Oskar’s Odyssey to New Japan Pro-Wrestling

Oskar Leube’s odyssey to New Japan Pro-Wrestling has been three years in the making. Beginning in 2019, Leube trained for an entire year, through three consecutive intakes at Fale Dojo / NZ Dojo before advancing to the NJPW Dojo in Tokyo where he gained a deeper understanding of his craft. Returning to his native Germany shortly after, Leube applied his skills on the local scene for six months before making his way back to the New Japan Dojo to resume his training.

“Finally, I had the chance to return to Japan in May 2022,” explained Leube, who officially joined the ranks of New Japan Pro-Wrestling as a young lion.

NJPW/STARDOM Historic X-Over: Oskar Leube makes an impact in New Japan Debut.

Six months into his training, Leube made his New Japan debut at the Historic X-Over show, the first-ever joint card between NJPW and sister promotion, STARDOM. Leube teamed alongside fellow Fale Dojo graduate, Yuto Nakashima as part of an 8-man tag team match of young lions to christen the event.

“It was such a good feeling to get out there and show the world what I learned at Fale Dojo and the Nogo Dojo,” Leube shared about the significance of his milestone. “To be able to debut on a big stage was a great start into my New Japan career.”

“I knew the Nogo Dojo would be the hardest training in the world,” Leube spoke about New Japan’s young lion system. “But I was ready and kept my fitness consistent while waiting to return to Japan.”

In preparation for his arrival back to the New Japan Dojo, Leube tested his wrestling skills with Germany’s Westside Xtreme Wrestling, where he captured the wXw Academy Cup. During this time, Leube found that the style in Germany shared similarities to New Japan’s strong style.

“Wrestling in Germany was similar to wrestling in Japan,” Leube explained about the parallels that were valuable to his conditioning. “Germany is hard-hitting and technical, so I was already into that mindset. Combined with the discipline and endurance I gained at Fale Dojo, and my initial training at the Nogo Dojo, it helped me to catch up to the other lions when I came back to Japan.”

Leube’s opponents thus far have ranged in different levels of experience, from fellow young lions to New Japan’s top stars like Bad Luck Fale, Aaron Henare, Great-O-Khan, Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma, and Toru Yano. Leube has also competed on some major shows, such as New Japan’s premier event Wrestle Kingdom 17 – Day 2, which was held at the Yokohama Arena, and New Beginnings in Osaka.

‘Stone Pitbull’ Tomohiro Iishi and young Oskar Leube, face off with their opponents at Wrestle Kingdom 17.

“It was a great opportunity for me to team alongside Iishi-San,” Leube teamed with the veteran Tomohiro Iishi in tag team action against Daiki Inaba & Masa Kitamiya. “I was very humbled and grateful to compete at Wrestle Kingdom, representing New Japan and the young lion system.”

“My match at New Beginnings in Osaka where I teamed with Yano-San against Henare and Great-O-Khan was exciting, because of the crowd’s support,” Leube recalled of his most recent match.

Not forgetting Leube’s rare appearance at the All Japan Pro-Wrestling Excite show held at Tokyo’s Korakuen Hall. This was a dream come true for Leube, who was inspired by the brawling styles of Stan Hansen, and Bruiser Brody. Both of whom were premier stars of AJPW and are regarded among the greatest foreigners in Japanese wrestling.

“It meant a lot to me to be able to fight in that sacred ring where many legends made a name for themselves,” Leube alluded to the impact that his heroes had on him. “To be able to fight in the same promotion as my favourite wrestlers, Stan Hansen, and Bruiser Brody was a tremendous experience.”

Since his NJPW debut at the Historic X-Over, Leube has wrestled close to thirty matches. His 6 foot 7 build, equipped with youthful strength and agility has gained the young lion a steady following among Japanese fans.

“The Japanese fans have been nothing short of amazing,” Leube expressed with gratitude. “Even though I am losing a lot of matches, they always cheer me on during and after my fights.”

“I get a lot of messages online from fans wishing me luck and asking me to do my best,” he added. “That is very encouraging, and it motivates me a lot!

Dojo brothers, Yuto Nakashima and Oskar Leube double team Tomoaki Honma.

It is worth noting some key people who are closely connected to Leube and play a vital role in his journey. Yuto Nakashima has been both a tag team partner and an opponent to Leube. Beyond the squared circle, Nakashima’s presence has been essential to Leube’s training, as well as assisting Leube in settling into a new country and way of life since his move to Japan.

“Having Yuto has been invaluable,” said Leube of his fellow, Nakashima. “Yuto has helped me a lot in training. Obviously, because Yuto is Japanese, and I don’t speak Japanese fluently yet, it’s hard for me to understand what the Senpais want from someone, or how to correct something when the Senpais want it done a certain way.”

“Yuto always keeps me in good spirits and has been motivating me to push through to pursue our dream,” he noted of his tight bond with Nakashima, forged in 2019 while training alongside each other in New Zealand. “Without Yuto, I don’t think I would have progressed as much as I have now.”

Teacher vs. Student: The Rogue General Bad Luck Fale inflicts punishment on Leube, the young lion.

Leube’s Fale Dojo coach Toks Fale was a guiding light during Leube’s quest to reach NJPW. One of the more memorable and recent lessons that Leube, the young lion received from Fale his teacher, was when he stepped into the NJPW ring with the Rogue General in a one-on-one match, a lesson that the student will never forget.

“Having the opportunity to wrestle Fale-San so early in my career was a great moment,” Leube battled his teacher Fale before an excited crowd in Karatsu. “Fale-San cut me down, and the match ended quickly, but it was a very special highlight for me.”

“This was a valuable learning experience, and I hope that I get to wrestle Fale-San again soon,” the young lion reflected. “I want to prove to the fans, to the New Japan office, and to Fale-San that I can fight with the best.”

Fale Dojo, June 2019 – Oskar Leube, Jake Taylor, Lyrebird Luchi, Caveman Ugg, and Yuto Nakashima.

Taking notice of New Japan Tamashii, Leube expressed fondness for those he trained with at Fale Dojo that are now wrestling on the Tamashii shows.

“I’m really happy that New Japan Tamashii has started,” said Leube of NJPW’s Oceania territory. “I’m especially pleased for my fellow graduates Aaron Solo, Tome & Stevie Filip, Jake Taylor, Lyrebird Luchi, Caveman Ugg, and Richard Mulu. It’s satisfying to see them all wrestle on a big platform, and it’s exciting to see what New Zealand and Australia are bringing to NJPW.”

“The office is watching a lot of talent come out of the territory,” said Leube. “There’s a lot of talent from Tamashii that I’d love to wrestle here in Japan. Hopefully, when I hit my excursion, I’ll get the chance to go on the Tamashii shows.”

For the time being, Leube will be setting his sights on the New Japan Cup show on 11 March in Nagoya, where he will be teaming alongside Toru Yano, and Tama Tonga in a six-man tag team bout against Aaron Henare, Great-O-Khan, and Jeff Cobb. The experience will compel the young lion to push through to fulfill his life-changing goals.

“I want to graduate top of my class as a young lion and go on an excursion, and after I come back, my eyes will be set on the big prize,” Leube stated in closing. “My goal from then on is to become IWGP World Heavyweight Champion! I also want to make European wrestling bigger. There is so much talent in Europe, I hope to shine a light on that and help bring a New Japan show to Germany.”

Fale Dojo

Article Published, 8 March 2023

Credit Cover Graphic: Michael Richards, Squared Circle Graphics