Anime Expo 2023: Cosplay Wrestling Federation, Late Comedy Showdown, and Cosplay

Ryan Southard

Conventions as large as Anime Expo (well over 100,000 unique visitors per day) can be a daunting experience, but with that size comes many opportunities to have a blast. More than just a gargantuan blitz of new media, there are all kinds of ways to have fun.

The Late Comedy Showdown gives anime fans a taste of what standup comedy is like in the real world, but with an injection of nerd appeal. The experience was not unlike one that I had while visiting San Francisco at a smaller comedy club. There were a lot of comics who were clearly new to the experience, but a few standouts felt like they would blend perfectly among professionals.

K. Cheng at Anime Expo 2023. Photo credit: Alexis Llamas K Cheng

K Cheng brought the house down, whipping out not just one solid set but a second to win the night. His use of sounds from the Super Mario Bros. series to depict his sex life brought roars of laughter from the audience. A single, sad fireball sound illustrates what it is to climax the K Cheng way ::Plock!::

The Cosplay Wrestling Federation brought its own unique brand of comedy to Anime Expo, with handfuls of characters dropping smack talk as if they were at a pre-wrestling conference. With a semi-scripted drama, the crowd repeatedly pushed back against Robotnik not being included in the final lineup, hilariously riling up the host a bit, who desperately yelled back at the crowd that Robotnik was out. I mean, Robotnik was making all kinds of promises that surely he’d keep to better the world in his own special way, right? I’d vote for him. President Robotnik, let’s go!

The Cosplay Wrestling Federation at Anime Expo 2023. Photo courtesy of The Cosplay Wrestling Federation

Another wrestler, Spicy Burrito, also wowed the crowd with his transformation, revealing a golden burrito beneath the silver wrapper, laying some smackdown on the competition. The crowd was a riot, getting involved at every turn, and I would definitely recommend checking out CWF. They seem to be appearing at all sorts of conventions. Perhaps one near you?

A poor Korok who’s about to find its way home thanks to Inosuke from Demon Slayer. Photo credit: Ryan Southard/Nerd Reactor

Besides the events, movies, TV shows, panels, autographs, free swag, and countless other things to see and do, Anime Expo is about having fun with cosplay! In the world of cosplay, crossovers and playful situations abound, with countless opportunities to show your creativity. I’d like to thank Yani, our really desperate-to-get-home Korok, for helping me create the above scenario. Get out there and have fun with your fellow cosplayers!

Anime Expo 2023 was an amazing experience, and I hope that if you’ve never been, you give it a whirl. There is so much to see and do, even the four days it’s available might not be enough!

A small gathering of cosplayers from the world of Hollow Knight. Photo credit: Ryan Southard/Nerd Reactor
A Gundam roams the halls of Anime Expo 2023. Photo credit: Ryan Southard/Nerd Reactor
A gaggle of One Piece cosplayers suddenly gather for an impromptu photo session. Photo credit: Ryan Southard/Nerd Reactor