All Japan Pro Wrestling, the oldest professional wrestling promotion still active in Japan, will have a special guest performer on September 3 at their live event in Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan: none other than comic book and film character Hellboy.
The strange cross-promotion was announced on All-Japan’s official twitter page, and it appears that a wrestler dressed in full David Harbour-style make-up and costume will partner with Jake Lee and Koji Iwamoto against Hokuto Omori, Takao Omori and Black Menso-Re in a six-man tag match. The identity of the wrestler portraying Hellboy in the ring has not been revealed, but the athlete is supposedly close to 7 feet tall and weighs in at 500 pounds. The tie-in coincides with the latest film’s theatrical release on September 27 in Japan, six months after Hellboy opened in the US and other foreign markets.
Hellboy is no stranger to the the ring in his long-running comic series, as he first became involved with lucha libre in the one-shot comic by Mike Mignola and Richard Corben, Hellboy in Mexico, and returned to the world of Mexican wrestling in the follow-up one shot issue, Hellboy: House of the Living Dead. These in-ring antics were adapted for the recent Hellboy reboot as well, which somehow lead to his appearance at the upcoming All-Japan match. Unfortunately, the reboot was released to little fanfare, making only $21 million in the US, and just over $40 million worldwide.
This is’t the first time that a Japanese wrestling promotion has used horror movie characters on their rosters however. The now defunct FMW (whose bread and butter consisted of gimmick matches and extreme violence) included wrestlers portraying unlicensed versions of Jason Voorhees (Jason the Terrible), Leatherface (Super Leather), and Freddy Krueger for the promotion. Unlike these slasher favorites, it doesn’t appear that Hellboy will be getting any more ring-time, at least in the world of actual pro-wrestling.