EGGSHELLS

Pro Wrestling in the Tokyo Dome

559 Participants.

576 Matches.

64 Events.

10 Promotions.

30 Years.

Eggshells tells the complete history of professional wrestling in Japan's greatest arena: the Tokyo Dome. Through historical sources and first hand personal accounts, Chris Charlton tells the complete story of every event in the building's three decades, and the promotions and people that made the Big Egg a wrestling institution.

EGGSHELLS to team with Minoru Suzuki's Anniversary Festival

 

On June 23 and 24th, Minoru Suzuki will host a free two day festival in Yokohama's Red Brick Warehouse to mark the 30th anniversary of his debut. We're proud and excited to have EGGSHELLS listed as one of the sponsors of the Great Pirate Festival!

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Granted ad spend isn't exactly a high priority, so it might take some scanning to find our logo on event posters, programs and at the venue itself, but we're there! Plus I'll be around for the festival itself, so find me and come say hi if you're in Yokohama this June. 

Event site (Japanese)

http://www.piledriver.jp/event/gp/

While progress is going strong with the book, a lot of it is hard to really show off. The layout for the Backer's Edition is now complete, and the Victor's Edition should hopefully be complete in a few days. After that, all we're waiting for is to put everybody's names in the acknowledgements. If you backed, please email the name you want to be listed under if you haven't already; otherwise, after the campaign ends, you'll be listed with the same user name you registered to Indiegogo with. 

Anyway, this week there really is something exciting to show off. Two things in fact. First of all, cover art is final! Showing is better than telling in this case, so here it is:

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Hopefully this will look pretty nice indeed on your bookshelves in a few months' time.

Also, in a fun departure from the art in the book, Matt was able to cook up some amazing comic book style 'clash of the titans' art. This kaiju style art work is the key art for some cool merchandise available now via Redbubble. If you're excited for the book's release that you want to wear it, or drink from it, sleep on it, use it to protect your phone, or even to tell the time, then hit up https://www.redbubble.com/people/shiningwizarddz/works/31174595-eggshells

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Some housekeeping first of all. We're getting very close to hitting the 10,000 USD mark, at which point work will start on the EGGSHELLS Audiobook. Thanks for continuing to spread the word about the project.

Recording will start soon on the EGGSHELLS podcast companion, and backers should get their first episode sometime in the next week. If you back at any tier, you'll be emailed a direct link to episodes. If for you backed the project and haven't received an email directly from me, there may be an issue with the email address I have on record for you, so please let me know.

In the meantime, this week we're going to take a look at how the art gets put into EGGSHELLS. Matt at Shining Wizard Designs wrote a walkthrough of his process putting together the last picture of the book, so over to him:

For the bulk of Eggshells, source for the illustrations used has been video captures of the live feed, choosing moments that stay with me as a viewer of the show and hopefully with you as readers of the book. For the special victor's edition, I've been afforded a bit more freedom to look for photographs and poses that best represent the wrestler at the time when they won their main events. As the final image for submission, I really want to include Suzuki with his arm raised in the Tokyo Dome as he was back on the 2nd of June 2017. Fingers crossed it turns out ok...

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Nearly a year and a half ago I drew the Tokyo Dome's exterior at the casual request of Chris as he embarked on writing his exhaustive, fascinating account of all the going's on in the Tokyo Dome's pro-wrestling history. The picture set my parallel project, to illustrate said goings on, in motion and it feels strange to be sat before the final picture to be submitted. It's not on the page yet, but it will be...

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For this project I've given everything a fine pencil skeleton, just to avoid too many horrible mistakes. I prefer to do everything in one take with ink,but I shan't deny how time saving a pencil outline has been. Always starting with the subjects right eye and building out...

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Then layering ink over the top, trying to add the depth required and hoping the subject is recoginizable...

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Finally adding an extra, subtle layer of shade with fine-ink wash pens, warm grey working best on skin...

