• Author Archives: Shelly Deathlock

    All Aboard the S.S. Strong Style: The G1 is Coming, Part 1

    Shelly Deathlock cares too much about Japanese wrestling and, as Captain of the S.S. Strong Style, she’s here to welcome you on board and fill you in on what’s going on in the world of puro.

    The G1 (Grade One) Climax is a heavyweight tournament held yearly by New Japan Pro Wrestling. The G1 Climax 25 this year has 20 entrants, and takes place over 19 days in July and August – the longest tournament in G1 history. You are not ready. I am not ready. However, we have until July 20th to get ready. Let’s go!

    G1ISCOMING

    What is the G1?

    g1-25

    The G1 is a round robin tournament with two blocks of participants. Each participant in Block A will wrestle every other participant in Block A. Each participant in Block B will wrestle every other participant in Block B. Participants score two points for each victory.

    At the end of the tournament, the wrestlers with the most points in each block advance to the final on August 16th where they face each other.

    The prize is a shot at the IWGP Heavyweight Championship (currently held by AJ Styles) at Wrestle Kingdom 10 on January 4, 2016.

    Why should I watch?

    In the G1 tournament last year, Minoru Suzuki wrestled AJ Styles in a match that won the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Match of the Year as well as the Deathlock Match of the Year. I’ll let you decide which of those things is more prestigious, but it’s cool that they aligned.

    Everyone expected that the match could be good, but I don’t think anybody expected it to be the masterpiece it was. The Korakuen crowd was insane, and everything was perfect.

    suzuki-aj

    That’s the kind of thing that can happen when you throw twenty men into a tournament and have them wrestle singles matches against each other for nineteen days — fresh match ups, unexpected classics. The G1 is a great time, and the pinnacle of pro wrestling as a sport.

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    ROH/NJPW Global Wars Preview & Predictions

    On May 15, 2015, Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling are putting on a joint event in Toronto. It’ll probably be lots of fun! Let’s see what’s scheduled to go down.

    Giving their thoughts and predictions on what to expect from the PPV are members of the site @JoeySplashwater, @BradFGN and @indiandeathlock.

    051515globalwarsfinal

    The Kingdom (Matt Taven & Mike Bennett with Maria Kanellis) vs. Matt Sydal & Jushin Thunder Liger

    Deathlock:

    So, these Kingdom boys are the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions now, and Maria has a win in New Japan over Amber Gallows. At the last NJPW show, Liger, on commentary, described getting motorboated by Maria and said, well, “It was like having two giant gummy bears against my face” more or less. Then Liger made this hilarious motorboat sound like “pururum pururum” and I swear I’m not making this up. Anyway, I’m sure there will be antics. I am hyped as ever for any Liger match all the time forever and amen.

    Interest Level: (/ω\)
    Prediction: The Kingdom are victorious.

    Joey:

    Maria Kanellis vs. Jushin Liger is the hottest feud of the NJPW/ROH shows. The idea of a Matt Sydal and Jushin Liger team just seems like a perfect idea. The Kingdom should have instant chemistry with a team like this and the match should be good. Hopefully they do that over the top rope doomsday on the floor during the week shows at some point.

    Interest Level: 8/10
    Prediction: The Kingdom win

    Brad:

    The Kingdom has been so impressive in Japan that they were even able to capture tag team gold. Japan was just what Kingdom needed to boost their stock and looked at as more credible performers. Sydal and Liger should be a pretty good tandem, the ROH faithful should treat Liger as a big star and it will be a hot match to open the show. I am going with Kingdom to take the win here.

    Interest Level: 6/10
    Prediction: The Kingdom win

     

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    All Aboard the S.S. Strong Style: Japanese 101 for プロレス Nerds, Part 3

    Shelly Deathlock cares too much about Japanese wrestling and, as Captain of the S.S. Strong Style, she’s here to welcome you on board and fill you in on what’s going on in the world of puro. Today, she’s introducing you to the Japanese language, which she is not good at at all, but that makes her the perfect person to explain some things to you, since she has no discernible trappings of ego.

     

    • Part 1 is here, where we learned about katakana, hiragana, kanji, and why we need all of them and just what exactly is going on here.
    • Part 2 is here, where we learned about ring names, catch phrases, and fun things.
    • This week in part 3, we’re covering vocabulary, grammar, and some more fun things! Ahoy!

    A couple of frequently asked questions about Japanese:

    Why is that commentator shouting “hai!” all the time? What is going on?!

    Oh man, it’s called aizuchi and it’s how you politely listen in Japanese! By talking the whole time so your conversational partner knows you’re listening! I think it’s very strange! Fluentu has a good article on aizuchi.

