Birthdate: May 11th, 1974
Erik Isaksen, hailing from Norway, is the founder of the NWF (Norwegian Wrestling Federation). He debuted in England in 1996 and in 2001 started the NWF to promote wrestling in his own country. His wrestling style is based not only on solid technical skills in the ring but also his ability to get into his opponent's heads. Isaksen has been very successful both in Norway and abroad, with matches all over Europe and Japan. He has held several international titles and is a two time Norwegian Champion.
Puroresu Central Exclusive Interview
I was able to contact Erik Isaksen and conduct a quick interview with him, discussing his background in wrestling and his experience in Japan. If you'd like more information on Isaksen, he can be reached on myspace at www.myspace.com/erikisaksen
Puro Central: For those of us in America that haven't gotten a chance to watch you wrestle, can you give us a little background on how you got started in wrestling?
Erik Isaksen: I became a wrestling fan in the mid-1980s, and almost immediately, I started dreaming about becoming wrestler myself. In 1995, I moved to England for marketing studies, and at the same time I found a gym which was run by a former wrestler. I started training there and later made my debut for Europe's biggest wrestling promotion, All-Star Promotions run by Brian Dixon, on the 15th March 1996. When I moved home to Norway, I started instructing wrestling which led to Norway's first wrestling promotion in 2001: The Norwegian Wrestling Federation (NWF).
Puro Central: The World Expo was talked about in puroresu circles in America for months leading up to the events, when were you contacted to participate and who contacted you?
Erik Isaksen: Last summer, I was contacted about participating at the ProWres EXPO. Simon Inoki was my contact for the events.
Puro Central:Had you gotten a chance to team with Bambikiller in the past, or was it the first time? Did either of you have any say on who your partner was?
Erik Isaksen: I have known Chris the Bambikiller for years but we teamed together for the first time at the ProWres EXPO events. Coincidentally, just a few weeks after the Japan trip, we faced each other in a singles match in Austria :-)
Puro Central: You got the opportunity to main event Day 2, what was that like?
Erik Isaksen: It was very memorable to be put in the main event on day 2. Sorry to say, it was not my best match, and I landed hard on my head when I was German suplexed. Masato Tanaka is an excellent wrestler. I hope to wrestle him again in the future and do a better match.
Puro Central: Did you have any interaction with Masahiro Chono, and if so what was your impression of him?
Erik Isaksen: Masahiro Chono is a great person, and I have much respect for him. I met him for the first time in June 2005 at a New-Japan Pro-Wrestling event in Milan, Italy, when he led a short tryout before the event. I ended up teaming with Koji Kanemoto against Gedo and Jado at that event.
Puro Central: Were there any Japanese wrestlers in particular that were easy or more difficult to get along with?
Erik Isaksen: I find most Japanese wrestlers to be both friendly and respectful.
Puro Central: One of the main talking points in the States was concern if the card would draw well due to the use of wrestlers many puroresu fans hadn't seen before, were there any concerns regarding attendance prior to the show?
Erik Isaksen: I was told before traveling to Japan that few tickets were sold. The organizers still put on the ProWres EXPO and deserve respect for trying something new and put on a truly international event.
Puro Central: After the show were the organizers satisfied with how the shows went off, in regards to both the in-ring action and the number of fans that attended?
Erik Isaksen: The organizers seemed happy with the in-ring action. All wrestling promoters want sell out crowds.
Puro Central: What was the primary difference between European wrestling and Japanese wrestling, in terms of the style or traditions, that you had to adjust to?
Erik Isaksen: In Europe, there is more crowd interaction than in Japan. That is the biggest difference, leading to more intense wrestling in Japan.
Puro Central:You were the first Norwegian to wrestle in Japan. Any plans on returning? If you had a choice, which puroresu promotion would you like to wrestle in?
Erik Isaksen: I definitely want to return to Japan. The ProWres EXPO was a great experience. I want to show that I learnt from that tour and go back to Japan and do better matches. If there will be another ProWres EXPO, I hope to be invited back.
Thanks to Mr. Isaksen for the interview, and if you live in Europe be sure to check him out if he is wrestling in a venue near you.