On December 30th, 2017, I attended my first puroresu (Japanese pro wrestling) event in Tokyo, Japan at the famed Korakuen Hall at Tokyo Dome City. It was also my first time attending an event at the mecca of pro wrestling in Japan. It was during the week of NJPW’s biggest show, Wrestle Kingdom. During Wrestle Kingdom week, many wrestling organizations hold some of their biggest events too.
Because Wrestle Kingdom had a lot of foreigners attending, it also benefited the independent shows too. A lot of foreigners that weren’t accustomed to these other organizations decided to check it out. In this case, it was Big Japan Pro Wrestling or BJPW for short.
What drew me to this event besides being a fan of pro wrestling and getting to attend an event at Korakuen Hall was that BJW is known for their “deathmatches”. It pretty much would involve obscure weapons like barbed wire and fluorescent light bulbs. To sum it up, blood was going to be gushing out of a lot of people. It is as hardcore as hardcore can get.
I went to this event with no prior knowledge of BJW except with a word of mouth that I would enjoy myself. I didn’t know any of the stars, storylines, nor rivalries. I was going to this event with a clean slate.
First and foremost, Korakuen Hall felt like a mini museum featuring posters of past and upcoming events, pictures and plaques of previous events, and much more to show that many historical moments in pro wrestling in Japan along with boxing happened at this venue. Many organizations hold events there from NJPW to numerous of the other organizations. Women have their own events there too. To cap it off, there wasn’t a bad seat in the house unlike some of the stadium and arena shows I’ve attended previously.
Not every match was a deathmatch. Only the main event was, and it was a deathmatch battle royale which meant there were tons of participants and mass amounts of violence. A lot of the undercard was entertaining because they were able to tell a story within a short amount of time. Folks that don’t know the storylines would be caught up as the usual one person/team trying to beat the other by any means necessary. The foreigners that don’t speak Japanese can easily know what’s going on.
In the main event, think of it as the Royal Rumble but with each participant carrying a weapon. Ladders, sticks of fluorescent light bulbs, and anything that could cause blood to come out were fair game. Because it’s a smaller venue, people were a lot closer to the action which meant blood could be near them and the would potentially feel the light bulbs’ dust upon impact. They had crew to ensure that no one in the audience would be covered in light bulbs. Kudos to the folks that shelled out money to be around the front.
I’ve heard time and time again that wrestling is fake. I encourage everyone to check out a BJPW show and let me know how fake it is. The blood, impact, and damage were extremely real. It honestly brought me back to the old ECW days. A lot of people did come for the biggest Japanese pro wrestling event, but got to see what else they had. I’m glad I got to attend and am glad that I was exposed to puroresu.
Written by: Timtastic