Big Japan Pro Wrestling
Big Japan Pro Wrestling (Big Japan) is an indy promotion in Japan that is primarily a hardcore promotion, puroresu’s version of the “old” ECW or CZW (Combat Zone Wrestling). While they do have regular wrestling matches, death matches and those involving weapons, barbed wire ropes, etc. are their specialty. The promotion was founded in March 1995 by former All-Japan wrestlers Shinya Kojika and Kendo Nagasaki, during the boom period for Deathmatch wrestling in Japan. Kojika still runs the company today, which is based in Yokohama. The promotion followed in the footsteps of organisations such as Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling (FMW) and the International Wrestling Association of Japan (IWA Japan), who helped popularize a hard-hitting, violent and bloody style of wrestling known as the Deathmatch, or in more recent years, “hardcore” wrestling. These matches are usually weapon filled, using both “conventional” weapons (such as chairs and tables), as well as “extreme” weapons not usually seen in main-stream wrestling, and previously unused in wrestling at all. These weapons include, but are by no means limited to, nails, thumbtacks, fire and fluorescent light tubes. Barbed wire is also often used liberally in these matches, sometimes wrapped around other weapons, laid on the floor surrounding the ring, wrapped around the ring ropes or even replacing the ropes altogether.
Big Japan has feuded with both New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) and Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW). These were both kayfabe feuds that were done in order to generate more income for both companies. During late 1996 and early 1997, Big Japan entered into an agreement with New Japan. Being a relatively new promotion, BJW was in need of mainstream publicity. NJPW agreed to a feud, which would allow Big Japan wrestlers to appear in their company and use New Japan’s popularity to give exposure to their company. In return, Big Japan agreed to lose the feud and the majority of the inter-promotional matches, therefore strengthening the New Japan brand. The situation provided an interesting clash of wrestling styles, as NJPW often favored a “strong style” of competition. The biggest show featuring both companies occurred at the Tokyo Dome on January 4, 1997.
In the late 1990’s and into the 2000’s, Big Japan competed against Combat Zone Wrestling. CZW was a relatively new American promotion at the time, and also largely focused on an extreme style of wrestling. Wrestlers feuded in both companies having matches in the United States and Japan. During the CZW feud top star Tomoaki Honma departed the company to become a freelancer (he is now with New Japan). BJW faced CHIKARA in The Global Gauntlet, winning the best of 5 series on night one, but narrowly losing the Global Gauntlet match on night 2. Big Japan also participated in CHIKARA’s annual KING OF TRIOS tournament in April 2010.
BJW prides itself on being fan friendly. Furthermore, BJW gives back to society by holding both wrestling and other special events at nursing homes, schools, and various places in the community. They also still co-promote sometimes with other promotions (most notably a New Year’s Eve 2009 show with K-DOJO and DDT), including joshi promotions (usually with Mayumi Ozaki’s OZ Academy).
Big Japan also promotes shows under a sub-label called “DAINICHI DASH” or “D-DASH”. These shows focus exclusively on normal wrestling matches, no hardcore/death matches or the like. They are co-promoted with Yokohama Pro, a small indy based in Yokohama, and are held once a month.
The promotion celebrated it’s 15th anniversary in May 2010.
Big Japan currently has 2 active titles: Death Match Heavyweight and Tag Team. 4 other titles they once promoted are now defunct/inactive/retired. They also run a tag team tournament each year.
Current active talent on roster:
Abdullah Kobayashi (Note: This is NOT Abdullah The Butcher)
Men’s Teioh (Independent/Freelancer, competes primarily in Big Japan)
Yuji Okabayashi (Inactive-injured)
Mammoth Sasaki (Freedoms, regular participation in BJW)
Takashi Sasaki (Freedoms, regular participation in BJW)
Jun Kasai (Freedoms, regular participation in BJW)
The Winger (Freedoms)
Kyoko Kimura (female, mainly competes in joshi promotions)
Yuko Miyamoto (Independent/Freelancer, regular participation in BJW)
Isami Kodaka (Union Pro/DDT, regular participation in BJW)
Craig (gaijin) (competes in USA as Craig Classic)
Yuji Shindo (ring announcer)
Eiji Tosaka (referee/commentator)
Nikkan Lee (referee)
The promotion’s official websites can be accessed via the following URLs:
http://www.bjw-usa.com/ (English) (Note: Rarely updated)