Anyways, back to Wrestlekingdom. At the Tokyo Dome. The entire event was a trip all in all. The Japanese crowd might not be as vocal and emotive, but what they might seemingly be lacking in “giving back” to the performers via their outward expressions, some might argue that they actually fuel them with their intense focus, respect, and passion for their art form. While US fans will start random chants, and singing theme songs and start noun sing beach balls around an arena when they aren’t into something, the Japanese fans are ALWAYS focused and attentive on what’s going on in the ring. And that’s got to be a big boost to the performers in it’s own right. In the US it almost feels as sometimes the in ring action is an afterthought, and that the fans are just creating fun amongst themselves, but in Japan all focus is on the ring. And after I while I got that and fed into it. And in a way, that’s very thoughtful since these guys are doing such crazy moves that they are literally taking their lives into their own hands each and every time they step into the ring. So let’s show them a little god damn respect.
The matches went on for about 4 and a half hours total, and the highlights were the opener and then the last tow headline matches, but once I realized that the matches would end around 9pm, I told Rich to be ready at the final bell to hit the road and get out of the stadium as soon as the bell rang, because I had a plan for our second round of the night.
It probably comes as no surprise to anyone reading this that I love to squeeze as much action as I can into a single night. I’ve been described as an “event addict” which is totally true. Show me an interesting event and Im down. Especially if Ive never been. I’ve come to posit that I’ve likely attended more different types of events at Madison Square Garden than anybody else who wasn’t working there. That will probably have to become a post of its own his year. But do you know anyone else who has been to MSG for NBA, WBNA, College Basketball, Harlem Globetrotters, And 1 Mix Tape Tour, NHL, Professional Wrestling, Sumo Wrestling, Bull Riding AND the Westminster Dog Show? That doesn’t even begin to count all the concerts, tennis matches, haunted houses, UFC Fights, motorcycle races and monster truck rallys Ive been to there. And that’s not even all. Like I said, show me a crazy event, and I’ll try it out, at least once.
So of course, if there was a chance to jam some more excitement into a night in Tokyo, you know I was gonna squeeze that lemon til the juice splashed all over my sashimi!
Enter the ROBOT RESTAURANT! This might quite be my favorite place int he whole world, and easily the most insane thing I did on my last visit to Tokyo. And for this trip, I wanted to make sure I did it again. But when I got to Tokyo I found out they were closed for the XMAS and NYE season, which is a weird time for a huge tourist spot to close, but they were… and I was gutted. BUT they had 4 shows on January 4th, though the last show was at 9:45pm, and since the main wrestling card started at 5pm, and the fact that it’s not at all rare for NJPW matches to have main events and co main events that both last close to an hour, I wasn’t sure we would be able to make it.
But once I knew there was a shot, I made sure we both split as soon as the final bell rang, and rocketed right out to the subway line for a straight shot to Shinjuku! Shinjuku is two neighborhoods in Tokyo (and there are probably lots more) that feel like Times Square meets Blade Runner with a dystopian Pikachukian sheen. Totally dang BANANAS. Coming top out of the subway was a sensory explosion of skyscrapers, neon, video screen, flashing lights and more people than you could shake a chop-chop-stick at!
Godzilla and the Leopard hot the streets a running and made a mad dash for the Robot Restaurant. When we got there we were told the show was sold out, and that we could make arrangements to come back another night, but we weren’t having it. This was OUR NIGHT dammit, and as it turns out, was really the ONLY NIGHT as Godzilla Richie was leaving the next night, and I was determined to share this madness with him. This was, after all, his birthday present from me. Well the wrestling matches were his gift anyway, but damn if I’m not gonna go down swinging to extend a part, especially when it involves a friend. We wouldn’t take no for an answer, and finally pestered thew until they decided to find a couple of seats for us.
Before we went in, we got some pics taken out front in the laps of super huge amazon Robot women. There were certainly no shortage of folks in the street willing to grab our camera and take the pic for us, and tons of other folks started snapping their own pics. Man, I figured we wouldn’t even cause a blip running around town in our wacky getups, but boy was I wrong.
Both native Tokyoans, and those who visit Japan, really need to step their game up. Or, maybe, just maybe, I should consider toning mine down? Hahahahahahah NEVER!!!!!
We were cutting quite the scene out there in the streets on Shinjuku, and that’s really saying something. But it was time to exit the streets and enter the Robot Restaurant. Down into the psychedelic rabbit hole into the belly of the beast. For the most Japan thing that Japan could ever produce. Ladies and gentleman, tomorrow’s installment will be 100% focused on the insanity that is the Robot Restaurant. But for today, here’s a little taste via the pic we took outside in the laps of the Robot ladies…