)
Ram Kaicho (former Ice Ribbon star)
Momoka Hanazono (as seen in Stardom, BJW, ZERO1, Michinoku Pro, WAVE, and PURE-J)
Tsubasa Kuragaki (former Artist Of Stardom Champion)
Itsuki Aoki (WAVE Tag Team Champion)
Kaori Yoneyama (former Artist Of Stardom Champion)

Tickets for this event can be purchased here.

Monday, October 16, 2023

Archive Interview: KroniK (Bryan Clark & Brian Adams)

(originally published 10/20/05)

Separately, they are known as former SMW "Beat The Champ" Television Champion Bryan Clark, and former All-Asian Champion & former WWE World Tag Team Champion Brian Adams. Together, they are known as former WCW World Tag Team, All Japan Triple Crown Tag Team, and Intercontinental Tag Team Champions, KRONIK! In this interview, Kronik discusses WWE, WCW, TNA, the WWA, and more.

Q: How long have you both been involved in the business?

Bryan Clark: I started training in 1989.

Brian Adams: I started in 1986 in Japan. I was in the Dojo for a year, where we were trained to be wrestlers.

Q: Why did you both enter the pro-wrestling industry?

BC: I wanted to try it because of the one on one competition, and I felt I was big enough and strong enough to make it.

BA: I was stationed in Japan in the Air Force, doing various things from commercials to strong man competition, and that is what got me noticed. I was called one day from my agency, saying Antonio Inoki wanted to discuss it with me about becoming a pro-wrestler, so that was the beginning.

Q: Where did you both receive your training to become a pro-wrestler?

BC: Although OX Baker got me started, the major part of my training was at the Power Plant in Atlanta.

BA: My training was in Japan for a year with Antonio Inoki with New Japan at the same time as Chris Benoit. I'm one of 5 Americans to do that.

Q: What do you both like the most about being in the business?

BC: The competition.

BA: When I was in the business, I would say the friendships, making really good friends, having fun outside the ring while hanging out with the boys.

Q: Which persona appeals to you the most: Face, Heel, or Tweener?

BC: Heel, but it was difficult to stay that way when the fans like you no matter what you do.

BA: I would say Heel. The fans made Kronik Faces, even if the promoter wanted us to be heels.

Q: What is your favorite gimmick?

BC: Kronik, most definitely.

BA: Kronik. It could have went somewhere with the right push.

Q: Which do you feel has been your best match so far?

BC: I would say as Kronik against Steiner and Buff.

BA: I've had some really good matches with Randy Savage that weren't televised, like in Europe. WrestleMania 10 was too confusing for us. As far as tag matches, me and Bryan Clark had some really good ones.

Q: Which has been your favorite match so far?

BC: I don't know that I had a favorite except when we were against guys our own weight and size. The funniest one was as Kronik when we were paid to take the place of the Boogie Knights in WCW, and they didn't have enough money to suit us. We told them they could only get one of us for the amount they had, but they insisted on the two of us. We agreed but for half the time, and took a stop watch with us to the ring. When the time was up, we left the ring. Everybody seemed to love that one.

BA: That's difficult to answer. I'd have to think about that one, but I would have to say one of the matches I had with Randy in Europe, since we had the best match on the card.

Q: Is it true that The Undertaker played a role in the Kronik team being brought into WWE?

BC: Yes. Enough said on that.

BA: Yes, which probably ended up hurting us, I think, because of Stevie Richards. I knew we were dead when I saw him and heard what was going on. I knew right away.

Q: The match that you had with Kane & The Undertaker at WWE Unforgiven 2001 was the subject of negative criticism by WWE management, fans, and the pro-wrestling media. What was your personal critique of this match?

BC: It was the worst ever. We told them we weren't ready, and they made us do it anyway. Somebody was out to hurt us career-wise.

BA: Horrible. We weren't in wrestling shape and they didn't give time to get in shape. We'd not wrestled for a year, so to work for them, we should have had several house shows, but they didn't give us that. Whatever they could do to hurt us, they did. We just weren't in shape from sitting on the side-lines for a year. They had told us one thing about being a gimmick match, use tables, chairs, whatever, then the night of the match, they changed it on us at the last minute. There was no storyline at all. Somebody was out to get us.

