Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Pro Wrestling HEAT UP at Sportiva Arena 2/10/24 (Nagoya)

Sportiva Arena is a sports & pro-wrestling bar with a permanent wrestling ring that is located in Nagoya near Tsurumai Station, offering food, drinks, and the opportunity to watch pro-wrestling events every week.

On Saturday, February 10th, Sportiva Arena will be the site for Pro Wrestling HEAT UP action. The event will start at 6:30pm (doors will open at 6pm).

The card will be as follows:

Michio Kageyama (as seen in NOAH, DDT, BJW, AJPW, and ZERO1)
Hajime (as seen in BJW and ZERO1)

Hide Kubota (former NWA Intercontinental Tag Team Champion)
Raimu Imai (as seen in AJPW, DDT, BJW, and ZERO1)
Kengo Takai (as seen in Michinoku Pro, AJPW, DG, DDT, BJW, and FMW)
Shinya Ishida (as seen in DDT, AJPW, BJW, Ice Ribbon, and ZERO1)

Intelligent Sensational Grand Passion Mask No. 4 (as seen in Michinoku Pro, AJPW, and DDT)
Madeline (as seen in BJW, ZERO1, Ice Ribbon, Sendai Girls, WAVE, and PURE-J)

Tomoki Hatano (as seen in BJW and ZERO1)
Eisa8 (as seen in Michinoku Pro, NOAH, AJPW, NJPW, BJW, and ZERO1)

Hiroshi Watanabe (as seen in DDT and JWP)
Joji Otani (as seen in DDT, BJW, ZERO1, and WAVE)

You can get tickets by going to the Heat Up Ticket Store here, by reserving through Madeline here, or by contacting Hajime on Twitter here.

Monday, January 29, 2024

Wrestler Spotlight: Kenta Kosugi - A Combination of Strong Style and King's Road

Kenta Kosugi is a wrestler with a style that merges together fury and finesse, as he displays adaptability and energy in all of his matches. Kosugi easily blends together strong style and the King's Road style, as he is a powerhouse who delivers stiff strikes but can quickly change strategies and utilize holds and submissions when needed, making him a unique talent on the independent Japanese wrestling scene.

While Kenta Kosugi's home promotion is the Aichi-based (which is also the prefecture where he was born) Daiwa Entertainment Pro Wrestling, Kosugi wrestles in a wide range of promotions, which include BJW and the Gifu-based Yanagase Pro Wrestling. He most often wrestles in Sportiva Entertainment, a Nagoya-based promotion that has an alliance with YPW and the Osaka-based Doutonbori Pro Wrestling, with one of Kosugi's highlight matches being when he wrestled YPW's Jack Kennedy in the main event of a May 2023 event co-promoted by YPW, Sportiva, and Doutonbori Pro, hosted at Nagoya Club Diamond Hall. And sometimes when Kosugi wrestles in Sportiva, he puts his Mizu Pro Certified Championship on the line.

Another promotion that Kenta Kosugi makes appearances in is VKF Pro Wrestling, a promotion that helps give wrestlers who live in Osaka and its surrounding area more opportunities to showcase their talents. Some of his best matches there have been with Akira Jo, who has made appearances in DDT and Ice Ribbon.

Yanagase Pro Wrestling has become a big part of Kenta Kosugi's career in recent years. In 2022, he faced former KO-D Openweight Champion Yuji Hino at Yanagase Pro Wrestling Christmas Special in what was one of Kosugi's best matches. And in September 2023, he formed a unit with Mari Manji and Lowther in Yanagase Pro Wrestling named "Kosuken Pro Wrestling", and they produce their own events. The trio won the Wrestle Brain Cup at the first event in October 2023.

Kenta Kosugi stands out as a unique blend of influences. He can trade chops with anyone, and then moments later put them on their back with his falcon arrow finisher. This unpredictable combination of styles is what makes him a main eventer on many cards. It will be interesting to see what the future has in store for Kosugi, as he continues to wrestle in a variety of independent promotions, as well as makes appearances in BJW and further develops the Kosuken Pro Wrestling brand.

Saturday, January 27, 2024

[HEAT UP][TwitCasting] Dojo Match LEVEL UP vol.24 on 1/28 LIVE

Pro Wrestling HEAT UP was founded in 2012 by TAMURA GENE, who is most recognized from his appearances in AJPW, where TAMURA GENE has held the GAORA TV Championship. HEAT UP has its own dojo, so HEAT UP events present a mix of experienced veterans and young new talents. This Sunday, January 28, HEAT UP will host Dojo Match LEVEL UP vol. 24, which will start at 17:00 Japan Time and will be broadcast LIVE via TwitCasting, a livestreaming service based in Japan that has over 33 million registered users worldwide.

