This post contains some strong, offensive language directed mostly towards Vince McMahon. You have been warned.
I only started watching New Japan Pro Wrestling regularly in the beginning of 2015, and one of the biggest mysteries to me since then was Satoshi Kojima’s catchphrase. He always yells it very quickly, and I can’t quite catch the front part. I finally understand what it means now after the commentators for a February 2017 show repeated his lines for me:
icchau zo, baka yarou!
If we were to translate it, the rough meaning would be: “Let’s go, you bastard!”
However, according to a Yahoo Japan user named toukonkick, it doesn’t really have any meaning and is just meant to be a catchphrase to get the audience excited. Kojima was trained by Stan Hansen, a highly popular American wrestler in Japan. According to toukonkick, when Hansen was still with Kojima, each time after Kojima’s catchphrase, Hansen would follow up with a “YEAH!”.
While on the topic of NJPW catchphrases, here are a couple of other popular ones:
nakasu zo, kono yarou!
Translation: I’m gonna make this bastard cry!
tranquilo! assen na yo!
Translation: Calm down!
Tranquilo is literally the Spanish word for “quiet”, which the English word “tranquil” comes from. Here the Spanish and Japanese portions of his catchphrase mean the same thing: Calm down, or don’t panic.
Random notes: The base verb 焦る means “to be in a hurry” or “to become flustered”. When you add a 「な」 suffix to a verb, it becomes a negative (i.e. the opposite of its dictionary meaning). It took me a long time to figure out what the base verb for assen is, until I saw a spectator holding up a sign with the kanji written out. This was when my kanji dictionary became handy.
So foreign NJPW fans, now that you understand what these catchphrases mean, I hope that you’ll have more fun screaming them out in the future!
Last night while I was watching a Singapore Pro Wrestling event, one of my friends remarked randomly after the show: “I don’t care about spoilers [for pro wrestling matches]. I’m not like other people who get so upset about such things, I just care about how they get there.”
I’ve blogged about this before in the past. I hate spoilers because the impact, the experience of what you’re watching is completely different once you know the outcome. Even for pro wrestling matches — imagine if everyone at Tokyo Dome knew that Kenny Omega was going to lose his match against Kazuchika Okada. There’s a reason why some members of the audience cried after the finale. Even the live VOD camera caught one girl with tears in her eyes. Everyone was expecting Omega to win, it made perfect sense. And yet when it didn’t happen, we were all stunned by what we had just witnessed. An amazing 46-minute match that moved us.
I watched Hacksaw Ridge last week, not knowing what to expect. I didn’t even view the trailer. The only thing I knew about Hacksaw Ridge was: It was a war movie directed by Mel Gibson starring Andrew Garfield (aka the previous actor for Spider-Man). By the time the end credits rolled I was pleasantly surprised. It was one of the best war films I’ve ever seen, on the same level of quality as Steven Spielberg’s old HBO series, Band of Brothers. I don’t think it’ll win the Oscar for Best Picture (the Academy very rarely gives violent action films that award), but it deserves the nomination.
I’ve abstained from watching movie trailers for a long time. I think the last trailer I watched was back in 2008. Modern film trailers these days are so obsessed with being good, in attracting the audience that some of them will go to great lengths to spoil certain important scenes in the movie. Spider-Man 2 is one of the biggest culprits.
I despise spoilers with a passion because watching movies, TV shows, and pro wrestling matches IS my passion. Give it a try sometime. It’s a far better viewing experience.
– Tom Davies
via: The Telegraph
Nice quote from Everton’s new rising young 18-year-old footballer, Tom Davies.
Find out what you are good at in life, and learn to be good at it. Just be yourself and enjoy your passions.
Since Wrestling World 2016 was broadcast live on NJPWworld (the VOD is now up here for subscribers), I won’t go into too much detail on what happened inside the ring. You all already know: Katsuyori Shibata defeated EVIL to regain the NEVER Openweight championship. He is now a double champion, holding both the Revolution Pro Wrestling Heavyweight championship and the Openweight title. Instead, I’ll write my observations on what the cameras didn’t show, as a spectator seated closest to the ring.
