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Hanayashiki Pro Wrestling is alright for a bit of fun, but not really worth going massively out of your way for. If you've nothing else on etc. Saying that, it's a skip away from the sky tree so if you're touristing it's worth a look.

Would be a shame if you can't do the beer garden shows, they're fantastic fun.

Have you looked into any Joshi shows whilst there? There's usually a fair bit on and around.

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So I managed to pull a blinder and got into the first 2 nights of the DDT Beer Garden shows. After some back and forth e-mailing with one of the DDT guys about whether or not they could hold tickets, I enquired whether I could just turn up on the Monday and buy tickets for the remainder of the week, which I was told would be completely fine.


I arrived to the venue, went to the ticket booth and in broken English, I was told "sorry" repeatedly because they only have 1 ticket left. It was a bit of a struggle understanding if he meant for this show, or ones on later dates but through pointing, he was able to tell me I could get into the Monday evening show that had been long sold out. I snapped that up and had what must be one of the most fun wrestling experiences you could have when there by yourself. It was a 7 match card which seemed to run with the idea of a match being completely ridiculous and then followed up with a straight laced proper wrestling match.


The beauty of DDT for me, is because of the language barrier, you have no idea of the rules. So in a "Rock n Roll Tag Team Deathmatch", music starts playing and EVERYONE starts dancing and you immediately understand but it's an hilarious concept. It took an interesting turn as everyone participated but they looked like they hated being in this nightmare world where they had to dance on command all the time. Especially when it'd play when big moves where being set up. It really reminded me of that bit in Extras where their having a blazing row and then "A little bit of this and a little bit of that" comes on and they're all dancing round an egg.


But then to follow it up with a great KO-D Openweight Title match between Konosuke Takeshita and Toru Owashi which was just a pure straight-up Classic japanese championship struggle. Didn't expect it or see it coming but it was amazing. By the end of the match, the young girl next to me was legitimately crying, gutted at the result. It was awesome.


The 2nd night wasn't as meaty as the night before we had 7 matches and felt a bit like a PPV quality show in terms of effort but it did feature a phenomenal match between "Speedball" Mike Bailey and Kota Umeda, crazily good. The only other 3 matches on the show was a Boxing Match between Gota Ihashi (complete with "Living in America" entrance) vs. Saki Akai, a Gatoh Move Female Tag Match with Emi Sakura and a guy in drag and a "Scary Story" match where guys came in and told part of a scary story while in the dark with a flash light. I spoke to Mike Bailey at the end of the night about it, and neither of us knew what happened in that segment but we both agreed it was probably very funny.


All in all, DDT is the place to be for wrestling. There's truly nothing on this planet like it. CHIKARA and ATTACK are kinda like it, I suppose but neither have gone for the full madness that is DDT.


As for the rest of the holiday's wrestling action, it's looking like DDT again tonight, Wrestle-1 tomorrow, 2 nights of the G1 climax, a night off and then the Big Japan show at Shin-Kiba.

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Bit off topic but DDT have been of interest before, I've just never got around to them. Do they translate as well in video as they do live? Easy enough to follow and get in to? Or is the magic of them all about the live experience?


Glad you enjoyed the show pal

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The classic Japanese wrestling FB group that was banded around in this thread earlier have said that they've posted a good 8/9 DDT shows from June-July. Not sure if they're clipped or what, or even if they have a service similar to NJPW.


Went back to DDT tonight (for the final time as I'm elsewhere for the remainder of the trip!), got to speak to Kikutaro who asked where I was from. I deliberately told him I was from Leeds, which is near Doncaster just so he'd respond with "1PW!!! SHIT COMPANY!!!" But he also expressed how he'd love to come back as he was moving to the United States in December and he was looking at working with Grado to make it happen. I'd very much love for him to do that.


On a slightly related note, Kikutaro took the bump of the night, missing a step on the stairs upon entrance and taking a stumble. And then working it into the match. Was so so funny.


Again tonight was only 4 matches and there was a LOT of talking (and singing) which went completely over my head. Although I did understand the guy coming out and proposing to his missus at the end of the show meaning that for the 2nd time in 3 nights, I was sat next to a woman who was crying her eyes out. Only this time, she wasn't alone - as nearly EVERY woman in attendance was blubbering. Bunch of softies, the lot of them. The main event was a Tuxedo Match of all things involving the champ - Konosuke Takeshita and Trans-Am Hiroshi, which Hiroshi won stripping Takeshita down to his Tigger boxers (as he then awkwardly stood in the ring congratulating the happy couple).


