By: Australian Wolf, Mason Childs.
Many people ask me what “Lucharesu” means.
For me, it’s been an obsession since I first set foot in a training ring in the Southport industrial area where I first started my professional wrestling journey with the then WCWA, now known as IPW Australia.
While growing up, I went and saw a show called WrestleRiot that featured a man who made me truly fall in love with pro wrestling, Jushin Liger. His costume was like something I’d never seen in my life, he wrestled differently to anyone I’d ever seen before, and I wanted to watch and see more of this amazing style.
Truth be told, I stopped watching wrestling for a few years, until I saw Bash at the Beach 96 on Fox Sports while on school holidays. As brilliant as Hogan joining up with Hall and Nash, I was mesmerised by Rey Mysterio Jr vs Dean Malenko. To me, this was the greatest period of wrestling. Early on the shows, you’d have amazing talents like Rey Rey, Psicosis, Ultimo Dragon (who I have had the pleasure of working with) and many many others.
Through all of this, I found out about the Super J Cup 94. Many people believe these shows were truly the greatest nights of pro wrestling in history, and there isn’t too many match that I put on the level of Jushin Liger vs Great Sasuke in the semi finals. If you haven’t seen this match, I highly recommend it! I love debating the finish on whether it’s the greatest botch cover up or a planned botch. But that’s besides the point. The point here is, through seeing Great Sasuke, I found Michinoku Pro and my life changed forever.
Michinoku Pro’s style was a revelation to me. Amazing masks, stiff shots, beautifully executed high flying and some of the most brilliant comedy wrestling I’d ever seen.
Over the years I managed to find a trainer and mentor who learnt this style in Mexico and was apart of Michinoku Pro, Toryumon and Osaka Pro for a time, a man who wrestled as Shadow Phoenix. He made three different trips to Australia, and I got a lot of chances to work and learn from him.
Through Shadow Phoenix aka Flash Moon aka Murcielago and an amazing friend of mine still to this day, Adam Bruiser, I was able to meet Australia’s most underrated and most talented junior heavyweight wrestler for many many years, Dingo.
By this point, Dingo was working for Super Delphin’s new company Okinawa Pro as the Okinawan swamp spirit, Kijimuna. I went on a holiday to Japan and managed to get booked in a tag team match with Dingo, which helped me meet a wrestler known as Mensore Oyaji, an Okinawan Business Man character who enjoyed a beer or 5.
This led to Oyaji coming to Australia for Grindhouse Wrestling, and many others followed, including a wrestler named Kenbai. Kenbai, in my opinion, is by far the most underrated wrestler in the world today.
This is how I got my first proper taste of training and working the Lucharesu style.
As one of the guys on my top ten is quoted as saying: “Lucharesu style takes strong Japanese strikes and submission and adds in the artistic Lucha Libre style”.
It’s a style I truly hope catches on here in Australia, but I feel too many fans and “wrestlers” enjoy the WWE style way too much.
So, to round this article off, I’m going to give you all a list of my top ten most underrated Lucharesu wrestlers I’ve had the experience of wrestling.
I won’t be including guys like Great Sasuke, Ultimo Dragon, Jinsei Shinzaki or Dick Togo, cause they’re very well known and anyone who’s seen them knows how great they are.
In the same vein, Hayato Fujita Jr, Kenoh and Musashi should be essential viewing for anyone who follows the Japanese indy scene. All three of these guys truly are superstars!
I tried eating this list but I realised there were so many guys I wasn’t going to do justice, so enjoy my insight into some amazing talents!
My best Japanese friend and the most underrated wrestler today. He is a wealth of knowledge and truly brings the best out of all his opponents. He recently moved to Pro Wrestling NOAH where he now wrestles as Amasuka and has recently been the GHC Junior Heavyweight Champion!
Yappe Man 1 and Yappe Man 2
I had to put these two together because they’re easily my favourite tag team in the world right now. Always entertaining, always hilarious and always on point with their work.
For those Townsville wrestling fans, you may remember Rui defending his Tohoku Junior Heavyweight Title back in 2018. The owner of maybe the prettiest top rope elbow drop this side of Randy Savage, Rui has so much potential to become a major star.
The leader of the heel stable known as Bad Boy, Ken 45 is the consummate heel in the ring. Possibly the only man I know who wrestled a hardcore match and then went out and played bass for a band on the same show, with blood still pouring out of his head!
One of the hardest hitters I’ve ever wrestled, Manji is also apart of the Bad Boy stable. With one of the greatest Mohawks I’ve ever seen, Manjimaru was the Tohoku Junior Heavyweight Champion during my stay in 2016 and had an absolute classic against Hayato Fujita Jr in a battle of the Bad Boys!
A Michinoku Pro mainstay through and through, Nohashi is a true wealth of knowledge. Always great for advice too!
A borderline junior heavyweight, as he truly is a monster at 145kgs, but moves like a 60kg wrestler. GAINA is one wrestler I wish I’d been able to book in Australia.
I mentioned the drunken Okinawa businessman before, but this guy knew his character inside and out. A great talent and a better friend!
The former Mozuku Man and the former Captain Eagle makes this list as well. A man who has helped many Australians get bookings in Japan, he’s a very methodical wrestler and a very knowledgeable person when it comes to wrestling. Shota was one half of the tag match I wrestled against with Dingo back in 2012 when I had my first match in Japan. He was also in a trios match with myself and Dingo on my birthday when we wrestled at a market show in Kokusai-Dori on my birthday. Post match, the awesome folks at Souko T Shirts gifted me a rad shirt I still have to this day, plus the crowd sang me happy birthday!
I can guarantee I’ve missed a bunch of people, and once I think of them, I’ll add them to the start of my next article I write. Thank you for reading, and thank you to everyone who has been apart of my crazy journey in Lucharesu so far!
The ride is not over yet!