The ring-side cameraman has arguably the toughest job throughout the entire 2.5+ hours. He was sprinting endlessly around the ring, trying to get good close-up shots of the in-ring action. I could see his forehead sweating buckets, but he did seem to be enjoying his job. It’s a great cardio workout to burn calories, especially with that heavy camera on his shoulder. There was even a dedicated “wire handler” following the cameraman, his simple task was to make sure that the camera wires dangling behind the cameraman does not get entangled on the ground and cause any obstruction.
The Japanese match announcer also happens to be the timekeeper and ring-keeper. I was seated directly behind him, and what I found slightly amusing was that every time a pinfall or submission attempt happens, the announcer would raise the bell hammer into the air, waiting for the referee’s cue to end the match. If there’s a kickout, or if the submission attempt fails, the announcer would wave his outstretched arm towards the ref, acknowledging that the match would continue, before resting the bell hammer back on the table.
The Singapore wrestling crowd are a notoriously boisterous bunch. As noted by many Twitter users watching live, we love to chant the names of both sides. Eg. “Let’s go Naito!”, followed by a loud chorus of “TA-NA-HA-SHI!” There’s no real specific reason why, it’s just something that we spontaneously and subconsciously do, just to show our support to the wrestlers.
Of course, when Kenny Omega came out for his entrance, the entire arena went ballistic. I’m not sure if the live cameras managed to pick up all of the audio, but it was absolutely deafening from where I was seated. This is probably the loudest support I’ve seen for Omega, you don’t see this level of noise for him back in Japan. We know that he’s a big fan of videogames and anime, and let’s face it: The majority of the crowd at Wrestling World 2016 are all nerds too. We’re just supporting a fellow gamer.
My prediction for the main event did not come true: Shibata would regain his Openweight championship. New Japan are really doing their best to push Shibata for the past year or so, and I think it’s working. While I am grateful to Gedo for allowing the Singapore fans to see a title victory, it’s a little bit sad that EVIL’s reign only lasted a short 10 days. You don’t need to Google or fact-check on Wikipedia: This is the shortest ever reign for an Openweight champion. Hopefully we’ll see EVIL get another push in the future.
My biggest takeaway from the event? I witnessed first hand, the amazing power of the audience. By sheer luck, Baretta spotted the double-sided SGP Vice / Liger City sign that Rocky Romero had borrowed from the fans (one side had “SGP Vice”, the other side had “Liger City”. I assume that this was done in order to save paper). Baretta tore up the sign for fun, with “Liger City” facing outwards, as a jab towards Jushin Thunder Liger. Again, you’ll very rarely see this sort of fan interaction for NJPW’s events in Japan. Maybe it’s because we’re an English-speaking crowd, and we’re able to better communicate our support that the gaijin wrestlers can understand.
Good job Singapore, and I hope everyone around the world watching on NJPWworld had a good time. See you all again at Tokyo Dome.
I am ready. I have finally caught up with all my viewing for New Japan Pro Wrestling on NJPWworld, after lagging behind for almost two months (I only finished G1 Climax in mid-October).
The card for Wrestling World 2016 is already out (pasted below from the NJPW reddit), subject to any last minute changes. This is the first time that Roppongi Vice, the Guerillas of Destiny, Katsuyori Shibata, Yujiro Takahashi, and Kenny Omega are performing in Singapore.
All eyes will be on Match 5, the six-man tag: Tanahashi is challenging Naito for the IWGP Intercontinental title on 4 January, and this match will be the start of their feud leading up to Tokyo Dome.
Match 6 will be a continuation of Omega and Okada’s lead-up to their showdown on 4 January for the Heavyweight title. Omega managed to score a pinfall against Okada during a tag match at Power Struggle (5 November), so I’m predicting that CHAOS will get the victory this time. Please please please, I hope Kenny will be given some time on the microphone. We’re an English-speaking audience, we wanna hear all of your trash talking.
The main event is an interesting one, thank you Gedo for giving us a title match in Singapore. EVIL just won the Openweight title from Shibata at Power Struggle, I highly doubt he’s going to drop it back to Shibata after only 10 days. If he retains it, the question now is who’s going to challenge for it at Tokyo Dome. My friend said he would love to see YOSHI-HASHI vs EVIL for the title, and I think it would work. YOSHI-HASHI is long overdue for a title run, he’s the most underrated wrestler of NJPW’s mid-card right now.