Q: Is it true that before WWE assigned both of you to their farm system (HWA), they offered a buyout of your contract that both of you did not feel was acceptable?

BC: Yes.

BA: Yes, that is true.

Q: Brian Adams, is it true that while you were in the HWA, you took part in both helping with day-to-day operations as well as working with the talent?

BA: Absolutely. I ended up working as the booker up there. It wasn't intended to be that way, but that's how it turned out.

Q: Bryan Clark, you will be taking part in a new wrestling game later this year. In what way will you be involved?

BC: I will be one of the wrestlers in the game.

Q: Brian Adams, when you worked for WWE as Crush, the character was used as both a face (Kona Crush) and a heel (Demolition Crush & NOD Crush). Which persona of Crush did you enjoy most?

BA: Probably Demolition, or when I was with Mr. Fuji.

Q: Do you both think that it was a good idea that Kronik turned heel in WCW, or do you feel that the team should have remained face?

BC: Face, I would think.

BA: Remained a face 100%. Don't fix something that isn't broken.

Q: Brian Adams, you have been a member of 3 factions during your career: Demolition, the NWO, and the Nation of Domination. Which faction did you enjoy being a part of the most?

BA: Demolition.

Q: Both of you have been a part of promotions that have come and gone, such as WCW and the WWA. If either company had given either of you creative control, what would you have done differently? Do you think that either company would still be here today if you had been at the helm?

BC: WWA couldn't be saved, I don't think. As for WCW, they were trying to change things that didn't need to be changed, trying to out do Vince McMahon, and they should have left it as it was. They should have let Vinch hang himself instead.

BA: WWA just didn't have the capital to be successful. WCW, I would have trimmed all the fat to where it needed to be. They paid out too much money, so it needed to be trimmed.

Q: Brian Adams, in your opinion, what made the NWO angle as successful as it was? What made the angle die out?

BA: WCW seemed to be getting stale, and bringing in the tough guys to take over seemed to shake it up. It died out because the writing went stale. They ran out of angles.

Q: Brian Adams, this is your opportunity to respond to one of the most memorable WCW rumors. The following is a rumored Demon/Vampiro angle that was supposed to take place in 1999, but was scrapped:

"The Demon was to have been revealed to be the son of Satan, who disagreed with his father's ways and battled his father's servants on Earth, one of them being Vampiro. The feud would end on a WCW New Years Eve PPV, with the climax being that Vampiro would be cast into Holy Water and be born again as a face, free of Satan's influence."

Was this really planned to happen, or is it merely another Internet rumor?

BA: I think that was more of a rumor. It was supposed to have been part of the Kiss gimmick as far as I knew. I didn't really care because I didn't like it. I was just glad to get out of it.

Q: Whom would you both like to wrestle, that you have not yet done so?

BC: I think as of now, it would be nice to give the guys in WWE a run for their money and show them what tough guys are like. They've never had a really tough tag team match.

BA: I don't know that I have an answer for that one. It's hard to say.

Q: What do you both do in your spare time?

BC: I still work out 2 hours a day and I like to watch football.

BA: Right now all my spare time is spent in therapy for my back.

Q: Do either of you have any interest in returning to WWE, or working for TNA?

BC: No interest whatsoever for WWE ever again, but TNA is a maybe.

BA: Good question. WWE, probably not since it was on bad terms when we left. TNA is a possibility for the right kind of contract and money, provided I get my back in good enough shape.

Q: What has been your proudest achievement in the business?

BC: The World Tag Team Titles and the All Japan Triple Crown Championship and having Stan Hansen present them to us. That was awesome.

BA: Without a doubt, the World Tag Team Titles and the All Japan Triple Crown. I knew we could do it, and the first night there, we won both the All Japan Tag Team Titles and the Intercontinental Tag Team Titles.

I hope you enjoyed this interview with KroniK (Bryan Clark & Brian Adams). In 2003, I began running my own website, World Wrestling Optimum, which consisted of news, articles, and interviews, including this one.

Saturday, October 14, 2023

Archive Interview: Kenn Phoenix (Kenn Doane)

(originally published 9/2/03)

Kenn Phoenix has not even celebrated his 18th birthday yet, but he has already accomplished becoming a PWF Northeast Tag Team Champion, and has worked for NWA-TNA and WWE.

Q: How long have you been involved in the business?

