SECAUCUS, NJ – Even though I’m a big Grateful Dead fan, I’ve never fully embraced the Dead-head lifestyle. Notably, I’ve never done any form of psychedelic drug. As a result, I’ve never had strange visions of life-sized anthromorphic creatures running around the city, as some of the cliché “trips” go. And now, having seen a live Kaiju Big Battel pro wrestling show, put on as part of this weekend’s WrestleCon convention, I never have to.
A brief primer on Kaiju Big Battel (KBB) – the show is presented by the entertainment group Studio Kaiju, and is a blended parody of professional wrestling and Japanese monster movies. The basic premise is that Japanese monsters compete in a wrestling ring for supremacy. The ring is filled with cardboard and foam “buildings” that the “giant” monsters — wrestlers and performers in outlandish monster costumes — destroy during their fights.
Suffice to say, this was the most bizarre wrestling show I’ve ever seen. It’s hard to explain in any rationale way what happened, other than to say that it’s exactly as I described it above. Over the course of the night, seven battles took place at the Meadowlands Expo Center in Secaucus, New Jersey, pitting “good” monsters against the “evil” monsters, led by the nefarious Dr. Cube. Cube, for reference, is a humanoid wrestler with a solid white cube with a painted-on face for a head who wears doctor’s scrubs.
According to the narrative — provided by the host, a Russell Brand-looking character who set up each match under the premise of hosting a late night TV talk show — Cube will do whatever he can to wrest the KBB championship from the current champion American Beetle (a large beetle who dresses in red, white and blue).
In each segment of the show, the host would set up a typical late night talk show trope — like the reading of viewer mail, a Top 10 list, or a number by a musical guest — and in doing so, would provide some background story for a match that would fall out of the segment. Then, the monsters would fight it out in the ring, in generally humourous styles, while dance music played in the background and Russell Brand would provide running commentary.
A typical segment would last about 20-30 minutes or so from start to finish, and include a match. The matches, played for comedy, would typically consist of a few very basic moves, a finishing move, and an overbooked finishing sequence.
To be fair, though, it would be unfair to criticize the performers for their limited move sets, as it can’t be easy to wrestle in the oversized and bulky costumes they are in. Further, no point in criticizing the booking, because the fans didn’t seem to care about whether the match had proper psychology is employed, or the outcome of the match.
No, for the most part, the fans were there just to have a good time, evidenced by their fully embracing goofy characters like: Pedro and Paco, two Mexican vegetable plants; Dusto Bunny, a ratty looking rabbit character; and French Toast, who is really a giant waffle. The crowd was raucous for this show, chanting “Yes! Yes! Yes!” for the heroes, booing the villains — especially Cube and his multiple minions — from opening bell to closing bell.
Even after one of the worst finishes to a main event ever — the match was thrown out when the title belt was stolen out of the host’s hands when the lights went out during a match between Beetle and Dr. Mask’s entire entourage, who Beetle had to face in a gauntlet — most of the fans were buzzing about the show, and headed to the merch stand to get some DVDs, t-shirts, or have their picture taken with French Toast.
Overall, KBB was a crazy, sometimes confusing, but generally a fun event. Or, as the Grateful Dead might have put it: What a long, strange trip it’s been.
Note, these results were written as the events unfolded, and are simply a description of what I saw during the event. I have made no attempt to confirm the accuracy of the names of the characters, or otherwise make sense of things. This, I feel, is the best way to give readers a glimpse of what it was like to see the show in person.
Late Fight with Kaiju Big Battel
The ring is filled with cardboard and foam buildings about a foot to two feet high. People in overalls and construction helmets circle the ring for some reason.
1) The Russell-Brand-looking ring announcer tells us that Space Bug is mad that he was left off of the show. Bug was invited to come into ring and comment. Instead, he loses it and destroys all of the buildings in the ring. A giant pea pod named Pedro came in and they fought. Then two other creatures came in and attacked the pea pod. Meanwhile techno music played and the ring announcer did running commentary. Then during this heinous 3-on-1 attack, a time out was called so a Fed Ex delivery guy could drop off a package and Pedro the pea pod could sign for it. After he did, they attacked him again. But then a second pea pod came out for the save. Paco is his name according to Brand. But the numbers game was too much for them, and they bad guys hit a triple powerbomb, a la The Shield, and won.