The card will be as follows:

Raimu Imai (as seen in AJPW, DDT, BJW, and ZERO1)
Takumi Saito (as seen in ZERO1)

White Moriyama (as seen in BJW)
Hajime (as seen in BJW and ZERO1)

Tomoki Hatano (HEAT UP Universal Tag Team Champion)
Takayuki Ueki (former BJW star and current DDT star)
Hiroshi Watanabe (as seen in DDT and JWP)
YUJI KITO (as seen in AJPW, DDT, ZERO1, and Ice Ribbon)

Friday, January 26, 2024

[DIANA LIVE] World Woman Pro-Wrestling Diana on 1/28 LIVE

Active since 2011 and founded by former WWWA Champion Kyoko Inoue, World Woman Pro-Wrestling Diana features a mix of legends and new-generation talent, making it a promotion that has something for everyone who enjoys women's wrestling. On Sunday, January 28th, the women of Diana will be action with the event starting at 13:30 Japan Time, and it will be broadcast via DIANA Live, the promotion's own live streaming service.

The card will be as follows:

Deborah K (as seen in ZERO1 and WAVE)
Yuma Makoto
Mizuki Kato
Kizuna Tanaka (WAVE Tag Team Champion)

Miran (as seen in Stardom, Ice Ribbon, and PURE-J)
Risa Sera (former International Ribbon Tag Team Champion)
Makoto (former International Ribbon Tag Team Champion)
Ayame Sasamura (former Sendai Girls star)

Himiko (as seen in ZERO1, Ice Ribbon, WAVE, and PURE-J)
Aja Kong (one of the most famous woman wrestlers in the history of women's wrestling in Japan)
Tae Honma (former Ice Ribbon star)
Maika Ozaki (former International Ribbon Tag Team Champion)

Ayako Sato (as seen in ZERO1, Ice Ribbon, WAVE, and PURE-J)
Nanami (World Woman Pro-Wrestling Diana Crystal Champion)

World Woman Pro-Wrestling Diana Queen Elizabeth Championship
Jaguar Yokota (World Woman Pro-Wrestling Diana Queen Elizabeth Champion)
Kyoko Inoue
Sakura Hirota (former Regina Di WAVE Champion)

World Woman Pro-Wrestling Diana World Championship
Haruka Umesaki (World Woman Pro-Wrestling Diana World Champion)
Sayaka Unagi (former Stardom star and current DDT star)

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Jack Kennedy: Born & Raised in America, Trained to Wrestle in Japan

(originally published 8/19/22 on

Usually, when an American pro-wrestler begins wrestling in Japan, they have to learn to adapt to the Japanese pro-wrestling style, previously having been trained in a much different American style of pro-wrestling. But in Jack Kennedy’s case, he received his pro-wrestling training in Japan at Yanagase Pro Wrestling (YPW).

“I started training at Yanagase in Gifu, Japan on October 28th, 2020.” Jack Kennedy explained. “I actually passed the dojo tests for Pro Wrestling ZERO1 and NOAH earlier that year, but due to visa reasons I could not move into a dojo and start training. Yanagase was closer to my home in Nagoya, so I started there. I made my debut on December 25th, 2021.”

Yanagase Pro Wrestling is Jack Kennedy’s home promotion. Based in Gifu, it has been active since 2017, and YPW has a lot to offer in terms of talent. “Yanagase lays host to many wrestlers from the areas of Aichi, Gifu, and Osaka.” he said. “There are also wrestlers from other companies that pass through, like Shigehiro Irie, Quiet Storm, Yuji Hino, Kikutaro, Daichi Hashimoto, and my Wrestle Addiction opponent, Yasufumi Nakanoue.”

Jack Kennedy also explained that YPW also has a lot of match diversity, and that its venue has a quality menu. “The shows always have an interesting variety when it comes to the matches. Hard hitting, comedy, and even some more western style matches. We also have a women’s group called Ladius that usually has Friday night matches 2 times a month. Sae and Mari Manji, the key wrestlers of Ladius, have helped me with training many times. The venue, M’s Cafe, also has really good food and a ticket to the show comes with one drink.”

Although Jack Kennedy would sometimes get trained by wrestlers who were passing through YPW, his training was mainly done by Team Japan Olympic wrestler Akinobu Takeuchi, ZERO1 stars and former NWA International Lightweight Tag Team Champions Hide and Yasu Kubota, and Yoshitatsu, who is a former WWE star, a former AJPW World Tag Team Champion, and a current co-holder of the AJPW TV Six Man Tag Team Championship.

Jack Kennedy broke down his training: “[Akinobu Takeuchi] was in charge of teaching me how to bump, chain wrestling, and fitness aspects. Aki also was a gracious training dummy for testing out moves. The Kubota brothers also taught me various bumps and chain grappling moves. Yoshitatsu taught me a lot about wrestling psychology and other aspects of the business. He’s very much like a mentor for me. The same can be said for the owner of Yanagase, Maki Yuhara and Kunihiko Ohno, the manager of M’s Cafe, the venue that hosts Yanagase. The best part of my training though was probably the food the manager would make for me after I finished training.”

