Most people would consider a weekend staycation at the beach to be the perfect way to unwind, you’d conjure up images of laying out on the sand, walking the boardwalk or playing in the ocean. For me, it’s gathering up a group of my friends who love gaming and wrestling and simply escaping the metropolitan area for a long weekend. CEO Daytona is a three-day fighting game tournament series, and after attending last year as a spectator, I not only wanted to passively watch but actively play some of the game demos available.
A match-up for the ages! How will I fare against, The Director?!
When you think of the fighting game genre names like Street Fighter, TEKKEN, and Super Smash Bros. are usually the first one on people’s mind. After a solid year of WWE 2K games, I needed a change of pace. Even though the Fire Pro Wrestling has been around for well over 20 years, being relatively new to the sports genre of games this was news to me! Perhaps, it’s the crossover initiated by the CEO and NJPW show on Friday night, but bringing the Spike Chunsoft team to have a booth at CEO was an incredible way to get casual wrestling fans and hardcore fighting gamers hyped about a game which could be one of the hottest of the summer.
Initial Hands-on Gaming Experience
No sooner did we enter the exhibition floor, we headed over to the Fire Pro Wrestling World booth. Without much of a wait, Tarra and I were able to hop on and play! Having never played the game before, we somehow managed to play for well over fifteen minutes, before I managed to squeak out a win!
Bullet Club vs LIJ?! You hit your friends the hardest!
One of my favorite things about going to conventions and tournaments with my friends because we simply go out to have fun! We keep our plans flexible so we can just have fun, and as a result, we made some fantastic memories at the FPWW booth during CEO.
CEO Bucket List: Challenging the Game Director!
When it was announced on Twitter that the game’s executive director and resident champion, Tomoyuki Matsumoto, “welcomes any challenger to play him in the game,” I immediately added it to my to-do list. After playing several rounds with my friends and fellow tournament attendees, my friend, Elly, helped me challenge the game director! While I was excited to play against him, I was too nervous to actually ask him, so my friend went and asked for me. Silly, I know!
Best of the Super Juniors: KUSHIDA vs. Hiromu!
We were so caught up in the conversation, that neither of us realized that the match-type setting was set to “Death Match,” meaning that the characters incur additional, critical damage when they hit the barbed-wire ring ropes! When the clock hit the twelve-minute mark, The Director casually drops, “Oh, by the way…in three minutes, the ring is going to explode.”
Sure enough, I toughed it out until the match timer hit fifteen minutes, and sure enough, there was an explosion, dealing massive damage to both KUSHIDA, Hiromu, AND everyone’s favorite referee, Red Shoes Unno!! Shortly thereafter, The Director made short work of me, and I lost.
Best of the Super Juniors…Death Match?!
A Very Special Thank You
During our match, I confessed to the director, that KUSHIDA was not only my favorite wrestler in all of New Japan, but his match with Sho Tanaka (now SHO in Roppongi 3K) in the Pro Wrestling World Cup in 2017 was responsible for making me finally want to watch New Japan. His technical wrestling and highflying-style paired with a Back to the Future-inspired character really resonated with me. I remember watching in complete awe during that match, and then asking one of my friends, “where can I see more of THAT?!” He seemed surprised that it would be someone who isn’t one of the faction leaders, but he understood it as Hiromu is his favorite.
I hope Spike Chunsoft returns next year because I want a rematch!
The following afternoon, The Director and I played another match while I waited my turn against Kenny Omega and Kota Ibushi1 in a tag team match with my friend Nicole! We had a rematch of Kenny’s IWGP Heavyweight Championship match with Kazuchika Okada. I lost again, but simply playing and talking with Matsumoto was a treat. He complimented my improvement in the last twenty-four hours, which was flattering, as well as expressed his gratitude that my friends and I were hanging around the booth, playing the game, and really hyping it up to passersby.
Talking about our KUSHIDA versus Hiromu match from the day before, he asks me if I knew about the NJPW x FPWW collaboration shirt they made for KUSHIDA. I told him I did, but I couldn’t seem to get one (even with multiple restocks, it kept selling out). As a thank you, he asked me if I wanted the one he had brought with him, unworn but out of the cellophane. I couldn’t believe it!!
You can’t wear a KUSHIDA shirt, and NOT do the Timesplitter watch check!
I truly enjoyed playing FPWW with my friends and the Chunsoft Staff. I cannot wait for it to arrive, so I can enjoy playing with friends. It’s getting released just in time for my birthday, which means we’ll be celebrating with in style with a Fire Pro Wrestling World Tournament! I look forward to streaming this game over on Twitch!
Fire Pro Wrestling World is now available on Steam for PC, and will be released on PS4 in North America on August, 28, 2018. The cover of the US release will use the image on the Japanese Premium edition, including Tetsuya Naito, Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi, and new IWGP Heavyweight Champion, Kenny Omega. The Japanese premium edition comes with a special LIJ x FPWW collaboration t-shirt and towel, four mini figures of the cover wrestlers, and an item which looks suspiciously like the IWGP Heavyweight Championship belt!
This trailer dropped during the CEOxNJPW show!
- A separate post will be made about the Golden Lovers against two mystery opponents at the Saturday afternoon exhibition.
- Check out Nicole’s special interview with Director Matsumoto for CrunchyRoll!
- This was part of my first day experience at CEO Daytona, but there was so much to discuss, I decided to give it a separate two-part series.
Post Script: As I wrote this, New Japan Pro Wrestling released a video of KUSHIDA challenging Tanahashi to a Fire Pro Wrestling Championship match!! It’s only in Japanese, but you can get the idea about how fired up and supportive NJPW with this game! FPWW was also a sponsor for this year’s Best of the Super Juniors 25 tournament which featured KUSHIDA, Hiromu, and many of my other Junior Heavyweight class wrestlers! I did a loose and quick translation of the video over on Twitter.