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Thread: The Official Puro Discussion Thread

  1. #41
    Sweet Meat
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    I assume it's posted here? I'll probably do so next weekend.

    Spoiler:

    I solemnly swear I am up to no good


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  2. #42
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    NOAH, 10/25/2008 (NTV/G+ LIVE)
    Tokyo Nippon Budokan

    0a. Tsuyoshi Kikuchi beat Genba Hirayanagi in 6:17 with a diving headbutt.
    0b. Tamon Honda, Masao Inoue and Junji Izumida drew Kentaro Shiga, Kishin Kawabata and Ippei Ota in 10:00.
    1. Mohammed Yone & Akihiko Ito beat Takashi Okita & Kento Miyahara in 4:44 after Ito used a Death Valley Bomb on Miyahara.
    2. Yoshinari Ogawa, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Kotaro Suzuki beat Doug Williams, Bryan Danielson & Atsushi Aoki in 4:36 after Suzuki used a Blue Destiny on Aoki.
    3. Yoshihiro Takayama & Takuma Sano beat Akira Taue & Makoto Hashi in 10:30 after Sano used a Northern Lights Bomb on Hashi.
    4. Takeshi Morishima & Takashi Sugiura beat Nigel McGuinness & Superstar Steve in 6:56 after Sugiura used a German suplex hold on Steve.
    5. Kensuke Sasaki, Katsuhiko Nakajima & Kota Ibushi beat Mitsuharu Misawa, Taiji Ishimori & Ricky Marvin in 16:13 after Nakajima used the Death Roll on Ishimori.
    6. GHC Tag Team Title: Akitoshi Saito & Bison Smith beat Jun Akiyama & Takeshi Rikio in 13:39 after Saito used the Sickle of Death on Akiyama. Saito and Smith retained.
    7. GHC Jr. Heavyweight Title & AJPW World Jr. Heavyweight Title: Naomichi Marufuji (c) drew KENTA (c) in 60:00. Both men retained.
    Draw was kinda obvious, but I can't wait to see the match, everytime they step in the ring it's pure greatness. The Kensuke/Misawa tag also looks a hell of a lot of fun.

  3. #43
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    lol at Aoki getting owned in under 5 minutes. Didn't see the draw coming and I think KENTA should of won imo
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim View Post
    Basically, Capone, you're my drunk friend who I love, but I need to deal with you pissing all over in my car and starting fights with big dudes with me getting punched in the face as well


  4. #44
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    Yeah, loads of the matches were uber-short to make way for the main event.

    And there was no way in fuck KENTA was ever going to win, not when another company's title was on the line.

  5. #45
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    Don't see a reason why not. Guy has to be one of the bigger draws in Japan to me at least.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim View Post
    Basically, Capone, you're my drunk friend who I love, but I need to deal with you pissing all over in my car and starting fights with big dudes with me getting punched in the face as well


  6. #46
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    You really think All Japan would want their title to change hands on another company's show?

  7. #47
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    Did you think Marafuji would actually win the AJPW Jr. title? Not like things similar to that situation has NEVER happened before.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim View Post
    Basically, Capone, you're my drunk friend who I love, but I need to deal with you pissing all over in my car and starting fights with big dudes with me getting punched in the face as well


  8. #48
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    The minute it was announced Marufuji would face Hijikata for the title it was obvious he was winning. I mean, how realistic was it for a former GHC Heavyweight champ to lose to a junior with half as much experience?

    The point, it would be extremely bad business to let another company have a title change (something that draws) on their show instead of yours. Mutoh is an extremely good businessman.

  9. #49
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    Guido vs Hideka

    This match was pretty good. Really nice to see Guido in Japan and being able to wrestle as something more than a jobber, and he looks real good here. Some nice chair and table spots, and Corino does come into play to help his ECW buddy at times. If you like Guido, you'll like this match.

    KENTA vs Marufuji

    Ah, this was a good match. Oddly theres a been a good number of hour long matches from Japan this year, and most have been poor. This however was really well done. Some down spots with rest holds, but thats expected. Lots of great exchanges and spots and stuff as you'd expect from these two. Last five minutes or so in particular it gets really epic. Not "five star classic~!", not even a MOTYC, but it is good and both men embracing after the match is a great moment, especially with all the history between them. Not the best hour long match this year, but far from the worst.

