MONSTER WRESTLING - Kaiju Big Battel
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 Homes 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.
Its more of a performance than anything else
spectacle, said David Borden, Kaijus manager
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 years attendance and a growing
fan base, the group is anticipating their second New York
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. Hes 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, Kaijus 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.
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 plan is to turn Kaiju into a serious business
and were 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 Bostons
School of the Museum of Fine Arts. The kids, Bordens
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 Bostons
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 dont care that its ironic,
Slater said. People in Cannibal Corpse t-shirts and
real mullets, not fashion mullets. They were so amped for
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. Cubes next opponent The Rock.
Kaiju on the Web: