Hustle (professional wrestling)

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Hustle
Acronym Hustle
Founded 2004
Style Fighting Opera
Founder(s) Nobuhiko Takada
Owner(s) Hustle Entertainment

Hustle (ハッスル Hassuru?) is a Japanese professional wrestling promotion managed by Nobuhiko Takada. Hustle can be described as an industry experiment to market the sports entertainment style of professional wrestling in Japan.

History[edit]

Booked primarily by Nobuhiko Takada and Yuji Shimada, the promotion’s basic premise pits the babyface, or good guy, Hustle faction whose goal is to “defend the industry”, against Generalissimo Takada’s heel, or bad guy, Monster Faction, whose mission is to destroy the sport. Unlike the traditional puroresu, the company emphasizes melodrama and caricatures over realism and athleticism. The group once maintained a close affiliation with mixed martial arts promoters PRIDE Fighting Championships when both were owned by Dream Stage Entertainment, or DSE.

Fans in the U.S. consider HUSTLE to be an answer to Takada's original wrestling style, the serious shoot style, having lost its popularity in Japan as a result of the UWFi vs. New Japan Pro Wrestling feud and the rise of Pride and K-1.

As of 04/24/07, Hustle's ownership group (made up of former DSE employees) became "Hustle Entertainment" and former Kami no Puroresu editor Noboru Yamaguchi (who was part of the original Hustle brain trust) became President of the new organization. The group is still running their business at the old Dream Stage Entertainment offices, which became the PRIDE Worldwide Holding offices.

Earlier in 2007, Hustle ran a storyline where General Takada bought out Hustle for 1 billion Monster dollars and that everyone within the Hustle army became part of the Takada Monster Army. Some wrestlers received new gimmicks, like Naoya Ogawa turning into "Celeb" Ogawa, where he acted like a celebrity. The storyline was in response to DSE's bleak future due to financial troubles caused by yakuza scandals; DSE would eventually close doors after Pride Fighting Championships was officially bought out by Zuffa (the organization that owns UFC).

In July 2009, the leader of the Monster Army, Generalissimo Takada was "killed" when a new enemy by the name of "King RIKI" (played by actor/singer Riki Takeuchi) showed up at the "HUSTLE AID 2009" event and repelled one of Takada's lasers, sending it back towards him and wounding him. The following show the Monster Army was disbanded, as the direction of the company started to change.

In August 2009, President Noburo Yamaguchi stated that Hustle would be entering a new era. Straying away from the over the top storylines & gimmick-oriented "Fighting Opera" style that made them popular, to a more traditional wrestling "Professional Fighting" style.

Hustle president Nobuo Yamaguchi announced on October 28 that the promotion was folding. He made the announcement that they were out of money, and could no longer pay the staff and the wrestlers. He said that the scheduled 10/29 show at Korakuen Hall was canceled, as are all the rest of the shows on the schedule. Since Nobuhiko Takada left the promotion as the top heel, interest had gone way down. Many of the shows were before small crowds, and most of those crowds were papered.[citation needed] While nobody would say so publicly, they were behind on paying a lot of the wrestlers, and the demise of the promotion has been expected for the last couple of months.[citation needed] Yamaguchi said his goal was to eventually bring the promotion back. Wataru Sakata still runs Hustle shows under the banner "HUSTLE Man's World", with wrestler @UEXIL as the main eventer; however, they're only run sporadically and at the small venue Shin-Kiba FIRST Ring (approx. 250 capacity), without television exposure and attendance figures not posted.

In the beginning of 2010 some of Hustle's biggest names announced that they would be forming a new promotion, Smash, intended to replace the dead promotion. Smash held its first show on March 26, 2010.[1] After a six month hiatus, Hustle held two shows on April 30 and May 30, 2010. After another four month break, the promotion held two more shows in October.[2]

Roster[edit]

Hustle Union Army[edit]

RIKI Army[edit]

Alumni[edit]

Hustle Kamen[edit]

Former championships[edit]

Championship Final champion(s)
Hustle Hardcore Hero Championship Tadao Yasuda
Hustle Super Tag Team Championship Team 3D
(Brother Ray and Brother Devon)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Byers, Ryan (2010-04-27). "Into the Indies 04.27.10: Hustle Gets SMASHed". 411Mania. Retrieved 2010-06-13. 
  2. ^ "Hustle Results: 2010". Purolove. Retrieved 2010-10-22. 

External links[edit]