Tomorrow sees me enjoying Yokohama prior to a Wrestle-1 show. I knew nothing of Japanese wrestling (other than NJPW) prior to this trip, so I've been informed that Wrestle-1 isn't the strongest promotion to go to (and in hindsight, I'd probably stay local and do the 2 DDT shows). However, this show will have Kota Ibushi, Jun Akiyama and Keiji Mutoh who are all the biggest names I've never seen live, so it won't be too bad.

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How did you like Yokohama W1 show.


I was at it too, thought it was pretty good, but really not much of a crowd compare to G1 few nights ago.


Kota Ibushi taking a moonsault from the balcony was pretty fucking nuts. Really didnt need to do that, when you think about him signing a WWE contract? so his days in Japan are not so many left. He was pretty over with the crowd. Also the guy he was wrestling was pretty fucking good, never seen him before. Was really surprised.


Uhh and Kanemura making a surprise appearence, was pretty cool aswell. He looked in BAD shape, he could barely get in the ring, or do anything at all. Guess all those hard bumps and kick from Cro Cop didnt help much eh! Crazy!.


Sadly i´m ending my 28 day trip in Japan today and flying home tomorrow. Seriously if anyone here is thinking about coming here, it is amazing, people are really nice here, shows almost every day, specially in Tokyo. But dont go in the summer, crazy humid here.

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Oh god, the weather is the absolute worst for me right now. Every day I'm almost tempted to pack an extra t-shirt to replace the one surely covered in sweat but every day I remember that's an insane idea and I go without. Well and truly adopted the Japanese move of having a small towel though, been a lifesaver.


The Wrestle-1 show today was OK, in my opinion. It might potentially be my particular taste of wrestling but after 3 days of DDT (which have genuinely been some of the best shows I've seen and I've done Wrestlemania, countless PROGRESS and other British Indys, a few misc US indies) this fell a little flat for me. The pieces seem to be there for Wrestle-1, there's a few guys who are newer and on the way up who are pretty good but they're focused on the wrong guys. KAI for example, what the fuck is he about? Genuinely looks like Dean Ambrose but acted like Simon Dean on his entrance. Then he kinda wrestled like Ambrose but the star jump entrance was lost on me. That said the KAI vs. Daiki Inaba match was a solid main event with wrestling stereotypes being applied with the last minute replacement taking the belt.


Strongest match for me was obviously Ibushi vs. Kuroshio. Literally never heard of Kuroshio before but after this, I want to see lots more of him. Long haired guy with what looks to be a bit of a free-spirit eccentric gimmick, and wears a jacket straight off opposuits for the duration of the match. I imagine if he ever comes to the UK, the PCW crowd would absolutely fall in love with him and make him their next Uhaa Nation. As mentioned, Ibushi came off the balcony, which for a pretty poorly attended show was an odd move, but God bless him for it.


Looking over the results as a really casual fan, the only things I can talk about is the Hardcore Tag. The gimmick was that every team got 1 weapon and I believe one of the teams chose a bin, purely to put all the other weapons into it and stop the stupidity. Anyways, the main 2 names I heard where Jun Kasai and WWE CWC Participant - TAJIRI. The main highlight came when some guy came out dressed like a fire engine, battered everyone with weak chairshots and then danced with TAJIRI to the offspring. It was funny but I didn't get the context. One of the heels they beat the older guy down, put him in the bin and then wheeled him (and the weapons) off into the sunset while Jake Omen and Masayuko Kono won.


During the intermission, I went to TAJIRI's merch stand (and it was rammed mostly because it was one thin walkway and EVERYONE was on it at one time. I bought a signed autograph (not usually a fan of these, but I had to support Mike Bailey after his amazing performances in DDT and I really wanted to talk to TAJIRI) but when I asked for a photograph, he was unable to do so. Still a perfectly nice man, shook my hand, talked for a few minutes, and at least made it appear that it wasn't his call that there were no photos. I think it might have been because it was SO CRAMPED with people just buying merch, that people getting photos with the big names would cause a stand still. That or it's just some weird shite Wrestle-1 rule. Who knows!


G1 Climax tomorrow!

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hehe, I might be crazy, I packed a extra t-shirt most days and changed during the day. It was just way too fucking hot.


The dude dancing with Kasai and Tajiri was Kanemura. He was in FMW and was during hardcore matches mostly. Took lots of punishment. He is like the American version of Mick Foley. He remember he had a match with Mick Foley in FMW right before Foley got in WWE. And this dude Kanemura got dropped in a pit of glass and barbed wire, back then it was insane and still is. He could barely do anything. Cro Cop kicked his head off in Hustle few years ago and almost broke his skull. Crazy stuff.


