AS I SEE IT
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets
There’s not a person who hasn’t seen the devastation of the March 11 8.9 earrhquake in the Sendai region of Japan. The earthquake damage and the even more powerful tsunami, whose effects were felt as far as the Pacific North American coastline have killed hundreds of people, with thousands more missing and feared dead, tens of thousands injured, and untold billions of dollars in property destruction.
The earthquake has had a major effect of the Japanese puro industry, with the following information provided by Puroresu Representin’:
All-Japan (Ishimaki City Gym)-POSTPONED
Jewels (Shin-Kiba 1st Ring)-CANCELLED
Osaka Pro ran their regular weekday event. They will be collecting funds for earthquake relief at events for the immediate future, today they collected 12,778 yen (about $125 US) from a claimed 98 paid attendance.
ZERO1 cancelled a planned press conference to announce the 3/27 card.
New Japan (Wing Hat Haruhibu)-POSTPONED
All-Japan (Hirosaki City Kawanashi Gym)-Currently on as scheduled
NOAH (Zepp Nagoya)-Currently on as scheduled
Ice Ribbon (Ice Ribbon School)-CANCELLED
Dragon Gate (Kokura Kita Gym)-Currently on as scheduled
Stardom (Shin-Kiba 1st Ring)-POSTPONED
K-DOJO (Chiba Blue Field)-CANCELLED
Osaka Pro-Currently on as scheduled
New Japan (Act City Hamamatsu)-On as scheduled, All-Japan (Aomori Industrial Hall)-TBA
NOAH (Akashi Industrial Center)-TBA
Dragon Gate (Morodomi Cultural Gym “Heartful”)-Currently on as scheduled
K-DOJO (Chiba Blue Field)-POSTPONED
Osaka Pro-Currently on as scheduled
OZ Academy (Korakuen)-CANCELLED
DDT (Osaka Minami Move On Arena)-Currently on as scheduled
JWP (JWP School)-Unknown
Futen (Lazona Kawasaki Plaza Sol)-Currently on as scheduled
Fukumen Mania (Shin-Kiba 1st Ring)-Currently on as scheduled
All-Japan has announced that ALL events through 3/19 are POSTPONED except for 3/17, which is CANCELLED. Further details regarding rescheduling will be announced when they become available. The 3/20 event has already been postponed even before the earthquake due to unrelated circumstances, meaning that essentially the rest of the tour has been called off. The Ryogoku event on 3/21 is not part of the tour.
The 3/17 All-Japan event at Kessennuma City Gym has been CANCELLED. A significant portion of Kessennuma, a city of about 70,000, is being affected by uncontainable fires resulting from the earthquake. The promotion also announced that all staff and wrestlers are OK.
All Dragon Gate events for the rest of the tour are currently on as scheduled. According to top star CIMA, there are no cancellations at this time and all members of the promotion are safe. They are touring away from where the major damage happened, at this point I think the only question mark on scheduling might be their major event on 3/20 at Ryogoku.
So far there are no reports of any wrestlers of staff members of promotions being injured or missing, but there have been close calls. An earlier post on Akira Hokuto’s official blog (ameblo.jp/hokuto-akira), and a very emotional one at that, reveals that the earthquake caused damage to the school her young children attend.
Thankfully both evacuated safely and Hokuto herself is fine (I also know Kensuke Office star Takashi Okita is OK, he’s posted to his blog), but she’s very worried about not only friends in Fukushima, but the many children she saw last weekend at Kensuke Office’s event in Kurihara City.
Additionally, Big Japan reports all its wrestlers and staff are safe and uninjured.
Daily Sports reports the earthquake and some aftershocks affected the ZERO1 school in Tokyo while Shinjiro Otani & Daichi Hashimoto were to hold today’s planned pre-Yasukuni Shrine press conference. It appears Kenta Kakinuma & Masato Tanaka were also at the school, all were uninjured. The members of the All-Japan roster are safe and uninjured. Several wrestlers including Minori Suzuki, Suwama, Masakatsu Funaki, Kaz Hayashi, TARU and KENSO reportedly were near the arena in Miyagi when the earthquake hit. Keiji Muto may have been in Tokyo at the time.
According to Michinoku Pro and Sendai Girls co-owner Jinsei Shinzaki, all talent from both promotions are safe but the promotion’s offices suffered extensive damage. Sendai resident Tsuyoshi Kikuchi is OK, Ryusuke Taguchi verified his family is fine, as is Freedoms & Big Japan star Takashi Sasaki and his family.
All Korakuen events through Friday are cancelled. More as it becomes available.
Here are ways for readers to help:
The American Red Cross has already added “Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami” as one of the choices for online donations at this link. Gifts will support disaster relief efforts to help those affected by the earthquake in Japan and the tsunami throughout the Pacific. Alternatively, you can simply make a $10 donation by texting REDCROSS to 90999. The Japanese Red Cross has already mobilized eleven teams to heavily-damaged communities to provide assessments, first aid, and emotional support and relief.
Save the Children is accepting immediate donations to its Children’s Emergency Fund earmarked for the ravaged area.
AmeriCares is sending two three-person teams to the Iwate and Miyagi prefectures in Japan and is accepting donations.
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)is sending two three-person teams to the Iwate and Miyagi prefectures in Japan.
International Medical Corps is responding to the health needs of the disaster’s victims.
MercyCorps is gathering donations for its overseas partner, Peace Winds Japan, which currently has personnel on the ground distributing emergency relief in Japan.
