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Everything posted by Gordberg

  1. That was just tremendous. Sheer insanity from Archer vs Mox onward. Great nostalgia trip with the Liger match, too. Between this and the excellent 1/1 AEW show, the year in pro wrestling is off to a rip-roaring start! Really looking forward to Naito vs Okada. How much do those guys have left after what they went through tonight? Hiromu vs Ospreay was the platonic ideal of a 2020s Jr Hwt match. Set the template for the coming decade. Some of the nearfalls tonight really had me going. I was genuinely pulling for Hiromu, and for Naito. That's kind of rare for me, to be on tenterhooks w/r/t who wins and who loses.
  2. How about Brodie Lee as the exalted one?
  3. It's true, he does. And his character is like a bad-ass version of Takoyakida. He wears an apron, on which is printed a warning not to double-dip. That's a very specific Osaka kind of joke, and I was pleased with myself for getting it.
  4. Black Buffalo dried wakame seaweed. Fully autographed World Joshi Pro Wrestling Diana towel.
  5. @odessasteps Kana was around the same scene at the same time as I was. She was a pretty frequent guest wrestler with Osaka Pro from 2009 through 2014, when I was a regular at their shows. She was fairly often at the same events or drinking parties as I was. She was often in the company of Japnese indy star Onryo back then. I have no idea if they were dating or just friends or if it was just a coincidence. I don't know if I ever saw her drink alcohol. She usually drank Oolong tea, if memory serves...Not sure if she is a non-drinker or one of the many Japanese people with an alcohol intolerance, or just wasn't drinking at those times. Kana has a very powerful magnetic presence. Almost all of the wrestlers I know are cool and charismatic, but Kana and Zeus really stood out even in that crowd. You were always aware when they were in the room. Kana was super sweet and very nice. She was unfailingly patient with my bad Japanese on the few occasions when I got to speak with her. The Kana-chan character from her YouTube show seems pretty true to life based on my limited experience. Also, she was just a monster ass-kicker in the ring at that time. @The Natural @Eivion Thanks very much for the kind words. I still lurk on these boards and sometimes post over at PWO. I keep meaning to post more on here. I might get involved on the WK 14 discussion thread if I am not at my mother-in-law's house in the countryside at that time. I'm pretty busy with work and I have two young daughters so I only get out to Osaka for wrestling a handful of times per year these days. Generally I will cross-post a whole photo essay here and at PWO every time I get to an event, take a few pictures, and have enough time to make a post about it. It's always nice to get a reaction from some old internet friends and see that I haven't been forgotten. I have been really lucky to have a really good experience of life in Japan and it always makes me happy to try and share some of that joy.
  6. The main event was an absolute corker: GAINA & HUB defending their tag titles against the indy dream team of Gamma & Super Shisa. It was also really cool to see Buffalo & Tsubasa back together working heel as Infinity in their black outfits. The best thing, though, was to share something I love with some new friends, (and also to have my new friends meet my old friends, and also just to see so many old friends again). There were a lot of new faces in the small crowd, but also a lot of people I hadn't seen for about five years and in every case the reunion was a very happy one. There was even one Osaka Pro fan who knew Chizuki from her English events, a very nice young woman named Mie: We all got packages of Wakame (a strong-tasting, in this case dried, seaweed that is quite nice with sake) and after the show (after Kenji and I helped break down the decorations while everyone else waited) we all went to a very nice Mexican restaurant in the Fukushima area of Osaka, a nice 18-minute walk from Noda Citizen's Hall (where the show was held). That was a pretty cool meal, with Japanese, English, Spanish, and French all being spoken at various times by various people (Gorge speaks French fluently. I cracked he and Esteve up with my basic Canadian high school French). The food was excellent, the conversation even better. I caught one of the last trains home.
  7. But of course that wasn't the case at all. Everyone was just as happy to see me again as I was to see them, and they absolutely bent over backwards to make my new friends feel welcome. Anyone who remembers my endless Osaka Pro posts here and on SSS and SC and elsewhere from that 2009-2014 period will doubtless remember my old friend Kenji, who was Osaka Pro's number one fan and ambassador and my regular drinking buddy back then. He took a day off from work to come out and meet us. It was great to see him again. Kenjo bought calendars from Kushikatsu Oyaji as gifts from Esteve and Gorge. It's a secret, but the guy under the mask is Japanese indy mainstay Kengo Takai, a/k/a Perro. (Here's me with Perro in 2009): I'm pretty sure Shirokuma is also someone I know working a different gimmick: His in-ring character is truly delightful: A big playful teddy bear, basically. (I'm almost sure it's Mihara a/k/a Yonel Sanders under that mask...): Ah... memories. It was almost overwhelmingly nostalgic for me to see everyone again, and I took a lot of joy in listening to Chizuki, Gorge, and Esteve giggle at the comedy stuff and oooh and aaah when the action picked up.