I find it quite amazing that the majority of my blog posts for the past couple of months are mostly about pro wrestling. I’ll just end this post with a short quote from VA-11 Hall-A, one of the most underrated videogames of the year (which also has pro wrestling):
“Never underestimate the power of putting on a good show.”
– ★Kira★ Miki, VA-11 Hall-A
I don’t drink in real-life, and I very rarely visit bars or clubs. Mainly because of my alcohol allergy, and that alcohol is really expensive here in Singapore compared to other countries (most of my friends prefer to drink when they travel to Japan — alcohol there is way cheaper). We even had a law passed in Singapore recently that prohibits alcohol from being sold (but not from being consumed) after 10pm.
Which is why I was really hooked by VA-11 Hall-A’s premise within five minutes of booting up the game. I play videogames for escapism, to experience things that I will never get to do in the real world. Playing as Jill, the game’s protagonist, even as an outsider watching events unfold through her eyes, gave me some fascinating insight into the world of bartending, cocktails, and socialising over drinks.
VA-11 Hall-A labels itself as a “Cyberpunk Bartender Action” game. One of the hallmark traits of cyberpunk are self-aware sentient robots, a dystopia setting, and a futuristic neo-retro soundtrack (think Blade Runner), all of which VA-11 Hall-A nailed perfectly. Especially the soundtrack. It’s very relaxing, uplifting, and totally in-sync with the bartender setting.
What I liked about VA-11 Hall-A as I continued playing was how “natural” it felt. Everything in this visual novel was told naturally though your daily dialogue with Jill’s co-workers and customers, and from reading the daily newspaper articles and online updates from Jill’s apartment. Unlike many other visual novels, there’s no exposition, no heroic character development, no mystery to be solved, and no evil villain that must be defeated. Yes, there is a “story” going on around Jill outside the bar — greedy corporations, politics, and an uprising in a bank — but it’s all presented in a slice-of-life manner as part of Jill’s daily routine.
And I’m sure everyone can relate to Jill’s relationship problems, on how she painfully regrets a past decision that she made, but can no longer make amends for. She just has to continue with her daily motions of life, and find a way to move on from her mistakes while earning her paycheck and paying her bills. She’s a loyal friend to those closest to her; she’s unsure of what her future holds and whether she’ll continue to be a bartender; she likes cats. Yet at the same time, Jill laughs at dirty jokes, she smokes on her bed, and can be very cynical to strangers who don’t give a good first impression. I don’t know a thing about bartending or mixing drinks, but I can emphatise with the flaws and character traits that Jill has. It’s what makes us human.
I have blogged in the past about how pro wrestling automatically makes anything better. I was totally not expecting the repetition of pro wrestling references and memes in VA-11 Hall-A. There’s even a reference to Jushin Thunder Liger, Sting, and New Japan Pro Wrestling’s annual Wrestle Kingdom event at Tokyo Dome (an event that I’m attending live this coming 4 January). Remember Volition, the developers of Saints Row: The Third and Saints Row IV? It’s clear that Sukeban Games are big fans of pro wrestling too. I would love to have a badass, former-pro-wrestler boss like Dana
who randomly suplexes her employees at work.
Just like the best drinks or cocktails, VA-11 Hall-A is a surprisingly perfect blend of many smaller ingredients: Memorable characters, witty writing, excellent artwork, stunning music, and pro wrestling. One Steam reviewer even called it a GOTY contender and I find it very difficult to argue against that claim. A videogame from a niche genre that dares to be different, and created with a lot of love and attention by the developers. And pro wrestling. PRO WRESTLING.
Earlier in June I declared on Twitter that 2016 would be “The year of the visual novel invasion.” There are so many re-releases and localisations of popular visual novels on Steam (Muv-Luv, Steins;Gate, Umineko), combined with cool and original releases like VA-11 Hall-A. It’s a very unique and special time to be a fan of visual novels again.
