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#ThemeSongTuesday: The Real Last Samurai


Full disclosure: I'm a casual fan of New Japan Pro Wrestling, who only really gets excited for Wrestle Kingdom every January. That said, I've found myself with a little time to devote to this year's G1 Climax, which has been quite the rewarding experience. I've enjoyed certain individual stories, notably Toru Yano's quest to engage only in "fair play," even though his tendencies to cheat often get the best of him.

In the process of watching this year's G1 matches, I discovered a badass theme that I didn't really notice in the past. I present to you, "Hadou," the entrance theme of one Hirooki Goto.


Okay, I don't care that Goto has had to struggle for years to shed his label of being NJPW's Dolph Ziggler (i.e. a guy who always hangs around the main event picture, but can't seem to win the big one). I also don't care that he battled CHAOS for years, only to end up joining them when he couldn't defeat them. Frankly, I also don't care that it doesn't seem like Goto will advance to the finals of his G1 block.

All I care about is the fact that he's a fucking modern day samurai.


I used to think his gear looked silly AF until Brandon Sy (our former #MustWatchMondays columnist) enlightened me about how Goto embodies the samurai character as it would be in the present day. And then he linked me to "Hadou," and I realized just how right he was and how fucking cool Goto's gimmick is.

Let's break down his song first. The song starts off with wooden blocks being smashed alongside each other as if you were in a temple. And then a female voice sings in an elegantly sullen manner, culminating in someone blowing a candle or something, a sword is drawn... and then, the battle hymn!

You've got a badass guitar riff being complemented with an uptempo beat that makes you want to do pilates or aerobics. Seriously, I could send this shit to the titas who do aerobics at Greenhills on Sunday mornings, and I think they'd actually dance to this song. Anyway, you've got a choir singing as if they were part of an opera or a Gregorian chant. It's so haunting, so chilling, and yet it's also pretty... inspiring.

When the synth keys come in, you know, you just know, that this song was made for a fucking warrior. This is some '90s action movie shit that NJPW's music team made for Goto. Hell, there's even an interlude (at around the 2:43 mark) that sounds like it was made for a fucking fight sequence. There are sound effects of a fucking espadahan sword fight, okay. 

You have to give NJPW's music team props for ensuring that this isn't just a CFO$-style loop. There are barely any understandable words, especially for a non-Japanese speaker like me. But there's an actual arc—a story, if you will, all through the course of this one largely instrumental track. A hero is summoned. He marches valiantly into battle. Our hero engages in combat, risking life and limb for honor—or whatever the fuck he's supposed to be defending. And after all of that, he emerges victorious, ready to PILLAGE THE FUCK OUT OF YOUR VILLAGE, YOU FUCKING JABRONI raise his flag as he completes his conquest.

My God. I love this song. I need something like this in WWE. Or PWR. Or MWF. Let's make this happen, please?

Image from New Japan Pro Wrestling

*****



Stan Sy (@_StanSy) is the Editor at Large of Smark Henry, and is also a radio DJ on Wave 89.1, an events host, a freelance writer, and one of the hosts of The Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast. He also used to be one of the hosts and writers of The Wrestling Gods on FOX. He enjoys watching WWE, NXTLucha Underground, and the occasional New Japan match. You can ask him questions about wrestling, Survivor (yes, the reality show), or whatever you like on his CuriousCat account.

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