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RISE Puroresu Magazine: Unbeatable MATSUDA Interview


Matsuda

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[The following interview takes place after a showing of NO LIMIT (零・リミト), the flagship program of the National Japanese Wrestling Association (NJWA). This particular showing would be last show in which Hideto Matsuda, more popularly known by his ring name Spider MATSUDA, would participate in--deciding to take his talents to the United States to build an international fan base. The interview is for RISE Puroresu Magazine based out of Osaka Prefecture, conducted by reporter Hitsuo Takeshi and has been translated for English speaking audiences.]

 

[Hide Matsuda enters the interviewing room, having just changed out of his ring attire and into his street clothes. He has a seat, physically and emotionally tired from his last match in NJWA. This interview is taken out of character.]

 

TAKESHI: I’m here with Matsuda Hide, formally of NJWA, who has just wrestled what may be his last match here in Japan. How do you feel right now Matsuda-san?

 

MATSUDA: Tired... excited... anxious. It’s a big mix of things--but wrestling in front of my fans here in Tokyo was fantastic as always.

 

TAKESHI: Yes indeed we are live from Tokyo, currently your place of residence. But you weren’t born here, correct? Tell me a little about where you come from and how you got here.

 

MATSUDA: Well I was born in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture. I was the first born of a pretty big family. My father was a fisherman, naturally that’s what I was trained in. I didn’t do much... I went to school... fished with my father [pauses] drank with my friends [laughs], it was pretty boring stuff.

 

TAKESHI: So then how did you go from the boring fisher boy Matsuda Hide to the mysterious, face painted Spider MATSUDA that we all know and love to watch?

 

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MATSUDA: Well when I was thirteen I joined my schools Judo club, and eventually I would join the schools amateur wrestling league. I participated in a few tournaments in Sendai. When I was sixteen, I was in a national tournament here in Tokyo. There were a bunch of talent scouts, Kamen Yoshiro, most importantly. I think at the time he was going by Thunder Dragon. He approached me and asked me if I was interested in Puroresu.

 

TAKESHI: Really, so Thunder Dragon brought you into the business? I assume he trained you as well, Matsuda-san?

 

MATSUDA: Surprisingly enough he didn’t. I traveled with him to the US and Canada during his international stints. I was little more than one of many bodyguard for him. I jobbed a few matches in the States, but eventually I got fed up and left him. I went South, to Mexico, where I had joined the famous ALL (Associatión del Lucha Libre) promotion and made a name for myself.

 

TAKESHI: And that is where you formed the faction Rizing Sun with fellow Japanese wrestlers Iwashita Kensu (Shiroi Tiger) and Gomi Kyouji (Young Dragon).

 

MATSUDA: Thats right, those guys are too of my best friends to this day.

 

TAKESHI: So you made your way to Mexico and began wrestling as Hide “Tsunami” Matsuda. Tell me about coming back to Japan.

 

MATSUDA: Mexico was great, and it will always be my second home, but after training with the best wrestlers in Mexico, I felt like it was time to go home. Plus, who had every heard of a Japanese wrestler who didn’t wrestle strong style? I had to learn it.

 

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TAKESHI: So where did you go first?

 

MATSUDA: I went straight to Thunder Dragon’s promotion, Dragon Pit. Surprisingly we didn’t have any problems after our issues in the States. He gave me a big push right away, he even gave me a big push right away. I quickly rose to the top, and eventually left that organization to join NJWA.

 

TAKESHI: NJWA, where you made a name for yourself here, wrestling in some legendary matched and legendary opponents. You’ve had some amazing accomplishments as Spider MATSUDA

 

MATSUDA: I have. Winning ten titles in NJWA and wrestling in some iconic matches has been quite an accomplishment. I’ve been fortunate to have a successful career thus far.

 

TAKESHI: As we all know by now, the next step of your career is to pursue fame in the United States of America. Matsuda-san, tell me about your thinking and your plans.

 

MATSUDA: As I’ve said I have had a very successful career--but I need to know that I can compete in the United States. My flights tomorrow and my first match will be in two weeks--I am nervous and excited.

 

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TAKESHI: You’ve gone by many names in your career, what gimmick are you planning on brining to the states? Will you continue to be the Spider in America?

 

MATSUDA: Apparently I’m supposed to be running with my success here in Japan. Unbeatable MATSUDA is what there calling me. Its a lot to live up to, but hopefully I’ll be able to live up to my namesake. I’ll keep the paint, though [laughs].

 

TAKESHI: What are you worried about going into the United States?

 

MATSUDA: Wrestlers in the United States are much different from the ones here in Japan. Here we are respectful behind the scenes, despite what goes on in the ring. Americans are much more aggressive, I’ll have to stay on my toes.

 

TAKESHI: How’s your English?

 

MATSUDA: [Laughs] My English? [Laughs again]

 

MATSUDA in English: My name is Hide Matsuda, my English is not so good [laughs].

 

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