This week I’ve decided to look at a company from Japan that I haven’t done a review for before in the form of HUSTLE. For those not au fait, HUSTLE was a company ran by Dream Stage Entertainment and was a Japanese attempt at recreating a more WWE like product for the Japanese market. Rather than being Pro Wrestling, HUSTLE decided to market itself as “Fighting Opera” and it featured a lot of silly storylines and characters that the more serious promotions like Pro Wrestling NOAH or New Japan wouldn’t have included on their shows.
At first HUSTLE ran some pretty big venues and shelled out for some big name foreign wrestlers like Goldberg, Mick Foley, The Outsiders and Dusty Rhodes. However, the ticket sales were disappointing and they eventually decided to downsize a bit and run these smaller “HUSTLE House” events, where they featured fewer big names and filled the roster out with people from Shinya Hashimoto’s Zero-1 promotion. This was the first show of that type.
The big storyline centres around Nobuhiko Takada’s “Monster Army” heel group taking on the HUSTLE guys led by the likes of Hashimoto, Toshiaki Kawada and Naoya Ogawa. For some reason they decided to change Takada from being a serious shoot style worker in UWFi to a wacky general who spends the majority of his time dressed as M-Bison and taking part in odd backstage vignettes.
HUSTLE did eventually manage to cultivate somewhat of a fan base and this show apparently drew 2,200 people to Korakuen Hall, so as weird as this all was there was definitely an audience for it who dug seeing a strange WWE styled group, just not a big enough one to justify all the wild spending.
If you fancy watching this yourself then you can do so on YouTube by clicking HERE!
Let’s see how HUSTLE handles their first show in the smaller venue as we watch some chuffing wrestling!