A: For 3 1/2 yrs.

Q: Why did you enter the pro-wrestling industry?

A: Not really sure it has always been a dream.

Q: Where did you receive your training to become a pro-wrestler?

A: I trained with Killer Kowalski's school up in Malden, MA for a while and then did some WWE camps.

Q: What do you like the most about being in the business?

A: The magic of a wrestling match, giving the illusion that you're trying to kill someone, also the fame and the spotlight.

Q: Which persona appeals to you the most: Face, Heel, or Tweener?

A: Depends on where I am, if in front of family or in my home town I like to be Face otherwise I love pissing people off.

Q: What is your gimmick?

A: Don't have a gimmick what I am is what I am, if I'm a heel I spend 30 mins. before the show starts to get pissed off and then I come out cocky and really upset, if I'm a face then I like to joke and rib people (rib in this business means play a joke on someone).

Q: Which do you feel has been your best match so far?

A: Tough question. Probably at WWA-NE when me and my brother [Mike Phoenix] faced Jonah and Al Snow in Pepperell, MA. It was just crazy being in front of Tom Prichard, the guy who helps hire people for WWE and wrestling a WWE superstar.

Q: Which has been your favorite match so far?

A: Probably the one I just mentioned and every time I work for WWE cause the feeling is unexplainable.

Q: Whom would you like to wrestle, that you have not yet done so?

A: Well in the independents probably Chris Hamrick cause he is a fountain of knowledge. In the WWE probably Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, and Hurricane cause they are really talented wrestlers.

Q: Although most people become pro-wrestlers at age 18 or older, your pro-wrestling career began at an earlier age. How old were you when you first started, and how did/do promoters, other wrestlers, etc., react towards you when they found out that you are younger than the typical professional wrestler?

A: When I first started wrestling I was 13 yrs. old and a little scrawny bastard. Promoters told me I couldn’t work for them till I was 18, so I lied about my age. They eventually found out and said screw it. Other wrestlers, well some were cool and really surprised others were jealous, but hey it’s not like they didn’t have the chance. I had the chance and ran with it.

Q: You have worked with WWE on many occasions, wrestling in televised and non-televised matches for them. Are you interested in working for WWE full-time, or do you prefer working for WWE while still making yourself available to independent promotions?

A: Are you kidding I would love to work for WWE full-time and not have to do independent shows again but right now I am too young to be hired so I try to work wherever and for whoever just to keep getting experience. Other wrestlers will tell you that is a bad idea but hey if it works for me then I will keep doing it.

Q: Do you prefer wrestling in singles, or in tag-teams with Mike Phoenix?

A: Both, singles are fun but I actually prefer tag matches more because you can tell a better story and you can do so much more in such little time. Plus when me and my brother tag up we usually send the people home knowing they got their money's worth.

Q: What do you do in your spare time?

A: Go to school, and go to the gym and study wrestling tapes to learn more.

Q: What is your long-term goal in the business?

A: To finally get hired by the WWE and make a living in this crazy business. And when I'm old and the people don't want to see me anymore or when I can't move around the ring anymore I want to give back and help the younger guys trying to make it big in this business.

I hope you enjoyed this interview with Kenn Phoenix (Kenn Doane). In 2003, I began running my own website, World Wrestling Optimum, which consisted of news, articles, and interviews, including this one.

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

The Impact of Japanese Wrestling on the Global Wrestling Scene

Japanese wrestling has had a significant impact on the global wrestling scene in recent years. It began with NJPW's partnerships with WCW in the 1990s, during which NJPW talents such as Jushin Thunder Liger and Ultimo Dragon appeared on WCW shows. Michinoku Pro was introduced to new audiences during that same decade by Kaientai Deluxe making appearances in ECW and WWE. In 2009, BJW (Big Japan Pro-Wrestling) began selling DVDs of its product internationally, and later formed a working relationship with CZW in 2011 that led to BJW having its first event in the United States. In 2014, NJPW and ROH announced a partnership, which enabled NJPW talent to again appear on American television screens. The company continues to be a major player in the global wrestling landscape today, now expanding its international reach through its partnership with AEW and also holding successful shows in the United States.

