Austin Bradley’s take on the first and second quake, and the confirming of the urban legend known as the sponsor’s dinner.
Keep Austin and everyone in Kumamoto in your prayers. The trouble may not be over yet.
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“We left Tokyo two days ago to go on tour and endured a grueling 20 hour drive all the way to Kumamoto. The shows are sold out for the whole tour, and it’s been an amazing experience. I have picked up on the hard hitting strong style pretty well. I am enjoying my time here.
“Last night as we were riding home, from the show about three hours from Kumamoto, an emergency announcement came on the radio. I saw a look of concern on the faces of both Masato Tanaka and Hidaka. It was in Japanese and the other gaijin in the car noticed the same. I asked Tanaka. ‘What wrong?’
“He replied, ‘Big earthquake.’
“I asked where.
“He said, ‘In town we stay.’
“I was a worried, but there was nothing we could do but hold on and wait for it to stop.
“The quake measured a 6.4 on the Richter scale. Being from Louisville I have never experienced anything like this. I didn’t know what to expect when we got to the hotel. The shampoo had all fallen on the floor and made a mess. The plate that held my breakfast that morning was broken on the floor. So was the painting on the wall.
“I started making contact with my family and loved ones back home to let them know I was okay. All of a sudden, the damn hotel starts shaking. I put my shoes on and head for the lobby and the safety of outdoors.
“When when I reach the lobby, I spotted all the Japanese boys sitting in the dining area. They asked if I was going to get food. I said, ‘No, the damn hotels shaking!’
“They laughed at me. ‘Just an aftershock. Calm self, Country Boy.’
“Yes, they call me Country Boy. They gave me nickname due to my frequent dipping and the Southern accent I never knew I had until I got here.
“I went back to my room and Skype called my girlfriend Brit as the hotel is still shaking.
“Our show that night was canceled because one of the walls at the venue collapsed, so the Zero One crew headed out to help with the clean up. That evening, I got to experience one of the great urban legends along American wrestlers: the sponsor’s dinner. Those who have never been to Japan often wonder if the stories of lavish meals hosted by wealthy wrestling enthusiasts are true. They sound like pure fantasies, like kayfabe and good looking ring rats. Imagine the look on my little old face when I was told that we were being driven to a paid for dinner where we can eat what we want. It’s all true, dammit, and not only did I eat all I wanted, I drank way too much.
“Which leads me back to the quake. Make that the second quake. We were back at the hotel when the second one, a 7.1, hit the area. We were all completely drunk from the sponsor dinner when they evacuated the hotel. What’s it like being drunk during a huge earthquake? Its horrible. You can’t tell if you are wobbling cause you are drunk or because of the ground shaking beneath you.”