ALRIGHT KIDS, IT’S BEEN a while since we have gone deep and strong into our favorite source of folk with its lore, the people’s food for thought, the deepest days held by stories that taught us golden ways and made us laugh all the same: MYTHOLOGY.
And TODAY, you need to bring your hiking equipment, because we TAKE OFF TO THE MOUNTAINS: OUR TOPIC is ONI.
Now, when you say “oni”, most people think about Shuten-doji and Ibaraki-doji, the two most famous oni out there, with Shuten-doji being the gang leader of the oni that lived in Mount Ooe, and Ibaraki-doji being his deputy, and in some stories, his wife as well. Some more well learned ace detectives out there might also know of Kuma-doji, Torakuma-doji, Hoshikuma-doji, and Kanaguma-doji, the four top enforcers of Shuten-doji (outside of Ibaraki-doji him/herself). Supreme Superintendents of matters most mystical and mountainous marauders will even think about the bunch of oni in Onigashima, whose entire role in their story is to have their asses horrendously obliterated by Momotaro (a superturbochild) and his animal friends, which included a dog, a bird, and a monkey.
But today, we won’t be talking about any of those. Today, we have a SPECIAL GUEST from a rather obscure-in-the-West legend from the Heian Period.
If you have been consuming Japanese media for some years now, you may recognize this Suzuka:
Or this Suzuka:
Or maybe this Suzuka:
Well, thing IS, they are all based on the Suzuka we will be discussing today: Suzuka Gongen.
Also known as Suzuka Gouzen, this Dame Of Danger was an Imperial oni princess renowned for her beauty, her skill with weaponry, and her military tactics. Haughty and confident, Suzuka was beautiful, and she knew it: She often bragged about her good looks and was quite proud of it, like, haha, Yamato Nadeshiko WHO, THIS GIRL KNEW SHE WAS HOT SHIT and didn’t mind yelling that through an ancient Japanese megaphone. Suzuka Gongen was the Hot Instagram Friend, except she wouldn’t have gotten stranded in Fyre Festival because she would’ve just beat local wildlife with her SICK SWORD SKILLS. She was known for wearing a crimson skirt and is usually depicted, less flatteringly, as a prostitute, and more positively, as a dancer girl (in a dancing outfit). The point was less “SHE A THOT” and more “she’s kinda out there”. AND OUT THERE SHE WAS, CONSIDERING SHE COULD kill you in 600 different ways in an empty room, including using the room itself. GIRL WAS FUCKING DANGEROUS.
ANYWAYS, SO, Suzuka’s dad was doing imperial oni things, hanging out, drinking sake, when SUDDENLY he gets a visit from this very spooky individual named Akuro-Ou, who just so happened to be THE KING OF ALL ONI. “hey bro” Akuro-Ou bellowed with his mysterious voice, “so I see you have a pretty hot daughter”. Dadoni kinda knew where this was going, so he just replied “y-yeah” because he didn’t have the Guts to confront him. “lemme smash” ordered Akuro-Ou, and Dadoni replied with “ “ because exactly what do you reply in this situation. Kings and Oni are two kinds of people you really don’t wanna cross, so Akuro-Ou was the kind of guy you seriously didn’t wanna double cross (or, perish the thought, double-cross), so he kinda just decreed that, well, shit, ok, you can marry her, GEEZ.
So while this shit goes down, Suzuka was hanging out, being hot and cocky in the front yard, when SUDDENLY this dude comes and tells her “hey dude pack your shit, we are going to your marriage”, and Suzuka was like “EXCUSE ME?” and the dude was like “yeah see your dad decreed just now that you are marrying the King of Oni, Akuro-Ou, so yeah, hurry” and Suzuka was like “well fuck that blows, whatever, so can I see him” and he’s like “no” because Akuro-Ou was Very Mysterious and didn’t show his face. Since this is THE EARLY HEIAN ERA, they merely exchanged marriage vows, or made a contract, in this specific case, and that was that, woo, how ROMANTIC, married to a dude you don’t know who won’t even show you his FACE. This is, like, the LAME version of the Phantom of the Opera, without the weird theater people and the musical numbers. So Suzuka was pretty bummed about it, but she looked at the good side and said “YO BUT WE CAN PLOT THE DOWNFALL OF THE EMPEROR NOW” because she has an appetite for destruction and bedlam and Akuro-Ou at least had good ideas. Akuro-Ou and his two bestiest and lieutenants, Takemaru and Odakemaru, consulted a lot with Suzuka, since she was a badass strategist, and planned out this cool attack that was going to murderize the FUCK outta the Emperor and everything he stood for.