Although Jack Kennedy has amateur wrestling experience, he uses a powerhouse style in the pro-wrestling ring, using moves such his, “Jacky Driver” finisher, which is a Michinoku Driver from a fireman’s carry. “For me there’s nothing better than picking one or two people up and throwing them as far as I can.” Kennedy explained. “It’s also fun when people try to beat me in a test of strength, then they resort to illegal tactics. When I train, I try and get some amateur wrestling with my coach in because I think it helps keep me well-rounded. I haven’t been able to pin him in our sessions, but he also hasn’t pinned me. I haven’t incorporated it too much into my matches so far, but I’m always looking to improve. It’s another way to win a match.”

Along with using a powerhouse style, Jack Kennedy is very aggressive during his matches. “I try to fight with the spirit and ferocity of a wild tiger.” Kennedy explained. “I want to fight the strongest and only the strongest. Unfortunately with my size, it’s hard to find bigger prey, but I’m hoping someone steps up to the plate soon. It’s frustrating. I don’t like my time being wasted. I feel like I haven’t had the chance to really cut loose yet. Think like a mix of Ryu and Sagat. I’d love to reach the intensity that someone like Minoru Suzuki or Jon Moxley has.”

And when winning a match, Jack Kennedy thinks it’s best when done as a heel. “Heels definitely seem to be more appealing.” Kennedy said. “Not much consequence. You can pretty much do what you want. If it wasn’t for coronavirus, I’d probably be a heel and just steal food from people. Of course people get behind a face, but you can move the people a different way if you get them angry enough. It was interesting reading the interactions Terry Funk, Stan Hansen, and Vader would have with angry fans whether it was in the US or Japan.”

Before becoming a pro-wrestler, Jack Kennedy had difficulty deciding which athletic avenue to pursue, due to his size of 6’3” 242lbs. “I always had a big body and wanted to keep playing sports, but I was too short and couldn’t shoot well enough to play basketball.” he said. “I also wasn’t big enough to get into the NFL as an offensive lineman. While wrestling isn’t completely about size, it still felt like something I could use to my advantage.”

Although Macho Man Randy Savage is Jack Kennedy’s favorite wrestler, his interest in pro-wrestling as a fan increased in the 2010s. “I didn’t really watch wrestling when I was younger, but still recognized the big names.” Kennedy explained. “My interest started to grow when I played WWE 2K14 with my brother and watching Daniel Bryan’s 2014 WWE run. I became interested in Japanese wrestling when I first came here for school in 2016. I decided I wanted to become a wrestler in 2019 and started intense muscle and fitness training in preparation.”

Although Jack Kennedy wrestles on the Japanese pro-wrestling scene, the American pro-wrestling scene is still a part of his life. “I still watch a lot of American pro-wrestling whether it be as just a fan or studying old school WCW or WWE.” Kennedy explained. “There are aspects where it’s tough to learn things to use in my matches here because many of the matches are television matches and it just feels like a different form of expression. This even goes for AEW which still has some great television matches. Japanese wrestling is also more subtle and lets the talking usually happen in the ring. Still the differences between America and Japan aren’t that big and it’s easy for me to enjoy both. People want to clap, cheer and have a great time.”

Being closer to the matches is one of the things Jack Kennedy likes the most about being in the business. “I still watch matches from the perspective of a fan,” he explained. “but now I’m as close to the matches as you can possibly get. For me, the feeling after a match is also hard to explain. It’s a mixture of joy and depression, mainly because I usually have another 2 weeks until my next match. I’d wrestle every day if I could.”

Jack Kennedy names his best match as a match that he had for YPW earlier this month. “I try to improve every match I have, so my most recent match on August 13th against Yanagase Kamen Fuerza is my best match I think.” Kennedy said. “I made my debut against Fuerza and I like to think in the time since I’ve only improved. Rewatching the match, I recognize there are always aspects I need to improve, but I still think I can see the growth. I’m hoping to take this October 2nd match against Nakanoue to an even higher level.”

As for his favorite match, Jack Kennedy picks the March 19th YPW match in which he tagged with Michio Kageyama against Shinji Kamakura and Shigehiro Irie, who is a former KO-D Tag Team Champion. “Irie has such an explosive style where he utilizes his strength and moves like a human cannon ball.” Kennedy commented. “His offense is fun to watch up close. I usually don’t like tag matches because I don’t want to rely on anyone’s strength but my own, but I hope I get a singles match with him someday.”

Someone who Jack Kennedy would like to wrestle but has not yet done so is NOAH star and former GHC Heavyweight Champion Takashi Sugiura, who Kennedy has watched a lot of. “He’s not a big guy, but his style and matches are so hard-hitting, he might as well be 6’5” 300lbs.” Kennedy said. “A good example is a match between him and Moose from Impact. Moose really is 6’5” 300lbs but the way Sugiura fought him might as well been two elephants going at it.”

