NJPW Press Conference

At around 4PM this afternoon, New Japan held a press conference at the Marukai in Gardena for the G1 Special USA shows happening this weekend in Long Beach. The press conference was hosted by Christian Cole of CWFH fame, and featured the following stars of New Japan:

  • Hangman Page
  • Jay Lethal
  • Zack Sabre Jr.
  • Juice Robinson
  • Tetsuya Naito
  • Tomohiro Ishii
  • “The Cleaner” Kenny Omega
  • “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin
  • Billy Gunn
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi
  • “The American Nightmare” Cody
  • “The Rainmaker” Kazuchika Okada

The first part of the press conference had the eight men competing in the IWGP United States Championship tournament appear to give a statement about the weekend. Highlights include Page addressing his round one opponent Lethal, who in turn said he planned on winning this title and going on to become a two-time ROH Champion; Naito promising he’d toss the belt in the trash; and words between Omega and Elgin, or as Elgin himself put it, “two Canadians competing in New Japan Pro Wrestling for the United States Championship.”

Next up, Billy Gunn and Tanahashi came out to sign the contract for their Intercontinental Championship encounter on Night Two of the weekend. Gunn expressed gratitude for being able to compete in New Japan, but promised he was planning to defeat Tanahashi for the belt on Sunday. Tanahashi responded by saying he would “solve the mystery of Billy Gunn.”

The final part of the press conference had the men fighting for the IGWP Heavyweight Championship come out, first the challenger Cody and then the champion Okada. Cody said he respected the accomplishments of the champion, who’s held the title for 372 days. Cody then addressed the concerns of those who wondered why he got so many breaks, merely saying it’s because of who he is. The champion thanked the crowd for coming, and assured them he planned to retain the belt on Saturday night. With that, the two men signed their contact, and the press conference concluded.

I had an absolute blast going to this press conference. I’m glad NJPW allowed this to be open to the public, it was fun to see some of the stars competing in Long Beach this weekend. I even bumped into Kevin Kelly, who does commentary for ROH and has been doing English commentary for some of the recent NJPW events aired on New Japan World. I’m bummed I couldn’t get tickets to see this live, but I’m definitely going to watch it on AXS TV and New Japan World this weekend. I highly recommend you do the same, this is bound to be an amazing weekend of wrestling!

Here’s a look at some photos I took from today: https://flic.kr/s/aHskYg67YE

What If? Episode 1: Tie Me A River (Part 1)

Welcome one and all to the first edition of What If? In this series we’ll be asking the age-old question as it pertains to pro wrestling (or sports entertainment). To kick things off, we’re asking a question that has been on our minds for a while now: What if Daniel Bryan had not been released by the WWE in the summer of 2010?

It’s well known what went down that fateful summer: as the first season of NXT came to a close, the Rookies began the stable known as Nexus in a huge way on RAW, attacking John Cena and all the WWE staff and Superstars they could lay their hands on. In the midst of the attack, Daniel Bryan (known to the independent scene as Bryan Danielson) choked out Justin Roberts with his own tie, an act that corporate sponsors found appalling. Daniel was released from his contract, allowing him to work the indies for a couple of months before overwhelming fan support and demand brought him back in time for Summerslam. For this story, we’re revisiting the night the Nexus began their rise…

June 7, 2010 – Monday Night Raw

It’s a special Viewer’s Choice edition of RAW, and CM Punk is taking on John Cena in the main event of the evening when suddenly…

“Wait, what are THEY doing here!?”

The group of rookies from the inaugural season of NXT make their way through the crowd, arriving at ringside wearing matching armbands with the letter “N” and looks of malicious intent on their faces. Wade Barrett, the NXT winner of season 1, directs traffic as the group begins a vicious assault on Cena, Punk, and everyone else at ringside before they go to work on the announce table and even the ring itself. They tear apart the aprons, untie the ring ropes, and even rip the canvas off at the seams to the shock of the entire WWE Universe. As the attack comes to a head, Daniel Bryan is noticeably not as aggressive as the rest—something Wade Barrett manages to catch on to as he begins shouting at the “indy darling.” This begins a shouting exchange between the two men, which escalates to a shoving contest. The rest of the Nexus holds Barrett back as Bryan merely walks away from the scene, shaking his head as the show comes to a close.