  8. I didn't manage to make it out to the final Dotonbori Pro shows or parties of the year, but I did make it out to the Osaka Pro revival show on the 28th. The woman to Billyken Kid's right is my new friend Chizuki. She's a web designer who has a side hustle organizing English events and lessons of various kinds. She's set me up with a couple of lucrative gigs in the past couple of months. The guys to his left are, respectively, Esteve and Gorge. As usual when I make new friends, one of the first things that Chizuki learned about me was that I am a crazy pro wrestling nerd. She had told me that she liked pro wrestling but didn't have anyone to go to shows with, so we'd been talking about hitting a show for a while. Esteve and Gorge attend one of her English conversation get-togethers in Osaka. They are both in that intermediate stage where they have been in Japan for a few months on student/work visas and are trying to work out if they are going to stick around after those visas expire, and how to make that happen. Esteve is from France Gorge is from Monterrey, home of the Arena Coliseo de Monterrey, but he has never been to a live Lucha Libre show. In fact, this was the first live pro wrestling show for all three of my new friends. A lot of the O-Pro guys think about Mexico the same way I used to think about Japan when I was living in Canada: That far-away foreign land with the amazing pro wrestling that they really love and all that delicious food and unique culture and interesting history and all those slightly-exotic women... and a lot of them have spent time in Mexico on wrestling excursions. So a lot of them were exceptionally pleased to meet Gorge, in a similar way to how I marked out meeting Asian Cougar for the first time at a Vancouver Indy show all those years ago. Billyken, Tsubabsa, Matsuyama Kanjyuro, and maybe others all spoke to him extensively in Spanish. Gorge was pleasantly surprised and they all seemed quite chuffed to have the opportunity to use the language that they'd picked up over there. I'd bragged to Chizuki about how I knew a lot of the boys from the 2009-2014 period where I'd been a regular at Osaka Pro shows and drinking parties and how everyone was so kind and friendly. It would have been a perfectly poetic kind of Murphy's Law situation if nobody had remembered me or if they'd all been too busy to say hello or whatever.
  9. Good to know. The show I saw today was Diana, but they had a bunch of wrestlers from Marvelous on the show. It was my first exposure to Sareee and Takumi and I am now a fan of both.
  10. A lot of fun! One of my drinking buddies promoted the show, so I got in for free. The Main Event was Kyoko Inoue and Takumi Iroha vs Kaoru Ito and Sareee. Kyoko vs Ito was like a local joshi version of Vader vs Hansen or something, just a nasty, stiff, hoss fight. Kyoko vs Sareee or Ito vs Takumi Iroha were both really good David vs Goliath match-ups, and the two young girls worked really fast with a lot of counters and dodges when they were in there together. Ito's double foot stomps on Kyoko were sick. Sareee looks like someone who could be a star with more exposure, she is obviously talented and charismatic. Takumi Iroha was my favourite, though, she looked to be having the time of her life in there and she has a very kicky style. Just an excellent back and forth all-action match. Other matches were: Ayako Sato vs Rina Yamashita Jaguar Yokota and Megumi Kinoshita vs Tomoko Watanabe and Mei Hoshizuki Madeleine vs Fairy Nihonbashi Haruka Umezaki vs Sho Sekiguchi (which I missed because I had a hard time finding the venue). It was my second time seeing Kyoko and Yokota live in person. I really got a kick out of meeting them. Fairy Nihonbashi is part of Kuuga's drinking-buddy crew, so it was cool to finally see her in the ring. She works a comedy style.
  11. Thank you, gentlemen! It is nice to be remembered. Since my 2nd child was born, I haven't been spending as much time watching or discussing pro wrestling but I still hang out with my pro wrestling friends and get out to a show a few times a year. I still lurk here and read about what's going on. New Japan coming to my hometown, and putting on a really good match here, was enough to get me back to the keyboard.
