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Alex Jebailey makes a historic move between fighting games and pro wrestling with successful CEO x NJPW event

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – When Alex Jebailey launched Community Effort Orlando in 2010, the lifelong wrestling fan did not expect his event to one day be a professional wrestling show.

In fact, he did not. I expect to run Community Effort Orlando at all. Coincidentally, Jebailey had three weeks after another promised event broke out in 2010 to organize the original Community Effort Orlando – with about 350 players and spectators, one of the biggest fighting game events in Florida.

About the Past Eight years ago, Jebailey made a small event from a small fairground to much of the 205,000 square foot Ocean Center – the state's fifth largest convention center in Daytona Beach. Community Effort Orlando is now the second largest fighting game event of the year.

In March, Jebailey and New Japan Pro Wrestling announced that the two parties had agreed to host "When Worlds Collide" as a crossover event for Daytona Beach's Friday kick-off event for the daytona Beach fighting game event, worldwide was broadcast live on Twitch for free.

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In each of the past two years, current New Japan Pro Wrestling IWGP heavyweight champion Kenny Omega has made an appearance at the CEO. In 2017, he competed against WWE's Xavier Woods – but not in wrestling. Instead, they were confronted in a Street Fighter V and Tekken 7 showmatch.

This year's CEO x NJPW event was a result of Omega's commitment to gaming, and a friendship he has built with Jebailey since he first joined Community Effort Orlando at the Wyndham Orlando Resort on International Drive in downtown Orlando, Florida , in 2016. Omega, one of NJPW's top stars, has a confidence, he said, with executives who enable him to make projects like these – which are rather abnormal for an old school wrestling promotion.

"When [Kenny and I] met for the first time, we understood each other," said Jebailey. "I told him what my vision is for CEO and he said that he would like to be part of it."

"Right away, Immediately felt like a possibility," Omega said when asked if he thought in 2016 that wrestling and esports might overlap. "I knew we would do it sometime, just a matter of time, the warm response from me when I was in the building, the reaction from Xavier and I had a fight in Street Fighter V. At that time we had a video I had felt that the CEO would be the perfect venue for such a unique event more than any other gaming tournament. "

CEO x NJPW was not without hiccups on Friday. The event was postponed for about an hour, and each time employees in the arena at the Ocean Center went in and out, boasted a string of hundreds of fans – who were only present for the wrestling part of the event. Finally, when tournament organizer Rick Thiher was denounced by a fan for "special" and was admitted early, he turned around and said, "If I can not go there, you will not be able to." The crowd cheered.

The card itself featured Omega, Hiromu Takahashi, Kota Ibushi, Jushin Liger and a handful of other top NJPW names. But Jebailey – known for the global emote "Jebaited" on Twitch – stole the show as he always does, or as he would like to. In the pre-show of the event, Michael Nakazawa opened the floor to the competition, and unexpectedly came Jebaily.

In the last few days, Jebailey had meanwhile torn his Achilles tendon rightfully for training professional wrestling debut. But the show had to go on – even if that meant Jebailey used a motorized wheelchair to come to one side and then his crutches as a weapon during the game. With Jebailey as face and Nakazawa as heel, Jebailey fulfilled his dream of being in the ring as well.

"I always wanted, I love to see people happy and make people smile," Jebailey said. "Obviously growing in the [fighting game community] people would consider me as a heel and scare people off.I always wanted to put on in one way, but putting it together meant a little more.It was able to live only for one night, honestly an incredible feeling. "

In the main fight, Omega and Ibushi fought Takahashi and Tetsuya Naito in a tag team match. Omega made the bulk of the card, including his own, and overall, he said, he was happy with how the card turned out.

In many ways, Orlando felt like "community effort" Orlando grew up. With around 2000 tickets sold and tens of thousands of eSports visitors, the Community Effort Orlando 2018 has created a new bar not just for itself but for other eSports events as well, serving a community that clearly has a personal interest professional wrestling.

"It was one of the highest rated shows ever seen on Twitch," said Jebailey after the event averaged 15,000 concurrent live viewers – more than most Impact and House of Hardcore wrestling shows, who regularly stream on Twitch. "It tended in the US I am glad we invented the name" When Worlds Collide ", but the CEO x NJPW [moniker] was such an honor for me. The second-biggest wrestling company trusts me, and Kenny trusts me, and for the first time in my life, I've had a very successful live wrestling show from a guy who does fight game events. "

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