    Here is a father teaching his adorable child how to aizuchi, you’re welcome:

    There are lots of general words you can use to show you’re paying attention — the commentators like “hai” (はい, “yes”), and Okada will そうですね (sou desu ne, “I see”) his way through an interview so hard you’ll wish he’d adopt a new phrase, any phrase, Okada honey please.

    BONUS: here’s a cute gif of Shinsuke Nakamura sou desu ne-ing with his eyes shut.

    soudesune

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    Japanese 101 for プロレス Nerds, Part 2

    Shelly Deathlock cares too much about Japanese wrestling and, as Captain of the S.S. Strong Style, she’s here to welcome you on board and fill you in on what’s going on in the world of puro. Today, she’s introducing you to the Japanese language, which she is not good at at all, but that makes her the perfect person to explain some things to you, since she has no discernible trappings of ego.

    If you’re new here, check out Japanese 101 for プロレス Nerds, Part 1: we learned about katakana, hiragana, kanji, and why we need all of them and just what exactly is going on here.

    This week in part 2, we’re going to look at specific words, catchphrases, and ring names. Let’s go!

    Important wrestling words

    Puroresu:

    puroresu

    You probably see “puroresu” or “puro” in romaji like this when you’re looking up things about professional wrestling from Japan. In katakana, this word is プロレス (pu ro re su) short for プロレスリング (pu ro re su ri n gu). In Japanese and English, you can just say “prowres,” even though Mauro Ranallo says “poorooreesuu” on the AXS NJPW show. Don’t worry about him.

    This is a very strange loan word. In English, we use it to mean “professional wrestling from Japan” and in Japan, they use it to mean all pro wrestling, period. So when we talk about “puro” in English, we mean any of the wrestling that originates from Japan, but when the Japanese talk about puro, they could be talking about WWE, TNA, ROH, anything. People argue about this on the internet, like they do, but I think most people think it’s fine to talk about “puro” the way we do because “Japanese professional wrestling” is pretty long to say & type. Plus プロレス looks really cool.

    Joshi puroresu:

    joshi

    In Japan, women’s wrestling is important and men and women usually wrestle in completely separate companies. Women’s wrestling in Japan is called 女子プロレス (joshi puroresu, literally: girl 女子 pro wrestling プロレス) or “joshi” for short in English.

    Shin Nihon Puroresu:

    njpw

    New Japan Pro-Wrestling uses their English name in English on most of their merchandise and print matter, but on their broadcasts they almost always say the company name in Japanese: 新日本プロレス: New (shin,) Japan (nihon, 日本) Pro Wrestling (puroresu, プロレス).

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    All Aboard the S.S. Strong Style: Japanese 101 for プロレス Nerds, Part 1

    Shelly Deathlock cares too much about Japanese wrestling and, as Captain of the S.S. Strong Style, she’s here to welcome you on board and fill you in on what’s going on in the world of puro. Today, she’s introducing you to the Japanese language, which she is not good at at all, but that makes her the perfect person to explain some things to you, since she has no discernible trappings of ego.

    こんにちは!Guess what? You don’t need anything except eyes and a brain to enjoy professional wrestling from Japan. And the brain helps but it isn’t even absolutely mandatory. Storylines aren’t really complicated and, since it’s wrestling, most of the storytelling happens in the ring in a language we all understand.

    Nevertheless, maybe you want to learn some things about Japanese anyway to help you get around. I can help a little, since I’ve started learning with the aim of reading Shinsuke Nakamura’s autobiography. Optimistically, I expect to be able to do that in about ten years, which is coincidentally when I’ll have my midlife crisis and move to Japan to live in an arcade for the rest of my life. My 40’s are gonna be sweet, you guys.

    These aren't gonna read themselves you know.

    These aren’t gonna read themselves you know.

    Anyway, it won’t take you ten years to learn some basic things. Maybe a couple weeks. Let’s go!

    What are all these characters and oh my god, why?

    Yes it is crazy. Here are the answers to these questions:

    Katakana:

    Katakana is a simplified character set. It’s the sharp pointy one that’s really cool looking. Like プロレス and ワカリマスカ?! It’s used for loanwords from other languages, the names of businesses, and sometimes ring names. Kazuchika Okada’s ring name, オカダ・カズチカ is in katakana. The name of the company that owns New Japan Pro Wrestling, Bushiroad, is in katakana: ブシロード. Shinsuke Nakamura’s nickname, King of Strong Style, is actually in English, so it’s either written in English or in this katakana phrase instead of translating the words to Japanese: キング・オブ・ストロングスタイル.

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    Wrestling With Food Aboard the S.S. Strong Style: The Kudome Valentine Cake and Important News

    Shelly Deathlock cares too much about Japanese wrestling and, as Captain of the S.S. Strong Style, she’s here to welcome you on board and fill you in on what’s going on in the world of puro. She doesn’t even LIKE cake.

    Readers, it’s a sad time here at Wrestling on Earth. I let slip that I was baking a cake for my husband for Valentine’s Day so he wouldn’t be too upset with me for making him wake up at 4 AM for NJPW’s New Beginning in Sendai show.

    This prompted self-described puro expert and feminist Tom Blargh to issue a mandate:

    Fearing for my position as Captain here aboard the S.S. Strong Style and what kind of mutiny Tom might stage if I didn’t comply, let me painstakingly document this cake process for you. I whipped it up in the, uh, mess hall? of the Strong Style, so excuse the horrible lighting, my phone’s camera, and, well, you know, everything, really.

    NOTE FROM TOM: This is Wrestling On Earth’s VERY FIRST mash-up feature, combining elements from both the S.S. Strong Style and my wife’s own Wrestling With Food. The ultimate goal is for every post on this site to feature a wrestler-themed recipe and what a time to be alive that will be.

    The Kudome Valentine Cake

    What else would I name a Valentine’s day cake after? Megumi Kudo is a joshi wrestler who was active in FMW in the 90’s. If you want to know some more about that, check out Danielle Matheson’s excellent piece Searching for the Innovators of Violence.

    As for the finisher that bears her name:

    Step 1: First you make a cake, okay, it’s not really hard.

    I used the Bob’s Red Mill gluten free vanilla cake mix because I am 1) gluten free, and 2) lazy. I followed the preparation instructions which were not difficult or confusing or amusing in any way, really, and out came two beautiful 9-inch cakes to layer. I did put a bunch of food coloring in them. It’s pretty.

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    All Aboard the S.S. Strong Style (Love Boat Edition): Valentine Breakdown of NJPW’s New Beginning in Sendai

    Shelly Deathlock cares too much about Japanese wrestling and, as Captain of the S.S. Strong Style, she’s here to welcome you on board and fill you in on what’s going on in the world of puro. This time, you’re all her Valentines.

    I wondered for a bit who was going to put up a Valentine’s Day themed breakdown of the New Beginning in Sendai show before I realized that this falls squarely in the Wrestling On Earth wheelhouse, which means I must be the one who has to write it, SO:

    NJPW’s The New Beginning in Sendai

    On Saturday, February 14th, at 6:00 PM Japan time, 4:00 AM Eastern, New Japan Pro Wrestling presents THE NEW BEGINNING IN SENDAI live exclusively on NJPWWorld. This card features a few title matches, some of which will be great, and a bunch of tag matches because why not make everyone work for their money?

    See below for a match-by match breakdown, and to see all the custom Valentine cards I’ve made for you. They’re all for you. You’re all my Valentines here on the S.S. Strong Style (Love Boat Edition). Feel free to steal them and give them to someone you love (YOU CAN CLICK THROUGH TO BIGGER VERSIONS OF THE LITTLE ONES, JUST SAYING). Here’s a preview:

    tanahashi

    Satoshi Kojima, Tomoaki Honma & Yohei Komatsu vs. Manabu Nakanishi, Captain New Japan & Sho Tanaka

    Breakdown: Basically – a tag match for the NJPW Young Lions Sho Tanaka and Yohei Komatsu to get some ring time with some legends (Kojima, Honma, and Nakanishi) and Captain New Japan (because Tenzan is busy fighting for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship I assume).

    The Young Lions are great and we’re all very excited for their excursion and subsequent returns to take over the whole promotion to the surprise of NO ONE who saw their excellent singles match at the New Beginning in Osaka the other day.

    Kaomoji excitement level rating for this match: (♥_♥)

    Tiger Mask & Jay White vs. Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish

    Breakdown: Jay White is the very new Young Lion that we all just learned about this year. reDRag0n have been doing nothing but delivering great matches in NJPW and this should be no exception. It’ll be fun to see what this kid is made of in the ring with Kyle & Bobby.

    Kaomoji excitement level rating for this match: ヾ(^ヮ^)ノ

    Special Six Man Tag Match: Mascara Dorada, Alex Shelley & KUSHIDA vs. Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson

    splitters kenny

    Breakdown: Mascara Dorada signed a one year contract with NJPW so it’s great to see them using him already. I’m not too familiar with his work in CMLL but he was great on the Fantasticamania show that NJPW puts on jointly with CMLL.