Japanese wrestling has brought out the best in talented wrestlers during their time on the Japanese wrestling scene. Already recognized as being one of the best wrestlers to ever step into an Impact Wrestling ring, AJ Styles adapting to NJPW's unique style of intense, action-packed, fast-paced matches from 2014 to 2016 helped the industry realize that he is one of the best wrestlers in the world. While Shelton Benjamin was wrestling in Japan from 2013 to 2016 he presented an aggressive style that had never been displayed previously in WWE, and it's fair to say that Benjamin's very impressive work in Japan may have played a role in WWE wanting to re-sign him in 2017.

Japanese wrestling has also had a significant impact on the style of wrestling that is performed in other parts of the world. Many wrestlers from outside of Japan have been influenced by Japanese wrestling, and they have incorporated elements of Japanese wrestling into their own styles. Examples are Finn Balor and Karl Anderson, who were trained by NJPW, and Pete "Butch" Dunne, who spent three months travelling and touring with Michinoku Pro.

One of the most significant ways in which Japanese wrestling has impacted the global wrestling scene is through its focus on in-ring action. Japanese wrestling matches are very strategic, and this style of wrestling has been adopted by many wrestling promotions around the world. It's one of the things that makes Japanese wrestling very popular with fans internationally, and that popularity is growing at a notable rate. 29% of the visitors to the NJPW World video streaming website in a month are from outside of Japan, the main audience of BJW's streaming service is located outside of Japan, and the majority of the visitors to Michinoku Pro's website are from outside of Japan.

Meanwhile, Japanese women's wrestling has had an important impact on women's wrestling. Fans outside of Japan watch talented wrestlers from Stardom, Ice Ribbon, Sendai Girls, and WAVE in action via streaming or DVD. These women's wrestling organizations are among the most popular wrestling organizations in Japan, and seeing women wrestling at such a high level can inspire young girls who live both in and outside of Japan to become wrestlers themselves.

The success of all of these very well-known Japanese wrestling promotions may have inspired other promotions in Japan to adopt a more international perspective. For example, Yanagase Pro Wrestling broadcasts shows on TwitCasting, a livestreaming service based in Japan that has over 33 million registered users worldwide. This helps to make wrestling more popular and more accessible to fans around the world. As promotions in Japan increase in popularity while utilizing streaming services, they will have an impact on major promotions that are outside of Japan in the future.

The same can be said for promotions that are based in Singapore. The independent wrestling scene there pays close attention to activity on the Japanese wrestling scene, while the Singapore promotions make their events available for viewing via streaming. And this week, NJPW and Stardom announced the Asia Pacific Pro Wrestling Alliance, a new initiative that aims to bring together the top pro wrestling promotions in the Asia-Pacific region. The alliance will work to promote and support each other, providing opportunities for wrestlers and fans across the region to come together. The Singapore-based Grapple MAX is one of the members of this alliance.

Another way in which Japanese wrestling has impacted the global wrestling scene is through its emphasis on athleticism and technical skill. Japanese wrestlers have a reputation of possessing incredible athleticism and being technical wrestling masters. This has inspired wrestlers from other parts of the world to push themselves to new heights and to improve their own skills, presenting more engaging and exciting matches.

Japanese wrestling also has an impact on the popularity of wrestling in other countries. For example, Michinoku Pro is very popular in Mexico, most likely because it presents a unique combination of the traditional Japanese style with the lucha libre style, as many of the matches in Michinoku Pro feature high-flying and fast-paced action. Many stars of the Mexican wrestling scene such as Dos Caras, Atlantis, and Caristico have traveled to Japan over the years to wrestle for Michinoku Pro. Japanese wrestling is also popular in Europe- a significant amount of visitors to NJPW and BJW's streaming websites come from the UK, and RevPro has a partnership with NJPW.

The impact of Japanese wrestling on the global wrestling scene has been very positive, and is likely to continue to grow in the years to come as Japanese wrestling promotions further expand their international reach, and gain more popularity. As Japanese wrestling becomes more popular, it is likely to have an even greater impact on the style and presentation of wrestling around the world.

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

SmackDown to USA, Raw and NXT to Leave: What Does This Mean for WWE and the Industry?

