Welcome back, one and all, to the Dark Match Dungeon! As always, this is the feature in which I rifle through the dustiest shelves of the internet in search of forgotten footage of today’s wrestling stars. I’m pretty sure they’ve been using asbestos back here, but I think today’s find was worth it! Now that we’ve finally seen the in-ring WWE debut of The Artists Formerly Known As Bullet Club, I figured today’s Dungeon should focus on Karl Anderson. Looking back through his early matches, I managed to find something of a two-for-one deal. In a match that pits headliners from WWE and Lucha Underground against each other, here’s Anderson taking on Joey Ryan.
What To Look For:
– The Inoki Dojo. Beginning in 2004, New Japan Pro Wrestling ran an American school in southern California. Aside from the training sessions, tryouts and small shows would also be held at the venue. Most of the events were held in the building you see here, located in Santa Monica. Fun Fact Number One: Recent NXT signee Mikey Nicholls was also on the card at this show. Fun Fact Number Two: I was born in Santa Monica.
– Language barriers. Anderson tries to call himself handsome in Spanish, but ends up using the feminine adjective. Shout-out to the lady in the front row who genuinely wanted to help him get it right.
– Speaking of audiences, there are… not a lot of people here. Much like the Finn Balor/Daniel Bryan clash we’ve featured here, I sincerely want to find these people and update them on the whereabouts of Karl and Joey.
– And while we’re on the topic of the audience, Shinsuke Nakamura is there! As pointed out in the video description provided by Joey Ryan himself, the King of Strong Style is in the crowd for this match. Look for him in a white T-shirt near the beginning of the match.
– More eye-based offense than I’ve ever seen in a professional wrestling match ever.
As the description details, this match took place on July 9, 2006. Anderson would wrestle his first matches for New Japan proper in 2008, making his debut in that year’s New Japan Cup tournament. Meanwhile, Ryan would become one of the faces of Pro Wrestling Guerrilla before eventually going deep (ha!) undercover for the LAPD at Dario Cueto’s temple. Let’s just hope he knows what he’s getting into. He says he can beat the dragon guy, but I don’t think he can beat the dragon guy. The dragon guy is best friends with a time-traveler, come on.