ビーストマン:Gaijin Invades Japan

The first time that Wes Fetty stepped into a professional wrestling ring, he was an overzealous 15-year-old fan that got a little too riled up by the challenges of the villainous “Sweet” Stevie Lee at an obscure independent show in an even more obscure part of West Virginia. In just a few weeks, he will step foot inside a Japanese wrestling ring for a three-week tour under the Big Japan banner that will conclude at the world famous Korakuen Hall in Bunkyo, Tokyo.

“It’s happening, Jimmy! It’s really happening. Japan is here,” said an enthusiastic Fetty when I answered the phone at around 10:30 PM last week to discuss this story.

To say that Wes started from humble beginnings would be an understatement. A native of the small town of McMechen, West Virginia, a location with just over 1,700 residents as of the most recent census, Fetty’s international travels would’ve been a pipe dream until they became a reality in recent weeks.

“Going over there is the biggest opportunity of my twenty-year career and I plan to make the most of it. I’m going to show everyone in Japan and everyone here what The Beastman character can really do when its full speed,” explained Wes.

More than two decades have passed since Wes was the ninth grade kid that was willing to grapple with Stevie Lee, and in many respects, this trip overseas has twenty years of preparation behind it. When Wes started in 2006, he was just another youngster on the independent circuit that could barely lace his boots correctly. But, over the course of several years of dedication, including relocating to attend Jimmy Valiant’s wrestling school in 2010, Fetty transformed himself into one of the most colorful characters anywhere on the independent scene.

He developed The Beastman persona, complete with furry boots, giant animal bone, and a massive headpiece for his entrance with tusks connected to the skull. Underneath the elaborate gear is a big man with incredible agility for such a massive competitor. It’s not uncommon to see the furry boots fly through the air when The Beastman lands a cannonball in the corner or takes a dive through the ropes. “The Stone Age Savage” has competed in Major League Wrestling, Warrior Wrestling, and a myriad of other independent groups in several states. It’s not uncommon for his travels to take him to Chicago, Memphis, or Pittsburgh on any given weekend. There wasn’t a lightning in a bottle or fluke moment that got Fetty noticed. Instead, he built a steady reputation of the course of several years, putting in the work of consistent quality performances for a variety of organizations. Late-night travel and gas station food aren’t glamours, but were a part of the process to make it to the next level. Just this past weekend, after a stellar bout against “Shadow man” Eli for the Renegade Wrestling Alliance in West Newton, Pennsylvania, Wes was thankful that he could share a meal with some of his peers at an Apple Bee’s restaurant instead of a counter top at a roadside rest stop. Of course, as he finished his rare steak and thanked the staff, Fetty and friends were the last patrons to leave the establishment since late dinners are a part of the game for an independent wrestler. He got home around 1 AM that night, putting the gigantic skull head on the dining room table before he got some much-needed sleep. However, the sacrifices will pay off when he lands in Tokyo in just a few weeks.

The country of Japan has an extensive history of foreign monsters that have left an iconic mark on the industry there with names like Abdullah The Butcher, Bruiser Brody, Stan Hansen, Bob Sapp, and others. Wes Fetty’s brand of wild pro wrestling might be tailor-made for the scene of Japan.

As mentioned, when Fetty lands in Tokyo in early-July, he will compete for Big Japan Pro Wrestling, a pioneering death match organization that has a thirty-year history of mayhem behind it. Mitsuhiro Matsunaga, known as “Mr. Danger” carved a legacy during Big Japan’s early days and has a roadmap of scars on his forehead as a memento of his extensive career. Jun Kasai became a death match legend during his tenure in the organization with many highlights that are considered memorable moments from the death match genre. Today, grapplers like Abdullah Kobayashi, Jaki Numazawa, Ryuji Ito, Daisuke Sekimoto, and many others are staples of the more recent history of the organization. Big Japan touts its ability to bring together a mixture of death match performances with the traditional physical style that Japan in known for, which is something that Fetty thinks he can excel at during the tour.

“Japan is really the place for me, I think I can really showcase myself. I can brawl and fight, or I can exchange strikes. I’m very thankful for Big Japan’s faith in me to bring me over so I’m prepared for anything,” Fetty explained.

But, The Beastman isn’t coming to Tokyo alone, he will have the “Baka Gaijin” faction with him, led by death match icon, Madman Pondo. Pondo, who is a longtime veteran of the sport, became a legend in Japan for his wild and over-the-top matches that thrilled the Japanese audience. The Necro Butcher, who was featured in the 2008 feature film, “The Wrestler” alongside Mickey Rourke, is usually a tag partner of Pondo, but an unfortunate injury put him on the sidelines so Pondo recruited a few other wild Americans to join his stable in Japan. Dale Patricks, who made waves for several years on the death match scene, debuted for Big Japan earlier this year and looks to add another successful tour to his resume. Dr. Redacted, who has gone viral online on a few different occasions with his death-defying stunts, will also join the group for the series of events.

“Necro is a mentor to me, he helped me a lot early in my career and I owe a lot to him. I hope he gets well soon, and I hope I can do his group proud when we go over there. Pondo is a legend in Japan and for him to have faith in me, is huge for my confidence ahead of this tour. Dale Patricks showed the Japanese audience that he can go, and Dr. Redacted is probably something totally unique so I’m looking forward to working with all those guys,” Wes said.

So, with the announcement from Big Japan Pro Wrestling of his upcoming arrival, his plane scheduled to leave on July 6th, and his matches on the line-up, Wes Fetty will land in Japan as The Beastman. Not only will the dreamer from McMechen get to experience the culture of places like Sapporo, Hokkaido, and Abashiri, but the finale of his first tour in Japan will see him wrestle in Korakuen Hall, the same place that he watched matches from on grainy VHS tapes in his youth.

Wes Fetty went from the dreamer looking at Korakuen Hall through his television screen to the accomplished professional that will get the chance to perform in the historic building.

For more information about The Beastman, you can go to https://www.facebook.com/gfetty

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Until next week
-Jim LaMotta

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