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#1 gordi


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Posted 08 October 2016 - 06:21 AM

So, my whole life has just been turned upside down, in the most awesome way possible. 
The last three days have been non-stop meetings between Wally, Sasuke, and... Giant Baba!! (And two extremely rich older guys from Tokyo).
I was able to sit in on most of it, along with Gado and Jedo, and as far as I can tell, this is what is going down:
Baba has been through a recent health scare. He is thinking about his future and wants to secure his legacy. He wants his wife, Motoko, to take over as owner after he's gone, but he's kind of worried that her stubborn adherence to tradition might drive some of the younger guys to leave and start their own promotion. 
Apparently, L.B.P. is out as All Japan's booker, and some new guy named Bierschwale is going to take over. I don't think it's the NASCAR driver, but who knows... If I understand correctly, he wants to do things in a less traditional way, and Baba is hoping that will help keep guys like Misawa and Kobashi happy.
The two rich guys are (again, if I understand correctly) the heads of Asahi Brewing and Asahi Broadcasting. The companies are, as far as I know, unrelated except for the shared name. Asa hi means morning sun, or sunrise, in Japanese. It's a popular name. 
Asahi TV broadcasts the NJPW TV show World Pro Wrestling. They are worried about Inoki, who has reportedly gone a little nuts and wants to either turn NJPW into an MMA promotion or scrap New Japan and start something new. SirEdger has reportedly stepped down as booker, though the story is that he's busy with other commitments, rather than frustrated with Inoki's vision. If Inoki is serious about going Shoot Style, well... good luck competing with UWFi on that front!
At the same time, Asahi Brewing is looking to get into Pro Wrestling in a big way, mainly as a means to promote the various vitamin drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, and health teas made by their soft drinks division. 
I may not have all the details correct, but it sounded like the two Asahi Corporations had been on the verge of buying out All Japan before Baba had his health scare. Faced with his own mortality, the gentle giant decided that he couldn't go through with it. 
However, he had another idea: If they could buy out New Japan, they could ensure that it would remain a pro wrestling company and allow Inoki to pursue his Martial Arts dreams under another banner. He wants to keep New Japan - or something very similar - alive in order to ensure that All Japan has competition and doesn't grow complacent.
With SerEdger out of the picture, they also needed to pursue another booker... and that led them up here, to the North East. 
They want to buy out Michinoku Pro, then make Inoki a Godfather offer. They want to merge our promotion with New Japan under the Asahi Pro Wrestling banner. They want to offer a combination of nostalgia for the old days and more modern, fast-paced action. They want to tell stories, develop characters, mix in a bit of comedy. They want to run a weekly two-hour TV show with highlights from the tours along with a few promos and sketches. They want everything to build up to a monthly big card that will also be available on closed circuit at movie theaters throughout Japan. 
They want more of a family-friendly product, which is why they came here first, rather than going to the far more poplar UWFi or FMW promotions.
They are already renovating a huge facility in Osaka, with a massive gym, an events center, a 16,000-seat hall, a 900-seat hall, and a TV studio complex.  
They want Wally to be in charge, and they want to give me the book. 
We have two days to decide. 

#2 gordi


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Posted 08 October 2016 - 11:32 PM

And... once again this should be taking place a couple of days in the 1995 future... but I have time today (was planning to go to a picnic, but it's raining), and I figure some people might like to know who is gonna be available in Free Agency. 




The Asahi Pro Wrestling Draft Special presented by Asahi Beverages, on Asahi TV


We start with quick video packages for: Mutoh, Fujinami, and El Samurai. Then we cut to the TV Studio, where those three men, wearing suits, are seated at a long table, stage left of a central podium. At the podium, dressed to the nines, is Kiyoshi Kodama (host of Asahi TV's hit game show, Panel Quiz Attack 25. After a few words from Kodama, we cut back to Video packages for Choshu, Chono, and, Kanemoto. Back in the studio they have joined us, seated at a matching long table stage right of Kodama. They are dressed more casually. There are notebooks, microphones, and bottles of various Asahi brand teas on the tables in front of the wrestlers.


The dapper Kodama explains the rules of the draft:


- The first 20 picks will be televised.

- The first four picks will be welterweight wrestlers. 

- The next four picks will be heavyweight wrestlers.

- The next two picks will each comprise a heavyweight tag team.

- This will be followed by a welterweight tag team.

- The remaining eight picks will be free choice.