This is my fourth time watching a Singapore Pro Wrestling event, but my first time blogging about it. SPW is our country’s indie wrestling promotion, founded at around 2012. They have a decent, well represented roster with all the different wrestling styles. SPW also frequently invites wrestlers from other promotions, and the main highlights tonight were two Japanese males from Dragon Gate, and one Japanese female freelancer. Also, a new inaugural mid-tier title belt, the SPW Singapore Championship, was up for grabs.
– Five-way dance (one-fall finish): Bellum Roy vs Alejandro Cuevo vs Aiden Rex vs Sayn vs Luqman Adam. Rex wins by triangle choke submission after making Roy tap out.
This was my first time watching Roy in action, who is also nicknamed The Butcher because of his gimmick: He carries a giant cleaver into the ring. Cuevo is a Puerto Rican wrestler. He looks very young and I’m not sure which promotion he’s from. Rex, Sayn, and Luqman are longtime regulars of the SPW roster. Rex is a real joy to watch because of his high-flying.
Five-way matches can quickly become very messy because of the numbers, and that’s what happened as the wrestlers started spilling outside of the ring and creating chaos near the spectators. I was seated in the third row, so I was mostly unaffected by the carnage. Cuevo was super agile, wrestling with a lucha libre style. Rex performed a modified Asai moonsault to the outside of the ring. In the end, Rex got the victory by making Roy tap out to a modified triangle choke.
– SPW Singapore Championship three-way: Power Warrior vs Doctor Gore vs Eurasian Dragon. Dragon with the pinfall on Gore after a powerbomb.
Dragon’s real name is Kenneth Teixeira (a Portuguese surname). He is half-Portuguese and half-Singaporean. His wrestling name is a reference to pro wrestler American Dragon (aka Daniel Bryan). Dragon had actually won the Malaysia Pro Wrestling World-to-Regional Championship in a July SPW event. But he didn’t walk out into the ring with that title, so I assume that he dropped it at another event.
This was an okay match with lots of strikes. I think everyone already knew the outcome. Dragon is one of the veterans of SPW’s roster and deserves to hold a belt. But I know that some people in the crowd were not happy with how he won it: Gore and Warrior did most of the work before Dragon landed one big move to win it. Sadly, this is one of the problems of having three-way matches.
– Destroyer Dharma defeats Rowdy Ranga. Match was (kayfabe) stopped midway because of a thrown towel.
Dharma and Ranga both made their debuts back in July, and this was their first singles match. Dharma is a huge bodybuilder who kind of reminds me of Bobby Lashley. He even has Lashley’s nickname, “Destroyer”. Ranga’s gimmick is that of a fun loving dancer with a Bollywood vibe (think Mahabali Shera, but with more catchy music). Before the match even started, the fans were already chanting “Deepavali, Deepavali!” (Deepavali falls on 30 October this year).
This was an okay match with one big problem: The finish was terrible. Dharma was in control for most of the match using his strength and power. He landed a chokeslam on Ranga when suddenly a towel was thrown into the ring by Sayn. I was seated ringside and I honestly didn’t know where he came from. Good job with your sneaking and sabotage skills, Sayn. The referee immediately stopped the match and the victory was awarded to Dharma. Sayn, who lost the earlier five-way match, said that he was sick of newbie wrestlers like Ranga getting opportunities while he himself, a three-year veteran, gets none.
This was only Ranga’s second SPW appearance and his first singles match. I was scratching my head at Sayn’s tirade. It made no sense, and it felt like they were trying too hard to push a “story” for Sayn.
NJPW’s Gedo once said this: “We are not a soap opera. We are not sports entertainment, we are not acting and not dancing. We wrestle and we are wrestling – we are New Japan Pro Wrestling.”
SPW, there is no need to try so hard to create “stories”. Let the wrestlers tell their stories in the ring, and let feuds and rivalries build from there naturally. I was hoping for a clean finish for Dharma vs Ranga, it’s their first singles match after all. Instead, we got a thrown towel (???).
– Jason Lee pins Arsenal Affi after a knee-strike to the head.