  12. w/r/t Goto, I have only seen him live three times as far as I can remember (In 2009 at Dominion and at the G1 and then again on Thursday) and that is a small sample size but my take on him is this: He's a big, talented guy with a good look but he just flat-out lacks that elusive star quality. When Naito, MiSu, Ibushi, Ishii, or Okada are n the ring, you simply can't take your eyes off of them. Regardless of whether they are among my favourite wrestlers or not, there is just not denying that they have a very compelling presence in person. Enough charisma, or whatever, to fill an arena. Even Kojima, in his pro wrestling dotage, still clearly has it. Goto, for whatever reason, simply does not. He's talented, for sure. I though his match with MiSu at WK two years ago was amazing. But... I think that champions need to have that star quality. So, "versatile upper mid card puzzle piece" is the right role for Goto, in my opinion.
  13. I'm glad to hear that. I marked out hard for that particular spot live. The split-second timing on that was unbelievable. Ospreay took some insane bumps to put over Archer as a monster. It seems like a strange thing to say but I am happy that the brutality of that match comes across well on video. I'd be sad if only the relatively small Nara crowd got to appreciate the hard work those guys put in.
  14. I was at night 6, since Nara Centennial Hall is about a four-minute walk from my place. It is a great building to watch wrestling in. It was the first time NJPW has been to Nara in 15 years. I hope they come back soon. It was pretty nice to be able to walk to a show. Ospreay vs Archer was a GREAT big man vs little man match. I really hope it comes across on video. They had the crowd in the palm of their hands and told a great story in there. Best Archer performance I have seen. Ospreay's selling and story-telling have come a long way in the past couple of years. Loved it. They had me legit marking out at some of the near-falls. It was a fun show overall with a great crowd. Lots of little kids who were super into everything, A handful of other gaijin in the crowd, too. People screaming out taunts for Nakanishi and Kojima in the early matches... Just a good time. Really glad I was able to be there.
  15. Indeed, Kuuga is a big Lucha Libre fan. His tag teams with Tsubasa and Great Sasuke were both known as Mucha Lucha. Interestingly, though, his favourite non-Japanese wrestler is Sabu.
  16. It was a "Bring Food OK" party. One nice couple brought the famous 551 pork buns, gyoza, and shumai. These nice young ladies brought chicken wings. I love chicken wings: There were tequila shots, chugging contests, much challenging and chanting... Things got even warmer and nicer. Ebessan almost cried as he talked about how he wished he and I could have had one fight. I don't talk about it much, but back in 2011 I made a real attempt to get back in the ring for that mythical One Last Match with my friends. But even just basic training had me limping around with a bruised tailbone, sore Achilles, and other minor damage. It just wasn't in the cards. Kind of broke my heart. Can't really express how much it means that Ebessan kinda felt that, too, and made the effort to let me know about it. There were a few moments like that. The greatest thing, though, was when the crowd thinned out near the end and it was down to just the wrestlers and their close friends and Kondo and me. Kuuga stripped off his mask to wipe his face, then put the mask down on a table and went back to drinking with us as... After seven years of drinking together... ... any kind of attempt at a metaphor would be way too on the nose. But that was a great moment for me, to not just be drinking friends with Ebessan and Kuuga, but also with the guys behind the masks. God, I love life in Japan.