WWE has announced that SmackDown will move from FOX to USA Network in October 2024, while Raw and NXT will leave the network. This is a major shake-up for WWE, and it will be interesting to see what the implications are for its product and the wrestling industry. While it's unknown why SmackDown is moving to USA Network, a possibility is that WWE wants to reach a new audience with SmackDown. USA Network is a more general entertainment network than FOX, so SmackDown might attract new viewers by being on USA Network. Plus, WWE presents SmackDown as a family-friendly show, so it's a good fit for USA Network's audience. What surprises me though is that while FOX has a higher viewership, they have been paying WWE $205 million annually for rights to SmackDown, while USA Network will pay WWE $287 million, meaning that even though SmackDown is moving to a smaller network with a smaller potential viewership, WWE will be making more money.

The changes are sure to have a significant impact on WWE and it will be interesting to see how the company adapts to the new landscape, as well as how its programming will change as a result. One question is whether Raw and NXT will find new homes on another network(s) or if they will go to a streaming service. I think Raw and NXT will go to Disney, being that the company has close ties with WWE and reportedly has been interested in buying WWE in the past. Disney has a number of networks that are suitable for Raw and NXT, such as ESPN, FX, and Hulu.

And actually, Hulu currently does air episodes of Raw and NXT, although not live. If live Raw and NXT shows move to Hulu, it would be very similar to the recent new partnership between WWE and Abema in Japan, which involves WWE making its live content available exclusively via a streaming service.

WWE has set many standards that exist in the industry. After WWE began broadcasting wrestling shows on American television nationally in the 1970s, other promotions began doing the same. After WWE began utilizing pay-per-view, other promotions followed suit. If WWE chooses to, they could set a new standard by making streaming the main way for major promotions to broadcast their products, along with creating new and innovative ways to use streaming in the future. Last month, I commented that a way that independent promotions using streaming services could impact major promotions is by causing major promotions to partner with streaming services in order to reach a wider audience and generate new revenue streams, and now WWE has partnered with Abema in Japan. So it would not surprise me to see WWE choose Hulu or a different streaming service (such As Amazon Prime Video or Peacock) to be the new home for live Raw and NXT shows in 2024.

It may take some time before we have all the answers regarding how the changes will impact WWE. But this is a major shake-up for the company and I expect it to affect the rest of the industry as well. It will be interesting to see what happens, as WWE continues to be a major player in the wrestling industry for many years to come.

Monday, October 9, 2023

Hulk Hogan in Japan: What If?

After Hulk Hogan was fired from WWE by Vince McMahon Sr. in 1981, Hogan began wrestling in Japan. He always speaks positively of his time in Japan, and Hogan's run in NJPW included becoming a part of the original IWGP Heavyweight Championship lineage in June 1983, as the first holder of the championship. His return to WWE in December 1983 is the most impactful moment in wrestling history, with Hogan winning his first WWE Championship that next month setting a foundation that began a revolution in the wrestling industry. Hogan was the face of WWE and led the company into its new era of popularity. But what would have happened if Hulk Hogan had stayed in Japan instead of returning to WWE?

It's a hypothetical question that has never been answered, and there are many different possibilities. One if them is that Hulk Hogan would have become the biggest star in Japanese wrestling. He was already incredibly popular in Japan, and his popularity likely would have grown even more if he had stayed full time. It's possible that he would have had matches with top Japanese stars of today such as Kazuchika Okada, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Hiroshi Tanahashi, all who began their careers before Hogan stopped wrestling in 2012. And it's very likely that he would have become the first non-Japanese holder of the second IWGP Heavyweight Championship, which has been held by AJ Styles, Brock Lesnar, Kenny Omega, Vader, Jay White, Scott Norton, and Bob Sapp.

Another possibility is that Hulk Hogan would have helped to bring Japanese wrestling to a wider audience sooner. Hogan's appearance in, "Rocky III" even before he became the superstar that he is today proves that he already was a success in pro wrestling. His presence in Japan would have helped to raise the profile of the Japanese wrestling scene. This could have led to Japanese wrestlers having their current level of popularity in the United States sooner than the 2010s.

Along with looking at could have happened if Hulk Hogan had wrestled in Japan full-time, it's interesting to look at what possibly would not have happened. It's unlikely that he would have ever wrestled in WWE, as the company generally has always preferred wrestlers on its roster to make WWE their priority. However, it's possible Hogan may still eventually wrestled in WCW, especially since the company had working relationships with NJPW in the 1990s.