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And a finished Suzuki in the Dome. This will now get scanned from a few different angles and passed on to Chris for him to choose the best for inclusion in Eggshells. This picture will then be sent to one of the wonderful supporters of the Indiegogo campaign who've backed at the appropriate tier. I can't overstate how incredibly appreciated the generous response to this project is, thank you so, so, much for pledging your hard earned money to this little book project. As one of only a few people to have read Eggshells from cover to cover, I promise you will not be disappointed by the story Chris has threaded so carefully together.

Weekend Update: Omakase, Podcasts, Dome Turns 30..

We're now ten days into the campaign, and while things have settled down somewhat, the contributions are still coming in at a greatly appreciated rate. We are just over 1000 USD away from being able to make an audiobook happen.

Since the last update on the campaign, I appeared on John Carroll's Wrestling Omakase podcast to discuss the book, the campaign, and Tokyo Dome history. It was a lot of fun to do, and the response from listeners has been great, too. If you haven't already, you can check out the show here.

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Doing Omakase made me realise how much I missed doing podcasts, which made me doubly happy to see that the Podcast Companion series has been funded. I've amassed a collection of guests, some nice new equipment thanks to the generosity of the backers, and we'll start recording sometime in the next few days. Jojo Remy, who some may remember from the closing days of Japanese Audio Wrestling on the LAW, will join me for a look at the two Tokyo Dome shows from 1989 to kick things off. 

The podcast will be a backer exclusive until the book is ready to be released, at which point it'll become available via the POST Wrestling network. Backers will be able to get some very early access to these shows, then. Please understand that because of recording schedules, the shows will record out of order, and on an irregular schedule, so backers might go a few weeks without a show, and then three all at once. Pace yourselves!

I'm writing this update on the evening of March 17, 2018, which is the eve of the Tokyo Dome's 30th anniversary. March 18 1988 saw the Dome open to the public with an off season exhibition game between the Hanshin Tigers and Yomiuri Giants. To show that promotional willy waving is not confined to professional wrestling, an announced crowd of 56,000 for the match was 10,000 north of seating capacity. To close out this week's update, take a look at the first home run hit inside the building:

 

 

Progress Update: How do you like your eggs?

EGGSHELLS may be effectively content complete, but it's been a busy week for the book. I'm getting daily edit notes to take action on, and then there's the Indiegogo campaign to get up and running. As details get ironed out ready for the funding to start on March 6/7, I've also been preparing a special video preview for the book and campaign, which will be revealed in due course.

While the nitty gritty of the funding will become clear soon, for now I want to explain the forms EGGSHELLS will come in on its release, provided we hit funding goals. The book will happen in some form regardless, but the better it does in the Indiegogo period, the higher quality the final release will be, and that includes being available in more and better forms. Under the initial funding goal, we're looking to make three versions of the book available:

Digital Edition This would be available on the Kindle and (hopefully) other digital storefronts. Backers will get a full fat, properly optimized digital version that will also be DRM free for your convenience.

Paperback This will be a 6''x 9'' US trade paperback size book. Exact page count can't be nailed down until it goes to the printers and I get proofs, but it looks like you'll have about 400 pages on your hands at this size, or just over one-and-a-half copies of Lion's Pride.

Victors' Edition- BACKER EXCLUSIVE. This will be a limited print run exclusively for those who back the campaign at the relevant level. While the text content will be the same as the normal edition of the book, the Victors' Edition will come with a special appendix of Shining Wizard Design art, depicting the winners of every Tokyo Dome main event.

How would you like to read EGGSHELLS? Let me know, and look forward to more details on the Indiegogo campaign as we count down to its launch in two and a half weeks.

 

Progress Update 3: Golden Lovely

Having just come off of night two in Sapporo for New Beginning, Golden Lovers are the words on everybody's lips (or typing fingers, at any rate). This actually works out well for this update, since I got in touch with Kenny Omega and Kota Ibushi this week, albeit separately.

Kenny has been exceptionally gracious with his time and help with EGGSHELLS and took some questions about the Chris Jericho match at WK 12. For Kota it was a catch up since the last we spoke was just after the G1.

Of the people I've had the opportunity to met and chat to in the Japanese wrestling business, nobody gives more thought to the process than Kota, and nobody is more open with their thoughts. We dug deep into the Shinsuke Nakamura WK9 match on the phone, a match I hold as the best to ever take place in the building. Kota had some interesting points to make about the length of main events in the modern era, and both he and Kenny had some very interesting insights about the globalization of Wrestle Kingdom and what that means for wrestlers and promotions. And, yes, there's a word or two about one another in there.. 