    News

    - Niether Danielson nor Nigel are on the next NOAH tour so expect them to be in ROH hopefully

    All Japan held two big press conferences over the last two days. The first was the contract signing for the Jr. Title event, which see's the champion, NOAH's Naomichi Marufuji, make his second defense against All Japan's own, Shuji Kondo. Marufuji stated that he would break the record for most successful Jr. Title defenses which is set at 14 and held by Masanobu Fuchi. Marufuji elaborated on his concept, saying that once he gets to defense 14, he would defend against Masanobu Fuchi and claim his name as the top junior in the world. Shuji Kondo stated that he was honored to fight against Marufuji, and since he believes that pro-wrestling is an art, he wanted to paint a match within the highest class on 11/3 and regain the Jr. Title for All Japan. Director Fuchi put in his two cents at the end of the conference, saying that this match would not be inferior to any junior matchup this year, not even Marufuji vs. KENTA.
    Marufuji stealing Santino Marrella's gimmick? Marufuji vs Fuchi (a legend) would be pretty epic, especially if Fuchi won then went to retire, that would be a good send off for him.

  10. #50
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    News:

    Next NOAH Tour cards revealed:

    Pro-Wrestling NOAH - "WINTER NAVIGATION 2008"

    NOAH, 14.11.2008
    Tokyo Korakuen Hall

    1. Mauritius Cup: Kento Miyahara vs. Takashi Okita
    2. KENTA, Taiji Ishimori & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi vs. Naomichi Marufuji, Kotaro Suzuki & Eddie Edwards
    3. Mitsuharu Misawa, Yoshinari Ogawa & Ricky Marvin vs. Jun Akiyama, Takeshi Rikio & Akihiko Ito
    4. Atsushi Aoki Shining Magic 10 Match Series 7th: Atsushi Aoki vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru
    5. Kensuke Sasaki & Katsuhiko Nakajima vs. Akitoshi Saito & Bison Smith


    NOAH, 16.11.2008
    Kyoto KBS Hall

    1. Mauritius Cup: Genba Hirayanagi vs. Ippei Ota
    2. Yoshihiro Takayama, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Kotaro Suzuki vs. Yoshinari Ogawa, Atsushi Aoki & Akihiko Ito
    3. Takeshi Rikio, KENTA & Taiji Ishimori vs. Tamon Honda, Naomichi Marufuji & Takashi Sugiura
    4. Jun Akiyama vs. Doug Williams
    5. Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Keith Walker


    NOAH, 18.11.2008
    Toyota City Yanagawase Gymnasium

    1. Mauritius Cup: Genba Hirayanagi vs. Takashi Okita
    2. Mauritius Cup: Akihiko Ito vs. Kento Miyahara
    3. KENTA, Taiji Ishimori & Ricky Marvin vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Kotaro Suzuki & Atsushi Aoki
    4. Yoshinari Ogawa & Naomichi Marufuji vs. Masao Inoue & Takashi Sugiura
    5. Takeshi Morishima, Mohammed Yone & Masashi Aoyagi vs. Tamon Honda, Junji Izumida & Kishin Kawabata
    6. Mitsuharu Misawa & Akira Taue vs. Buchanan & Keith Walker
    7. Akitoshi Saito, Bison Smith & Doug Williams vs. Jun Akiyama, Takeshi Rikio & Makoto Hashi


    NOAH, 19.11.2008
    Nagano City Athletic-Park Gymnasium

    1. Mauritius Cup: Genba Hirayanagi vs. Kento Miyahara
    2. Mauritius Cup: Akihiko Ito vs. Takashi Okita
    3. KENTA, Taiji Ishimori & Atsushi Aoki vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Kotaro Suzuki & Eddie Edwards
    4. Yoshinari Ogawa & Doug Williams vs. Takeshi Rikio & Ricky Marvin
    5. Akitoshi Saito & Bison Smith vs. Takeshi Morishima & Makoto Hashi
    6. Jun Akiyama & Tamon Honda vs. Buchanan & Keith Walker
    7. Mitsuharu Misawa, Akira Taue & Ippei Ota vs. Yoshihiro Takayama, Naomichi Marufuji & Takashi Sugiura