Now, this is the part where I remind you that ancient Japan had the best superspies in history, because EVERY TIME someone has an Ill Thought against the Emperor, he KNOWS (except that one time in Tokoyo), so the Emperor turns off Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 for three seconds to worry for his life and summons a hero to go whoop some rowdy oni ass before going back to his Kickflips because Emperors tend to do NOTHING IN THESE THINGS AAAAA. So the hero is sent, with explicit instructions to chew bubblegum and kick ass, and to not bring gum or bubbles, and he was HAPPY TO COMPLY. Also, I love the Japanese mythos insistence on straight up pulling heroes, like, it’s literally “emperor somehow fucking knew he was going to get sniped so he just pulls a hero from his pantry and sends him on his way to fuck shit up” like did they mass produce them back then, was “hero” an acceptable major to have in Heian Japan, what kinda shithole society are we in that I have to major in boring shit like being good to people and helping them with their problems instead of KICKING ONI ASS, I am so ENVIOUS of mythos.
So the hero in question goes to where the oni are planning their revolution, and Suzuka, also endowed with superspies, somehow learns of this, and throws a TANTRUM because no shitass human is going to interfere in the one good thing to come out of her marriage, no sir. Now, this is the part where the bad guys would send out minions to deal with the hero. Well, Suzuka is not most bad guys, so she grabbed her three cursed swords, downed a whole can of Red Bull, yelled “BEAST MODE!” and fuckrammed her way out of Oni Fortress to meet this dude HEAD ON in HONORABLE COMBAT. She was going to deal with him HERSELF. At the foot of Suzuka Mountain (yes, that was the name of the mountain), the two would meet for a DUEL.
“AAAALRIGHT YOU LIMP-DICKED CHICKEN SHIT PISS STAIN, SHOW YOUR DAMN FACE, WHERE ARE YOU, YOU PIECE OF SHIT, I AM GOING TO FUCK YOU UP GOOD, MY DUDE, I WILL SHOVE YOU DOWN A FLIGHT OF STAIRS, I AM GOING TO SCRAPE YOUR KNEE, I AM GOING TO PLAY PING PONG WITH YOUR BALLS, I AM GOING TO WRITE BAD HAIKU ON YOUR FACE, COME AT ME” softly whispered Suzuka when she finally arrived at the field where the hero was. Upon hearing this, the hero removed his large straw hat that hid his face and the coat that obscured his frame, and revealed his BEAUTIFUL, HANDSOME FACE and DASHING MUSCLES. The hero’s name was Sakanoue no Tamuramaro, which translated directly to “HOT STUD 9000″, probably.
Suzuka’s immediate follow-up was “o”
because he was a fine piece of work, alright. “Yeah, look, um, change of plans: I betray Akuro-Ou and instead I marry you and we kick ass together”. “Surely you jest?” inquired the confused Tamuramaro. “Ahah, no, see, I jest about many things, but dick? No, I take dick seriously” she quickly replied, and that was good enough for T-Man, because they immediately fell in love with each other. I mean, look, you can’t blame her: If you get roped into a marriage you didn’t even know of with a dude whose face you don’t know, and then suddenly Handsome McNiceass appears before you, ripe for the eloping, you, too, would do it. And T-Man had no issues with this at all because Suzuka was basically if G.I. Joe was a beautiful woman, and you gotta be a FOOL not to marry a warrior oni princess. Long story short, they made the strongest Power Couple of the Heian Era and proceeded to HORRENDOUSLY FUCK AKURO-OU UP, like, god DAMN, they just showed up, gorgeous pair of WARRIORS, tearing shit up left and right like it was Dynasty Warriors, piledriving Takemaru and Odakemaru through the announcer’s table, Cross Bombing Akuro-Ou, they literally fuck up the WHOLE FORTRESS, just by themselves, like, no inch of it was unfucked by the end of it, it was the single best Wrestlemania in history and wrestling wasn’t even a thing yet. The oni revolution plan was SHATTERED TO PIECES, and only a POWERCOUPLE remained.
T-bro and Suzu then remained together, and Suzuka joined him in his heroics, becoming his partner in justice, which was the opposite of a problem for Tamuramaru, because what’s better than one killdozer? THAT IS RIGHT, TWO KILLDOZERS. Suzuka had three cursed blades, named Daitsuren, Shotsuren and Kenmyoren, as well as apparently being powered by the stars in the sky (literally, it is described that she “possesses supernatural powers from the stars’ movement”), and she utilized all of these things Pretty Damn Well to turn any evil doer into thin red paste stains on the carpet. I believe I have already made my point, but in case hyperbole betrays me: Suzuka Gongen was renowned, even back then, as one of the foremost and most important warrior-women in Japan mythos.