- The team of Choshu, Chono, and Kanemoto will make the first pick.


There is an ad break, featuring ads for Asahi Super Dry beer and some kind of "super-hydrating" sports drink. 


We return. The heels are on the clock. 


With the first pick of the 1995 Asahi Pro Wrestling draft, Ishingun choose Shinjiro Ohtani!


*video package plays. Ohtani sits at the heel table*


Mutoh, Fujinami, and Samurai are deliberating.  With the second pick of the 1995 Asashi Pro wrestling draft, Seiki-gun chooses The Great SasukeThere is a murmur in the crowd. Jushin "Thunder" Liger is still available. Will the heels grab him?


*video package plays. Sasuke takes his place at the face table.


There is heated discussion among the wresters at the Ishingun table. They seem to reach a decision.


With the third pick, Ishingun selects: Dick Togo!


There is chaos at the Seiki-gun table as the face contingent celebrate Liger's continued availability. 


After a brief video package of Togo highlights, there is another commercial break. When we return, Liger is already seated at the Seiki-gun table. A longer video package of Liger highlights is played.


Things continue like that, as follows:


Pick 5: Kensuke Sasaki to Ishingun.


Pick 6: Hulk Hogan to Seiki-gun


Pick 7: Road Warrior Hawk.


Pick 8: Hiro Hase


Pick 9: TenKoji (Tenzan and Kojima) to the heels


Pick 10: Saikyo Yaijin (Nagata and Nakanishi) to the good guys


Pick 11: Jado and Gedo


Pick 12: Delfin and Naniwa


And after our final commercial break, we return with the free choice rounds:


Pick 13: Scott Norton to Ishingun


Pick 14: TAKA Michinoku to Seiki-gun


Pick 15: A visibly shocked Kaz Hayashi is drafted by the heels


Pick 16: Dos Caras is drafted by the face team, to the delight of the crowd


Pick 17: 2 Cold Scorpio


Pick 18: Free Agent Danny Spivey is a surprise pick by Seiki-gun


Pick 19: Terry Boy


Pick 20: Gran Hamada


Kiyoshi Kodama closes out the show by explaining that the rest of the draft results will be printed exclusively in tomorrow's Asahi Shinbun newspaper, and reported exclusively on TV Asahi's evening news broadcast. 


We close with an extended video package of all of the picks, in reverse order.



#3 gordi


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Posted 08 October 2016 - 11:53 PM

Asahi Pro Wrestling Initial Roster, October 1995



Seiki-gun                                                 Ishingun



Keiji Mutoh (IWGP Champion)                               Riki Choshu

Hulk Hogan                                                              Road Warrior Hawk

Tatsumi Fujinami                                                     Masa Chono

Hiro Hase                                                                  Kensuke Sasaki

Yuji Nagata                                                               Satoshi Kojima                                                               

Manabu Nakanishi                                                   Hiroyoshi Tenzan

Dan Spivey                                                               Scott Norton

Dos Caras                                                                 2 Cold Scorpio

Shiro Koshinaka                                                      Lance Storm


Jushin "Thunder" Liger                                          Shinjiro Ohtani

The Great Sasuke                                                     Koji Kanemoto (NJPW Jr. Heavyweight Champion)

El Samurai (TRWW Champion)                                Dick Togo

Super Delfin                                                              Jado

Gran Naniwa                                                              Gedo

TAKA Michinoku                                                       Kaz Hayashi

Gran Hamada                                                            Sho Funaki

Masato Yakushiji                                                      Terry Boy Teioh

Norman Smiley                                                          Masaaki Mochizuki

Tajiri                                                                           Black Buffalo


Bret Hart *                                                                  Super Strong Machine (Junji Hirata)** 

Davey-Boy Smith*                                                     T2000 Machine (Tatsutoshi Goto)**  


*(on temp loan from WCW)                                       **(Contract expires after the Dome Show) 

#4 gordi


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Posted 09 October 2016 - 12:06 AM

And now the news everyone has been waiting for!


The following six wrestlers from the Michinoku Pro roster are hereby released to free agency:


Biff Wellington (Wellington Wilkens Jr.)

Kyoko Inoue

Miracle Man (MACH Hayato) (Hayato Najo)

Masao Orihara

Kuniaki Kobayashi

Kato Kung Lee


Kobayashi has been offered a position as trainer in the Asahi Pro Dojo. Biff and Kyoko have been offered positions with Asahi Beverages as goodwill ambassadors. All three have expressed a desire to continue wrestling, however, and will accept positions as active wrestlers in other promotions in preference to the jobs they have been offered.


