When I think back on all the great times I had with ‘Jimmy’, it only make me sadder to think he is no longer here. But his smile, laughter and friendship will never be forgotten. I was lucky enough to be in the beginning, middle and end of an incredible in-ring career for James Itow, better known to SoCal fans as Rising Son. But not only was I a performer with him, I got to be a fan of him as well. Here are some of my highlights of his incredible in-ring career:
I was fortunate enough to be in his first match at the original Rudos Dojo in Anaheim in November of 1999. A then-unmasked Rising Son would showcase his incredibly beyond-his-years talent in a fun 6-man match to start our careers.
I was also there when a young unseasoned Rising Son wrestled another youngster with much more experience named Juventud Guerrera. This one-on-one encounter was his first “big” match, but it was just the beginning.
Rising Son was also an in-ring innovator. I was there when he Swanton Bombed his opponent off a balcony into the the ring. A feat that I still marvel at to this day.
Later in 2003-04, Rising Son, Chris Bosh and myself were in a faction called the Aggressive Thrill Attraction. I can’t count all the incredible matches we had together. So much fun to be such ‘bad guys’.
In 2001 he and Super Dragon wrestled one-on-one in XPW and skyrocketed Revolution Pro’s reputation for ‘stealing the show”. I also attended the incredible tag match with Rising Son & Ultrataro Jr. vs. Super Dragon & Excalibur that people still talk about to this day.
What people might not remember, Rising Son only wrestled one match in PWG. And it was when we teamed up to face B-Boy & Homicide in the Tango & Cash Invitational Tag Team Tournament. Every team had a ‘movie nickname’ for the show. Ours was ‘Shanghai Knights’. Tremendous!! Although we didn’t advance in the tournament, it was a pleasure to share this small piece of PWG history.
I will always remember our wrestling trip to Alaska where some of our most infamous wrestling moments happened. We went from performing in front of 100 people to performing in front of 1000’s of people. From that experience alone we became better performers.
I was there when he wrestled Super Dragon at Millennium Pro Wrestling in May of 2001 in a 2 out of 3 fall match in what some would consider a turning point for SoCal wrestling’s popularity and notoriety.
And in 2010, Rising Son and I would team up for two matches. Little did I know it would be the last times Rising Son and I would wrestle together, as we both hung up the boots shortly after.
Incredible to think that someone you started a dream with was the person you would end it with as well. But looking back that makes all the sense in the world, and I am glad it happened that way. So much love goes to Jimmy’s parents and family who were incredibly supportive of his wrestling and who he loved even more than anything.
We will all miss you. Thanks for the lifetime of memories.