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MONSTER WRESTLING - Kaiju Big Battel
Silver Potato comes down hard on Uchu Chu

Thought the wildest thing in wrestling was spandex, Chyna, or the not-so-subtle homoeroticism?

Think again. Think Kaiju Big Battel.

Come to a match and see Kung Fu Chicken Soup, a man-sized hatchet-wielding soup can, terrorize Club
Sandwich, a giant club-carrying sandwich. Watch Dr. Cube, a rouge medical student, heave his opponent out of the ring, onto a pile of bananas. Bear witness to this one-ring circus of fake blood, smashed model cities and stunts on June 7, at the Polish National Home’s Warsaw.

Kaiju, a Japanese-monster themed wrestling troupe, combines the absurdities of Japanimation with the meathead macho of WWF to create an act that is part professional wrestling, part sideshow and all mayhem.

“It’s more of a performance than anything else…a spectacle,” said David Borden, Kaiju’s manager and spokesperson.

Kaiju Interactive:

See the slideshow

Play Kaiju boxing
and Tetris


Watch the Video

The seven year-old troupe, started by a group of art-school kids, is based in Boston and has become somewhat of a phenomenon in the city—— regularly drawing standing-room only crowds of 1000 plus to area art schools, colleges and the odd warehouse party. And their recent efforts to branch out have been met with similar popularity. Their first show outside of Boston, a June 2001 Soundlab event in New York, was sold out.

Encouraged by last year’s attendance and a growing fan base, the group is anticipating their second New York performance.

“I think it'll be a fun show,” Borden said. “I'm looking forward to it.”

Kaiju, Japanese for “mysterious beast,” consists of a cast of about 40 monsters, each an intentionally awkward combination of anime character and American action hero. Their matches often include a music act (Piebald, Les Savy Fav and Kool Keith are among the past performers), but the crowds come for the wrestling. Chock full of stunts, Kaiju bouts are organized around intricate and ever-evolving plots. Each monster has a trading card and biography.

Dr. Cube is the arch villain and official badass of the clan. He’s a medical school dropout who wears a scrub suit and giant cube head, on which is drawn a permanent scowl. The best-known character, stickers with his logo can be seen pasted around Boston and, increasingly, in Brooklyn and on the Lower East Side.

Another main character is Sky Deviler. In language best suited for a poorly dubbed Godzilla move, his biography brags that his “special appetite skill combine with brain lentil size create the deadliest!”

However, Kaiju’s budget monster-movie aesthetic is merely a front—— behind the seemingly cheap thrills, the troupe is a serious business.

Each show takes months to prepare, planned by an all-volunteer staff. Given the detail-oriented nature of the task, there are a myriad of tasks to complete, from gathering props to updating the extensive website. Constructing the costumes is particularly labor-intensive. Several of them weigh up to 20 lbs. and cost thousands of dollars to build.

Sky Deviler

 

For Borden, 27, the team is a full-time job. He works 14 hours a day, six days a week on Kaiju-related business, such as promoting the group and developing new merchandise (panties with the Dr. Cube logo are among the items). Meanwhile, he lives “very meagerly” off credit cards.

The core staff consists of about eight, but swells to 30 or so by show time. Eventually, Borden predicts that some members will be able to draw a salary and that the group will be a self-sustaining enterprise. For now, all profits from merchandise and ticket sales, are invested back into the troupe.

“The plan is to turn Kaiju into a serious business and we’re about half way there,” he said.

The group has come a long way from their haphazard beginnings. Kaiju began in 1994 as a joke by two freshmen at Boston’s School of the Museum of Fine Arts. The kids, Borden’s older brother, Randy, and a friend, Jeff Warmouth, became inspired while surfing Japanese animation websites. At first they planned to make a monster movie, but dumped the idea in favor of holding a live performance at Boston’s Revolving Museum.

“We sucked then,” said Josh Slater, a Kaiju wrestler who lives in Brooklyn.

Before the sell-out crowds, before the legions of fans, Kaiju was a relatively modest and somewhat disorganized enterprise. In their early years, the group played smaller venues and had no plots behind the action. According to Slater, 22, the shows weren't much more than kids in monster costumes pummeling each other.

“We had some horrible shows,” he said. “Once we played at some shitty yuppie wine tasting. We were rolling around on this marble floor.”

Things started to turn around two years ago, when the team strengthened their business side and began to promote themselves more heavily. Eventually Kaiju hopes to tour, possibly to cities such as Philadelphia and Washington D.C.

Meanwhile, Kaiju continues to outgrow venue after venue and gather countless new fans. They have appeared on Canadian television and have spawned a newsgroup on Yahoo!

And in another sign of their success, Kaiju has attracted wrestling fans from the WWF crowd. They started showing up at matches last summer.

“They don’t care that it’s ironic,” Slater said. “People in Cannibal Corpse t-shirts and real mullets, not fashion mullets. They were so amped for the show.”

The Kaiju kids should take note. Rednecks certainly outnumber their current fan base of artsy 20-somethings. Perhaps an untapped market for Kaiju lies in the trailer parks of America.

Dr. Cube’s next opponent—— The Rock.

--Jessica Rosen

Kaiju on the Web:
www.kaiju.com




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