The following 16 wrestlers from NJPW have been released to free agency:


Tiger Mask IV

Hiro Saito

Michiyoshi Ohara

Black Cat

Johnny Ace

Kentaro Shiga
Mitsuo Momota
Kengo Kimura
Maunukea Mossman
Tokimitzu Ishizawa (Kendo Kashin)
Naohiro Hoshikawa
Shoji Nakamaki
Tarzan Goto

Tatsuhito Takaiwa

Shigeo Okumura

Masayuki Naruse


Asahi Pro Wrestling wishes them well in their future endeavors!

#5 gordi


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Posted 11 October 2016 - 07:06 PM

I moved into my new place yesterday, and...


Since high school, ever since that Czech exchange student gave me a copy of The Chomsky Reader, I have been kind of a knee-jerk anti-corporate type. And, you know, sincerely. 


But... as much as it kills me to admit this, it sure seems like corporate life in Japan is going to be pretty sweet for me.


The studio/arena/gym/shopping/office complex that Asashi is building across the river from Osaka Castle is just amazing. It's huge, but they are using the space so efficiently. Everything is connected by covered walkways at ground level and at the 3rd-floor level. My place is not so much an apartment as a suite at a hotel on the north-east corner of the complex. I can walk to work in under twenty minutes. That alone makes me incredibly happy. You remember how much I hated those crowded trains in Tokyo. 


The suite itself isn't huge, but it's still easily the most living space I've ever had in Japan. First time I've ever had a decent-sized kitchen, and this one even has an oven big enough to cook a pizza in! The kitchen, living room (!) and bedroom are all fully furnished and equipped. There are little gift tags hanging off of everything. The big fridge in the kitchen is a gift from Asahi Shinbun newspaper. The little fridge in the living room is from Asahi Beverages, and is stocked with a full range of their products. The damn closet in my bedroom is crammed full of Asahi T-shirts, golf shirts, sweaters, jerseys... the pants, shoes, shirts, and hats all fit perfectly, which is something of a miracle considering my unusual-for-japan size and shape.


There is an Asahi gym bag on the floor, packed with shorts, t-shirts, socks, towels, a belt, and gloves. There is a second bag, stuffed with protein powders, creatine, vanadium sulfate (!?), and vitamin packs. That one is from Lance and Smiley Norman. 


The stereo and TV have gift tags, too... but I can't read the kanji. There is a full rack of jazz and classical CDs, and video tapes of Ghibli, Kurosawa, and Ozu films in Japanese with English subtitles. I don't know how they know so much about my tastes already. It's mind-boggling.


Obviously, since I'm writing to you now, I'm already connected to the internet. I think I've got satellite TV, too, but it's hard to figure out the controller. Even the remote for the air conditioning is more complex than what I'm accustomed to. 


There is a small room with a huge sliding glass door that opens on to a balcony. There is a love seat in the room so I can sit and enjoy the view. Even though I'm facing away from Osaka Jo, I still figure I'm gonna spend quite a bit of time in here. There's also a desk with an ergonomic office chair. On the desk, there is an enormous corporate manual, and a small schedule book. It's already filled in, in a delicate and beautiful script, with dates for TV tapings, live shows, tours, promo events... 


This evening is entirely blocked off, with only a single word as explanation: Yuka.

#6 gordi


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Posted 11 October 2016 - 07:43 PM

So I emptied out that first gym bag, re-packed it for a single trip to the gym, put on an Asahi t-shirt and sweat suit, hung my corporate ID lanyard around my neck, and headed over to the complex to check things out. Everything is clearly marked with signs in Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and English. I know it isn't the case, but I allow myself to imagine that the English signs are entirely for my benefit. "Thanks" I say, quietly. each time a sign helps me get where I'm going. There are fit and attractive women with clip-boards, who all seem to be about 26 years old, everywhere. I introduce myself to every one of them. At least three are named Yuka (or Yuki or Yuko). A lot of them use their family names when introducing themselves, so it's hard to be sure. 


All three possible Yukas are hawt, of course. One of them is pretty in an extremely conventional way, with fake eyelashes and a little too much makeup. One is actually a little too beautiful, with doe eyes, cupid's-bow lips, and a smattering of freckles across the bridge of her button nose. I actually found it hard to keep my composure when talking to her. The third was exactly my type: Pixie-ish, sporty, short-haired, and energetic. She walked me to the gym, and touched me on the arm when we said goodbye. 


