The Beautiful Day



My job isn’t really that hard. I am the director of a small church camp. I pretty much get paid to play outside with kids and help them to understand that Jesus loves them. From time to time there is a small crisis that needs managing, but for the most part things go very smoothly. The job is very involved and time consuming, however, and if I am not careful it can pretty easily take over my entire life.

It’s more or less necessary for me to have a hobby that can distract me from the goings on at camp and let me think about something else for a while. If you’ve been reading my columns at all, you can probably guess that Pro Wrestling is my number one escape. Since I made the decision to pretty much stop watching WWE programming in favour of watching great matches on tape and DVD, it’s worked like a charm. When I get a few free minutes, I throw on a match and get pulled into that world for the duration.

Sometimes a friend will join me in watching, and if that is the case I’ll usually pick a match with a lot of spectacular high spots so that we can hoot and holler and get into it that way.

If I’m by myself I’ll usually pick a sentimental favorite. In the evening, after all the campers are in their cabins, I’ll often treat myself to a ’90s All Japan classic.

In September, I’m having some friends come to visit. They are pretty serious wrestling fans, so I’m looking forward to enjoying some American Dragon mat wrestling, as well as some old school psychology-heavy Terry Funk, Jumbo Tsuruta, and Jack Brisco matches with them.

It’s a pretty rare for a day to go by where I don’t enjoy at least one wrestling match, and so most days I have good reason to give thanks for being a wrestling fan.

Yesterday, however, was particularly good even by my standards.


To start with, when I went to check my mail I found a small cardboard box containing something that pretty much amounts to pure treasure for a fan like myself: Golden Boy Tapes’ The Best of Japan 1990s and The Best of Japan 2004 compilation sets on DVD.

I already have the majority of the matches from the Best of the 1990s set somewhere in my personal collection, but the matches I don’t have are all classics by reputation, and there are a few of them I’ve been dying to see for years. Also, having the complete collection on DVD means that all of that greatness is now highly portable, and I won’t have to sacrifice it even if I move to Japan, take a missionary journey to Malawi or go back to Europe. To top it all off, most of it is in amazing video quality, and it’s not going to deteriorate over time like the tapes that I’m wearing out with repeated viewing. So, from my point of view, this is a pretty major score.

The Best of 2004 set is 36 hours of wrestling, most of which I haven’t seen yet, and all of it is in near-pristine quality. Even more exciting for me is that this is a review copy, which mans that I’ll be writing about the set on and off throughout the autumn. This is a pretty cool feeling for me because it was Scott Keith’s reviews of the Best of 2001 and Best of 2002 sets that got me out of the habit of only watching 1990s Japanese wrestling, and turned me on to the current scene. I’m genuinely looking forward taking my turn at spreading the love around.

There are a number of KENTA and Tanahashi matches on the set and judging by what I’ve seen from them so far I’d consider them the most compelling young wrestlers in, respectively, NOAH and New Japan. I’m really looking forward to seeing more of them in action. There are also highlight matches from Kobashi’s GHC title run and Kawada’s Triple Crown reign; HEAT defending the IWGP Junior Heavyweight title and Kaz Hayashi defending the All Japan equivalent; Takayama, Tenryu and Sasaki playing the role of invading outsiders; and American Dragon, Low Ki, and Christopher Daniels wrestling in Japan.

It doesn’t look like I’m going to be the least bit bored after the camping season winds down this year.


Yesterday was also when I found out that Chitose’s mother is sending us tickets to go and visit her in Wakayama prefecture this December. Obviously, I’m pleased to be given the opportunity to experience the culture that my girlfriend grew up in, to see where she was born, and to meet her friends and family. To be honest, though, I’m at least as excited about finally getting to see some Japanese wrestling live and in person. To her credit, Chitose understands that, and she’s willing to schedule a chunk of our visit around going to Osaka to catch a show or two.

When I heard the news, I got online and asked around to see if anyone knew where we could get Japanese wrestling schedules and ticket information. Almost immediately, I heard back from about a dozen fellow fans, including such IWC luminaries as Stuart,the man behind Strong Style Spirit, Mike Campbell, who writes reviews of Japanese wrestling for some other site, and IP’s resident Pro-Wres expert, David Ditch. This knocked me out, and I think it affirms what I was saying some time ago about the new role of the IWC, that being “…to bring wrestling fans together to read about, think about, discuss, and share their knowledge of Pro Wrestling.”

As it turns out, New Japan Pro Wrestling is putting on a big show at the Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium on December 10th, and Osaka Pro will likely have a show the following day. The odds are pretty good that I’ll be doing my first reports of a live Japanese Wrestling show for this site before the year is out.


I hope this didn’t come across as bragging. It’s just that, sometimes, it really is a good thing to be a wrestling fan and a member of the Internet Wrestling Community. I wanted to share that happiness, and I hope that at least some of you had one or more great days this week as well.

Of course, if you’d prefer a refreshing blast of negativity, there are always the excellent columns by Iain and Eric.

I quite enjoyed what Blatt and Young did with their columns this week, too.