    NOAH, 23.11.2008
    Sapporo Teisen Hall

    1. Mauritius Cup: Ippei Ota vs. Kento Miyahara
    2. KENTA vs. Genba Hirayanagi
    3. Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Kotaro Suzuki vs. Yoshinari Ogawa & Akihiko Ito
    4. One Night Six Man Tag Heavyweight Tournament - Semi Final: Akitoshi Saito, Bison Smith & Keith Walker vs. Mitsuharu Misawa, Takeshi Morishima & Mohammed Yone
    5. One Night Six Man Tag Heavyweight Tournament - Semi Final: Kensuke Sasaki, Yoshihiro Takayama & Takashi Okita vs. Jun Akiyama, Takeshi Rikio & Takashi Sugiura
    6. One Night Six Man Tag Heavyweight Tournament - Final:


    NOAH, 24.11.2008
    Sapporo Teisen Hall

    1. Jun Akiyama & Takeshi Rikio vs. Bison Smith & Doug Williams
    2. Mitsuharu Misawa & Yoshinari Ogawa vs. Buchanan & Eddie Edwards
    3. Kensuke Sasaki vs. Keith Walker
    4. One Night Six Man Tag Jr. Heavyweight Tournament - Semi Final: Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Kotaro Suzuki & Genba Hirayanagi vs. Naomichi Marufuji, Atsushi Aoki & Akihiko Ito
    5. One Night Six Man Tag Jr. Heavyweight Tournament - Semi Final: KENTA, Taiji Ishimori & Ippei Ota vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima, Ricky Marvin & Kento Miyahara
    6. One Night Six Man Tag Jr. Heavyweight Tournament - Final:


    NOAH, 27.11.2008
    Zepp Sendai

    1. Mauritius Cup: Akihiko Ito vs. Ippei Ota
    2. KENTA & Taiji Ishimori vs. Kentaro Shiga & Genba Hirayanagi
    3. Akitoshi Saito, Bison Smith & Takashi Sugiura vs. Akira Taue, Takuma Sano & Masao Inoue
    4. Takeshi Morishima & Mohammed Yone vs. Buchanan & Keith Walker
    5. Mitsuharu Misawa, Yoshinari Ogawa & Ricky Marvin vs. Jun Akiyama, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Kotaro Suzuki


    NOAH, 28.11.2008
    Niigata City Gymnasium

    1. Mauritius Cup: Ippei Ota vs. Takashi Okita
    2. Mauritius Cup: Genba Hirayanagi vs. Akihiko Ito
    3. Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Kotaro Suzuki vs. Taiji Ishimori & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi
    4. Kensuke Sasaki, Katsuhiko Nakajima & Kento Miyahara vs. Yoshinari Ogawa, Ricky Marvin & Atsushi Aoki
    5. Mitsuharu Misawa, Mohammed Yone & Naomichi Marufuji vs. Jun Akiyama, Takeshi Rikio & Kentaro Shiga
    6. GHC Jr. Heavyweight Title: KENTA (c) vs. Eddie Edwards


    NOAH, 29.11.2008
    Akita City Tsuchizaki Selion Plaza

    1. Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Kotaro Suzuki vs. Takashi Sugiura & Ippei Ota
    2. KENTA & Taiji Ishimori vs. Naomichi Marufuji & Atsushi Aoki
    3. Mitsuharu Misawa & Yoshinari Ogawa vs. Doug Williams & Eddie Edwards
    4. Akitoshi Saito, Bison Smith & Keith Walker vs. Akiyama, Takeshi Rikio & Kentaro Shiga


    NOAH, 07.12.2008
    Tokyo Nippon Budokan

    1. GHC Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Title: Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Kotaro Suzuki (c) vs. KENTA & Taiji Ishimori
    2. GHC Heavyweight Title: Kensuke Sasaki (c) vs. Akitoshi Saito
    Ugh, I hate NOAH's shitty booking. Saito/Kensuke is most likely going to suck so bad, I wish they'd stop being such conservative pussys and put someone like Taue or Akiyama or someone else in the title scene. Oh well, atleast Edwards is going to get pwnt.