The gym is a dream come true. So many free weights. Squat racks. Heavy dumbbells. Kettlebells. Heavy bags...


Smiley was in there. "This place!" He kept saying. "This wonderful, beautiful place." He is astonishingly strong. We worked out together, talking little. I forgot to thank him for the supplements. He crushed me in every lift, going heavier for more reps than I could even imagine doing, and he was still training when I left. 

#7 Grimmas


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Posted 12 October 2016 - 06:34 AM

I love that you kept this as awesome as the M-Pro stuff.

#8 Gutenberger


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Posted 12 October 2016 - 06:48 AM

And what a smooth, on-the-fly transmission, as if it would've been planned all along.

#9 gordi


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Posted 12 October 2016 - 08:25 PM

Thank you, gentlemen! I am happy you are enjoying this.


After the gym, I headed home to have a look at the company manual. As I read about the dress code, the hours, the standards of conduct and so on, my heart sank a little. Also, I fell asleep. I woke up around 17:30, and quickly jumped in the shower. Sure enough, 15 minutes later as I was still drying off, the doorbell rang. I answered with the towel around my waist. It was the goddess with the freckles. 


Eventually, once I had finished drying off and put some clothes on, I found out that she had come over to go through the company manual with me  To my relief, it turned out that the early hours and suit-and-tie stuff didn't much apply to me, as I am in "creative." 


Once that was cleared up - and, I know this makes me look bad, but I am trying to be honest here - I kind of lost myself in just looking at Yuka. I mean, I basically stopped listening to her and just drank her beauty in with my eyes. Like an idiot. 


Do you wanna go over to the office, and I can show you?" she asked. Show me what? I wondered, silently. "Gordi?" She brushed the back of my hand with her finger tips, and I almost passed out as the blood rushed south from my brain.


She was waiting for an answer to some kind of question. She leaned toward me. "Are you OK?"


I literally had to bite my tongue to keep from babbling about how much I love the way she plays with her hair as she talks. "Be professional!" I screamed at myself, silently.


"Yeah... office." I managed to stammer.


She walked really close to me, her left shoulder brushing against my right bicep. She smelled faintly of vanilla, and maybe chamomile. We were almost there before I noticed that she was carrying the heavy manual and offered to take it from her. "What a Gentleman!" She laughed. There was a lot to learn at the office, and I more or less managed to keep my focus and pay attention. It seemed likely that my job would involve a lot of teleconferencing, which should be crazy considering the various language issues involved. I find it way easier to understand Japanese in face-to-face situations. On the telephone, it's sometimes close to impossible. 


My first big task was to make some decisions about the booking of the big Fukuoka show. We are running Marine Messe Fukuoka, a brand-new 15,00-seat building near the Sumo Hall in the Convention Center complex. I have a grand total of one idea for the show, but it's a pretty big one: "I think the Main Event should be El Samurai vs. Koji Kanemoto in a welterweight belt unification match, with the winner being presented a new belt: The Asahi Welterweight title."


Yuka seemed to be legitimately excited by that suggestion. She pulled out a booking sheet and pushed it into a doohickey attached to the computer. It immediately came up enlarged on the white board.


"Nice!" I said. She giggled at me, and wrote "Kanemoto vs. El Samurai, title unification, new belt" in the Main Event slot. Then she got Wally, Mutoh, and some other guy on speaker phone. 

#10 gordi


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Posted 12 October 2016 - 09:06 PM

I'm assuming Some Other Guy was a corporate representative. He was cautiously enthusiastic about my idea. Asahi Pro wants to emphasize the welterweight division, but of course there's a risk in headlining our first big show with such a match. Mutoh, to my surprise, was really supportive of the idea. He suggested we forgo a heavyweight title defense and maybe put him in a six man or a tag match in the semi-main instead. Some Other Guy figured it would be no problem to have a new belt prepared in time, and we all agreed that a belt-presentation ceremony would be the best way to end the show.


The TV production facilities will not be ready for another week, so it was decided that we'd do a clipped re-broadcast of the draft, along with big highlight packages for El Samurai and Kanemoto to hype the Fukuoka Main Event.  The Corporate guy (who referred to me exclusively by my family name, but called Yuka by her first name, which I found strange) asked if we could finalize the card tonight, so that it could be published tomorrow. We said we could. Wally stayed on the line to help us. 