Yet even though Hulk Hogan may have appeared in WCW, it's highly unlikely that he would have become the leader of the New World Order (NWO) faction. Hogan's presence in the NWO revolutionized pro wrestling for a second time, drawing high viewership numbers, attendance figures, and PPV buyrates. The NWO is still popular to this day, but that may not be case if Hogan had never been its leader.

And lastly, Hulk Hogan's legacy would not be as impressive as it is today. In 1997, he main-evented Starrcade, which has gone down as the highest-grossing PPV event in WCW’s history. On July 6, 1998, Hogan main-evented, “WCW Monday Nitro” in front of an attendance of 41,412 fans, the largest live-televised crowd for a non-PPV in history. He won the WCW World Heavyweight Championship six times, which later became known as the World Heavyweight Championship in WWE after they gained ownership of it, and is one of the most prestigious titles in pro wrestling history. During Hogan's first reign, he held the championship for 469 days, the longest reign in the championship's history. During Hogan's second reign, he made history again by holding it for 359 days, the second-longest reign in the championship's history.

In the end, even though Hulk Hogan experienced ups and downs during his times in WWE and WCW, wrestling full time in the United States again in 1983 was the right move for his career. Plus, the door was open for Hogan's brief returns to NJPW in to tag team with Great Muta/Keiji Muto in 1993, to wrestle Tatsumi Fujinami in 1994, and to wrestle Masahiro Chono in 2003. And even though Hogan was not an NJPW lifer, the company still valued the contributions that Hogan made, which was proven when NJPW inducted him into Greatest 18 Club, the company's first hall of fame.

Saturday, October 7, 2023

Archive Interview: Josh Prohibition

(originally published 9/29/03)

At only 24 years of age, Josh Prohibition has had many accomplishments in his career. Prohibition has wrestled for promotions all over the United States, including Combat Zone Wrestling in Philadelphia, PA, where he achieved one of his goals by wrestling at the ECW Arena. Prohibition is a current co-holder of the XPW Tag Team Title.

Q: How long have you been involved in the business?

A: A little over 2 years now.

Q: Why did you enter the pro-wrestling industry?

A: I fell in love with ECW and my baseball career ended because of a shoulder injury.

Q: Where did you receive your training to become a pro-wrestler?

A: The Cleveland All Pro Wrestling Training Center in Cleveland, Ohio from JT Lightning.

Q: What do you like the most about being in the business?

A: I like performing, I enjoy pissing fans off, I love being a heel, I like fans that act cool.

Q: You tend to work for promotions that have a high risk style: IWA Mid-South, JCW, XPW, Combat Zone Wrestling, Cleveland All Pro Wrestling. What is it about the hardcore style that appeals to you?

A: Hardcore style used to appeal to me before I was trained. Once I got trained I started becoming more and more interested in solid technical wrestling from guys like Benoit, Guerrero, and Angle. Nowadays I get a bigger kick out of cool and innovative chain wrestling then I do highspots.

Q: With the amount of hardcore promotions that exists and new ones constantly appearing, do you think that the hardcore style is the future of professional wrestling?

A: I think Hardcore wrestling hit it's peak a few years ago. I think people have become desensitized.

Q: WWE and WCW both had their own Hardcore divisions at one time. What were your opinions of their versions of hardcore wrestling, and is it a style of hardcore wrestling that you would like to take part in?

A: I thought they were very very boring and I changed the channel when they came on. ECW was hardcore, WWE and WCW should have stuck with what brought them to the dance.

Q: To your knowledge, what is the current status of XPW?

A: You know as much about that as me.

Q: Although backyard wrestling gets negative press by mainstream publicity and is discouraged by WWE, the, "Best of Backyard Wrestling" video series is well known, and there is now a, "Backyard Wrestling" video game. You make it no secret that you were a backyard wrestler yourself and are involved in both the video series and the video game. Do you feel that the fact that you- a pro-wrestler and XPW Tag Team Champion- has this type of involvement in backyard wrestling, helps backyard wrestling become more acceptable to the mainstream press, the pro-wrestling industry, and pro-wrestling fans?

A: I don't think backyard wrestling will ever be accepted. Mostly cause of the kids that do it, they take it too seriously. Its untrained kids beating the crap out of each other in the backyard. We got lucky and got press for it, that wave is over now and if someone is serious about wrestling they should receive training. Backyard wrestling should be for fun and nothing else, it won't take you anywhere.

