Big in Japan
Brian Cage vs Takashi Sugiura, Navig. with Breeze 2017, 4 June 2017, Korakuen Hall, Tokyo (Pro Wrestling NOAH)
If I were a wrestler, I'd rather get a call from Japan than from WWE. Japan may not always be the gateway to fame and fortune, but every wrestler I know who's wrestled there improved his game by at least 100%.
Like a lot of bloggers on the subject of wrestling, I feel that Brian Cage (6', 265#) is my personal property. I feel a special kinship with him, though we've never met. He's been everywhere--under various names at almost all my usual go-to sites. I've been following him ever since he was working the Wolverine gimmick in Florida, but he really caught my attention seven years ago, when he became one of the Taylor brothers (Brian Cage-Taylor) at Pro Wrestling Guerilla.
In this match from a couple of weeks ago, Cage holds his own against one of NOAH's toughest bad-asses, Takashi Sugiura (5'10", 229#). One of the best reasons to wrestle in Japan is the chance to get in the ring with somebody like Sugiura, whose arch theatrical mannerisms translate to all languages and cultures and keep an audience of 1400 riveted to his every move. Other reasons are the respectful, appreciative fans in Japan and strong style--the integration of elements of real (shoot) fighting into pro-ring performance and storytelling. Strong style gives pro wrestling its nuts back and lends authenticity to even the tired-er clichés of pro-wrestling theater.