We came up with this:


El Samurai vs. Koji Kanemoto - Welterweight Title Unification match


Mutoh, Fujinami, and Hase vs. Choshu, Chono, and Sasaki


Liger and Sasuke vs. Ohtani and Togo




Hogan, Spivey, and Koshinaka vs. Hawk, Norton, and Scorpio


Dos Caras, Hamada, and TAKA vs. Jado, Gedo, and Lance


Delfin, Naniwa, Smiley, and Yakushiji vs. Kaz, Terry Boy, Funaki, and Black Buffalo 


Bret and Davey-Boy vs. Nagata and Nakanishi vs. TenKoji vs. The Machines


Tajiri vs. Mochzuki


It's a lot of six-man tags, but we wanna use everyone on the roster on every big show, as often as possible.


It was after midnight when we finished up. "I've missed my last train." Was Yuka looking at me coquettishly? The devil on my shoulder was screaming at me to suggest she could stay at my place, but the angel won: "Can I walk you home?"


"I live near Bentencho station. It'll take about 40 minutes. Is that OK?" She's definitely flirting. It's almost a parody: Playful, kittenish... what the hell is going on here? Doesn't she understand how far out of my league she is?


About half-way there, she asked me if I drank alcohol. The place she took me to... dudes... it's a video-game bar! You can play for free as long as you are drinking, and the drinks aren't too expensive. "They have Fire Pro!" She grabbed my wrist and pulled me over to a console set-up. The staff all seemed to know her.


This will sound like a lie, but it is not: Playing Fire Pro might have been the best part of my day. We played as Kanemoto vs. Samurai in a dome with Red Shoes as ref. It's possible to do that on this game. Yuka took the time to explain the grappling system to me. It's not a button-mashing game, at all. It's timing based. It took a while to get used to it. Just as I was figuring it out, Yuka yelped. "I have to go to work in four hours!" She handed me some cash to cover her drinks, gave me a chaste dry peck on the cheek, and ran out the door, yelling "See you tomorrow at the same time, maybe start your shower earlier!" The staff all laughed at me, but in a friendly way. I played one more game as Togo vs. Liger, payed up, and pretty much floated home. 

#11 gordi


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Posted 13 October 2016 - 09:36 PM

She arrived at 17:45 on the button. I was ready this time. The plan for November is to run the Tokyo Dome (and then run it again in January, with the debut show in our new Osaka arena in December coming between the two Dome shows. It's not my job to make those decisions. It's my job to fill in the picture. The wrestlers and the agents then fill in the details. I'm good with that.


I asked he about the gift tags in my living room. The TV is from Mutoh. The stereo is from Liger. I find it hard not to mark out a little when she tells me that. The CDs are from Gado and Jedo. I talked with them a little about the Classical and Jazz I like, once. I'm amazed how well they remembered. "You like Classical music?" She seems surprised. "You don't look like...." She picks out a CD. "Can I?" It's Szell and Casadesus playing Mozart Piano Concertos. "He does his own cadenza in this one," she tells me. 


We move into the view room, to go over more of the manual. The love seat is from Wally. Thanks, man. As the slow movement of Concerto no. 21 is playing in the background, Yuka's hand touches mine as we point at the same passage in the handbook. Our eyes meet. I freeze, like an idiot, and the moment passes. 


She's tired,and she goes home early. I'll see her again tomorrow. It's possible that, if I  request that she be my personal assistant, Asahi will take her off of her morning duties, and we can have more late night time together. We decide that we'll bring it up at the next conference call. A hug goodbye, but no kiss. I'm good with that. For now.


After the Fukuoka show, we'll be splitting the roster, with the welterweights going Northeast for a trios tournament, and the heavyweights heading Southwest for a tag tournament. At the November Dome show, we'll have both tournament finals matches, to crown new champions, as well as IWGP and welterweight title defenses. There are some promises that SirEdger made that we need to fulfill, as well. I stay up all night working on that, and trying not to think too much about Yuka. 

#12 gordi


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Posted 16 October 2016 - 08:04 AM

Apparently, when they made the announcement that the Fukuoka show was going to be headlined by a welterweight championship match, they also announced that anyone who had already purchased tickets would be allowed to bring them in for a refund. This afternoon, Yuka came by my place to break the news.


"How many?" I was almost afraid to ask.