The Salvation Army is on the ground in Japan already. Their website can be found for donations at this link.
The Salvation Army is also accepting text donations. Text the word Japan to 80888 to make a $10 donation to support its relief efforts. The Salvation Army says it is sending a team to Sendai, the most heavily damaged city, tonight and tomorrow will start providing basic necessities.
Other ways you can help via text donations:
To donate to Convoy of Hope, a faith-based organization that does community outreach and disaster response, text TSUNAMI to 50555
To donate to GlobalGiving, which focuses on “grassroots projects in the developing world,” text JAPAN to 5055
To donate to Save the Children, an independent organization dedicated to helping children in need, text JAPAN to 20222
To donate to World Relief Corp., the humanitarian arm of the National Association of Evangelicals, text WAVE to 50555
Keep in mind that the FBI advises people not to respond to any unsolicited emails claiming to represent organizations. It’s much better to go directly to recognized charities and aid organization’s websites. You may also want to check out the legitimacy of the nonprofit organizations.
To conclude, a reminder about three killer shows this spring at the ECW Arena….first, the return of Germany’s Westside Xtreme Wrestling, Combat Zone Wrestling’s tenth annual Best of The Best tournament, and CHIKARA Pro Wrestling’s King of Trios all in April; then concluding with the historic May debut of New Japan Pro Wrestling here in Philadelphia. Thing start off on April 9 with an ECW Arena doubleheader, where Germany’s Westside Xtreme Wrestling makes its United States return in an afternoon show to start at 2:30 pm. Westside Xtreme Wrestling debuted in Philadelphia last March, with their “Vision” event featuring a brutal main event of wXw’s Thumbtack Jack and Drake Younger and dream matches including Alex Shelley vs. Chris Hero and wXw Tag champions Switchblade Conspiracy defending against The American Wolves.
In the main event, Japan Deathmatch Icon Jun Kasai takes on the “Golden Boy” Drake Younger! This match is the most anticipated by all fans of Hardcore Wrestling….and they will collide in a No Ropes Barbed Wired Match! So many legendary Barbed Wire Matches have been seen by Arena fans, but “Kasai vs. Drake” will open a new chapter of violence. To balance things, technical wrestling fans will see Zack Sabre, Jr. and Emil Sitoci, who holds victories over Japanese top cruiserweights CIMA, Taiji Ishimori and Yoshinobu Kanemaru. Last June, Sabre beat Steve Douglas to unify the wXw lightweight and heavyweight titles to win wXw’s first “Unified World Championship”, a title eventually lost to the massive Austrian Big van Walter. Elsewhere on the show, Big van Walter and Sami Callihan will also be in action. Visit Westside Xtreme Wrestling’s United States site for the latest news and ticket information on wXw’s U.S. return! Early purchases of fronyt row tickets are available via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with the topic “wXw Philadelphia First Row”.
That evening, Combat Zone Wrestling presents the tenth annual “Best of The Best” tournament, with a scheduled 7:30 pm belltime. Early participants announced are wXw’s Zack Sabre, Jr., Big Japan Wrestling’s Deisuke Sekimoto, Dragon Gate USA’s Chuck Taylor, CHIKARA’s Johnny Gargano, CZW’s (Gran) Akuma and Sami Callihan. Along with the Best of the Best tournament, a Dream Death Match will take place with the CZW return of “Crazy Monkey’ Jun Kasai. Tickets will be available through the CZW Pro Shop at this link.
CHIKARA Pro Wrestling comes to the world’s most famous Bingo Hall for King of Trios 2011 on April 15-17. Belltimes are 7:30 pm on Friday and Saturday and 4:30 pm on Sunday for the finals. All 16 trios will be in matches the first night of the tournament, which is Friday, April 23. The surviving eight teams advance into Night 2,and the 4 remaining teams will face off until just one remains on Sunday afternoon, As the participants are confirmed for the tournament, you’ll see them listed on this very page. There will also be non-tournament matches featuring wrestlers eliminated from King of Trios on the last two nights.
Saturday afternoon will feature the fourth annual Fan Conclave at 2:30 pm prior to showtime. Tickets for this year’s Fan Conclave are $10 (free to those buying tickets for all three nights) . Along with wrestler autographs and gimmick sales, Stan Bush (who has the official song of King of Trios 2011) will be performing a concert during the Fan Conclave. Tickets for all events are available NOW at the CHIKARA store.
Finally, on May 15, New Japan Pro Wrestling debuts at the ECW Arena with a full lineup including 2010 Super J Tag League winners Jado and Gedo, Japanese legend Jushin “Thunder” Liger, IWGP Heavyweight Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi, 2010 G1 Climax tournament winner Satoshi Kojima, Tiger Mask IV, Shinsuke Nakamura, Ryusuke Taguchi, Kazuchika Okada, Giant Bernard, Karl “Machine Guns” Anderson, Prince Devitt, Kenny Omega, Yujiro Takahashi, Tetsuya Naito, Mitsuhide Hirasawa, Togi Makabe, Toru Yano, and new addition MVP. Fair warning: tickets are not cheap, plus there is a $4 convenience fee for tickets purchased through the website. Tickets are Gold (Row 2/3) $65, Blue (row 4/5) $45 Red (GA) $25 and can be ordered at this site. Fans that purchase a GOLD ticket will receive a special meet and greet with NJPW Superstars at 2:30pm before the doors open, as well as, a commemorative ticket and DVD gift (redeemable with ticket the night of the show).
Until next time…
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