Q: Which persona appeals to you the most: Face, Heel, or Tweener?

A: Heel for sure. I hate being a Face, it sucks. I don't want to slap hands and get the crowd behind me. I want to come out with double middle fingers extended yelling my head.

Q: What is your gimmick?

A: I'm Josh Prohibition, a pissed off militant straight edge dude.

Q: Which do you feel has been your best match so far?

A: Myself and M-Dogg20 vs. Bobby Quance and Jardi Frantz for XPW in March.

Q: Which has been your favorite match so far?

A: Same as the previous match.

Q: Whom would you like to wrestle, that you have not yet done so?

A: Jerry Lynn, he's amazing.

Q: What do you do in your spare time?

A: Go to school, coach baseball, watch bands play, hang out with my girlfriend, watch baseball, hang with friends, watch movies, and play bumper bowling.

Q: You recently took over as trainer at Cleveland Championship Wrestling Training Center. How does your school differ from others? Also, has it produced any talent that you predict big things for in the future?

A: I try to take the knowledge I gained in my initial training along with the stuff I've picked up from many of the great wrestlers I’ve had the honor to step in the ring with. I do my best to prepare my students for the ever evolving pro- wrestling world. I have a couple young students I think have potential. One is Ray Rowe "Raymond Right" or a young kid named Miguel who I believe will be wrestling under the name, "Dios Salvador". They both are extremely hard workers and some good potential.

Q: What is your long-term goal in the business?

A: Have as much fun as possible and make a few bucks along the way.

I hope you enjoyed this interview with Josh Prohibition. In 2003, I began running my own website, World Wrestling Optimum, which consisted of news, articles, and interviews, including this one.

Thursday, October 5, 2023

WWE and Abema: How Their New Partnership Can Shake Up the Japanese Wrestling Scene

WWE and Abema (a popular Japanese streaming television service), have recently announced a new partnership. It's worth mentioning that Abema is owned by CyberAgent (the owner of NOAH, DDT, and other promotions) and TV Asahi (which is a minority owner of NJPW).

This partnership is significant for a number of reasons. First, it gives WWE access to the Japan market, which has a very established pro-wrestling scene- I have been interested in seeing WWE invest more in the Japan market for quite some time, and this partnership is a step in that direction. Abema has 6.52 million users per month and offers streaming media, video on demand, and television on demand. By partnering with Abema, WWE will reach a large and engaged audience of wrestling fans who live here.

Second, it gives Abema access to WWE's vast library of content, which includes episodes of Raw/SmackDown and Premium Live Events, many which include classic matches; as well as documentaries. All of this will make Abema a one-stop shop for WWE fans who subscribe. Abema can add to WWE's library by producing original programming featuring WWE Superstars who are very familiar to fans in Japan, such as AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, Finn Balor, Asuka, IYO SKY, Luke Gallows, and Karl Anderson, all who have made their mark on the Japanese wrestling scene. In fact, now would be a perfect time for Nakamura to finally receive a much-earned WWE World Heavyweight Championship run on Raw or for Styles to end Roman Reigns' WWE Universal Championship reign, with Abema producing content about it, including behind-the-scenes footage and interviews that would engage its subscribers and attract new viewers. It's also worth noting that one of the main parts of primetime programming in Japan are reality shows- a WWE-related reality show would be very popular here.

And third, it could potentially lead to new and innovative ways to consume wrestling content in the future, by utilizing streaming technology. Also, something that would be a huge benefit to Abema would be offering tournaments or other events that would be shown exclusively on Abema.

Overall, the WWE and Abema partnership is a significant development with the potential to shake up the Japanese wrestling scene. As its landscape continues to change, many people no longer consume content the way that they used to. Streaming services are becoming increasingly popular, with consumers moving away from TV. This partnership could lead to new and innovative ways to watch wrestling, and it could also help to grow the WWE audience in new markets, especially since Abema already streams the content of other promotions, as well as other combat sports such as MMA and boxing.

It's still too early to say what the long-term impact of this partnership will be, but with WWE being the biggest company in the wrestling industry and Abema having a vested interest in it, I think it's safe to say that the Japanese wrestling scene is about to change for fans and members of the industry alike in a big way.