Knock knock Who is it? PATHOS
Suzuka Gongen died at the young age of 25. Suzuka and Tamuramaro had a cute half-human, half-oni daughter named Korin, but shortly after her birth, Suzuka’s tragically short life ended. Gently holding his beloved wife’s hand, Tamuramaro fondly remembered the happy times they spent with their child, the happy times they spent kicking villain ass, the happy times they spent within each other’s embrace, the warmth they shared, the soft caresses and the rowdy laughter. As her pulse vanished, her smile never wavered, and she departed this world a happy mother, a happy wife, a happy warrior, a happy woman.
And so, Tamuramaro and Korin continued on, an empty spot on the table, a futon too big for one family.
Isn’t life unfair sometimes?
Tamuramaro thought that. He thought that it was not her time. Not just yet. There were many asses left unkicked, many lips left uncurved, many happy moments left unlived.
He was not having this.
Not like this!
Not like this!!! It simply could not end like this!
AND SO HE NEVER GAVE UP! SAKANOUE NO TAMURAMARU DID NOT YIELD, AND HE WENT RIGHT INTO THE HEAVENLY LAND OF THE DEAD, THE REALM WHERE THE LIVING SHOULDN’T INTRUDE. HE FOUGHT TOOTH AND NAIL PAST WHATEVER ENFORCER DARED STAND IN HIS WAY, PASSED WHATEVER TEST OF MIGHT THEY THOUGHT COULD SLOW HIM DOWN, AND PERSEVERED, PERSEVERED, PERSEVERED! A STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS FLOWS INTO A RIVER OF TEARS AND INVIGORATES IT WITH SHEER AMBITION! TAMURAMARU SAW THE LINE THAT SHOULDN’T BE CROSSED AND DOUBLE CROSSED IT. YOU CANNOT TELL THIS MAN WHAT HE CAN AND CANNOT DO.
And at the very end, there she stood: Suzuka Gougen. Their eyes met, their hearts ignited, and their hands clasped. Together, Sakaenoue no Tamuramaru and Suzuka Gougen fought right out of the Otherworld.
Back in the world of the living, T-Man and Suzuka both formally married, and they lived a long, plentiful life together, raising their child and being EXTREMELY lovey-dovey for many years to come. And, of course, kicking a SHITLOAD OF ASS together, as human and oni, hero and princess, husband and wife.
Suzuka’s legend has other versions: In some, she’s a bandit that stole the annual tribute from the Imperial Vault. In others, she’s a celestial maiden, whimsical and eccentric. In all versions, however, a fact remains consistent: She meets Tamuramaro, they fall in love with each other, they decimate rumpus together, Suzuka dies at 25, and Tamuramaro travels to the Land Of The Dead to pull her out, after which they happily live together.
WHAT CAN I SAY… THEY SAY PERFECT COUPLE DON’T EXIST, BUT I KNOW AT LEAST ONE.
The Undertaker Vs. Shawn Michaels [March 28th, 2010]
It’s often been heralded by many as the greatest WrestleMania match of all-time, perhaps even the best match in general of all-time. There’s no denying that it truly lived up to every bit of hype imaginable, and for good reason. At WrestleMania 26, Shawn Michaels stepped into the ring once again with a man he’d never defeated at the grandest stage of ‘em all, The Undertaker. While HBK had often been cited as “Mr. WrestleMania”, nobody in the history of the WWE had amassed an undefeated streak at the event quite like The Undertaker, whose record at the time stood at 16-0. Although Michaels was unsuccessful in defeating the Deadman a year earlier, he refused to give up on his relentless quest to prove himself against “the biggest dog in the yard”. So much so, in fact, that Michaels put his wrestling career on the line, just as Michaels’ hero and friend Ric Flair had a few years earlier.
The two professional wrestling monuments fought tooth and nail, somehow stepping it up from their classic encounter the year prior and delivered a match that many believed could not be possible. At one point, Michaels was able to kick out of The Undertaker’s tombstone piledriver, placing a look of confusion and shock on the face of the Deadman. The end, both of the match and Michaels’ career, came when Michaels attempted a moonsault on the standing Undertaker, who caught HBK in mid-air and planted him with a tombstone piledriver for the victory.
Bret Hart applies a Sharpshooter to Stone Cold Steve Austin [March 23rd, 1997]
I remember watching this match and thinking that this was proof that professional wrestling was as real as any fight I’d ever seen. The blood feud that was born between the much-adored Bret “Hit Man” Hart and the despised icon Stone Cold Steve Austin culminated in one of the most famous professional wrestling matches in WrestleMania history. It was the first time that I’d ever seen a “double turn”, where Bret went from being a babyface to a heel and Austin went vice-versa.
Stone Cold wasn’t many people’s favorite wrestler going into this match, having swindled the WWF brass by re-entering the Royal Rumble match after officials didn’t see him get eliminated. Due to this, Austin would go on to win the Rumble match, but the win would be contested, leading to a four corners match between The Undertaker, Vader, Austin, and Bret at In Your House 13: Final Four in a match for the vacant WWF Championship, which ended with Hart winning the title. The next night on Raw, however, Austin interfered in Hart’s title defense against Sycho Sid, costing Hart the title and ending his reign at one day. Austin continued to interfere in Hart’s matches, which led to this encounter at WrestleMania 13.
