All posts by Dan Tanaka

2015 – The Year of Transitions and Moving On.

I had the intention to write more for this blog this year, but obviously, I didn’t. I didn’t even really come up with any topics…so it looks like it’s another year-end reflection for this year.

I still didn’t keep a list of the positive, and good things that happened to or for me over the year.  I did often write out details on what I want to come to pass, though. A good amount has come through, while others are still in the works. Granted, I didn’t just write these out and leave it; I put in the footwork too.

I’ve faced frustrations and impatience, despite knowing things happen for a reason; and they happen when they’re supposed to…at the right time and right place. Sometimes that desire can drive you up the wall when other factors are taking things for another spin. Although goals have moved a long quite well, I’m still not where I exactly want to be, but I’m thank God I’m not where I used to be.

My wife’s grandmother and mother died within a few months of each other. With my wife’s two children living in Windsor, Ontario and this loss being hard on all of them, we decided to move to the Metro Detroit, Michigan area. We are now able to see them more often as the travel is under an hour as compared to twelve hours from Massachusetts. I miss the view of a lake from home, but one day I’ll have an even better one.

View of the Lake behind where I lived in Worcester, MA.
View of the Lake behind where I lived in Worcester, MA.

TanakaSmackTony2I left behind the wrestling promotions I was refereeing for in New England on good terms. It’s not hard to do, but I’m glad I can say that I did. June was my last month in the area, and I got to leave in ways I didn’t Screen Shot 2015-12-31 at 7.12.32 PMthink I would. After nearly fourteen years, and going with two months notice it felt weird going through it.  I honestly never thought I’d end leaving the New England region until I couldn’t physically referee anymore, or if by some chaTanakaTweetScreenshotnce I got an exclusive contract to a major wrestling company. Thank you once again to the promoters and bookers who gave me the privilege to be a part of your team. I miss it, and one day I’ll be back for visits, and would love to fill in if the spot is open.

Creepy Old Guy offering treats in Frankenmuth, MI.
Creepy Old Guy offering treats in Frankenmuth, MI.

Moving into Michigan brought on some culture shock. I don’t know how to be specific but things are different. I already knew Truth Martini and put in some practice time with his facility and got to know other talents in the area and begin working with events as well.

Ready for Ring of Honor, Final Battle '15
Ready for Ring of Honor, Final Battle ’15. Credit: Scott Finkelstein.

I spent more time this year focused on advancing with Ring of Honor, and was able to referee twelve events with them. A couple of which took place at the 2300 Arena (FKA the ECW Arena) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Toronto gets upset when their candy machines are broken by patrons.
Toronto gets upset when their candy machines are broken by patrons.

One of them took me to Toronto, Ontario Canada making that my first event in Canada. Of course now living in the Midwest, I’ve had my run of first Midwest state events. My older brother lives in the Dayton, Ohio area, and was able to bring his oldest son out for his first ever live event, and now they watch the Ring of Honor TV program every week.

It’s crazy how you can find yourself coming full circle with circumstances you’ve faced several years prior. Eight years ago I was with a woman who survived lung cancer, but it returned. While we weren’t together long, November 2007 was when she pushed me away without saying what was going on, and told me “you need to go pro with this wrestling, like a full time gig with WWE”. She lived around Madison, Wisconsin, and just this past November I found working a Ring of Honor event in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. With Hopkins Minnesota being the next day I traveled through Madison, Wisconsin. All within the same time frame she told me I had to go pro, eight years later. I can’t say I’m exactly at the point she said I need to be, but reflecting over the past year and half, from even just having a WWE Tryout at their performance center, and now this year working more with Ring of Honor, I’d have to say things have come full circle from that…and it feels great. Darlene passed away a few months after telling me to go for it all, she will always be remembered, but my life has truly moved on from that point in time.

With 2015 closing up, it’s really been the year of transitions, and moving on. It hasn’t been easy. That’s life though. Everyone faces some form of these at some point, and you just have to make it work. In the end, even with the heavier challenges, tests, and frustrations…this year was even better than last year. Now to strive for do more in 2016, and see where the wind takes this journey.