The G1 will be amazing, sadly im on my way home now, but Sumo Hall is really a great place for wrestling. I saw a BJW show there and it was fun. If you are big the box seats can be really hard to sit in.


Have fun dude :) Japan is great!

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So I haven't updated this in a few days and there's been a good number of shows since then that I've been and seen along with a fair few wrestling tidbits.


So following on from Wrestle-1 on Thursday, Friday saw me travel to the world famous Sumo Hall for the first semi-final night of the G1 Climax. Upon arriving, I got really lost as I do not understand Japanese text AT ALL. As I stood confused at the map, a Japanese fellow approached me and helped me out, which was a great help. I swear to god, Japanese people are putting the rest of the world to shame. So nice.


I randomly end up next to an American guy, and we have a great evening watching the graps and prophetising about the G1 Climax. At one point, during the conversation, he said "so if you were booking it, you're going to say Goto in the final, right?" And I immediately rubbished him off because in the head to head, he would fail against both Okada and Tanashashi so he's pretty much fighting for pride. How wrong had I been... In terms of the card, I was shocked at how fast they moved through the non-tournament matches. I don't think 1 went over 10 minutes. I actually really enjoyed this format. It's obvious you're only here to see the tournament so seeing as prolonged Captain New Japan and Yoshi Tatsu match isn't on the cards.


In terms of the tournament, I really enjoyed SANADA vs. Tenzan. The guy next to me was convinced Tenzan would pick up a win as it's his last G1, I was dubious as (from my limited knowledge of New Japan), they seemed high on SANADA and I was right, as he got the win in a good match. In terms of what mattered, I found Tonga vs. Fale very interesting and I'd like to see how it played out on commentary. The initial segment covered the fear that if Tonga just laid down, Fale could win the whole thing but the mid-match turn I didn't really get, especially as they "too-sweeted" at the end. I'd be honest, if one of my mates did that to me, I wouldn't be fine with them for a good long while. It was a dick move, even for a heel. That said, I like Tama Tonga, he could be really good in a few years.


But really, what we're all talking about is Tanahashi vs. Okada. Admittedly, as a casual New Japan fan and a guy who would heavily follow Ibushi, Styles and Nakamura, I've missed a lot of the Tanahashi vs. Okada clashes or not had the emotional investment that it deserved. Well this time, I was fully in. Quite possibly the best match I've seen live. Far superior (in my opinion) to Zayn vs. Nakamura and just a wonderfully played match. I loved it.


Fast forward to the next day, I went to Toudoukan to see all the really random selection of merch and DVDs they had on sale. They were beyond up to date with random US Indys like AIW and CZW, but a good 9 years behind with Japanese Feds like DDT, which is what I was really after. Still after treating the place as a museum for the best part of 45 minutes, I thought it was only polite to buy something so I got a DDT show from 2008. I then went to a smaller show I'd been to twice before. I don't know the name but it's up a flight of stairs, the guy who runs it has limited English skills but smiles constantly even when delivering bad news. I found it weird at first but I realised he's just trying to be nice. Stupid cynical English brain. Anyways on this occasion, I managed to snag myself DDT Peter Pan 2015 and Judgment 2016, which is their 2 big shows. I very much look forward to watching them when I get back to the UK. Anyways on my way out (and after dropping 70000 yen on the dvds), the guy stops me and hands me a signed piece of gold card with both the Young Bucks signatures on it. He said that since I was a fan of the Bullet Club (which I was wearing a shirt of), I should have it. I thanked him greatly, as it was such a cool thing to do, and went on my way. I do panic that he was just asking if I was interested in buying it, and instead I just casually walked out with it. But I think I'm safe.


On the way to the venue for Night 2, I got "too-sweeted" again by a random NJPW fan who saw my Bullet Club shirt and loved it. THE JAPANESE ARE THE NICEST PEOPLES. This time, I was sat 4 seats across from my last seat, meaning I didn't need to ask for help this time. It was a bit quieter and a fair few empty seats. Also this time, I was smart to bring my own beers, meaning I didn't have to get into a ridiculously long queue. The night's action was awesome, as before. It's a booking master stroke to ensure that at least 3 matches have meaning on the final night. I get the feeling WWE would make it a 2 horse race and put all their money on that big deciding match. This was also the 2nd time this trip that I found myself actively cheering for someone, which isn't something I do at UK Indy shows. Omega had me in the palm of his hands and when he won, I was cheering like crazy and openly taking delight in the young girl knitted out in Los Ingobnables merch. Maybe that's a bit far, but it was amazing. Ridiculous match.


