Hustle (aka Fighting Opera Hustle) was a promotion that emphasized the sports entertainment aspect of wrestling over actual wrestling. These days the promotion’s primary storylines revolved around the good guys-the New Generation Hustle Army, led by Magnum TOKYO & Bono-kun (Akebono), defending Hustle against the bad guys-the Takada Monster Army, led by Nobuhiko Takada and Toshiaki Kawada (yes, that Toshiaki Kawada). And there were a handful of “Hustle Kamen” as well. Many notable puro and joshi wrestlers and even MMA fighters are listed as Hustle alumni (there are just too many to list), and on occasion there even were appearances by Japanese gravure (bikini) idols Eiko Koike (who is married to Hustle star Wataru Sakata) and Hitomi Kaikawa as well as other idols, actors, musicians, and even frogs-yes, frogs. Specifically the main character of the very popular anime/manga “Keroro Gunso”, which has been released in the US in English as “Sgt. Frog” (it’s extremely funny). Hence a legit walking, fighting frog.
Hustle shut down for good in December 2009 after 6 1/2 years amidst reports the promotion was in deep financial trouble. Some of the talent formed a new promotion called SMASH.
Talent formerly based in promotion:
Punch The C (Kentaro Shiga)
Abdullah The Butcher
Tiger Jeet Singh
The Esperanza (Nobuhiko Takada)
Hustle Kamens Blue, Yellow, Red, Green, Pink, Kin & Gin
There are also countless other wrestlers who made at least occasional appearances.
The promotion’s official website (in Japanese) can be accessed via the following URL: