Monday, May 1, 2023

Review of Springtime for Kaiju in Tampa


Giant monsters invaded Tampa on April 29th, 2023. Good monsters took to the squared circle to take on bad monsters, led by the infamous Dr. Cube.

As a fan of pro wrestling and a fan of kaiju, I have wanted to see Kaiju Big Battel for years. The idea of Godzilla and Mothra-type monsters duking it out in a ring with buildings and other props at their feet absolutely intrigued me. Unfortunately, Kaiju Big Battel doesn't come to Florida very often. Last Saturday, it finally happened at the Orpheum in Tampa and I was there.

Typically, Kaiju Big Battel happens in a wrestling ring. I am not sure if they didn't have ring because of the rain or because they just didn't have a ring. I do know the roof of the Orpheum is too low for an indoor ring, especially if giant monsters are the combatants. So instead of a ring, barricades were erected to protect the crowd from the giant monsters. Of course, some giant monsters took their battle to the people and engaged in combat amidst the crowd. What a sight that was!

It is impossible not to have fun at a Kaiju Big Battel show. It is mostly-wholesome fun for the whole family. As you can see from the picture above, kids sat ringside and kids were involved as managers during the show. There was even a kid bell ringer. I wonder if Kaiju can be a gateway drug to human-based wrestling. Has anyone gone from rooting for giant monsters to rooting for John Cena?

My second observation is that Kaiju Big Battel is about story telling. Kaiju isn't technical wrestling. There is no Bryan Danielson versus William Regal catch wrestling. There are big monsters hitting each other. There are clear good guys and clear bad guys and they fight. No tweeners. No heel turns. No flip-flopping. The storylines are simple. While too many wrestling promotions complicate their shows with complex storylines, Kaiju keeps it simple. The simplicity makes it fun.

To the benefit of first-timers or casual fans, the announce team helps out by encouraging booing the bad monsters and cheering the good monsters. I enjoyed this and think other wrestling promotions, on and off our planet, could try to duplicate this concept. If wrestlers don't do a good enough job conveying their good or evil, the announce team can tell the crowd who to support and get chants started.

The props also make the matches fun. Cardboard boxes painted to be buildings, bottles labeled "Sleep medicine" and "NRG Drink", pillows, pool toys, and even a Pikachu doll were used in the monster battles. Imagination is important. Kaiju encourages the audience to let out the kid in them. Of course a pool float wouldn't be used in a battle between a giant mosquito and an intergalactic alien robot, but in the pit of doom, a pool float is not a pool float. In Kaiju Big Battel, a pool float is a weapon of mass destruction.

Overall, there were 6 or 7 matches in the two hour event. It depends if you want to count the main event as one match or two, as it turned into chaos and more monsters descended to the pit of doom and chaos broke out before the grand finale. For a niche extravaganza, there was a good crowd of 200 or so, which is not bad considering the bad weather and the other events going on around Tampa - music festivals, NHL playoffs, and several other concerts. But for those who value intergalactic, time-travelling conflicts between giant monsters, Kaiju Big Battel was the place to be.

I would definitely go to Kaiju Big Battel again. As they say, Monsters are real and Danger can happen!

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