In the earliest stages of my pro wrestling career, my primary focus was strictly on getter better. This mostly meant securing more matches and getting more training. This went fairly well until it was pretty obvious to me that I was improving with each and every outing. It was at this time when I had to take a look at the dreaded thing they call “the bigger picture.”
Wrestling makes what most people consider to be a “real life” quite difficult. How do you work a Monday-to-Friday, 9-to-5 job when you constantly need to leave town for anywhere from two to five days or more at a time? Perhaps you have a spouse or significant other that works a more traditional schedule that means the only time they are free is on weekends – when you are away wearing spandex pants?
And what about the likelihood of being successful? Being 5’10” and 180 lbs., what are the odds I’d be headlining a WWE pay-per-view event against Sycho Sid for big bucks anytime soon? And with my awful genetics?
So, being somewhat of a student of the game, and following international wrestling quite closely at the time, it was apparently that my best chances were in pursuing a career in either Mexico or Japan, where smaller, more technical and athletic wrestlers were judged more on ability than how good they looked with a handlebar moustache, skullet, and a bandanna.
Sadly, in the mid-1990’s, the Mexican economy took a huge hit. Before that, guys like Art Barr had torn the scene wide open after being all but blacklisted in the U.S. and were making boatloads of dinero. Gringos were making six figures, living like rock stars, and making enough that they didn’t even have to stay in the country because they had the money to fly in and out on a whim.
That ended literally overnight when the peso crumbled. Sure, you were paid the same, but the value of that figure what what was different.
Japan was still a viable option until pretty much the early 2000’s. Wrestlers like Steve Corino were able to enjoy prolonged success there during and since, but they were really the exception not the rule. The days of US or Canadian wrestlers making a comfortable living but doing multiple tours a year and supplementing it with cherry-picked indy dates were over. This was due to a changing wrestling landscape in Japan, as well as the further growth and influence of Mixed martial Arts.
For a time, it seemed like I had a legitimate shot at Japan. There were several things about competing in Japan that excited me. The travel. The money. The possibility of using the considerable Adam charm to get the fans to like me, forcing the higher-ups to have no choice but to make me a regular due to my crowd-pleasing antics. Sadly, for me, various political issues and financial restraints intervened.
But perhaps the greatest potential thrill for me about maybe wrestling in Japan probably seems downright ridiculous. Entrance music.
Now, generally speaking, on the indy level, most wrestlers pick their own music. Sometimes that’s good. Sometimes it’s very bad. Sometimes the promoter picks it out. Depending on how up with popular culture they are, that can also be either good or bad (can you see Steve Austin entering the ring to “Walk Like a Man”).
For some reason, Japanese wrestling entrance music is a genre all of it’s own. It’s downright awesome. Mick Foley, in his book “Have a Nice Day” even makes note of the Japanese wrestling scene having a knack for picking out fantastic entrance music.
Below are a few of my favorites, by way of You Tube. Who knows what Adam Firestorm or El Antorcha might have used?
JUSHIN “THUNDER” LIGER