Coming to the ring like a wildman in a denim vest and holding a chain, Sidney Shota Stephens is an American who was raised in Japan and has been wrestling in Japan for the past five years.

“I always swing my 1/2 inch thick chain around and sometimes, I hit the ring or the venue with it. Needless to say, that chain has gotten me into more trouble than I’d like to admit.”

 

As you may have guessed, Sidney Shota Stephens is a heel. And that’s how he prefers it. “As cliche as it is,” Stephens said, “heels appeal to me the most. More freedom to do what you’d like and I like making people mad.”

 

Sidney Shota Stephens became involved with the pro-wrestling industry in 2017, after attending a pro-wrestling show. “I entered the industry because I was a depressed 360-pound kid with no dreams or aspirations at the time.” he explained. “My father took me to see a wrestling show in Hiroshima to cheer me up. After I saw Atsushi Onita in the ring, I decided to start training to be a wrestler.”

Sidney Shota Stephens began taking classes at Yamaguchi-based MMA gym Mouri Dojo under former Japanese Tag Team Champion Michiko Omukai and Hiroshima-based MMA gym T. K. Esperanza under Tsuyoshi Okada, who has made appearances in DDT.

 

Although Sidney Shota Stephens has jiu-jitsu skills, thus far he has used a brawler/semi-powerhouse style in his matches. “I haven’t gotten a chance to use my jiujitsu skills in wrestling yet.” Stephens said. “If anything it’s more the opposite, I ended up incorporating some pro-wrestling moves into jiu-jitsu. During a tournament in Iwakuni last year, I had ten seconds on the clock and was barely ahead on points. I panicked and hooked my opponent’s leg and went for a pinfall to stop him from sweeping me. I was amazed it worked.”

Sidney Shota Stephens’ finishing move is the, “Psychopath Chokeslam”, as well as the Musou, which is a variant of the side slam.

Sidney Shota Stephens’ home promotion is Iwakuni Pro Wrestling WinDom, a local promotion based in Yamaguchi Prefecture. In April 2017, they ran the first pro-wrestling show in Iwakuna City in over ten years. Stephens has been wrestling on Iwakuni Pro Wrestling WinDom shows since day one. “I still remember back before 2020, we would practice at a basketball court with a ‘ring’ made up of cones, black and yellow construction rope, and a small thick mat in the corner in front of a step ladder. During that time, we’d only ran a show once a year during the Yancha Festival in Iwakuni since we had to borrow a ring from Matsue Dan Dan Pro Wrestling. Now we are running more shows a year at Drokee’s Yanai Ring and we practice there as well.”

 

Along with wrestling for Iwakuni Pro Wrestling WinDom, Sidney Shota Stephens wrestled in AJPW in 2020. “The way I understood it,” he said, “AJPW was running a show in Iwakuni and asked Windom to help promote it and in return they would let myself and Hakujaoh (another Windom wrestler) have a match.” 

 

Sidney Shota Stephens’ opportunities to meet wrestlers he watched growing up is what he likes the most about being in the business. “Something I will never get over is meeting the guys I would see on TV and talking to them as peers.” Stephens explained. “It’s humbling thinking that I’m a bad SOB then I start trembling when I meet one of my childhood idols. It’s happened more times than I’d like to admit.”

Sidney Shota Stephens names his best as a match that had for the Sanin Wrestling Alliance (SWA) and Us Pro Wrestling Corps (OPG) Tag Championships at the Masue Suigosai Fireworks festival. “My best match is my match between me and Arashi Danjiro going up against SWA 2and OPG Tag Champions Kozzy and Matsue Deluxe…It was one of those matches where we all just clicked.”

As for his favorite match, Sidney Shota Stephens picks a comedy match that he had in which he teamed with Arashi Danjiro to go up against Paul Blazer & SMITH. “I don’t like doing comedy matches,” Stephens said. “but I enjoyed this one. I wish someone took a video of it I loved it so much. Paul Blazer and Smith are Japanese men who think they’re American. At the beginning of the match, Blazer yelled in Japanese `Sidney! You’re a fake gaijin!` I couldn’t keep a straight face from that point on. I couldn’t help but to smile.”

 

Someone who Sidney Shota Stephens would like to wrestle but has not yet done so is Tsuchiya Crazy, who usually wrestles on small shows but also has wrestled in AJPW and BJW. “He’s a well-known pro-wrestling veteran in Yamaguchi,” Stephens said. “and he trains under Omukai sensei so he taught me a lot. I did team up with him in a match once, but never against him. I want to face him to see how I stack up. He’d definitely win, but it’d be a good lesson. I get to learn where I’m weak so I can make it a strength.”

In Sidney Shota Stephens’ spare time, aside from training and martial arts, he likes to play and write music. “When I was still in high school,” Stephens said. “my dream was to go off and start a heavy metal band. While I was in class, I’d write lyrics and music in my notebook and when I’d get home, I’d play my guitar all night long. Even now, I still like to record covers from time to time.”

Although Sidney Shota Stephens has spent most of his life and began his pro-wrestling career in Japan, Stephens watched a lot of American pro-wrestling growing up, and names Mick Foley as his favorite wrestler. “I had Sky Perfect [a direct broadcast satellite service] at the house and they aired WWF and WCW.” Stephens said. “My father and I would watch one and record the other. That’s how I learned English…I didn’t start watching Japanese wrestling until I was about thirteen or so. I’ve seen my father watch some of the Japanese deathmatches, looked them up and got hooked. From there I started watching normal Japanese wrestling.”

When it comes to the American pro-wrestling of today, however, Sidney Shota Stephens sees a difference between it and Japan’s pro-wrestling. “I got back into American pro-wrestling about 2013,” he said. “but it’s hard to compare it to Japan’s style. Even though it’s similar, it feels like they are two different sports.” 

As for his long-term goal in the business, Sidney Shota Stephens says, “My long-term goal is to make wrestling my full-time job. I’m on the hobbyist level and COVID did set me back a bit. I will correct myself and work hard to achieve that dream. I will never give up on it.”

 

Website: Harold-Williams.com

Twitter: @HWilliams13