  17. So, it was clearly time to go drinking again! On Wednesday, I met up with Kuuga and Ebessan at A-Toys Cafe and Bar in Shinsaibashi. A-Toys' Master is the MMA fighter and promoter Tetsuo Kondo. Man, I am really glad I went there. It was so great to have drinks with my boys again! It means a lot to me that I've been drinking friends with these guys for almost seven years now... but what surprised me was that it also means a lot to them. Kuuga was showing people pictures from that first drinking party and telling them how long ago it was and how many good times we've shared... As much as I tell Kuuga stories, he also tells Gordi stories. The people at A-Toys were mostly good friends with each other, but I only knew a couple of them. However, pretty much everyone there knew OF me. "OH. so you're THAT guy... Go-di! Hey, this white guy is Go-di!" kind of stuff. An incredibly warm feeling, as I've said. That's Taiyoto Kamen. We've had drinks before, but this was my first time drinking with him in this persona. It's a crazy thing having drinking friends who wear colorful masks when you go out for a few. I sometimes suspect (correctly, as it turns out) that other people at the party might even be wrestlers who normally wear a mask but have shown up to drink incognito-by-unmasking, if you get my drift. You often attract a LOT of attention as well. A-Toys is kind of an exception. I think it's mainly wrestlers,. fighters, fans, friends, and hangers-on who go there. It's in a complex of bars in the crazy-busy Shinsaibashi area. The complex is awesome, but in the early stages of decay. There's an 80s hair-metal theme bar on the fourth floor, for example. A-Toys is one of a handful of smaller bars on the fifth floor. The walls are covered with wrestling and MMA show posters. You'd probably love it. I sure do. This unmasked man is Ebessan. Not Kikutaro, but the guy to whom Kikutaro officially passed the mantel. Maybe gaijin puroresu fans are more comfortable calling him Third-Gen Ebessan or Ebessan III... but I was there when Kikutaro passed the torch, so he's Ebessan to me... except now he's Osamu... So I guess it's OK to post this pic... It was an adjustment, getting used to seeing him like that in public. So, to adjust, we did a LOT of drinking:
  18. I saw that DEAN posted a review of Kotoge vs. Harada (Pro Wrestling NOAH Global Junior Heavyweight League finals) and I had to reply to that... figured I might as well update this thread as well. First time I went drinking with Asian Cooger and Ebessan (III) was back in 2009!! Though Kuuga (as he is now known) and I have remained in touch, I hadn't seen either of them for a year. I've got a second kid now, so that really cuts into my spare money and free time. Not that I'm complaining. But, really, it was time to check in on my pro wrestling friends again. It had been way, way too long. I went to the 7/20 Doutonbori Pro Wrestling tournament show. https://youtu.be/YAd9Ud6qS_o Neither of my long-time partners in crime Kenji and Kae were going to be there. Very few of the faces people might remember from this thread on the previous board were going to be there. I hoped I'd see some friendly faces. I hoped a few people might remember me. Well... of course they did. Everyone was just as happy to see me as I was to see them. Mihara actually cracked up laughing in happy surprise when we bumped into each other outside the arena. It was, as you might imagine, a very warm feeling to be welcomed back like I'd never been away. And it was great to see some live wrestling again after all that time.
  19. BUT... Right from the start (and probably the main reason we have always got along) it's been clear that these guys just DEEPLY LOVE pro wrestling, to the bone, and that they truly care about being the absolute best pro wrestlers that it's possible for them to be. They were always down to talk pro wrestling, to watch a match, to get into the details.... And you could literally watch them grow and improve from month to month as their abilities increased and their psychology deepened. I... No... WE have missed them SO MUCH since they moved on, but it's been a real pleasure to watch them grow and flourish in their new expanded environment. If they were just great guys, it really wouldn't matter to anyone who isn't lucky enough to know them... but... maybe... maybe they are on their way to being great pro wrestlers. Everyone here ought to care about that. The two of them making the finals of The Global Junior Heavyweight League has me busting with pride. It's genuinely gratifying to read that they did that opportunity justice. Thank you very much for posting this, DEAN.
  20. I'm so happy to read this review. I've been talking these guys up for 6 or 7 years now. They were superbly entertaining and likable as a young speed (Kotoge) and power (Harada) tag team in Osaka Pro. In addition to being exciting young wrestlers, they were flat-out great guys. I mean, Osaka Pro at that time was filled with fine human beings but Kotoge and Harada often went above and beyond... making a huge effort to reach out to me despite the language barrier, having my back in social situations, and so on. They would sign autographs and pose for photos all evening long if that was what the fans wanted. At various Osaka Pro drinking parties, parents who brought little kids and wanted a few minutes to drink and joke around in peace would just drop their offspring into Harada's lap and he would laugh and smile as they crawled all over him. He was unfailingly gentle and patient, with the kids. One time, a dumb fat racist drunk was trying to start something with me in Namba and I was kind of in a no-win situation considering that odds are very good that hitting him would end up with me in trouble with the law. Out of nowhere, here comes Harada. He stares the guys down, says a few soft words... the would-be troublemaker slinks away, pays his bill, and leaves. Last time I saw Kotoge was at a NOAH show, in the gimmick area, and he seemed pretty busy so I decided against going over to say hello. A minute later there's a hand on my shoulder. He'd made his way through the crowd to greet me, warmly and sincerely. So, I mean... even if these guys were typical skinny indy juniors... I'd still have their backs.
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