In Jack Kennedy’s free time, he can usually be found at the gym. “I go everyday.” Kennedy explained. “I should actually rest more often, but mentally it’s really hard for me to just take it easy. So I always have to be in the gym. The body isn’t everything in wrestling, but I do take it very seriously. In my most ‘free’ spare time I play video games. I really need to study Japanese more. My daily conversation is fine, but grammar isn’t my strong point.”

As for a long-term goal in the business, Jack Kennedy says, “It’s hard for me to think in the long-term. It’s easy to say that I hope I get to wrestle for a big company someday. I’d love to stay in Japan and work here but also work matches in America, Canada, Mexico and other countries. It’d be really cool to wrestle back home in Alabama. Maybe next year. Ultimately, my long-term goal is for pro-wrestling to be my career, but I have so many short-term goals I have to work through first. Each match, even ones for charity, are a chance to improve and help me achieve these goals.”

Sidney Shota Stephens: An American Who Was Raised and Wrestles in Japan

(originally published 4/16/22 on

Coming to the ring like a wildman in a denim vest and holding a chain, Sidney Shota Stephens is an American who was raised in Japan and has been wrestling in Japan for the past five years.
“I always swing my 1/2 inch thick chain around and sometimes, I hit the ring or the venue with it. Needless to say, that chain has gotten me into more trouble than I’d like to admit.”

As you may have guessed, Sidney Shota Stephens is a heel. And that’s how he prefers it. “As cliche as it is,” Stephens said, “heels appeal to me the most. More freedom to do what you’d like and I like making people mad.”

Sidney Shota Stephens became involved with the pro-wrestling industry in 2017, after attending a pro-wrestling show. “I entered the industry because I was a depressed 360-pound kid with no dreams or aspirations at the time.” he explained. “My father took me to see a wrestling show in Hiroshima to cheer me up. After I saw Atsushi Onita in the ring, I decided to start training to be a wrestler.”

Sidney Shota Stephens began taking classes at Yamaguchi-based MMA gym Mouri Dojo under former Japanese Tag Team Champion Michiko Omukai and Hiroshima-based MMA gym T. K. Esperanza under Tsuyoshi Okada, who has made appearances in DDT.

Although Sidney Shota Stephens has jiu-jitsu skills, thus far he has used a brawler/semi-powerhouse style in his matches. “I haven’t gotten a chance to use my jiujitsu skills in wrestling yet.” Stephens said. “If anything it’s more the opposite, I ended up incorporating some pro-wrestling moves into jiu-jitsu. During a tournament in Iwakuni last year, I had ten seconds on the clock and was barely ahead on points. I panicked and hooked my opponent’s leg and went for a pinfall to stop him from sweeping me. I was amazed it worked.”

Sidney Shota Stephens’ finishing move is the, “Psychopath Chokeslam”, as well as the Musou, which is a variant of the side slam.

Sidney Shota Stephens’ home promotion is Iwakuni Pro Wrestling WinDom, a local promotion based in Yamaguchi Prefecture. In April 2017, they ran the first pro-wrestling show in Iwakuna City in over ten years. Stephens has been wrestling on Iwakuni Pro Wrestling WinDom shows since day one. “I still remember back before 2020, we would practice at a basketball court with a ‘ring’ made up of cones, black and yellow construction rope, and a small thick mat in the corner in front of a step ladder. During that time, we’d only ran a show once a year during the Yancha Festival in Iwakuni since we had to borrow a ring from Matsue Dan Dan Pro Wrestling. Now we are running more shows a year at Drokee’s Yanai Ring and we practice there as well.”

Along with wrestling for Iwakuni Pro Wrestling WinDom, Sidney Shota Stephens wrestled in AJPW in 2020. “The way I understood it,” he said, “AJPW was running a show in Iwakuni and asked Windom to help promote it and in return they would let myself and Hakujaoh (another Windom wrestler) have a match.”

Sidney Shota Stephens’ opportunities to meet wrestlers he watched growing up is what he likes the most about being in the business. “Something I will never get over is meeting the guys I would see on TV and talking to them as peers.” Stephens explained. “It’s humbling thinking that I’m a bad SOB then I start trembling when I meet one of my childhood idols. It’s happened more times than I’d like to admit.”

Sidney Shota Stephens names his best as a match that had for the Sanin Wrestling Alliance (SWA) and Us Pro Wrestling Corps (OPG) Tag Championships at the Masue Suigosai Fireworks festival. “My best match is my match between me and Arashi Danjiro going up against SWA 2and OPG Tag Champions Kozzy and Matsue Deluxe…It was one of those matches where we all just clicked.”

