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There is a name that is synonymous with American independent wrestling.
The Young Lions Cup tournament is an annual competition pitting the top 24 independent athletes (all aged 25 and younger) against one another to see who the next top prospect in all of pro-wrestling truly is. Promotions from all over the world have sent representatives for the past eight years to bring home the coveted prize and receive recognition as being the best “young lion.” When it comes to the best young athlete reigning supreme over the toughest competition the world will offer on August 27,28,29, standing broken, bruised and victorious will be Kyle O’Reilly.
That name is Chikara.
Vancouver, British Columbia is a long ways away from Reading, Pennsylvania. I feel entering this tournament as a dark horse plays to my advantage. Some of these competitors I am unfamiliar with, others I have battled in the past. Google searches and Youtube clips can only take one so far in scouting possible opponents and knowing what to expect. The most fail-safe form of preparation I’ve come to realize is to wake up earlier and train harder than everybody else. Upon returning to my home city for the past 2 months of summer my training regimen has differed significantly. From training under the “Best wrestler in the world” to training in a state of solitude has thrown me off my game in a sense. I am outdoors more. Mind, body and soul push one beyond the pain threshold when you’re sprinting up 3km of nature-made stairs to the top of a mountain’s temperate rainforest. I’m like Balboa in Rocky IV, training in Siberia, out running the KGB and splicing to shots of Ivan Drago juicing and knocking out jobbers.
I remember when I first saw Chikara pro-wrestling. I was relatively new to the business (2 years in) and I would see a revolutionary style of Japanese and American influenced, Mexican style Lucha-libre. It was an ultimate smorgasbord blend of pro-wrestling diversity. Some of the sports best athletes have honed their craft in this world-renowned organization. The names of past Young Lions cup winners alone, is enough to create a dream team of competitors. I thought I knew a thing or two about arm-drags… until I watched a few Chikara matches… I don’t know shit.
That’s exactly why I fit. Exactly why I’m here. I am an ever-evolving wrestler, always looking to improve, always pushing myself beyond, to the heights I know I will accomplish. As sweat beads on my face and my lungs inflate at an alarming rate, I will fight the pain of mercy and refuse to bestow it upon myself. Dropdown, pushup, squat, jump, jab, cross, hook, cross, left kick, right kick and again. I fight the need to rest knowing this exact pain and questioning of my stamina will surely be tested in the finals of the tournament.
The finals of the tournament… Visualization is key. I would never have accomplished anything in the sport if I couldn’t visualize where I needed to be and what I needed to do. Whose ass I needed to kick. When it comes to the YLC VIII I will bring all I need and know. I will bring the fight to Reading, PA.
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