I was really looking forward to this match. Jason Lee (in yellow, above) is from Hong Kong Pro-Wrestling Federation (HKWF), and he has actually wrestled for WWE in 2016 for their Cruiserweight Classic tournament and Dusty Rhodes Classic tag-team tournament. Sadly, the majority of the spectators around me didn’t seem to know who he is (!). I was expecting a bit more fanfare for someone who has wrestled for WWE.
Lee’s experience and ring psychology made this a fun match to watch. The SPW fans kept cheering “Pikachu, Pikachu!” because of his yellow attire and hair wax. There was interference from a masked man, who invaded the ring and delivered a brainbuster to Affi. But the finish was clean, as Lee got the pinfall after a knee strike to Affi’s head.
– Singapore Pro Wrestling SEA tag-team title match: Bad Company (Golem Thai, P-Nutz) vs Mighty Arrow (Mighty Mighty, Black Arrow). Arrow pins P-Nutz after a top-rope senton.
Defending champions Bad Company are from Thailand’s Gatoh Move Pro Wrestling promotion. Their entrance theme is actually the Hell March 2 theme from Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2. Mighty Mighty is SPW’s biggest wrestler in terms of body size (think Brodus Clay), while Black Arrow is another high flyer.
Golem Thai, the bigger member of Bad Company, managed to body slam Mighty Mighty. Arrow delivered a moonsault from the top rope to the outside of the ring. He eventually pinned P-Nutz after a top-rope senton splash. I believe this is the first time that Mighty Mighty and Black Arrow have won a title belt, be it singles or tag team. Congrats to them, they deserve to hold a belt.
– Hiroyo Matsumoto pins Alexis Lee after a back-drop suplex
A women’s singles match featuring Singapore’s first female pro wrestler, Alexis Lee. Alexis was wearing some new facepaint and body paint — a black and white “skull” motif, slightly similar to Sting’s and Tama Tonga’s. It’s an interesting new look and I’m curious to see where she’ll go with this.
I’ve not watched Matsumoto wrestle before, but I googled about her beforehand. She is currently a freelancer wrestling for many indie promotions, including the prestigious all-female Shimmer Women Athletes. What I really liked about Matsumoto was her natural charisma the moment she came out on the ramp — she’s very comfortable in front of a crowd and knows how to keep them entertained. This seems to be a common characteristic among Japanese female wrestlers.
The match did not get off to a good start as Alexis’s hair got entangled in one of Matsumoto’s bracelets, forcing the referee to step in and untangle it. Matsumoto’s nickname is “Lady Godzilla”, and there were plenty of “Gojira, gojira” chants throughout the match. She managed to deliver a lot of lifted slams to Alexis, and I could see Alexis’s lower back sustaining some welts from the impact. Matsumoto won the match with a back-drop suplex, to the delight of me and my friend — that’s Yuji Nagata’s favourite finisher.
– Team of Cima and Big R Shimizu defeats the team of Statement and Trexxus. Cima with the pinfall on Statement after double knees from the top rope.
Statement is Singapore’s most experienced pro wrestler, he’s also wrestled for other indie promotions in Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, and Australia. This feud started back in July, when Cima had a singles match against Statement for the SPW SEA title. Dharma interfered in that match, delivering a chokeslam to Cima to help Statement win the bout. So this time Cima returned with a fellow wrestler from Dragon Gate to settle the score. Dharma was banished from ringside by the referee before the match started to make sure that this would be a fair two-on-two.
It was my first time seeing Shimizu in action. He’s big but also fairly fast, and with his mohawk and bright yellow attire, the fans kept calling him “Raichu, Raichu”, the evolved and larger version of Pikachu. Statement managed to deliver a fireman’s carry slam to Shimizu, before the wrestlers spilled to the outside of the ring and fought near the spectators. Cima eventually got the pinfall after delivering a double knee drop from the top rope to Statement.
Overall, yet another fun two hours of indie pro wrestling action. Thank you for the entertainment. See you guys again on 10 December for the next event.
via Bleacher Report
Everyone knows the story of Chyna in the wrestling ring, of how she would wrestle the male wrestlers and was even allowed to win the WWE Intercontinental title.
But not many know the story of her hidden demons, her battle with drugs and alcohol, and how it ruined her life and ultimately led to her death.