As for the rest of the book, the first draft is essentially finished. The updated Kenny and Kota insights have to be edited in there, and there's one more interview I had scheduled for this weekend but slipped a little. While it gets edited, I'm also exploring publishing options, so one way or the other I'll be able to say how exactly this thing will get printed and sold sometime soon. 

If you want something to watch with this update, how about Omega and Ibushi's Dome debuts? Both were on 2011's Wrestle Kingdom 5, representing DDT. The Golden Lovers had clinched Tokyo Sports Match of the Year with a blistering tag match against Apollo 55 in 2010, but with Prince Devitt holding IWGP Junior Heavyweight gold, Kota would get a singles shot the following January 4. That left Ryusuke Taguchi and Kenny at loose ends, meaning Taguchi had an odd partner in Koji Kanemoto, and Omega an even odder partner in Taichi. 

https://njpwworld.com/p/s_series_00175_1_2

https://njpwworld.com/p/s_series_00175_1_8

 

Progress Update 2: First Pass Almost Done!

It's taken about 14 months, but the first draft of EGGSHELLS is just about finished. Right now, a couple of concerted writing sessions is all that's needed for the text itself, and there are a couple of interviews to be updated and a couple of new ones to be done. 

Hopefully I'll be able to update you on one of those still to be completed interviews next Sunday. It's an influential name that I'm excited to have on board. 

Putting fingers to keyboard about Wrestle Kingdom 12 this week, I was grateful to receive some input from Jay White. 'Switchblade' had a grower of a match with Hiroshi Tanahashi January 4, in that it's one that improved in my mind with a second and third viewing. White was put in a novel position returning under a new character straight into a title match with the Ace in the Tokyo Dome, and he offered a valuable look into his process before and during the match. 

The Tokyo Dome made a wrestling headline or two recently as DDT's Sanshiro Takagi vowed to run in the building 'properly' (ie. with a paid audience as opposed to his empty arena effort with Minoru Suzuki) in 2020. With the Olympic year also being targeted by NJPW for a proper 40,000+ sellout, it's a testament to the status the Tokyo Dome has that running there successfully is still the de facto measure of success after 30 plus years.

New Japan is currently in the middle of Fantasticamania, the stars of CMLL coming over to Japan in an annual lucha festival. The first time CMLL (then EMLL) made their presence felt in the Tokyo Dome was with SWS rather than New Japan, and Ultimo Dragon's high flying affair with Jerry Estrada in December 1991. Yoshihiro Asai had been turned down by the New Japan dojo because of his diminutive height, but made things happen for himself in Mexico, and when back in Japan, would become one of the most exciting juniors of the decade. The match is 9:30 in here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcFjuCzuczs

 

Progress Report: first draft, WK12, flu

After just over a year of research and writing, EGGSHELLS was finally announced on January 2. The response was tremendously encouraging, and deeply appreciated. So what's been happening since then?

Well, this week, the flu. Having a day job and two kids there's a certain productivity to be found in being holed up in bed under doctor's orders not to interact with anyone, but the flu knocked me for six. A few medicated days on though, and I'm just about coherent. 

That means I can throw myself into finishing the first draft, which will hopefully get done this month. For the most part I've been writing chronologically, and have just started diving into the DDT empty arena match from last year which will be a really fun chapter to write. At the same time I'm nailing down a couple of extra interviews which will lend some insight into past events, as well as catching up with prior interviewees to update their thoughts in light of Wrestle Kingdom 12. 

Speaking of, WK12 was a great event. While a lot of Dome shows have had phenomenal matches surrounded by filler, I can't thing of a recent show in the building that was this consistently high quality throughout. Length became a factor for sure, and six hours without a break is a lot to take in. I was a fan of the brisk pace imposed by WK9's PPV airing, but that's one of very few bones to pick, and I'm looking forward to getting into it in detail.

Hopefully these updates will become a lot more common as long as pesky viruses don't strike again!