June 14, 2010 – Monday Night Raw

The show opens with a recap of what happened last week, before cutting to Wade Barrett in the ring. After explaining that the General Manager told him to apologize for his actions last week, he calls out the rest of the NXT rookies. One by one they enter the ring, looking rather smug as Wade approaches Heath Slater first.

“Slater, are you sorry for what you did last week?”

Heath cracks a big grin on his face as Wade hands him the microphone.

“Absolutely not!”

He hands the microphone to Michael Tarver, who says the same thing. Each of the NXT Rookies has the same answer—except Daniel Bryan, who refuses to say a word. Wade grabs the microphone from Bryan in anger.

“Last week we made a statement to everyone in WWE, everyone that treated us like filth. However, it seems we have some dissension in the ranks. Daniel Bryan, you refused to cooperate with the plan we laid out last week. Explain yourself!”

Daniel still refuses to speak, just staring angrily at Barrett before walking out of the ring. He shakes his head in disappointment as Barrett continues his speech.

“During NXT, we were all treated like animals. Our careers, our very livelihoods were at the mercy of the NXT Pros and the so-called WWE Universe. They tried to make a joke out of us, but we wouldn’t allow it—so we took out our frustrations on your precious WWE Champion, and everyone else that tried to make a fool out of us.”

Bret Hart’s music plays, signaling the arrival of the Raw General Manager to the approval of the fans in the building. Bret stands on the stage, microphone in hand and looking none too pleased.

“Wade, what you and the other NXT Rookies did last week was barbaric and unacceptable. Despite what you might think, however, John Cena WILL be defending his WWE Championship at Fatal 4 Way!”

The crowd cheers, but Barrett just laughs.

“You old fool, do you think we care about John Cena? All we want is what we deserve. While I have a WWE contract because of your little game, my fellow Rookies deserve the chance to compete as well.”

Bret Hart doesn’t take this too well at all.

“You must really think I’m a fool, if you think I’m going to let you and your buddies run rampant in this company! As Raw General Manager, I’m letting you know right now Wade, that your title shot is hereby revoked–as is your WWE contract!”

The crowd cheers heavily, as Wade yells in anger. Bret points to the security force now walking out from the back.

“Now, all of you need to leave that ring and this arena, before security has to kick you out!”

Wade and the other Rookies stand down, looking to start a fight as the show cuts to commercial. After the commercial break, we find that the NXT Rookies have disappeared…for now. As the night progresses, many Superstars make their feelings known about the actions of the NXT Rookies; during a John Cena promo, the Rookies make a return, but are headed off by the locker room taking a stand.

To be continued…

The Fall and Rise of CHIKARA (Parts 3 and 4)

The most recent editions of The Fall and Rise of CHIKARA are up at The Indy Corner! I cover some of the technicos and rudos of CHIKARA in Part 3, and the “Ashes” videos in Part 4. Go have a read, and enjoy! Don’t forget to leave feedback here or on the social media networks!

fallandriseofchikara

Part 3: Goodies & Baddies

The world of CHIKARA is full of colorful characters, from ants to time traveling band majors. These marvelous men and wonderful women are divided into two camps: technicos (faces) and rudos (heels).

Part 4: Ashes

After nearly two months of silence post-Aniversario, hints of something new from CHIKARA arose with the premiere of “Ashes – Prelude” on the Wrestling Is channel on YouTube.