I have always believed that Chyna left WWE in 2001 because of tensions with HHH and Stephanie McMahon (HHH would eventually marry Stephanie). But this article says that she left the company by her own choice when she rejected a contract renewal.
I still want to see a female wrestler win a world championship belt some day (anywhere on any promotion, doesn’t have to be WWE). If Chyna had stayed with WWE, that pipedream might have already become reality.
I love the sport of pro wrestling but I hate what it does to so many pro wrestlers.
I am two months behind in my TNA viewing, so forgive me if posting this in September 2016 seems outdated and slow. At one point back in 2013, I was as slow as seven months behind on my TNA viewing. But I strongly believe in the patience and persistence of watching every weekly episode of Raw, Smackdown, TNA Impact, NJPW, etc.
And finally, all those years of persistence has paid off.
Something weird and magical has happened to TNA in 2016. I have blogged, and blogged, and blogged in the past about TNA’s lousy years of crap booking and poor storylines. Many times, I seriously considered quitting TNA because it was just simply unrewarding and super frustrating to watch. But since the start of the year, things have slowly changed. I find myself laughing and smiling at each Impact episode.
I laugh at Decay. Their gimmick is a much better version of Bray Wyatt’s stable. A group of dark, macabre outcasts who resort to the powers of darkness, facepaint, and Marilyn Manson to help them win matches. I laugh every time Abyss proclaims, “I AM BEAUTIFUL!!”
I used to laugh at The Dollhouse, and it’s a shame that they had to be broken up because of Taryn Terrell’s retirement. I thought that the idea behind Taryn’s stable worked and it just needed a bit more time to give all of the members their chance to shine.
I laugh at Eli Drake. Someone who is so supremely confident and charismatic on the microphone, that every time he opens his mouth, you pay attention and wait for his speech to end.
I laugh at Mike Bennett and his wife Maria Kanellis. The way Maria preaches her husband as some sort of divine saviour, followed by Bennett’s rock-choir theme song always leaves me in stitches.
I laugh at Broken Matt Hardy. His warped accent (“BROTHER NEEEEEEERO!”), his choice of eccentric vocabulary, and the way he screams “delete, delete, delete!!”
I also laugh at all the tiny little details here and there, week in and week out. The accumulation of little things like Ethan Carter III’s ridiculously catchy entrance theme; Grado and Mahabali Shera’s unusual partnership; James Storm riding out to the ring on his “boozer cruiser”.
I laugh at every episode of TNA because I am having fun. Remember when pro wrestling used to be fun back in the 1980s and early 1990s? You had wacky faces like Macho Man, Hulk Hogan, and Ultimate Warrior in one corner, and then on the other side you had equally crazy villains like The IRS Man, The Million Dollar Man, Razor Ramon, Doink the Clown, and many more.
All of the silliness and fun finally reached its climax on the 5 July 2016 episode of TNA Impact Wrestling, when Jeff Hardy faced his brother Matt Hardy in their “Final Deletion” showdown. It’s not just the match itself, but the entire build-up and skits leading up to the battle are just as bonkers:
This is why I love pro wrestling. I love to be entertained, and I love to see the effort, passion, and skills exhibited by pro wrestlers for the sake of entertaining us, the fans. Matt Hardy deserves an Academy Honorary Award for Most Nonsensically Entertaining Villain of the Year.
Acting and skits aside, at the end of the day, it is the _wrestling_ that matters and TNA has put up some decent matches for title changes and pay-per-views so far in 2016. I was not expecting Bobby Lashley to beat Drew Galloway for the title at Slammiversary. And I was not expecting Jeff Hardy to perform a Swanton Bomb off a tree.
Congratulations, TNA. When you can consistently put out above-average matches with hard-to-predict outcomes, it means you have FINALLY learned your lesson. The question now is whether it’s too late. I’ve read that Slammiversary 2016 almost did not happen because TNA almost went bankrupt. Years of crap booking and burnt bridges have come back to haunt the company. You reap what you sow.
But at the very least, for one night on 5 July 2016, I am reminded yet again why I love this sport. I will continue watching TNA to the very end. It’s a far cry from the glory years of AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Christopher Daniels, Kurt Angle, and Bobby Roode (who have ALL left the company already). But I still love pro wrestling.