MANHATTAN (WABC) -- In a secret lab in an undisclosed location, the evil scientist, Dr. Cube, has been creating awesome, terrible monsters to rain destruction on the people of the earth... and ABC7 got a front row seat!
For two shows in April, Eyewitness News was behind-the-scenes with Kaiju Big Battel, a traveling, independent wrestling circuit that pays homage to classic Japanese monster movies, right down to the cardboard buildings getting crushed in the ring.
"Kaiju Big Battel is the reality that monsters are real and danger can happen," says Woolly Mammoth Jr., one half of Kaiju's hilarious announce team that also features Billy McGuirk.
Mere minutes later, fan favorite French Toast (in a giant foam suit more closely resembling a waffle) is smashed over the head with a trash can lid by Gomi-man, a giant garbage monster from - where else - New Jersey.
Kaiju Big Battel was born more than two decades ago, with creators Rand and David Borden staging the first event on Halloween in 1996 in Boston. Since then, dozens of characters, hundreds of shows, countless viral YouTube clips, merchandise and even a video game have brought Kaiju into hearts and minds around the world.
"It's like pro wrestling meets Power Rangers," says one fan, attending his first Kaiju show. "It's melodrama and grand physical theater on the biggest stages in the world."
From Burger Bear (half burger, half bear, naturally) to the reigning tag team champs, Los Plátanos, to classic Kaiju heroes like American Beetle and Kung-Fu Chicken Noodle, the characters are as bizarre and endearing as the premise itself. And according to wrestler Rory Gulak, performers who don't work for Kaiju Big Battel are constantly vying for limited spots.
"They're jealous," says Gulak, a lifelong wrestler who has performed on TV for WWE. "This is a tough place to be. Everybody wants to do this on the weekend. They want to be in Kaiju Big Battel."
Wrestlers and fans alike tell Eyewitness news that the secret to Kaiju's appeal lies in the ability to escape reality, if only for a few hours.
"I'm thrilled to see anything that involves giant, city-destroying monsters," says one fan, who made the trek from Canada to Brooklyn for the spectacle. "You feel good, even though the death toll is in the millions."
For more exciting happenings in and around New York, visit In Our Backyard.
Kaiju Big Battel brings destruction, delight to New York wrestling fans
IN OUR BACKYARD
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