Mário asks: Looking to get more friends into wrestling/MMA and want to show them stuff outside of the WWE. Are there any matches from Pancrase you’d recommend? Cheers.
The official Pancrase YouTube channel has the very first Pancrase event free to watch as a playlist of matches, featuring founders Masakatsu Funaki and Minoru Suzuki in action, as well as Bas Rutten, Ken Shamrock and others.It also has a series of other playlists including the first King of Pancrase tournament from 1994.
The matches between Frank Shamrock and Bas Rutten are legendary, and even the one sided drubbing Rutten dealt against Jason DeLucia is entertaining – particularly if you can find the videos where Bas has recorded audio commentary over the top.
Later era matches involving Josh Barnett going on to win his own Openweight King of Pancrase title are also worth watching, and a particular highlight are the Genki Sudo matches where you can watch him in his formative stages of becoming the ‘Neo Samurai’.
Perhaps the most mind blowing submission in the history of MMA – a Giant Swing into an Achilles Lock! 🤯
Genki Sudo vs Craig Oxley from Pancrase; Trans 7. pic.twitter.com/2jep2XSkvy
— Catch Wrestling U – #BlackLivesMatter #SpeakingOut (@CatchWrestling) July 7, 2019
ChrisHarvey asks: Is there room for entirely Shoot or Catch Wrestling matches within a mostly scripted Pro Wrestling federation, or would it necessitate telling the audience “Now unlike the other stuff we’ve been doing, this following contest is real and unscripted, please forget this when it’s time for the next match after this”?
It may be too complicated trying to mix in Shoot / Catch Wrestling matches into a worked Pro Wrestling promotion especially if that promotion is your fairly typical modern working style. There might be options for the sport of Catch Wrestling to request working singular exhibition dark match with certain promotions to help reach and growth, but otherwise have no direct part of the promotion that is hosting them. That way outcomes of Shoot matches have no bearing on long term booking, although promoters may be hesitant to have any of their regular featured workers taking part in Shoots at the same time.
Shoot-Style worked matches on the other hand are doable. Tetsujin were able to team with I believe This Is Progress wrestling in the UK to put on their Beauty In Combat events by piggybacking venue use. wXw has a yearly Ambition event that differs from their regular cards. The success of GCW’s Bloodsport has shown there is an audience for this style, as well as those who are fondly re-watching UWF and UWFi. That audience is still very niche though.
No one has yet cracked the code of putting on regular, successful Catch Wrestling events and a lot of that is due to political in-fighting, competency and finance issues. It is sad but does seem to be the the status the sport of Catch Wrestling continually finds itself in.