As for his favorite match, Sidney Shota Stephens picks a comedy match that he had in which he teamed with Arashi Danjiro to go up against Paul Blazer & SMITH. “I don’t like doing comedy matches,” Stephens said. “but I enjoyed this one. I wish someone took a video of it I loved it so much. Paul Blazer and Smith are Japanese men who think they’re American. At the beginning of the match, Blazer yelled in Japanese `Sidney! You’re a fake gaijin!` I couldn’t keep a straight face from that point on. I couldn’t help but to smile.”

Someone who Sidney Shota Stephens would like to wrestle but has not yet done so is Tsuchiya Crazy, who usually wrestles on small shows but also has wrestled in AJPW and BJW. “He’s a well-known pro-wrestling veteran in Yamaguchi,” Stephens said. “and he trains under Omukai sensei so he taught me a lot. I did team up with him in a match once, but never against him. I want to face him to see how I stack up. He’d definitely win, but it’d be a good lesson. I get to learn where I’m weak so I can make it a strength.”

In Sidney Shota Stephens’ spare time, aside from training and martial arts, he likes to play and write music. “When I was still in high school,” Stephens said. “my dream was to go off and start a heavy metal band. While I was in class, I’d write lyrics and music in my notebook and when I’d get home, I’d play my guitar all night long. Even now, I still like to record covers from time to time.”

Although Sidney Shota Stephens has spent most of his life and began his pro-wrestling career in Japan, Stephens watched a lot of American pro-wrestling growing up, and names Mick Foley as his favorite wrestler. “I had Sky Perfect [a direct broadcast satellite service] at the house and they aired WWF and WCW.” Stephens said. “My father and I would watch one and record the other. That’s how I learned English…I didn’t start watching Japanese wrestling until I was about thirteen or so. I’ve seen my father watch some of the Japanese deathmatches, looked them up and got hooked. From there I started watching normal Japanese wrestling.”

When it comes to the American pro-wrestling of today, however, Sidney Shota Stephens sees a difference between it and Japan’s pro-wrestling. “I got back into American pro-wrestling about 2013,” he said. “but it’s hard to compare it to Japan’s style. Even though it’s similar, it feels like they are two different sports.”

As for his long-term goal in the business, Sidney Shota Stephens says, “My long-term goal is to make wrestling my full-time job. I’m on the hobbyist level and COVID did set me back a bit. I will correct myself and work hard to achieve that dream. I will never give up on it.”

Archive Piece about the Texas Heavyweight Championship

(originally published 5/15/22 on

“I am officially relinquishing [the Texas Heavyweight Championship],” stated Hannibal, the most recent holder of the championship (as The Blood Hunter) via YouTube. “I’m moving on to acting, I have zero interest really in wrestling anymore.” He bought it late last year from the previous owner and sold the championship to a doctor based in Ohio this week. When he had put it up for sale, Hannibal had announced the selling price as a minimum of $2 thousand plus shipping, but based on the championship’s history, it’s priceless.

The lineage of the Texas Heavyweight Championship began in the 1930s, making it one of the oldest championships in the pro-wrestling industry. Some of the earliest famous holders of the championship were Lou Thesz, Buddy Rogers, and Antonio Rocca.

During this period, Texas Heavyweight Championship matches took place in the territory operated by Southwest Sports. In 1948, Southwest Sports became an affiliate of the NWA, changing the name of the championship to the NWA Texas Heavyweight Championship. Legends who held the championship after this name change included Verne Gagne, The Shiek, Boris Malenko (as Crusher Duggan), Sputnik Monroe, Bill Watts, Fritz Von Erich, and Ernie Ladd.

In 1966, Southwest Sports became known as NWA Big Time Wrestling. Legends who held the NWA Texas Heavyweight Championship while it was under that banner included Wahoo McDaniel, Stan Stasiak, Blackjack Mulligan, Peter Maivia, Stan Hansen, Rocky Johnson, Jimmy Snuka, and Bruiser Brody.

In 1982, the promotion changed names again, this time to one of the names it is best remembered as- World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW).

Legends who held the NWA Texas Heavyweight Championship while it was under that banner included David Von Erich and Jimmy Garvin.

In 1986, WCCW left the NWA and changed the name of the championship to the WCWA Texas Heavyweight Championship. This was because even though the promotion’s business name was still World Class Championship Wrestling, its company name was now World Class Wrestling Association. Legends who held it after this name change included Buzz Sawyer, Ultimate Warrior (as Dingo Warrior), Kevin Von Erich, and Brickhouse Brown.

In 1989, WCCW merged with the Tennesse-based Continental Wrestling Association (CWA) to create the Tennesse-based United States Wrestling Association (USWA).

The championship became known as the USWA Texas Heavyweight Championship, and during this time it was held by Kerry Von Erich, Jerry Lawler, and a man named The Punisher. This man later became known as The Undertaker. Yes, the man who is considered by many to be the greatest wrestler of all time is a part of the lineage of the Texas Heavyweight Championship.

The championship went inactive in 1992, but was reactivated as the NWA Texas Heavyweight Championship from the 1990s to the 2010s, defended in NWA Southwest and later NWA Houston after NWA Southwest went inactive in 2011.

