In September, I celebrated my 39th birthday with a relaxing weekend at my parents’ house near the beach. While I sipped beverages with my family, I was asked about my next big wrestling trip. I recounted my plans for Death Before Dishonor and Fighting Spirit Unleashed while feverishly refreshing Twitter for any information on a tournament at a wrestling media convention in Manchester, England. My fear of missing out was in complete overdrive, but thank goodness I can multitask!
The Liger & I: Just hanging with a Legend!
I was born after a hurricane and around Labor Day, so birthday plans tend be scheduled (and often re-scheduled) for later in the month. Usually everyone is traveling with the long holiday weekend or there is a state of emergency courtesy of an incoming hurricane. This year my birthday was just a long weekend, surrounded by those I love most. Every year since I turned 30, my Dad joked that I was “one step closer to 40.” Now that I’ve cleared 39, I am in the actual twilight of the thirties, so now I am plotting something big for forty.
FORTY. 40. The Big FOUR-OH.
It just sounds weird to say it.
ALL IN & STARRCAST (but British)
At Wrestling MediaCon 2018 in Manchester, Revolution Pro (RevPro) Wrestling hosted the British J-Cup series, an 16-man tournament featuring some of the greatest junior heavyweights from around the world. The matches spanned two nights and included stars like Kyle Fletcher of Aussie Open, Roppongi 3K, KUSHIDA, Bandido, Flamita, and defending champion, Jushin Thunder Liger. The tournament was a single match bracket, with the final four competitors participating in a four-way elimination match. One look at the brackets, and I had fantasy booked myself onto a plane, so I could see it all unfold live!
How I love a nice bracketed tournament!
Unfortunately, I couldn’t hop into my TARDIS and travel through space and time to make to the fantastic series of shows hosted by RevPro or attend WMC. Thanks to Rev Pro’s online streaming service, I am able to watch the series, along with the entire previous catalog. Other shows involving New Japan talent are regionally locked on NJPW World, so there is a backlog of matches I’ve been dying to watch. The wrestling show tickets were separate from the WMC tickets, but the events shared the same venue.
Reading up on the panels and events provided, I was absolutely fascinated. However, there is one massive obstacle: ticket sales are limited to only those in the UK! Every link I clicked for pricing information gave me a redirect page, informing me that ticket sales not provided to those outside of the United Kingdom. This poses a bit of a challenge for those abroad wishing to celebrate their appreciation for the British wrestling scene.
It’s just a small bump in the road. I’ll keep my ears to the ground for next year’s event, so may plan accordingly! I would love to finally meet some of my favorite UK-based wrestlers and media talents.
I Blame British Wrestling!
Even though ROH has partnered with New Japan for years, it was a British wrestling show that finally motivated me to actively watch Japanese wrestling. In summer 2017, the Pro Wrestling World Cup: Japan Bracket by Defiant Wrestling (formerly WCPW) in conjunction with RevPro became responsible for my falling in love with everything that is NJPW. The first match I watched in the entire series was KUSHIDA vs. Sho Tanaka (now Roppongi 3K’s SHO). This match checked countless boxes for me: junior heavyweights, technical wrestling, high-flying, and sportsmanship. KUSHIDA’s Back to the Future-inspired character also heavily influenced my opinion!
I’ve always loved the fast pace, high-flying style of wrestling, especially by those in the Cruiser or Junior Heavyweight divisions. Many of the younger talents in New Japan, spent time learning the lucha libre-style in Mexico at Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL). Both KUSHIDA and SHO spent time in Mexico and working with Ring of Honor here in the US. My only regret is that I learned of all of this after they returned from excursion to work at New Japan full-time.
Bucket List Item: Watch RevPro IN the UK
In the wake of the G1 Climax, the New Japan roster received a few weeks off, but everyone was back to work in for the Destruction tour series. With the British J Cup, the NJPW junior heavyweight division has been represented both years, so if there is a third one, I would love to be in the building for it. Like many other international promotions, I late to the party, but I will do my homework before I show up.
Tanahashi & Juice versus Mark Davis & Kyle Fletcher at RevPro UK NOLA
RevPro also recently announced that they’ll be back in the US for Mania week, hosting a show in conjunction with WrestleCon on Friday, April 5th (bell time: 4PM). I missed their Orlando show, but absolutely had a blast at their New Orleans show! If you’re headed to Mania Week, this RevPro is one not to miss. I keep telling myself, I’m not going to NYC in April, but I am sure I’ll find a way to be there!
It’s been nearly four years since I’ve visited the UK, and I’ve been itching to go back. In addition to cherished friends from different stages of my life living there, I’ve since made friends there thanks to wrestling!
I am partnering with Wrestling Travel, a U.K.-based travel company as their American-based correspondent! Allow me to formally introduce myself as The North American Lioness. Words cannot begin to describe how excited I am to take this massive step, but I sincerely hope you’ll hop in my suitcase and tag along. Please join me over at Wrestling Travel as I document my wrestling-related travels, daydream about my growing destination travel bucket list and how I enjoy watching shows from the comfort of my home!
Buckle those seat belts because it’s about to be a wild, international ride!