New Japan Pro Wrestling invaded the CEO Fighting Game Championships in Daytona, Florida this Friday night featuring in-ring action headlined by IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega, who also helped put the show together.
The event has drawn some serious heat after local wrestler Chasyn Rance, a registered sex offender, was allowed to work a dark match. Rance was arrested in 2010 and charged with a second degree felony for having multiple sexual encounters with a 15-year-old girl. He currently operates the training school that was used as ring crew for this weekend’s CEO x NJPW event.
In a statement released on Twitter, Omega revealed that he did not personally know Chasyn Rance and was not aware of his history. He allowed the group that helped set up the show to select two of their wrestlers to compete in a dark match, as a “show of appreciation” for their hard work. When outrage predictably broke out on social media, the IWGP champion issued an apology and that this level of oversight would never happen again.
“I wanted to thank everyone that tuned into the stream or joined us live for CEOxNJPW. All of our talent had a great time and fed off your incredible energy throughout the entire night. I’m incredibly proud of everything I personally produced but unfortunately made a terrible oversight by allowing a dark match featuring local talent I wasn’t personally familiar with. (Admittedly, I’d met Chasyn Rance once in 2004, but a lot can happen in 14 years).”
“I’m terribly sorry for anyone in the building that felt unsafe or personally offended by his inclusion on the show. I will personally provide refunds to anyone in attendance that couldn’t enjoy themselves because of this. As for fans that were taken aback on stream, again, my bad. I’d allowed our ring crew (also a wrestling school) to participate in a dark match (minus graphics and music) as a show of appreciation for the hard work they’d done to help prepare our set for the show. They were a large group of people and I’d very simply asked for ‘2 guys that could have a basic and effective dark match’. Chasyn and Epic were the wresters they chose and I was reassured they were more than capable.”
“The match itself went fine, and both of them were pleasant backstage, but I didn’t realize until much later via social media etc, that the first dark match I’d allowed for caused trauma amongst some fans. By no means do I wish to support or defend these people – I trusted blindly and potentially tarnished the name of an event that was very important to me and took a lot of time and finances to realize. I’m sorry for anyone truly hurt by this and can assure people that I won’t be taking chances like this in the future. I will monitor every detail directly if/when we challenge CEOxNJPW part 2.”