Champions during this period included Redd Dogg Begnaud (better known as Rodney Mack), Hernandez, Charlie Haas, and Lance Hoyt (current AEW star Lance Archer). It was merged with the NWA Lone Star Heavyweight Championship in 2012 as the result of a title unification match in NWA Houston. NWA Houston left the NWA in 2014 and changed its name to Lone Star Championship Wrestling (LSCW), the name it kept until going inactive in 2016, with the Lone Star Championship Wrestling Heavyweight Championship going inactive with it.

In March 2021, the Texas Heavyweight Championship was reactivated by Southwest Wrestling Entertainment, now called the SWE Texas Heavyweight Championship, where it was won by The Blood Hunter in a tournament. SWE went inactive that same year, and Hannibal purchased the championship.

As The Blood Hunter, Hannibal represented the championship in a way rarely seen, defending it not only in Texas but also outside of it. With SWE inactive and the championship called the WCR Texas Heavyweight Championship (due to Hannibal having a business relationship with the Oklahoma-based World Class Revolution at the time) he defended it at an October WCR event in Kansas, as well as at an October PCW Ultra event in California. The Blood Hunter even defended it in Canada at a Great North Wrestling (GNW) event. Hannibal and WCR parted ways after a December 2021 event, which was the last time the Texas Heavyweight Championship was defended to date.

With the Texas Heavyweight Championship now inactive, its future is unknown. But its current owner has a piece of history to do with as they choose, whether it is to sell it to a Texas-based promotion that wants to have the most legitimate Texas-based championship in history, to sell it to another collector, or to keep it as a part of their own personal collection. In any case, as far as Texas championships go, its history is unparalleled.

Charlette & Robyn: The Renegade Twins of AEW

(originally published 4/22/22 on

With backgrounds in softball, Charlette & Robyn were introduced to pro-wrestling as fans via their father. They enjoyed it, having their own individual favorites- Charlette’s being Becky Lynch and Randy Orton, and Robyn’s being Sasha Banks and Roman Reigns.

When Charlette & Robyn decided to become pro-wrestlers as well, they began their training beginning in 2019 at Nightmare Factory, a Georgia-based wrestling school owned and operated by AEW star QT Marshall, and the same place where Angelicia Risk was trained. Charlette & Robyn still go to Nightmare Factory for training, and there is a video of them there in 2021 online.

Charlette & Robyn have made a number of appearances in AEW since 2021, mainly in singles matches. Charlette has had matches with talents including Tay Conti and Emi Sakura, while Robyn has had matches with talents such as Jade Cargill and Nyla Rose (who also wrestled Charlette in her AEW debut).

Charlette & Robyn have teamed together in AEW on only two occasions, the first time being in January this year, facing Tay Conti & Anna Jay, and in March, going against Ruby Soho & Anna Jay.

Outside of AEW however, Charlette & Robyn mainly wrestle as a tag team, calling themselves, “The Renegade Twins”. And that is when they shine brightest. Charlette & Robyn’s individual styles complement each other, with Charlette being the stronger of the two, and Robyn being the faster and more agile of the two.

Early in their careers, The Renegade Twins began wrestling with experienced talent. In January 2020 they wrestled in the Georgia-based Empower Wrestling, where they competed with Candy Cartwright and Nikki Addams (who has made appearances for ROH), Nina Monet (who has appeared in WOW as Siren) & Ravana Xin, and Diamante (who wrestles for AEW) & Kiera Hogan (who also wrestles for AEW but is best known for her appearances for Impact Wrestling).

The Renegade Twins wrestled in Empower again the next month, this time facing Nina Monet and Mother Endless. Charlette & Robyn had a better outcome in this match and had more of an opportunity to show their talent as a team.

By 2021, The Renegade Twins had developed as a team to the point that they made an impact in every promotion they wrestled in. The Renegade Twins arrived in the Texas-based Mission Pro Wrestling (MPW) in June, a promotion that is owned by AEW star Thunder Rosa. Prior to being invited to MPW, Robyn had an AEW match with Rosa in May of that year (making her AEW debut), and Charlette had met her at a seminar before that.

Only four months later, The Renegade Twins captured the vacant MPW Tag Team Championship, defeating Katalina Perez (who has made appearances in AEW) & Lexi Gomez.

The next month, The Renegade Twins captured gold again, this time capturing the vacant CCW Tag Team Championship in the Deleware-based Capital Championship Wrestling, defeating Heather Monroe (who has made appearances in AEW) and Rae Lyn (who has also made appearances in AEW).

To date, The Renegade Twins are still tag team champions in both promotions, and have successfully defended their championships against a variety of challengers, including Kelsey Reagan and Viva Van (who has made AEW appearances) in MPW, and Riley Shepard (who has appeared in AEW) & Devlyn Macabre in CCW. And The Renegade Twins are not lacking in confidence.