It was also during this show I also got speaking to another westerner. He got mistaken that I was a guy from Reddit but was too polite to say. Lovely bloke. He messaged me the next day saying how he went out with the other westerners to celebrate Kenny's victory and got very drunk. Only added to my disappointment that I didn't get tickets. Especially when I got the message from someone else that I should have chanced it as their were empty seats. Bollocks.


This evening, I went to Big Japan in Shin-Kiba 1st Ring. Didn't think it'd be much, with it being such a small venue, but the show featured 3 deathmatches. I don't think I'll ever get the image of one guy cheese grating his opponent's arm, while his opponent obviously cut his own arm deeply to cause the bleeding. I've literally watched a guy self-harm. Not really amusing. Still, the show was a great deal of fun, and I can see why wrestling is so big in Tokyo, because every fed knows their strengths and works to it. DDT does comedy and flippy shit, BJW does hard-hitting & deathmatches, STARDOM and co does Women, VKF do WWE parodies and NJPW are the big dogs. It's amazing, and I highly recommend coming to EVERYONE. If I ever did Japan again, I'd do it purely for the wrestling.


Oh and finally, on the way out on BJW, I bumped into Cruiserweight Classic competitor and former EVOLVE Tag Champ - Drew Gulak, who was hanging out with Sick Nick Mondo of all people. Both really cool guys, I didn't keep them long or ask for photos, just said I was a big fan of both of theirs, spoke a bit about the UK scene, the Young Bucks and Mr. Danger's Steak House and went on my way.


Sorry for the length but a lot has happened! I travel back on Wednesday and I'm content with the idea to BJW was the last show of my trip. If tomorrow's a slow day and I get bored around 6ish, I might try my hand at GUT'S WORLD, or I might come back to the hotel and get drunk while watching RAW highlights.

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Great read.


Please keep posting your experiences. It's helping me gauge what I want to be personally (wrestling wise) and it's really putting my mind at ease knowing how friendly and helpful Japanese people are. It'd be nice to bump into some random westerners too just to grab advise and for my sanity maybe. 


Looks like I've found my first Korakuen Hall, NJPW - Road to POWER STRUGGLE. Still can't find any dates that make sense to me for DDT and BJW.

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Well this will be the last one as I head back early tomorrow morning and it'll be back to getting quick wrestling fixes once a month or so.


Anyways, 2 weeks of travelling round and seeing all of the temples and literally filling my days is more than enough in Tokyo, as today I literally had no idea what to do as I'd completely ticked off my bucket list of sight-seeing so I had a lazy morning watching RAW highlights as they appeared, listened to a podcast and packed my case for the next morning. I googled shows on this evening and found that BJW was running at 3.30 that afternoon in Ueno Park (which is really lovely and with all the museums and the zoo, you could really spend 2 whole days there).


So I went down, had a bit of lunch, walked around the park, got a little lost and arrived at the venue. Was pleased to see it was only 1000 yen for a full match card of 7 matches. Pretty much the same guys as the day before, and non-deathmatch stips but still was a decent afternoon in a covered stage area, especially as it rained for the first time in 2 weeks.


The only things of note was firstly, one 6-man tag (with Sekimoto on one side and Ryuji Ito on the other) decended into a massive brawl around the auditorium style layout. Then, one of the nutters pulled out a bag of fireworks and started firing them from the ring into the crowd. The joke being that each one would explode in his own hand instead of reaching his opponent. That was until he pulled out a ROMAN CANDLE, lit the bastard and chucked it WAY over the heads of his opponents and legit into the crowd causing a mad scene of pandemonium until it settled down.


Secondly, one young guy (after getting MAULED in the main event) called out for a woman to join him in the ring. I thought I was about to see proposal number 2, but instead I believe he just asked her out. Then the roster (because they're such LADZ) decided to over-react and celebrate like their lottery numbers had just come out. The poor girl looked like she wanted to sink into a huge dark hole.


On the way out, I noticed that most of the roster and some fans were wearing gorgeous, mental t-shirts for BJW's Ueno Park Summer Festival featuring Pandas (the big attraction in the Ueno Zoo) holding light tubes and barbed wire bats. I had to have one, but they were shifting everyone out, so I decided I'd hang around for half hour, get something to eat and watch the Ice Ribbon show and pick one up then.


They never opened the merch stall and I didn't get the awesome shirt. I paid 2000 yen to watch a J-Pop concert and 2 wrestling matches. Lesson learnt. Also, I found it weird that older, sterner, stereotypical looking Japanese blokes (who looked like they've come straight from the office) were dancing along to the S-Club Juniors like pop groups.


In terms of how I found about shows, if you type "Keeping the Spirit Alive" into Google, the first result is like a results page for most of the puro companies. They have an events calendar that have most of the companies. Most of the companies don't advertise too far in advance though.

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