When Judas Icarus sleeps, he dreams of violence.

Of stiff punches, flesh-ripping chops, blood dripping and bones snapping.

Those dreams manifest into a reality on Friday, March 24 when the Vancouver Island-raised wrestler steps into the ring at Nation Extreme Wrestling 12 inside the Commodore Ballroom with one of the most dangerous men in the sport today – Minoru Suzuki.

There is a possibility that those dreams quickly transform into a nightmare when the 24-year-old Icarus takes on a legend with 34 years of in-ring experience.

Icarus vs. Suzuki is the main event and it marks Suzuki’s first time ever competing in British Columbia and just his second match in Canada.

Judas Icarus pumping up the crowd. Credit: Kevin Free Photography

Icarus stated that this is a match he has been wishing for.

“That’s my absolute dream match,” he said, of his reaction after being told he would be taking on Suzuki. “It’s the most I could ever ask for.”

Icarus said watching Suzuki inspired him to get back into watching wrestling and ultimately take up training.

“I think it’s his mannerisms and the way he holds himself,” he said of Suzuki’s greatness. “He’s just an absolute bad, bad man.”

The 54-year-old Suzuki has terrorized the combat sports world for decades and is a former IWGP Intercontinental champion, two-time Triple Crown heavyweight champion with All Japan Pro Wrestling and was one of the founding fathers of Pancrase. Suzuki has had success in both the wrestling and mixed martial arts worlds.

But success hasn’t eluded Icarus either in his relatively young career, which began in 2016 after training under Vancouver Island’s Eddie Osbourne.

Less than a year in he captured the Pure Wrestling Association’s Pure Wrestling title, a championship he would win two more times. He also went on to win the Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling title in 2020 and earned the 365 Global Championship title in 2021.

Icarus with the 365 Championship. Credit: Darren Ho Media

Icarus and his hard-hitting style has attracted considerable attention from promotions all across Canada and the Pacific Northwest. He worked Oregon’s WCWC early into his career, has become a mainstay at Washington State’s DEFY and competed at Prestige, Without A Cause and recently Ontario’s Barrie Wrestling.

His positive buzz caught the eyes of All Elite Wrestling earlier this year and Icarus appeared on an episode of AEW Dark in Portland, Ore. Icarus teamed with B.C. product Sebastian Wolfe and Caleb Teninty to take on Matt Hardy, Ethan Page and Isiah Kassidy in a trios match. Despite losing, Icarus said it was a milestone in his career.

“It was insanely cool,” he said. “We didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into heading down – you just get whatever you get. But Matt Hardy was an awesome guy and just being able to get in there and touch him is a huge accomplishment. It was a huge learning experience for me.”

Judas Icarus AEW portrait. Credit: Sadiel Ruiz (@speedy.photo)

DEFY has become a home south of the border for Icarus and he hopes to be a big part of the promotion in 2023 and beyond. He won the Elimination Defy or Survive 10-Man match in Seattle on Jan. 31, 2020, and also competed at the 2019 Wrestle Summit, which featured talent from DEFY, PCW ULTRA and Progress.

More recently, Icarus has formed the Sinner and Saint tag team with talented Vancouver wrestler “Golden Boy” Travis Williams. He said the idea for the team was the brainchild of DEFY promoter Matt Farmer, as well as Icarus and Williams themselves.

“We’re pretty close friends outside of the ring and teaming with him it’s been easy to figure things out and what does and doesn’t work,” he said.

Icarus said there is something special about DEFY, especially working in a building like Seattle’s Washington Hall.

“It’s kind of like the Commodore Ballroom just a little bit smaller, but the same kind of noise,” he said. “There’s a constant hum across the building and it’s just a really cool feeling. I’ve been inside that building for some of the loudest reactions I’ve ever heard and as a wrestler that’s something you get addicted to. I’m really glad they want to keep bringing me out.”

Icarus also spoke highly of the new generation of wrestlers training at the Vancouver-based Lions Gate Dojo. He’s kept sharp after moving from Vancouver Island and training under Osbourne by sitting under the learning tree of LGD trainers Artemis Spencer, Billy Suede, Cat Power, Nicole Matthews and Tony Baroni. It was that group that created the foundation for NEW to thrive in the Vancouver scene and they are helping to build a new generation of stars.

Judas Icarus. Credit: Mark Steffens

Wrestlers like Icarus, Williams, Liiza Hall, Coco Flash, Re:Loaded and Elliot Tyler are quickly becoming the backbone of B.C. shows. Newer talent like Casey Ferreira and Maxwell Benson are some of the emerging talent coming out of LGD.

“The entire flock that the Lions Gate Dojo pushes out every time improved the quality of matches and overall cards so much,” he said. “I think you have to be at a certain level now to compete and just work with the other wrestlers here. Especially when people come from out of town, basically anyone they work now you know it will be a really cool match.”

Icarus’s run in NEW has seen some highs and lows, he’s been unable to capture the NEW title but has put on some of the best matches in the promotion’s one-and-a-half-year history. He came out of the first show with wins over Daniel Makabe and Williams, and also tore the house down in a spectacular 20-minute-plus battle with Vancouver legend and NJPW star El Phantasmo. ELP walked away with the win, but Icarus more than held his own and was praised in an impromptu promo after the match. Some may have considered it a passing of the torch.

“I still kind of knew him as this grand figure that moved away and came back,” Icarus said of ELP. “But I got to know a bit more before the match and it made it that much better. Knowing that he wanted to kill it and that he’s wishing the best for everybody in the PNW – I think we all really appreciated it.”

NEW co-promoter Rob Fai said that Icarus was the logical choice to pair up with Suzuki.

“When we bring in stars from abroad we try to pair them with someone who we feel can rise to that moment,” he said. “Judas brings such a unique energy into our ring every show and we just knew that he’d be ready for Minoru – not to mention I am certain he has a poster of him on his wall.”

Icarus flying through the air. Credit: Colin Smith Takes Pics

He also believes that this match will only make Icarus shine brighter.

“My hope for this match is that Suzuki helps bring out that one last gear within Judas’ ‘being’, he said. “I think he’s one of, if not the best pure talent right now in the PNW and getting a chance to measure yourself against Suzuki is everything. Minoru is detailed, methodical, and can tell a story with his eyes. I think this is the absolute perfect match for Icarus to stand face-to-face with a legend and learn as he makes his way through this match.”

Encounters with Suzuki can undoubtedly change a wrestler. This Friday will be a test for Icarus and his ability to survive all that Suzuki brings. It may cause him to crumble or level up into a bigger superstar.

But above all else, he hopes the Suzuki encounter is a dream battle in which he is able to wake up.

TOP PHOTO: Judas Icarus after winning the Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling title. Credit: Mitchell Shane Julian