The Renegade Twins are freelance wrestlers at this point in time, and that is something that they are striving to change. Whether it’s AEW where they are performing semi-regularly, WWE (where they had a tryout in December), or somewhere else, their goal is to be signed to contracts. At the rate The Renegade Twins are going, this will happen sooner than later.

Archive Piece about Kayla Inlay / Kiana James

(originally published 2/2/22 on

This week on “WWE NXT 2.0”, Kayla Inlay made her WWE NXT debut in a match against Sarray. It was the biggest match of her career thus far, as this was her first time wrestling on national television for a major pro-wrestling company.

From Iowa, Kayla Inlay has a gymnastics and cheerleading/dance background. Before entering the pro-wrestling industry, she was a member of the Cheerleading & Dance Team team at Morningside University from 2015-2019.

Kayla Inlay earned NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletes) All-American honors in competitive cheer in 2017. In 2018, she was named to the All-Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) Competitive Cheer Team and received honorable mention All-GPAC recognition in competitive dance.

In 2019, Kayla Inlay was selected as the Hauff Mid-America Sports/GPAC Cheer Athlete-of-the-Year.

Kayla Inlay has given high praise to NAIA. “Competing in the NAIA can be so competitive so stepping up to the next level is great.”

Pro-wrestling training
Kayla Inlay’s transition to pro-wrestling began at the Florida-based Flatbacks Wrestling School, being trained by owners AEW star Shawn Spears and former WWE star Tyler Breeze.

Last year, current Impact Wrestling star Cassie Lee tweeted a video of Kayla Inlay training.

Other wrestlers who have been students at Flatbacks Wrestling School include AEW talents Cezar Bononi and Colten Gunn, and WWE talents Xia Li and Erica Yan. This shows that Kayla made a good choice in terms of a school with a good track record.

Pro-wrestling career begins
Kayla Inlay attended a WWE tryout in March 2020, but ultimately AEW was where she had her first match, making her debut in September 2021 versus The Bunny on an episode of “AEW Dark“, wrestling as, “Xtina Kay”. This is the ring name that Kayla has been using until her appearance on, “WWE NXT 2.0” this week.

Later that month, Kayla experienced the independent scene, wrestling in the Florida-based Coastal Championship Wrestling (CCW), where she had a match with Valentina Rossi, another wrestler who is in the early part of her career and has trained at Flatbacks Wrestling School.

In October 2021, Kayla returned to AEW, teaming up with Diamante to face Leyla Hirsch & Ryo Mizumani on, “AEW Dark: Elevation“, and going against Riho on, “AEW Dark“.

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

[YPW][TwitCasting] "Ladius Friday Night Match" on 1/26 LIVE

Yanagase Pro Wrestling (YPW) presents, "Ladius Friday Night Match" this Friday, January 26 at SPORTS BAR M's Cafe, with the event starting at 8:00 PM. Ladius is the ladies' division of YPW. Twice a month, "Ladius Friday Night" is broadcast LIVE on TwitCasting, a livestreaming service based in Japan that has over 33 million registered users worldwide.

Ladius is showing growth in 2024, as a new face makes an appearance in the division when Sae goes against Blanca Maho.

While Sae has been a member of Ladius since day one, this will be Blanca Maho's Ladius debut. She is a member of the Osaka-based women's wrestling promotion, 2point5. Although Maho began her pro-wrestling career in November 2023, she has a background in kickboxing, which means Maho's no stranger to competition. This should be an interesting match as Sae and Maho meet in the ring for the first time, and you can watch it live on TwitCasting for only 1,000 yen, which is around 7 USD. Be there at 20:00 Japan Time, and 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.

And after you've watched the "Friday Night Match", check out the January 13 Yanagase Pro Wrestling event that was broadcast live on TwitCasting, to see what the men's division of YPW has to offer. Also, check out the January 14 Kosuken Pro Wrestling event that was broadcast live on TwitCasting- Kosuken Pro Wrestling is a unit in YPW.

Yanagase Pro Wrestling was founded in 2017 and presents 3 - 4 events per month (with 2 of them being Ladius events), the final event of the year being an annual Christmas Special. Along with YPW's own talented roster, its events also feature stars of the Japanese wrestling scene who have had impressive accomplishments outside of YPW. All YPW events can be watched live via TwitCasting and are available to watch in full for the following two weeks after the live broadcast.

To learn more about Yanagase Pro Wrestling and Ladius, check out my closer look at Yanagase Pro Wrestling.

WWE Goes Streaming: Raw to Netflix - What's Next for Wrestling Distribution?

In October, I analyzed the announcement of SmackDown moving to USA Network and Raw/NXT leaving it, evaluating the potential impact on WWE and the rest of the wrestling industry. Now there has been a new announcement: Raw is going to Netflix.

