In 2015, I got a message from Tajiri, now in an office roll with Wrestle-1, asking if I was still interested to come to Japan and of course I said yes! The Dojo was amazing, filled with pictures and figures of The Great Muta from top to bottom. Hiroshi Yamato was running the classes there and man is he a conditioning machine! In a humid dojo during summertime, a 3 hour session of squats, pushups, and track runs definitely got you in shape. My debut was 3 days later and out of all places, it was at the historic Korakuen Hall. Korakuen is attached to the Tokyo Dome and has such a rich history of professional wrestling within that building. I was in the opening match, a six man tag, and walked out victorious. The main event had Muta, Tajiri, & The Great Kabuki all on one team so Korakuen was packed. I was in heaven for my 6 month stay, and had the honor to work with and train with legends such as Muta, Kaz Hayashi, Funaki, Minoru Tanaka and more. And not just that, but they included me in everything from meals, sponsorship opportunities, to dojo shenanigans. It was undoubtedly one of the best experiences of my life.
The finale of 2015 unfortunately saw the end of my home promotion, 2CW. After 10 years of running shows, I think the promoter was just burnt out with it and did one final free iPPV to close it out. And on that show, I had one of my biggest matches to date, teaming with Pepper Parks & Sean Carr against The Young Bucks & AJ Styles to open the show. The match was off the hook, and we got a great sendoff for our final match in 2CW, and then got to sit back and watch the show. It was fun, but sad as it came to a close. Everyone was in the ring, saying our goodbyes, which is a lasting memory for me.
As 2015 closed and 2016 rolled in, I had my pal Yusuke Kodama living with me and touring the USA. I was stoked he got to experience not only USA wrestling again, but the holidays here like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years with me and my family. He built up quite a following here and it’s well deserved as he’s a phenomenal performer. We even did some extra work for WWE on Smackdown together. Kodak went back to Japan in February and not even a month later, Wrestle-1 sent me a message about coming back. Most people were going for a week or two and then coming back, but I prefer to lump my weeks together into a long tour. I love being able to go and escape things here at home for 2-3 months and live abroad in Japan. It was also mentioned to me that my big match set on that tour would be against my pal, Kodama for the W1 Cruiserweight Title at Korakuen Hall!
The reunion with everyone was pure joy! I hadn’t seen those guys in months and it was great to be back. Then came the match with Kodama, which was pure magic. I lost that match after being KO’d by a forearm, however after the match I truly felt I had gained the respect of the fans at W1. I finished out my long excursion in Japan and it was back home again. That’s when I had seen a company picking up some steam called Limitless Wrestling.
I went back to work for Beyond when I got home, having solid outings with Jonathan Gresham, Tracy Williams, and others. I asked some guys about Limitless and was pointed in the direction of the promoter. I had a chat and expressed my interest in coming in and wanting the challenge of working some of the best in wrestling, especially some of the up and coming guys within Limitless I hadn’t had the chance to lock horns with yet. So it was set, I would debut in March of 2017 against Anthony Henry. We went at it tooth and nail and I felt like being here was a new challenge in wrestling, and I needed to keep evolving. At their next show, I wrestled Chris Dickinson for the first time, which was a classic hold-for-hold, stiff striking battle. I picked up the victory with the Shining Wizard, an ode to The Great Muta. Soon after my first victory in Limitless, I was off to Japan again for Wrestle-1 for a long tour. And this time, the fantasy truly became a reality..
Upon my arrival, I received another title opportunity. Not a singles title, but a match for the UWA World 6 Man Tag Team Titles, which Wrestle-1 brought back into the fold from the Dragon Gate days. It was a throw together team of myself, Kumagoro, and Jiro Ikeman Kuroshio vs. Manabu Soya, Shuji Kondo, and Kaz Hayashi. 2,000 fans saw us pull off a massive upset defeating them and becoming the new champs! My dream was always Japan but to hold a title out there was out of my wildest dreams! We lost them on my final week of the tour, but what a ride that tour was. I made some great friends over there throughout my time, and being there really motivated me to get things moving in the states. Especially winning those tag team titles, it got me thinking..
Tag team wrestling is at its peak right now, especially in the Northeast with teams like EYFBO, The American Destroyers, The Doom Patrol and more. Maybe that’s the new avenue I need to chase. I’ve never really had a consistent tag partner here, or won tag team gold here. Winning those UWA 6 Man Titles in Japan have really sparked a new flame in myself to evolve my style, and take on new things. So at the next Limitless show, I’m diving in to the crazy tag team scene, and I’ve found myself a partner. I truly believe we can take Limitless and New England by storm, and walk out NUMBER 1..