"Eleven THOUSAND people?!" I could see it all slipping away: The suite, the gifts, the salary, the dream job... the dream woman...


"Gordi. No. Eleven tickets."


I picked Yuka up and swung her around. Twice. She is my assistant now, full time. We were with Gedo and Jado on a conference call with El Samurai, Kanemoto, and the corporate guy, whose name is Yamashita, when I asked that the question of her being made my assistant be put on the agenda. Yamashita went completely silent for a full minute. Then, you could hear the little beeps as he punched a number into his phone. Then. Yuka's cell started ringing, and she excused herself and left the room. You could hear Yamashita yelling, but fortunately (I suppose) we couldn't hear her replies. At one point, exasperated, Yamashita asked, "Why can't you just get a Japanese boyfriend?" At that, Gedo and Jado almost cracked up. Gedo held up a piece of paper on which he had scawled, "He is ANKLE!!!" He and Jado started silently taking the piss out of me, but they stopped immediately when Yuka came back into the room, beaming. Yamashita noticed that the speaker phone was still on, lost his composure momentarily, regained it, and said in English, "It is not needed to place any item on the agenda. Yuka... uh... Ms. Harada is now personal assistant to the booker." Yuka did a little dance of triumph in her chair at the announcement. Seeing the effort is was costing Jado to keep a straight face almost caused me to crack up. 


I had a whole thing prepared, in Japanese, about how Yuka was working all day at the complex, then staying up late helping me, and how helpful she was, and so on... but I guess I didn't need it. Too bad, I wanted to show off my Japanese skills. We got back to business and worked out our best-case scenario for the Tokyo Dome, and a rough plan of how to build from Fukuoka to Tokyo on TV. I suggested that Mochizuki be given some proper wrestling gear, as his sleeveless gi looks a little too indie. I was kind of hoping that Jado and Gedo would pick up on the not so subtle hints I was dropping in their direction with that one, but if they did I couldn't tell. I mean, they agreed that Mochi's gear looks indie, but...


After the meeting I walked Yuka home. We didn't stop for drinks and we didn't even talk much. I was thinking: I guess what the guys were trying to tell me is that Mr. Yamashita is Yuka's uncle. I figured that kind of complicated things a bit more. At the gym, unsolicited, Smiley Norman had offered advice about being careful with dating anyone from work. I actually think he was taking indirectly about something going on his own life... but it sure seemed to apply to my life as well. 


He's right, too. It's best to take it slow and to be sure before taking any big steps. If things go poorly, you could be stuck seeing that person every day and it could be really awkward. Now that Yuka is my assistant, and considering she's my boss's niece... maybe I'd be better off trying to find someone else... who loves pro wrestling and video games and classical music... and who speaks near-perfect English and who is fun to spend time with and who is gorgeous and who drinks but doesn't smoke and who really seems to like me.




Yuka seemed to be lost in thought, too. She didn't speak a word over the last ten minutes of our walk. we got to her building and we stood there for a very long time. 


"Do you want to come up?"


She spoke very quietly, but I heard her clear as a bell. This was not an angel-devil situation. This was me, climbing outside my own body, and screaming: Not tonight! Dude! Say: Not tonight!


It was too soon, I wasn't sure, we were going to be working very closely for the foreseeable future. Saying yes would be a huge mistake. 


I climbed outside my own body and urged myself to do the smart thing. I watched myself say, "I would love to." and then I stood there on the street watching myself go inside with Yuka. 

#13 gordi


    I call him Shohei because we are close like that

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Posted 16 October 2016 - 08:27 AM

Then, I chased myself up those stairs, climbed back inside, and spent the night holding the woman I was maybe falling in love with. We didn't, you know, completely consummate anything. I would very much have liked to, but she really didn't seem ready. I mean, whenever I made a move beyond light kissing, her whole body tensed up to the point where she was practically vibrating. But we spent the night together, and a very leisurely morning. 


Now here we were, celebrating our first big business success as a team. Out of 15,000 people who had bought tickets for the Fukuoka NJPW show, all but eleven had elected to go to the Asahi Pro Wrestling show that was being held instead. The show that we booked. I kissed her full on the lips, but once again she tensed up, like she wasn't sure how to respond. I gently placed her on the floor, and asked if she was OK.


She was quiet for a very long time. I waited. She took my hand and led me out to the balcony. She looked around, like she was checking to make sure nobody was listening. Then she was quiet for a while.


"Hey, Yuka, listen, if you don't..."


"I am a cherry girl." She spoke quietly, it was noisy on the balcony, and she was pretty much looking at her shoes when she said it, but I heard her, and I understood.


"So have you ever... had a boyfriend?"


"Are you my boyfriend?" She looked at me, and she was so vulnerable in that moment. Genuinely scared that I might say no.


I actually, literally, got down on one knee and formally requested that she be my girlfriend, in Japanese. She didn't actually say yes, because she was crying too hard to speak. Later, after we had tea, got some work done, listened to a little Chopin, and tried kissing again with limited success, she said, in Japanese,"You are my first boyfriend."


I actually got mad when she said that. Not at her, but at Japanese dudes in general. How is it even possible that a woman like Yuka has waited 26 years for someone to ask her out? I suppose I should just be grateful but... what the hell is going on here? 


Later, in English, she asked if I could, please, if I don't mind, teach her how to kiss. 

#14 Jesse Ewiak

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Posted 16 October 2016 - 10:37 PM

Hey...we want some wrestling here instead of this soap opera BS! 


Kidding, this is great stuff. But, looking forward to the actual build up to the squared circle stuff as well. Unless we're going to get a Gordi vs. Hogan after you say he's looking at Yuka w./ jealous eyes. :)

#15 gordi


    I call him Shohei because we are close like that

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Posted 17 October 2016 - 08:34 AM

Hey...we want some wrestling here instead of this soap opera BS! 


Kidding, this is great stuff. But, looking forward to the actual build up to the squared circle stuff as well. Unless we're going to get a Gordi vs. Hogan after you say he's looking at Yuka w./ jealous eyes. :)


Gimme a break, Jess! 


At least no-one can hit my character with the old "She was mine before she was yours! She's damaged goods! Woooo!"

#16 Matt D

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Posted 17 October 2016 - 09:51 AM

I'm still waiting for this to get all Videodrome. I still think there's a 25% chance of it.

#17 gordi


    I call him Shohei because we are close like that

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Posted 17 October 2016 - 10:23 AM



The computer screen is the retina of the mind's eye. Therefore, the computer screen is part of the physical structure of the brain. Therefore, whatever appears on the computer screen emerges as raw experience for those who read it. Therefore, Armchair Booking is reality, and reality is less than Armchair Booking.

#18 gordi


    I call him Shohei because we are close like that

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Posted 17 October 2016 - 09:38 PM

We got into Kyushu a full day early, mainly to eat the local ramen. Tonkotsu ramen's soup base is made by boiling pork bones. It's thick, rich, stinky, and easily one of the top five most delicious foods in Japan (in my opinion, anyway). The best tonkotsu is found in the many yatai (basically, street food stalls) in Fukuoka's Hakata district. 




It's a whole lifestyle here. Even though Fukuoka is in the South West and Wally's from the North East, he seems to know everybody here, and they all seem to love him. I had two huge bowls of tonkotsu yesterday, and another for late lunch today. We also had yaki-kare (Baked curry rice smothered in cheese) which was amazing, and menatiko-don (spicy marinated cod roe on rice) which I didn't much care for but Yuka couldn't get enough of. 


I can pretty much feel the pork fat oozing out of my pores today, and I've probably gained about two kilos since stepping off the train. Fukuoka is awesome!


It's a big city, about 2.5 million people, but everyone seems countryside-friendly, if you know what I mean. The hall is lovely, right on the waterfront and sparkling new. 




Tajiri vs. Mochzuki


Their reward for doing a good job opening the last Michinoku Pro show? A spot opening the first Asahi Pro show! They had the green light to open up their offence a bit more beyond just the stiff kicks, and once again they delivered. Tajiri blew everyone's mind by pulling a complex submission attempt using the ring ropes. He calls it the tarantula. Mochizuki's new gear looks great, and he pulled off a corner springboard jumping high kick. The Fukuoka crowd roared in appreciation, but quickly switched to boos when Mochi grabbed a handful of tights to get the pinfall.


Bret and Davey-Boy vs. Nagata and Nakanishi vs. TenKoji vs. The Machines


This was mainly a showcase for Bret, as we have plans for him at the November Dome show. I mean everybody had a chance to get some stuff in, but mainly we wanted to get a bunch of footage of Bret looking great that we could use in TV hype packages. If anything, my fellow Canadian gave too much to the young guys, selling like crazy for Tenzan and Kojima. He won clean with the sharpshooter, though. That was the main thing. We want to get his version of that hold over as a killer, to set up a battle of the sharpshooters with Choshu, down the line.