    Results
    Quick notes from the live report. The show was around 70 to 80% full, making it another success for All Japan this year at Sumo Hall! Overall a very solid show, with Ryota Hama's debut surprising a lot of fans, who got wrapped into the match by the end (although it was only five minutes). It seems as if the next challenger for Marufuji might be NOSAWA Rongai as he the two had a brief staredown after Kondo surprisingly lost in his effort of purity to regain the Jr. Title! After the main event, Suzuki put on a t-shirt that said "Takayama" and to the shock of everyone, standing right behind Muta was Yoshihiro Takayama!

    AJPW "PRO-WRESTLING LOVE in RYOGOKU vol. 6", 11/3/08 (PPV/GAORA TV/Samurai! TV)
    Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan
    9,850 Fans - No Vacancy

    1. Masanobu Fuchi beat Nobutaka Araya & Kikutaro (6:01) with an inside cradle on Araya.
    2. Manabu Soya beat Seiya Sanada (13:38) with the Power Booster.
    3. Taiyo Kea, NOSAWA Rongai & MAZADA beat Osamu Nishimura, Elvis Sharpe & Shane Chung (8:05) when Kea used the TKO on Chung.
    4. Akebono beat Ryota Hama (debut) (5:05) with a running body press.
    5. TARU, Nobukazu Hirai & "brother" YASSHI beat Suwama, Kaz Hayashi & Ryuji Hijikata (14:20) when Hirai used a fire extinguisher attack on Hayashi.
    6. Hiroyoshi Tenzan , Yujiro & Tetsuya Naito beat Satoshi Kojima, KAI & Hiroshi Yamato (18:20) when Naito used the Stardust press on Yamato.
    7. AJPW World Jr. Heavyweight Title: Naomichi Marufuji (c) beat Shuji Kondo (37:55) with the Pole Shift (2nd defense).
    8. Triple Crown: Great Muta (c) beat Minoru Suzuki (25:46) with the Shining Wizard (1st defense).
    1 down for Marufuji, 13 to go. Muta/Takayama could actually be pretty fun too.


    Also, I'm currently upping ROH's Tokyo Summit >_>

  11. #51
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    Thought I might as well post some news and shit:

    - Kensuke Sasaki's next defence is against Akitsoshi Saito. Ugh. Atleast it seems as if they are building Akiyama up for a title shot soon, which should be good.

    -Morishima and Taue are now a tag team and have a title shot soon. It's random but this pic shows the potential awesomeness.

    -The NOAH Xmas show will feature a 32 man tournemant with every match having a 10 minute time limit. Could be pretty fun.

    -Mutoh will defend against Tanahashi in the main event for Wrestling Kingdom III. New Japan has also confirmed Mistico, Kurt Angle, Kevin Nash, Team 3D and the MCMG for the show. The Guns have a Jr tag title show. Sounds pretty epic already.

    -Marufuji's next defence is against Kikuchi.

  12. #52
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    Puro Question

    I try to follow as much current Japanese pro wrestling as possible, but I'm far from an expert. A discussion of Japanese MMA on another forum brought up the current state of Japanese pro wrestling. From what I understand, the past few years have been a bit of a down period in the business in Japan. I seem to recall reading that attendances haven't been great and several promotions have some TV trouble. Its a cyclical business, but I've always assume that its been somewhat down to a lack of drawing stars. There are some, I know. But All Japan is still reliant on Mutoh and giving the Triple Crown to Hama seemed a desperation move to me. Noah seems like they never truly replaced the All Japan generation and are suffering a bit for it.

    Anyway, just looking for the opinion of folks who know more than I - has Japan been in a down cycle in the past few years, and what were the reasons (so far as you understand, at least) behind it.