In a landmark deal worth $5 billion, WWE Raw will become exclusive starting January 2025 to the streaming service that has over 238.39 million paid memberships and is available worldwide. Not only is this a big topic in the wrestling industry, it also raises many questions and creates many possibilities.

In September, I commented that a way that independent promotions using streaming services could impact major promotions is by inspiring them to partner with streaming services in order to reach a wider audience and generate new revenue streams- WWE partnered with Abema in Japan the next month, which involves WWE making its live content available exclusively via a streaming service. My October post highlighted the potential shift towards streaming for WWE Raw. And now, WWE has made that major streaming move. WWE Raw moving to Netflix means a wider audience and new possibilities, which includes young viewers who heavily utilize streaming platforms and could become dedicated viewers & engaged fans.

WWE is a standard setter in the industry, and their increased focus on streaming means that it is the future for the industry globally. Members of the Japanese wrestling scene have already embraced streaming, as promotions such as Yanagase Pro Wrestling broadcasts shows on TwitCasting, a livestreaming service based in Japan that has over 33 million registered users worldwide, and other promotions in Japan are also increasing in popularity while utilizing streaming services to reach a wider audience. Meanwhile, the Singapore independent wrestling scene also uses streaming to introduce its top stars. Now that WWE Raw has moved to a streaming service, I expect that many more promotions will realize its power and utilize streaming services so that they reach a wider audience than ever before, reaching wrestling fans worldwide with live broadcasts of shows or creating exclusive content. Not just promotions in Asia, but promotions in the United States and other regions as well, reshaping how wrestling content is distributed and consumed internationally.

Along with new possibilities, WWE's streaming strategy raises new questions. How will traditional TV viewership be affected? Which promotions will be the next to follow suit, and which streaming platforms will they choose?

As the professional wrestling landscape undergoes a seismic shift, WWE's moving Raw to streaming is just the beginning, and it will be interesting to see what happens next.

Monday, January 22, 2024

For Shohei Ohtani, Will it Ever be Shotime in the Squared Circle?

For baseball fans across the globe, Shohei Ohtani is "Shotime", the double-threat sensation from Japan who throws fire and blasts homers with equal amounts of ease. But what if, after hanging up his spikes, Ohtani decided to trade the diamond for the squared circle? Could we one day witness Ohtani making an impact in the pro-wrestling industry with the same combination of athleticism and charisma that has made him a star in the baseball industry?

With pro-wrestling being an industry where having presence is important, Shohei Ohtani already has what it takes in that department- in Japan, his popularity transcends baseball. There are many people in Japan who watch American baseball, not because they are baseball fans, but because they are Shohei Ohtani fans.

Shohei Ohtani is also physically gifted. The baseball field is his playground, where his throws are legendary and he swings with a relentless flow. Imagine if those athletic attributes were translated to the wrestling ring.

Shohei Ohtani is also a showman, which is a valuable asset for a pro-wrestler to have. He draws attention internationally as he shows his love for playing baseball whenever he is on the field. In fact, during the 2022 Major League Baseball season, "The Greatest Showman" became Ohtani's walk up theme. A natural-born performer, he would probably love the performing aspect of pro-wrestling.

Shohei Ohtani already has the attention of the pro-wrestling world. WWE Superstars Bobby Lashley, IYO SKY, and Carmella met him at a Los Angeles Angels vs. Los Angeles Dodgers game last year, and they had an opportunity to take pictures together.

And not only has Shohei Ohtani gained the attention of members of the pro-wrestling industry in the United States, but he has done the same with members of the Japanese wrestling scene, one of them being Hiroshi Tanahashi of New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW), the largest wrestling organization in Japan. One of the most respected wrestlers in the country, he has held the IWGP Heavyweight Championship a total of eight times, which is more times than any wrestler in NJPW’s history. During Tanahashi’s fifth reign, he held the Championship for 404 days, the third longest reign in the company’s history. And in December 2023, Hiroshi Tanahashi was appointed as President and Representative Director of NJPW.

During an interview with Sports Illustrated published in October 2023, Hiroshi Tanahashi expressed that Shohei Ohtani is one of the baseball players who he would like to see in the ring someday. In Tanashashi's high school days, he too was a baseball player.

Of course, transitioning from baseball to wrestling would be a challenge. Pro-wrestling's style of training, the amount of days that he is working (pro-wrestling is a year-round business), along with taking bumps on a regular basis, would be very different from what Shohei Ohtani is used to in the baseball industry. Nonetheless, the pro-wrestling industry may be something that he is interested in, as it would be a good outlet for his entertainer side as he continues to utilize his athleticism.

So, will we ever see Shohei Ohtani in the squared circle? Only time will tell, and it would be interesting to see if people who watch baseball because they are his fans would begin to watch pro-wrestling and continue to follow his athletic career, leading to increased revenue and overall growth for the pro-wrestling industry. But one thing is certain: if he ever decides to trade his cleats for wrestling boots and step into the ring, his athletic gifts and charisma will mean one thing: It's Shotime.