The Fall and Rise of CHIKARA (Part 2)

The latest edition of The Fall and Rise of CHIKARA is up at The Indy Corner, for your reading pleasure! Be sure to check it out, and let me know what you think through the usual channels: comment here or on Facebook, Twitter, etc.! Enjoy!

fallandriseofchikara

The day after A:NC, all was quiet on the CHIKARA front aside from the cancelling of the remainder of the year’s shows. The chaos from the show spread like wildfire, with fans divided on whether this angle was a brilliant or horrible move on the part of the promotion. (Read More)

The Fall and Rise of CHIKARA

It’s true, 10 Percenters, your boy Alex Kahrs has finally dipped his toes into the world of online journalism…sorta. I had to chance to write my first article for friends at The Indy Corner, the start of a column related to CHIKARA leading up to the big return show on May 25. Give it a read, and let me know what you think, here or on the social media spots!

fallandriseofchikara

Preview:

Chikara is a unique brand of pro wrestling. It has a niche audience, but is easily accessible to all kinds of fans. Founded in 2002, CHIKARA is heavily influenced by lucha and puro wrestling. It is also storytelling at its very finest, both in and out of the ring. (Read More)

Love, Wrestling, and CHIKARA

We’re pleased to announce Babs of CHIKARA 101 fame as part of the Occupy Pro Wrestling team! Babs has been a great part of the 101 community, and has published some great articles there, such as this one! Be sure to check out the rest of her writing under the “Articles” thread at the 101 forums!

* * *

August 16th marked my four-year anniversary of being a Chikara fan. My very first show was Night 3 of Young Lions Cup in 2009. As I spent that sweltering afternoon in the ECW arena, I wouldn’t have guessed that I would eventually fall in love with it. I also didn’t know that it would lead me to realize that I never really loved wrestling before Chikara.

I’ve watched wrestling since I was 13. A female friend of mine, another wrestling fan, invited to sleep over and watch Summerslam 1992. I was enthralled by the entire show, from the in-ring action to the entrances to the energy of the crowd. But most of all, I was captivated by the story and emotion involved in the Intercontinental Championship match between Bret and Davey Boy and to this day, it’s what I remember about the PPV most vividly.

Immediately, I started watching and reading everything I could. I taped every PPV, Raw, and Superstars episode. I even taped a few old WCW Saturday Night shows. My Monday nights were permanently booked and spent watching Raw while flipping to Nitro during the commercials. I went to every show in Philly, starting with the December 5th, 1992 show in the old Spectrum. Nothing beat the experience of being in the live crowd, especially in the late 1990’s at the start of the Attitude Era. Video doesn’t accurately capture how wild it was. It was like being part of a modern-day bacchanal. It was amazing. I thought I loved wrestling then.

How do we know if we are in love? Love is one of life’s great mysteries, and perhaps it’s different for everyone, but I think that there are some universal truths. When we are in love, we want to immerse ourselves in the relationship, whether it’s with a person or activity. Love captivates us and holds us spellbound in its wonders. New love changes our point of view, making life feel new and full of possibility. Our senses are heightened and we feel everything more deeply than we did before.

Then the 2000’s came. In 2001, I got married and was finishing my Bachelors. Between my now ex-husband’s disapproval of wrestling and the death of several of my favorite wrestlers, particularly Owen Hart, I stopped watching. I didn’t feel the itch to watch for the next seven years. My wrestling VHS collection, which was at well over 200 tapes, went up into the attic, along with my Shawn Michaels hat and glasses. Eventually, they were given away at the demand of my ex. It felt a little sad and nostalgic, but not enough to start watching again. I figured that maybe my wrestling watching days were a childhood phase.

The passionate and exciting emotions felt in the beginning of any kind of relationship fade over time, but if a true love and connection exists, they are replaced with feelings that run deeper and hold more meaning. We discover the relationship is actually rooted in something solid and stable, able to withstand the elements and survive. From its strong roots, it blossoms into the kind of love that should be cherished. It becomes the kind of love that is worth saving and protecting. True love is a rare gift in this world. I believe that if you truly love something or someone, you don’t give up or let it go so easily.

In 2007, my ex and I separated. I started to build a life of my own, filled with things I enjoy, like gardening, quiet Sunday mornings, new writing projects, and tea. But wrestling was still missing. That changed at the end of 2007, when I met my friend Jay. He was a wrestling fan and when we would talk, wrestling would come up in conversations. Talking about it made me nostalgic again, this time it was enough to inspire me start to watch again. I was surprised by how much had changed, but also by how much stayed the same. However, I didn’t jump right in, like I did in 1992.

