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    Tuesday, April 5, 2016

    Cafe Puro (4/5/16): The In-Zayn Detour of El Generico in Japan

    Howdy ho, Henrinitos!

    Apologies if this week’s entry is going to be relatively short and sweet. This week has been an awesome week as a wrestling fan, with an NXT TakeOver that may very well be the year’s most exciting event, a WrestleMania that changed the game for women’s wrestling (shout out to those who attended the viewing at Skinny Mike’s!), and a Zayn vs. Nakamura dream match that has practically stolen Best Match honors in the eyes of the general wrestling audience this early in the year.

    So instead, since the weekend was practically owned by Sami Zayn thanks to his fantastic marathon from TakeOver to WrestleMania, completing his graduation to the main roster in the process, now is as good a time as any to look at a time in Japan for someone who allegedly has the same movesets and fight style of the Likeable One—El Generico.

    Union Pro Wrestling

    Once upon a time, there was a man who has the exact same wrestling style by the name of El Generico, who was one of the most popular wrestlers in the independent circuit.

    While he had his initial exposure to Japan in the form of Dragon Gate, it was only in the year 2011 when he started to compete mainly with Union Pro Wrestling, where he slowly became known as a man who had traveled the world and coming in already as an established star, a prototype for the one named Sami Zayn.

    His numerous matches in the promotion slowly built his reputation in the eyes of the Japanese wrestling audience, eventually earning his first championship win in Japan: the DDT Extreme Championship (a title that allows the champion to choose a stipulation of his choosing for title defenses), beating the wildly popular Isami Kodaka in the process. As a gaijin outsider holding a promotion’s belt, he found himself fighting against individuals who represented both DDT and Union, such as the powerhouse Shuji Ishikawa and DDT president Sanshiro Takagi. Kodaka would eventually reclaim the honor of Union by winning back the Extreme Championship from Generico in a hotly contested bout, winning with the Rasengan, a wheelbarrow driver, one year after his debut with the promotion.

    DDT Pro Wrestling

    Take note that around this time, he was also slowly competing for DDT Pro Wrestling as well, slowly making an impression in the parent promotion in the process. It was at this time that he not only helped made a star in a man with much potential by the name of Konosuke Takeshita, beating him in the company’s biggest show of the year at the Ryogoku (Sumo Hall) on both their debuts at the arena, but also rekindled his rivalry with a man many fans are familiar with by now: Kota Ibushi. 

    After Ibushi came back from a shoulder injury in 2012 (an unfortunate recurring theme in his stellar career), his first match was against Generico, who he already competed against years ago. Generico won his initial one-on-one bout, and would eventually beat him again, this time, for the KO-D Openweight Championship. And eventually, he would beat Ibushi for the third consecutive time, completing a trifecta of undefeated singles wins against DDT’s biggest star. 

    In an unexpected twist of fate, he would lose the championship to Ibushi’s eternal rival, Kenny Omega, in a hotly contested bout. Funny enough, it would be his final appearance in Japan before El Generico decided to hang up his boots to support the children in his orphanage. In a totally unrelated note, Sami Zayn would eventually make his debut with WWE under NXT, and cause all sorts of magic with Cesaro.

    A Sign of Things to Come?

    A few days ago, Kota Ibushi made his first ever appearance in WWE by showing up in NXT TakeOver: Dallas. In a very unexpected turn of events, he would personally witness a Match of the Year-worthy bout between two men who he never beat in singles competition: Shinsuke Nakamura and Sami Zayn. Could Ibushi finally avenge his losses against Generico and Nakamura under the WWE umbrella? Who knows?

    If you think about it, Generico’s time in Japan was relatively short and sweet, but during this time he made stars out of guys like Kodaka and Omega, both of these men making their marks in pro wrestling in their own little way. He helped secure DDT’s future with Takeshita, who’s been tearing up DDT’s ranks at a young age. It goes to show, once again, that wherever he went, magic followed, a theme that we would continue to see to this very day as Sami Zayn carries on his legacy.

    Do you think Zayn and Ibushi will ever meet up? Sound off in the comments!

    Images from respective owners


    Lance Tan Ong has been a banking guy for the past few years but a wrestling guy for most of his life. And after checking out matches of Mitsuharu Misawa and Shinya Hashimoto at an early age, he's also pretty much a puro guy as well. Currently checking out WWE (mostly NXT), NJPW, DDT, and other promotions that catch and demand attention. He currently handles NJPW news and coverage for Smark Henry.
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    Item Reviewed: Cafe Puro (4/5/16): The In-Zayn Detour of El Generico in Japan Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Lance Tan Ong
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