Delfin, Naniwa, Smiley, and Yakushiji vs. Kaz, Terry Boy, Funaki, and Black Buffalo 


The jury's still out on Delfin's maturity, but with Naniwa and Yakushiji selling like madmen, we were able to get Kaz, Terry Boy, and Funaki over as heels with the Fukuoka crowd. To set up for the trios tournament, we are gonna run skits on TV with Black Buffalo, Jado, and Gedo teaching the former good guys how to cheat to win. Buffalo did a great job getting that idea over in this match, cracking the crowd up with his demonstrations of underhanded tactics,and his loud praise for his teammates when they followed suit.


Dos Caras, Hamada, and TAKA vs. Jado, Gedo, and Lance


We continued that story through into this match, with Kaz, Terry Boy, Funaki, and Black Buffalo remaining at ringside and Jado, Gedo, and Lance saying stuff like, "See! Like this!" whenever they pulled off some underhanded shenanigans. Funaki kept writing things down in a little pocket notebook, which I thought was a hilarious touch. Lance, however, got distracted trying to explain some of the finer points of heeling it up to the boys at ringside. That allowed Hamada to sneak over and hit a hurricanrana for the pin.


Hogan, Spivey, and Koshinaka vs. Hawk, Norton, and Scorpio


Your basic shine, cut-off, heat, repeat, hot tag to Hogan match. Sends the crowd into intermission fairly happy, pretty much every time. Post-match posing routine probably got the biggest pop of the night so far. 

#19 gordi


    I call him Shohei because we are close like that

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Posted 17 October 2016 - 10:08 PM

Liger and Sasuke vs. Ohtani and Togo




Oh, man. This match. About half-way through, Lance and Wally came in to the control room and said that I had to go into the arena and experience this for myself. I appreciate that kindness so much. I got to see half of what is probably an all-time classic up close, and to feel that immense crowd heat... I guess everyone knew that they were watching something special. Seems like pimping the welterweights so much on TV is paying off... but mainly it's just the way these guys work. They had the crowd, and me, reacting to everything they did. Liger and Ohtani, in particular, had crazy ring chemistry. 




Mutoh, Fujinami, and Hase vs. Choshu, Chono, and Sasaki


Your basic shine, cut-off, heat, repeat, hot tag to Mutoh match. Didn't get over quite as much as you might have hoped, maybe because we ran two matches on one card with the same formula, maybe because it had to follow a damned "four and a half star" masterpiece. Crowd wasn't flat or anything, and Fujinami and Hase were just great in their roles, but... The upside is, they didn't overshadow the Main Event. 


El Samurai vs. Koji Kanemoto - Welterweight Title Unification match




We did everything possible to hype this up in the short time we had, and we puled out the stops on the production values and bells and whistles... but in the end it always comes down to what the boys can do in the ring. 


And, well... this wasn't just a one-match show. I mean, Liger and Sasuke vs. Ohtani and Togo was clearly the match of the night, but Sammy and Kanemoto were a pretty close second. They worked almost a UWFi-style for about 15 minute, just throwing kicks and locking in hold after hold, with all kinds of reversals and counters and sudden shifts in momentum. 




Kanemoto was clearly getting the best of things working that style, so Samurai was forced to shake off the damage to his leg and take some risks to try and get the advantage. To his credit, he kept selling the leg and didn't do any really fancy stuff, sticking to simple, straightforward drop kicks and dives. He went for the Samurai bomb, but his leg gave out and Kanemoto almost took the match... but this was El Samurai's night and he fought out, hit a diving headbutt and finished things with a rolling cross armbreaker. 




The post-match belt-awarding ceremony went on and on, but the crowd didn't seem to mind at all. I was exhausted but happy. We ended up at an outdoor party back in Hakata, where we all gorged ourselves on rich food one last time before piling on the well-appointed Asahi Pro Wrestling buses for the long ride back to Osaka.

#20 SirEdger


    Eternal nostalgic...especially about wrestling

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Posted 17 October 2016 - 11:10 PM

Is that another version of Fire Pro Wrestling? Looks really cool.


Speaking of which, haven't put much Fire Pro Wrestling Returns down since I bought it a few weeks ago. Having a blast playing patiently waiting for the prices for WWE 2K17 to drop a bit.

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