Jump forward to the summer of 2009, Jay invited me to Chikara, knowing that I was watching wrestling again. I agreed to go, thinking that even if I didn’t like it, at least I would get to hang out and spend time with him. When he invited me, I remember saying: “I think you’ll really like Chikara.” It would have been nice if he had told me a bit more about it than that. I’m pretty sure you can get a glimpse of me in crowd looking utterly confused. But he was right. I did like it and had a good time. So I started coming to the Philly shows and learning who people were, the rules, and the history. As the months passed, slowly but surely, my interest was growing.

Some of the best and strongest relationships are the ones that start slowly. When we take our time, relationships get the chance to grow those strong roots it needs to last. We get to feel the excitement of learning something new about the other with each new experience. Sudden, passionate love is wonderful and exciting, but it usually dies quickly and leaves us wanting in the end. That’s because it’s built on illusions and unrealistic expectations that stop it from growing into something that can endure.

I was developing a very serious like in Chikara, but King of Trios 2011 changed everything. It was my first KOT and I can honestly say I fell in love with Chikara that weekend. It was the best weekend of wrestling I’ve ever been to, but also the saddest and most emotional weekend I’ve been a part of. Every KOT is good, but 2011’s event was transcendent and more than just a wrestling event. I’ve seen amazing moments and experienced some incredible things over all my time as a wrestling fan, but nothing was like what I saw and felt during those three days. Maybe the only thing that has come close for me is Summerslam 1992.

After that weekend, Chikara became my favorite promotion to watch. The more I watched, the more I loved it. I’m a Chikara Girl and I will proudly tell everyone that. I loved the comedy, the emotional intensity, the long-term storylines, the colorful characters, and variety of wrestling styles. But most of all, I loved being there, something I hadn’t since the late 90’s. It was one of the most welcoming and friendly environments I’ve been part of. I didn’t love everything and wasn’t a fan of everyone, but I have a lot of respect for the entire locker room and crew. Chikara’s become a muse for me. It’s given me a way to express myself and my passion the best way I know how, which is through my writing. Chikara has given me so much. I want to give back. My writing is how I show my support for it and the locker room. I never felt that way about wrestling or a wrestling company before.

In love, we don’t have to love or even like everything about the other party. We may enjoy being around them most of the time, but there will always be some traits and behaviors that we don’t like and just can’t stand. Love forces us to move beyond just tolerating the things that irritate us about the other and teaches us how to accept and appreciate them. Acceptance encourages the relationship to a deeper level and makes it more rewarding. Love inspires us to give and drives us do everything we can to tend it, support it, and make it grow. It’s a lot of work and there is always some sacrifice, but the gifts love brings make the effort worth it, because they are usually exactly what we need.

It said that one of the great truths of life is that everything dies. I disagree. I don’t think love does and, in fact, I think it’s more powerful than death. Love changes and transforms over time, but if it’s real and true, it keeps going on long after one or both of the participants in the relationship pass away. Losing love is one of the most painful things anyone can experience, but once the pain passes, we can find healing in the very love and relationship we lost. In loss, we learn that love is something we carry with us, no matter where we travel or what new people and things life brings to us. Love is a permanent part of who we are. It’s something we never forget.

It seems like Aniversario was a lifetime ago, even though it’s been only three months. That’s a very short amount of time, but it’s enough time for everything to change in wrestling. Chikara is over, but a small part of me refuses to accept it. I’ll do whatever I can to help bring it back; because I love Chikara and I think it’s worth fighting for. But if we fail and it doesn’t come back, I would eventually move on and find other Indy’s and places to watch my Chikara favorites. I do have a local Wrestling is (Wrestling is Cool) and don’t mind driving out for WiF. I hope to attend a WiR show soon and eventually I’ll make it out to Cleveland for AIW. But nothing could make me forget Chikara and my love for it.