The match would be a No Disqualification Submission Match, with former UFC Champion Ken Shamrock serving as the special guest referee. In a bout that spilled all over the Allstate Arena in Chicago, Austin and Hart would battle through the fans and would use several weapons to attack their opponents. Bret’s focus throughout the match was on Austin’s leg, which he mutilated with a steel chair before applying his signature Sharpshooter on in various ways, including the one pictured above. Austin, ever resilient, refused to give up, and would battle through the pain even though he’d been busted open. In one of the most iconic shots from the WWF, Austin, still in the submission hold, raised his bloody face toward the camera. After refusing to give up, Austin passed out from the pain, and Hart was declared the winner.
The aftermath that followed was something shocking for Federation fans. After the bell rang, Bret continued to hold Austin in the submission until Ken Shamrock pulled him off with a suplex. Bret tried to fight Shamrock before leaving the ring, where Austin still lay passed out. For the several months that followed, the once-proud Federation representative Hart would instead mock the United States where he’d gained fame as the 4-time WWF Champion. Austin, on the other hand, became a beloved fixture to WWF fans, who followed his every step and word and would cheer him onto victory at the following WrestleMania, where he defeated Shawn Michaels for the WWF Championship.
So, The Wall Street Journal ((!!!!)) has a listing of all the planned content, and let me tell you. It is a thing.
At launch, WWE Network will include:
All 12 Live Pay-Per-View Events
-- All 12 current WWE pay-per-view events -- including WrestleMania -- will
be available to subscribers live, as well as on demand.
-- Live pay-per-view 30 minute pre- and post-shows.
Every Monday and Friday night, WWE Network will air 30 minute pre- and post-shows for WWE’s weekly cable programs Monday Night Raw and Friday Night SmackDown.
The Monday Night War™ – a series exploring the shocking real-life stories that fueled the mid-90s rivalry between WWE and WCW®. Battling for ratings dominance, WWE’s Vince McMahon and WCW’s Ted Turner engaged in a masterful game of one-upmanship, and in the process, elevated WWE Monday Night Raw and WCW Monday Nitro™ to all-new levels of pop-culture relevance.
WrestleMania Rewind – a comprehensive look back at the most groundbreaking matches and dramatic moments in WrestleMania history, including never-before-seen footage and in-depth interviews.
WWE Countdown™ – a one hour, groundbreaking, interactive, countdown series that puts the power squarely in viewers’ hands by giving the audience the chance to discuss and rank WWE’s most spectacular Superstars, unexpected moments, best catch phrases and more through digital polling and social media interaction.
Coming in April: WWE Legends House™ – WWE’s greatest Legends reunite for a new title – only this time, they’re competing outside of the ring. Imagine a beautiful house in the suburbs – perfectly furnished, with gorgeous landscaping, a lovely pool and quiet, respectable neighbors. WWE Superstars from the past including Rowdy Roddy Piper, Tony Atlas and Hacksaw Jim Duggan will turn the neighborhood upside down as the house staff tries their best to keep these Legends on time, on speaking terms, and out of trouble in this new reality show.
WWE NXT® – WWE Superstars and Divas of tomorrow face off every week on WWE NXT, a one-hour weekly show that features the brightest and best of WWE’s rising stars. WWE NXT showcases the Superstars and Divas from WWE’s Performance Center as well as appearances from WWE Superstars and Legends in an intimate setting. WWE NXT broadcasts from the state-of-the-art Full Sail LIVE venue on the Full Sail University in campus in Orlando, Florida.
WWE Superstars® – a one-hour weekly show highlighting the best of WWE Superstars and Divas in heart-pounding matches. Features highlights from all WWE programming, as well as a special glimpse at everything going on in the WWE Universe.
Video On Demand
-- WWE Network will offer all WWE, WCW and ECW pay-per-views as well as
classic matches uncut and uncensored, encores of Raw, SmackDown and WWE
Main Event(TM) totaling more than 1,500 hours of video on demand at
-- All episodes of original programming on WWE Network will be available on
demand immediately after they premiere, allowing viewers to watch on
Myles Meets: WWE Superstar Cesaro [February 15th, 2016]
Even though the WWE’s Cesaro is injured, he’s still happily showing up and being a social ambassador overseas for the WWE. In this video, Cesaro speaks about traveling to Dubai, the aura and his history at WrestleMania, the departure of Daniel Bryan, and the unfortunate timing of “the shoulder club”. It’s great seeing Cesaro in good spirits, and seeing this video really made me miss him that much more. One of the most phenomenal wrestlers in the world today.