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The Shadow the Hedgehog Wrestling Event [Badnik Mechanic Research Vid]

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by MrMechanic, Jan 24, 2021.

  1. MrMechanic


    Several years ago I became aware of a random promotional event involving Shadow the Hedgehog which chances are you've seen a few images of now and again since... well... they tend to be used as meme fodder. Anyway, around the summer of last year I decided to finally take a good look at this event and try to track down exactly what went down at this and why it was a thing in the first place.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, The Shadow the Hedgehog Wrestling event.

    So as usual, you can check out my video to get more of a 'story' style telling of the event. But here is some of the more technical details about this event and why it was a thing.


    So I'm sure we all remember seeing this trailer back in the day?

    ...In which Shadow suddenly appears and starts blasting a gun? Do we all remember the mini fallout from a Sonic character using a gun? How the Sonic game looked nothing like a Sonic game and wasn't appealing at all to fans of Sonic?

    Well... It seems that was deliberate.

    During the promotional campaign for the game, Yuji Naka and Iizuka both stated that they could try and promote Shadows game a little more edgy than a Sonic game since shadow would 'Do things that Sonic wouldn't usually do'. Which is why in the west we saw SOA encouraging fans to pose with Shadow like this...


    So in Japan they were also looking to do something a bit different, only they decided to look a bit closer to home. Well... Sega and Sammy officially merged not that long ago so they looked at what Sammy was already involved with, probably to help also save on the money.

    Well Sammy was a major sponsor of Pancrase Wrestling, if you don't know what it is, it's basically a version of MMA fighting which has origins in Japanese Wrestling. I wouldn't try to look this up right now since how it looked in the 2000's is very different to how it looks today.

    Unfortunately, the details as to how this deal came to be are unknown, but needless to say Pancrase utterly loved the idea of Sega doing a promotion with Shadow.

    The Event/s

    So this is where I kinda screwed up a bit.

    Most of the original articles for this event are either very poorly translated articles on western news sites which didn't really look at the detail and are now missing a lot of web resources that made up the original articles. Some of the original Japanese sources are still live, but again, very old webpages which now look very broken with modern standards and a lot of the original media assets are micro sized.

    So I made nearly 90% of the video thinking that there was only 1 event that Shadow turned up at... Well it turns out there were multiple events, only most of the articles don't mention which event it is, so my vid and research kinda merges into one event. But here we go all the same.

    Sega agreed to sponsor both the Spiral Tour #9 and Spiral Tour #10 events.

    Part of the deal meant that the ring posts where decorated with the Sonic Channel website address and logo.

    And the ring had a huge Shadow the Hedgehog mural painted onto it.

    (Better view of this in the video @6:25)

    So these events were often broken up with 'segments' and demonstrations for things, an example would be a karate demonstration or some other kind of martial arts show as opposed to an actual fight. This is where Sega decided to promote Shadows game. They had the official Shadow Mascot come into the ring, wave to the crowd and also pull a few poses whilst the ringside announcer spoke a little about Shadows game and the character.


    The guy in the costume also climbed the ropes at one point which is... quite impressive considering the size of the thing.


    There's a few reports that the announcer actually interviews Shadow in the ring, this however was done right at the end of the show or during the 9th Spiral Tour event (The one I can't find video of). Literally if you've ever seen a WWE/WWF or any western wrestling event do a movie promotion in a show, think something along those lines.

    So it all sounds fine, a standard if not odd promotion? So why doesn't Sega ever bring this up as a 'hey remember when we did this?' Well... It seems something quite bad happened at one of the events that they turned up at. At the Spiral Tour #9 event, one of the fighters got injured, badly. And they started to bleed quite heavilly. So much so that the fight was stopped and the Shadow Mural ended up being covered in blood... And it seems that this wasn't that uncommon, most fighters ended up bleeding or covered in blood which led to marvellous images like this!


    Yes that is the official Shadow the Hedgehog mascot, at an official Sega promotional event... Standing next to a guy covered in blood.

    The 10th Spiral Tour event wasn't as 'dramatic' it was quite tame in comparison. Though Shadow ends up gate crashing a karate demonstration and there's a slightly awkward moment where he presents a fighter with an award.


    So Shadow just turns up to this demonstration for... utterly no reason... No really he just gives that guy and award and that's it.

    Shadow later appears at the end of the show and pulls more poses and was then joined by Naka and Iizuka and is actually interviewed!


    Why Did Sega Do this?

    Some of you might be wondering, why this event? Why a MMA event to promote Shadows game? Well... Like I already mentioned 'Shadow would do the things Sonic wouldn't normally do.' So Sega were looking outside of the box, it seems that they knew too well that Sonic fans may not take to the title. So Sega decided to target Fans of First and Third person shooters with this game, since they were the dominant genre at the time. And it seemed that fans of that genre were also the same as fans of Pancrase (I don't... I don't know that's just what they said).

    But the game itself, it has nothing to do with any kind of martial arts... so why promote it here? Well Yuji Naka was actually asked about this at the Pancrase event. When asked "Why did you partner with Pancrase, when this video game has no relation to it?" Yuji Naka actually replies with "I was worried, Shadow doesn't relate much to Pancrase, but when I saw the Pancrase logo and noticed it was the same colour as Shadow, I felt he would be the image embodiment of the sport."

    Yeah so... Not sure if this was a bit of a 'we pulled this out of our arse' type thing but... apparently they felt Shadow would be appropriate because he was the same colour as the pancrase logo, he could be some kind of official mascot for the sport!

    Alongside the event itself, there was also a smaller publicity set of pictures taken with another fighter... Not really much information on this one.


    Is there video of this? Can I watch it?

    Ok so... My video contains a VERY small section of the event. But... on the UFC Fight Pass service, they have Spiral Tour #10 in full and the Shadow section is in it. The bit where he invades the Karate demonstration is there and right at the end Shadow comes out again... However, there is about 3 frames where you can clearly see Naka and Iizuka standing in the right with Shadow and then the show ends. So it's not there in full.

    The 9th Spiral Tour, the one with the bad injury, that's not online, if you absolutely must try to find that show, it's possible that there are some VHS tapes or DVDs in Japan but I wasn't able to find any.

    Main Sources:

    (There are more out there unfortunately I've lost the links, the Sonic Channel does have a small article on it).
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  2. Prototype


    Somehow a man covered in blood absolutely goes with Ow the Edge.
  3. Sid Starkiller

    Sid Starkiller

    Virginia, USA
    Paying off student loans

    Remember that random-ass Hooters promotion a couple years back? Turns out there's fucking precedent!
  4. Jonny Axehandle

    Jonny Axehandle

    Man and machine and nothing there in between Oldbie
    Gotta admit, `participating in a cross-promotion at a real life MMA event` is not something Sonic would normally do. Sometimes I wonder if Sega is actually some kinda troll company setup by a secret group with money to burn.