The ring announcer then did a Top 10 List as to why Dr. Cube was bad for the Universe. One was that he had bad personal hygiene. Another was that he was friends with Fandango. During this, the construction guys replaced the buildings that were destroyed.
2) Dr. Cube and a green turtle or something came out to either defend his honour, or to confirm his villainous ways, it’s hard to know since his head is a neutral-faced cube. Cube said he wished the crowd would die of the flu, so I guess he’s a bad guy. Meantime a pink creature with a blue Mohawk came out. Dr. Cube introduced his new weapon, and a spiked strawberry with a bandage-wrapped head came out. Cube unwrapped the new creature and it was a blue checkered head underneath there. Cube put out an open challenge. And the Gambling Bug came out. Blue Cube and Gambling Bug fought in a newly-constructed building landscape. Blue Cube hit a clothesline and then rolled onto his opponent. He avoided a superkick and then hit an F-5 for the win.
3) It was then time for Dr. Cube’s minions’ Stupid Minion Tricks segment. The first minion, a skinny guy in a nurse outfit and a green Leatherface mask air guitared with a bazouki to boos from the crowd. The second one came out with a few others and he pummeled them with a cardboard sledge hammer. It was too close to call so out came the special judge for the show, a ratty-looking Dusto Bunny. The bunny slammed one minion, and then Hack and Slash, Dr. Cube’s major minions came out and attacked Dusto Bunny. Crowd knew what was going on and loved it. Then a tentacled wood stove came in for the save. “Yes!” chants. But the super minions fought back and hit a tag team cutter on Bunny, flattening a big highrise in the process.
4) Time for a Great Carnac segment. Lame jokes ensued.
5) Kung Fu Chicken Noodle, who’s a giant can of soup with legs, has had his problems with the Iron Brothers who have questioned the parentage of KFCN’s baby, who the prophecy has foretold will be the greatest Kaiju ever. One of the Iron Brothers came out and they fought. When KFCN got the better hand in the fight, two new Iron Brothers came out and attacked KFCN. Russell Brand got the crowd to chant “Chicken Noodle” and he powered up. But only temporarily. Kung Fu went for a flying legdrop but got his foot caught in a bear trap which I think was one of the Iron Brothers’ heads. He fought out of it, though, and after using a rubber chicken as a weapon, he barrelled through the Iron Brothers for the win. But the Iron Brothers would have the last laugh, as they kidnapped KFCN’s baby.
6) Viewer Mail segment. This was to set up a story about a sea monster’s having stolen someone’s magic hammer. The monster, Psychoctopus, came out with the hammer. Who would return the hammer to its rightful owner? Out came French Toast, a giant waffle. Unfortunately for him, he got flattened like a pancake with the hammer. So out came some blue gladiator and he took down Psychotoctopus. But before he could mete out justice, Psychoctopus low-blowed him, and then ran away with the hammer.
7) The referee was the musical guest and was playing a song on his cardboard keyboard, when Dr. Cube and his entire entourage came out. Russell Brand-dude assumed that he wanted a title shot against American Beetle, and out came the champ. He fought off a minion, then Toubil, a hybrid between a toucan and a gerbil. Then a blue insect. And then a gauntlet of assorted monsters. After he dispatched the evil clawed monster named Thirteen, Beetle walked into a clothesline from the turtle creature. This left him prone to be covered by Dr. Cube, but he kicked out! Then Cube hit a brain buster on top of a building. But only for two! “Let’s go Beetle! USA!” chants now. Double clothesline had both down. Then the lights went out. When they turned back on, both men were still down. Russell Brand-guy noted with shock that the title belt that he had been holding had been stolen in the dark. And then wished everyone goodnight, leaving the mystery unsolved and the match unfinished.
- Aug. 16, 2020: Behind the Gimmick Table: Kaiju Big Battel makes it on merch
Bob Kapur is nearly fully recovered from his food poisoning. Unfortunately, he had to miss the TNA Wrestling show earlier today because he was still sick. But will be toughing it out over the next couple of days. E-mail him your Get Well cards at [email protected].