Happy New Year to all!

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow. Ventures in ROH & WWE, My 2014 Reflections.

Much like many people do, I like to reflect back over the calendar year as it draws to an end. For 2014 I had great experiences, life’s lessons of living better, and accomplishments. I have read about people keeping a list of all the good things they experience through out the year, which I thought was a cool idea, but didn’t do… However things hit close to the heart this year, and will never be forgotten.

I’ve seen the results of what happens in your life when toxic and negative friends are removed. It’s amazing what other people can see in them, that you can’t and it reflects on yourself! Once these “friends” are removed, not only the perception of others on you changes, but your energy, and outlook will start to change as well all for the better!

Things DO happen for a reason! Sometimes, you may find yourself on a path to get somewhere you really want to be, only to be disappointed. Take a look what happened along the way though. The people you meet, as they become lifetime supporters of what you want to accomplish. The places and things you get to see, and the things you learn. All of these can be used for the next chapter, because things don’t just end there. Sometimes blessings are in disguise, and God’s delays are not God’s denials!

I have nothing to brag about but things to be proud of in my 2014 accomplishments and I’d like to share them as some have not been shared publicly, or at least not on any internet platform until now.

I was given several opportunities to referee on Ring of Honor events through out this year including: Wrestling’s Finest 2014, Supercard of Honor VIII in New Orleans that took place during the biggest wrestling weekend of the year, a couple TV Taping events, and of course their end of year event Final Battle 2014 in New York City.

Screen shot 2014-12-21 at 12.07.54 AM
ROH in New Orleans – Screen Shot from ROH TV
Screen shot 2014-12-21 at 12.12.39 AM
ROH in New Orleans – Screen Shot from ROH TV


ROH Final Battle ’14 NYC. Mikey Webb pinning Cheeseburger. Credit: George Tahinos
ROH Final Battle ’14 NYC. Jay Briscoe vs. Adam Cole for the World Championship.


Kwick-E-Mart found in Pittsburgh, PA just before ROH Wrestling’s Finest ’14!









In February I got my first “real” haircut in 16 years…and oddly, there are still some out there who don’t know, despite having kept an active schedule in refereeing events.

Today marks 13 years since my first match refereed… There’s nothing to celebrate, but it’s a cool thing to look back on. It took place in Natick, Massachusetts at the American Legion Hall. “Psycho” Mike Osbourne defeating GQ Beast!

WWE Performance Center – Orlando, FL
Screen shot 2014-12-27 at 11.57.05 PM
WWE Performance Center – Orlando, FL

In June, I was invited, and accepted the opportunity for a 3-Day Tryout Camp at the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) Performance Center in Orlando, FL. I never imagined it to happen years prior. While I am not being offered any contract at this time, I had a positive experience, and I went out with a positive outlook.

I want to close this note off by thanking all the promoters and/or bookers for all the opportunities this year. Whether you kept me on as a regular, a few events, a one-night deal, or if you gave me extra work to make you a flier/graphics! Thank you to all my true supporters and mentors. You all know exactly who you are. You all stuck through with me through my slumps, spells and even my nosedive to the abyss. Even though I probably didn’t deserve it… Thank you for being there, and guiding me through these steps to fix myself up as a person, and a professional. Most of all thank you to my wife, Meg who has helped me heal from the inside out, and get my focus back on track, pushing me to go further and go after what I really want to do. T his year, and the years leading up to now wouldn’t have been possible without her in my corner. I have to say, if anyone in professional wrestling has a spouse, or a significant other who supports them to all ends to succeed…hang onto them. It’s a rare quality, and rare sacrifice one would make for this business that can throw things off in personal lives.

Things have stepped up this year, and I may not be where I want to be in life, but I’m grateful that I’m not where I was before. 2014 was an amazing year, and the best is yet to come!

Blogs coming back soon

Blog will be coming back soon with previous commentaries from the older designed website!  Since these will be easier to make entries with, perhaps they will become more frequent in the future!