    The Bullet Club half of the team currently hold the IWGP junior heavyweight title (Kenny Omega) and the IWGP jr heavyweight tag titles (The Young Bucks), so they will come to the ring all cocky and dripping with gold and too-sweets and crotch-chops and super kicks and whatnots. Hopefully Dorada & the Time Splitters can beat the snot out of them.

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    All Aboard the S.S. Strong Style: The Five Stages of Minoru Suzuki Fandom

    Shelly Deathlock cares too much about Japanese wrestling and, as Captain of the S.S. Strong Style, she’s here to welcome you on board and fill you in on what’s going on in the world of puro. Today she’ll discuss why Minoru Suzuki is going to be your new favorite wrestler.

    Maybe it wasn’t Shinsuke Nakamura walking that long Tokyo Dome ramp in a crown and cape and proceeding to have an incredible match against Kota Ibushi that got you newly invested (or re-invested!) in New Japan Pro Wrestling.

    Maybe it was the guy with the crazy hair all in white looking like some kind of actual murderer and/or video game final boss coming out to a haunting theme song you’ve only heard rivaled in epicness by Real American.

    suzuki_shiro

    Minoru Suzuki at Wrestle Kingdom 9, by satomi

    That man was Minoru Suzuki, and he’s probably going to be your favorite wrestler in a minute, once you overcome the mental blocks that stand in the way of your potential.

    The following stages describe what many humans have to go through to reach a place of reasonable acceptance and harmony with being a Suzuki fan, as he is a complex and difficult entity heretofore unseen in professional wrestling. You may move through these stages swiftly or you may work through one for months or years — that depends on a number of factors unique to you as an individual — but we can all reach the final stage. Trust me, my BS is in psychology.

    Stage 1 of Minoru Suzuki fandom: Fear; abject terror.

    Are you kidding me, Deathlock!? No way. Look at that guy. That guy could kill me with his mind a thousand miles away. Also what is with his hair. No sane man has hair like that. That man gives no fucks and he can stay away from me and off of my TV forever, thank you very much.

    suzuki_insane

    Okay, fair point. You stay at this stage as long as you need to. Nobody’s going to force you to progress until you’re ready. Just give it some thought. Come back later. Click to read more if you’re ready to move on to stage 2.

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    All Aboard the S.S. Strong Style: What To Do Now That You’re Ready To Accept Shinsuke Nakamura As Your Pro Wrestling Lord and Savior

    Shelly Deathlock cares too much about Japanese wrestling and, as Captain of the S.S. Strong Style, she’s here to welcome you on board and fill you in on what’s going on in the world of puro.

    Antonio Inoki is no longer here.

    Strong Style lives within me — I am Strong Style personified.

    For the fans that remain, and the fans that shall be.

    – Shinsuke Nakamura

    Maybe you just watched Wrestle Kingdom 9, saw Shinsuke Nakamura enter the Tokyo Dome in a crown and cape and wrestle an incredible match and proceeded to completely lose your shit and vow to name your firstborn after him. Welcome to the club! [EDIT: This post has been updated in May 2015 to account for all the people who lost their shit and became overwhelmed by Nakamuraness during the US/Canada tour, okay thanks.]

    One of the best things about being on the Shinsuke Nakamura bandwagon is that I, Captain Deathlock of the S.S. Strong Style, will boma ye the hell out of anyone who wants to treat you badly for being a newbie, a fangirl or for just asking too many questions.

    We’re family now, so I want to help you get started and support you when you feel like you just can’t deal with your life anymore because Shinsuke Nakamura is tearing it apart with every five star match he wrestles and making you reconsider your entire being as a wrestling fan and everything you knew. I know, I know. Come here, it’s okay to cry.

    Let’s get started.

    Shinsuke’s wrestling:

    nakamuraibushimatch

    Shinsuke connects with fans on a number of levels, but if you’re here, you’re primarily in this for the wrestling. He has lots of that, and he would appear to be the best in the world at it right now [ever – ed].

    If you haven’t yet, watch Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Kota Ibushi at Wrestle Kingdom 9 right now, as it is a beautiful display of everything he does best: grace, storytelling, flawless technicality, brutality, and downright nasty arrogance. He’s always like this, and we are so lucky to have him. That Ibushi kid is alright too.

    One very good idea is to subscribe to NJPWWorld (there is an ENGLISH SIGNUP PAGE now!) and reference SenorLARIATO’s list of great matches available on the service. A number of them include Shinsuke, naturally. You should aim to see every big Shinsuke match from 2014 at least. Then you can go back through the years and fill in the rest of the hole in your heart where Shinsuke never was and now needs to be.

    NJPWWorld is adding more content all the time, but not a whole lot from before 2011 is up yet for Shinsuke. Here are my 2014 favorites:

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