Big "O" to Adam Seguin for contributing the following piece. Please join us in welcoming Adam to Tha O Show writing staff.
First off, let me say it’s great to finally be contributing to Tha O Show in a more direct fashion. For those who don’t know, I’m AdamFromWelland, often heard on the “O-sters with Something to Say” segment. I’m a long time O-ster and I plan on contributing writing pieces to Tha O Show on a regular basis. But here’s what you need to know off the bat...
I’m not a wrestling columnist/analyst/observer/whatever title makes me sound important. I’m simply a fan of professional wrestling that plans on sharing his views with others. I’m probably one of the biggest marks for professional wrestling in general. In fact that’s I’ve decided to write my first piece on, the world of wrestling outside of the mainstream media.
I’m not a negative person when it comes to wrestling, I’m probably one of the more optimistic and positive people when it comes to mainstream products however it’s no secret that it’s not as successful as it should be. Ratings are in decline, injuries are ruining planned angles and storylines and the next generation of superstars haven’t been being used properly to replace those about to part ways.
For those of you participating in Big Daddy Donnie’s Monday Night RAW boycott, you may be interested in reading about alternatives that’ll rejuvenate your passion for pro wrestling. Even if you’re not boycotting WWE, you can still read on and find out about these alternatives that have their own take on the styles of pro wrestling. Fortunately with technology like YouTube, you’ll have access to these alternatives.
I want to start off with the more popular “Puroresu” also known as Japanese Wrestling. Japanese wrestling or at least the majority of it treats wrestling more like a sport. Very similar to how MMA is booked in terms of contenders and multiple tournaments and such. Just yesterday, New Japan Pro Wrestling had their infamous “Wrestlemania” known as Wrestle Kingdom at the Tokyo Dome drawing in over 40,000 people. What makes Wrestle Kingdom such a great event is that it takes talent from many different organisations. This isn’t some indy fed as you should know.
The great thing about most Japanese wrestling such as NJPW, Pro Wrestling NOAH and AJPW is their unique “Strong Style”. Most would confuse strong style with no-selling however it’s done right. Strong style is where a wrestler fights through the pain and refuses to stay down. Watch any matches featuring Mitsuharu Misawa, Kenta Kobashi, Toshiaki Kawada and Kensuke Sasaki to see the best fundamental work of the strong style. They also have some of the best technical and high flying matches known to date.
Some uprising talents in Japan have alot of promise. Hiroshi Tanahashi is among the top ten best workers consistently in the PWI 500 and is a tremendous worker. Katsuhiko Nakajima is the son of Kensuke Sasaki and he’s a 22-year old who has faced every legendary Japanese worker and has won every single major Junior Heavyweight Championship in Japan. Go Shiozaki is a protégé of wrestling legend, Mitsuharu Misawa and is becoming a big name in many different organisations. Prince Devitt is simply a very versatile talent that I can never say a bad word about in any of his matches. Other names to look for are Satoshi Kojima, Masato Tanaka, Togi Makabe, Jushin Lyger, Kota Ibushi, Naomichi Marufuji and KENTA.
Next up... Mexico. If you listen to Tha O Show as often as I do, you’ll be aware that some O Show regulars are active performers in Mexico such as Jennifer Blake, Rico Montana and past guests like Sarita, Konnan and Hernandez...obviously. Now as far as Mexico goes, you have two major promotions, AAA and CMLL. The Lucha Libre style is often associated with the X-Division style found in TNA. It’s a much less spotty style and the action is more fluid with lots of counters. Also, kayfabe is very strong in Mexico as you’ve probably heard. Being a heel in Mexico is essentially a target for beer bottles being thrown and fans trying to grab at you and get a piece of you.
It’s definitely a different experience from what you may know here. I haven’t gotten into as much Lucha as I have Japanese wrestling however I would highly recommend checking out some past AAA Triplemania cards. AAA Triplemania is much like NJPW’s Wrestle Kingdom where it’s a culmination of talent from all over into one big Super Card. Dr. Wagner Jr. is definitely a talent to watch for along with El Zorro, Chessman, El Mesias and definitely Jennifer Blake (cheap plug!). CMLL is fairly similar, some names to look for in CMLL is definitely Mistico, Ultimo Guerrero, Averno among others.
If you’re a little nervous at the idea of watching either of these internationally based promotions because you’ll find the language barrier of the commentators awkward or it’s too much of a transition there’s some other options for you. (Although I do enjoy the shouting Japanese commentators, it really sets the atmosphere for a match)
There are some independent promotions in the United States that often book some of the talent I’ve mentioned. One of the most obvious ones is ROH. They don’t book as many international talents due to the cost of flying them in however their DVDs between 2006 and 2009 have some great performances from Naomichi Marufuji, KENTA, Kenta Kobashi, Mitsuharu Misawa, Kensuke Sasaki, Alex Koslov (Former AAA star), Rocky Romero, Blue Demon Jr, and a whole bunch of international talent. Even those from Europe I haven’t mentioned such as Doug Williams, PAC and Nigel McGuinness.
Chikara is also another independent promotion that tends to fly in international talent. If you want to get more specific, I’d suggest you check out their King Of Trios Tournament. Essentially it’s a big tournament featuring teams of three and they always book talent from all around the world.
I write about the alternatives to mainstream pro wrestling because it’s such a different concept in many ways that it’s easy to get hooked onto. I didn’t even get to talk about the European style or even to an extent, the Canadian style. (Yes we have a style.)
Like I said before, I’m a pro wrestling fan and I like to watch all sorts of it from different parts of the world. Whenever people complain on how wrestling sucks now and it’ll never be fixed. I almost wish they took the time to check out some New Japan, or some AAA. It’s far too underexposed to wrestling fans in my opinion.
If you want a good start off point, find an older episode of Tha O Show with Tyson Dux’s "Tha Classroom" segment and actually watch the match while he talks about it. It’s an easier way to understand it faster.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not discrediting American Pro Wrestling. I still enjoy watching it and I understand the corporate style WWE uses. However I’ve come to learn over the years that it’s easy to be negative and slam what you’re watching but it’s far more productive to find something else that’s worth your time.