National Pro Wrestling Day

National Pro Wrestling Day

National Pro Wrestling Day? NATIONAL PRO WRESTLING DAY!? That’s right, February 2 is National Pro Wrestling Day! There are two STACKED cards you can find at their website, featuring talent from:

  • CHIKARA
  • Ring of Honor
  • Beyond Wrestling
  • EVOLVE
  • Kaiju Big Battel
  • Absolute Intense Wrestling
  • The “Wrestling Is” family of promotions, including upcoming promotion Wrestling Is Art and our friends at Wrestling Is Fun!
  • Wrestling Mayhem Show friends IWC and ACW
  • And much more!

If you live in the Philly area and can make it out for a great day of wrestling action, the afternoon card starts at 1PM and the evening card at 7PM (Eastern times). If you can’t make it out there, you can order the LIVE iPPV from Smart Mark Video On Demand! Those attending the show will get in for FREE on a first come, first served basis; the iPPV is only $14.99 for BOTH the afternoon and evening shows!

Here’s how we’re celebrating, here at Occupy Pro Wrestling:

  • All day Saturday, we’ll be showing off the best of the promotions participating in NPWD at our SynchTube chat! Come join us there before, during intermissions, or if you can’t watch the iPPV…you can still enjoy wrestling action all day!
  • During the iPPV, join us in our live chat room right here on the website!
  • After the iPPV we’ll be joined (hopefully) by some special guests from Wrestling Mayhem Show and others as we have a Google+ Hangout On Air…the National Pro Wrestling Day Afterparty! If you’re a wrestler, promoter, or otherwise want to join in as a guest for this occasion, add AlexK’s G+ profile to your circles. We’ll add you back, and send you the Hangout invite when we’re ready!

Are you excited for National Pro Wrestling Day? We know we are! See you Saturday!

PWG Mystery Vortex: A Review and Gallery

This article was originally sent to our podcast partners: MFX, Indy Corner, and Wrestling Mayhem Show. Be sure to check out the exclusive photos after the recap!

Hello, 10 Percenters!

I went to my first live PWG show in Reseda on December 1, and it was an absolute blast! Some of my favorite guys were there, the atmosphere was an intimate buzz throughout the night, and I finally got to see what PWG at the Legion Hall was all about. Here are some highlights, and hopefully this email won’t be too long:

– PWG’s “Mystery Vortex” marked the final appearance of one of the founding fathers of the promotion, Joey Ryan. After a stellar match against Scorpio Sky (who can now hold the claim of retiring all his former Dynasty teammates), Joey gave a heartfelt speech in which he explained why TNA basically forced him out of the indies. I wish Joey all the best as he embarks on his TNA career, and HOPEFULLY the Hulk Hogan show that has been running iMPACT won’t drag Joey down; to quote Excalibur’s final words to Joey, here’s hoping that he “takes all their money and never comes back [to PWG].”

– Got to see some really great guys for the first time, as well as returning favorites. Super Smash Bros. wrestled RockNES Monsters and the team of Roderick Strong and Eddie Edwards in two separate matches; it was great to see how far RockNES have come along in the last two years that I’ve known about them, Hard & Strong wrestled a great pair of matches as well opening the show against the Young Bucks (two other really cool guys that have garnered a lot of praise), and it was fun seeing SSB wrestle live after seeing videos of them for so long.

– Main event of the evening saw Kevin Steen (the sultry voice that has helped introduce the MFX podcast for nearly a year now, thanks for keeping that soundbite up guys!) take on the Battle of Los Angeles 2012 winner Adam (not Michael) Cole. More importantly (and I look at MFX’s Duckman as I say this), it was in a GUERRILLA WARFARE match…for those who don’t know what that is, it’s essentially anything goes with the added bonus of falls count anywhere. You may have seen pictures of just how crazy this match was, and while it did not go out to the parking lot like other matches of its kind have, it ended on one high note after another: Steen slamming Cole through a stack of steel chairs, Cole pulling off the Florida Key suplex on Steen into thumbtacks, and Cole shocking the entire Legion Hall with the fairly clean win over Steen…and proceeding to get out of the Hall as quick as possible, as staff went to check on Steen.

All in all, this show was worth going out of my way to see. And Duckman will be happy to know I finally made it to a PWG Reseda show, haha. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking up the DVD when it comes out…

…it is gonna be so choice.

Enjoy the photos! And check out the video preview HERE!

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