Canadian freelance writer living in Melbourne. Saw a Kangaroo once. In the Zoo...
Seen tons of snakes though. What's with all the snakes??
A Far East Movement heads to the Land Down Under
Next month, New Japan Pro Wrestling comes to Australia for the first time ever.
The international wrestling promotion will be making stops throughout the country, touching down at the Festival Hall in Melbourne on February 17th. Tickets have just gone on sale and judging by web traffic reported throughout various sports blogs and those attempting to secure seats, anticipation is high.
New Japan is, without a doubt, the second largest professional wrestling promotion in the world after WWE, who completed a successful tour of their own Down Under late last year. NJPW is currently at the height of its success, coming off their very well received annual Wrestle Kingdom show at the Tokyo Dome in Japan. The event is the company's flagship production and sells out the 55,000 seat stadium virtually every year.
It seems fitting that Australia will be playing host to New Japan given what's been going on behind the scenes with Melbourne's own wrestling promotions. Just a couple of months ago Melbourne Championship Wrestling (MCW) put on an event where NJPW champion Kazuchika Okada wrestled in the main match. When news of Okada's involvement at the MCW show broke, tickets not only sold out, but the entire event had to be moved to a larger capacity venue to satisfy demand (that venue promptly sold out as well).
On top of that, local Melbourne wrestler Gino "Juicy" Gambino was recently initiated into the "Bullet Club", the wildly popular NJPW group whose t-shirts are a constant sellout at Hot Topic shops in North America. Juicy also took part in a match at the aforementioned Wrestle Kingdom last week, so clearly, a working relationship between the two promotions has been blossoming for some time now.
Bullet Club Bone Soldier. Too Sweet
The Australian Tour will bring the biggest names in the company, including Hiroshi Tanahashi, "The American Nightmare" Cody, The Young Bucks, and of course the returning Okada.
The rise of New Japan Pro Wrestling over the past couple of years has been remarkable, and Melbourne will get the chance to experience all the biceps, bodyslams, and broken English of this entertaining and explosive promotion. Anyone who has even a slight interest in wrestling or combat sports should find their way into Festival Hall in February for what is sure to be an unforgettable evening.
Note: Some photos in this article are the property of Digital Beard Photography, used with permission from the photographer. Check out his work at www.digitalbeardphoto.com