  13. #53
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    Re: Puro Question

    I think just looking at the attendence figures for shows (on purolove.com) shows that business is not good. New Japan just had their big 1/4 show, which is their yearly Wrestlemania event in the Tokyo Dome and the biggest puro event of the year by a mile, and this is what is looked like:



    As for why it has happened, I could only tell you what I have learned from others more knowledgable than me, so instead I'll just c+p one of Ditch's articles which best explains the fall of puro:

    The number of ‘preventable’ reasons for the decline of the Japanese wrestling business are varied and well-known. MMA has stolen fans and talent; TV executives give wrestling no chance to thrive; major stars have died or become broken down; booking mistakes have harmed the appeal of younger stars and driven away fans. Yet even if promotions had good timeslots on major networks, and were run to perfection, and recruited the same portion of top athletes as before, there would still be a significant business slump. Two powerful factors are beyond the control of pro wrestling: demographics and economics.

    By demographics, I refer to birthrate. Starting in the mid ‘70s, births declined precipitously, falling below replacement levels during the ‘80s. In recent years the population has begun to shrink. There’s a case for reducing the population density on a relatively small mountainous strip of land, but this is no way to do it. Young adults today face the prospect of dealing with a crushing government debt over their lifetime, and when coupled with the costs of having children such as having to pay for public high schools the birth slump seems unlikely to reverse.


    Fewer children means fewer young athletes for pro wrestling to draw from, so promotions must either keep standards high and put fewer wrestlers through their dojos, or lower standards and try to make do with lower-end wrestlers, or both. The last group of wrestlers born before the ‘70s birth plunge are the so-called ‘third generation’, featuring the likes of Akiyama, Nagata, Ohtani, Kojima and Tenzan. Put aside criticisms that they weren’t as good as the wrestlers who debuted in the ‘80s; it’s still an impressive group of talent. The main dojos have struggled mightily to create heavyweight talent since then.


    All Japan generated Omori, Morishima, Rikio, and later Suwama. NOAH generated Shiozaki and Taniguchi. New Japan generated Nakanishi, Tanahashi, Nakamura, Shibata, Goto and Makabe. Of those you have a wrestler who was only been pushed due to not having any other choice (Makabe); wrestlers pushed before they were really ready for the spotlight (Nakamura, Shiozaki, Suwama); wrestlers who seemed to diminish shortly after getting a push (Omori, Rikio); wrestlers with a good pedigree but limited ability (Nakanishi, Taniguchi); a wrestler who left the business (Shibata); a wrestler who can’t stay in shape (Morishima); a wrestler who has yet to actually draw (Goto); and a wrestler who can draw but not that well (Tanahashi).
    To put it another way: how many of these guys are on pace to be Wrestling Observer Hall of Famers? Any of them? And that’s for an entire decade of dojo grads. Some of it is circumstances and booking, but the vast majority is talent and consistency. The effort is there for the most part, just not the end result. There’s a lack of leadership, of presence, of being larger-than-life. Those like Tanahashi who are great athletes can’t get the same response with their efforts as the best athletes even ten years ago, and the athletic depth is down quite a bit. Some are able to get the crowd into it during tags, and some during singles, but the ability to blow the roof off at large AND small venues is sorely lacking.


    What’s more, even among this group a heavy majority entered the dojo in the ‘90s. That doesn’t take into account that the ‘90s also had the FMW dojo and several shoot-style dojos. Today’s Big Japan dojo seems like the best in Japan for producing traditional-style wrestlers, and Big Japan products are given little to no respect by larger companies. The main dojos haven’t even produced what I would consider 5 good heavyweights in the last decade. While it doesn’t necessarily mean that a 50% higher birthrate would yield 50% more good heavyweights, I have a hard time believing that the average dojo graduate wouldn’t be better than what we got. Yes, every dojo produces flops, but New Japan especially had far more hits than misses during its first 20 years.


    No amount of good booking, good promoting, and good intentions can make up for superstars that aren’t born. When you combine too few stars with too many companies, that’s a recipe for a mediocre end result. When you combine mediocre shows with two decades of economic stagnation, that’s a recipe for a pitch-black business outlook.


    When it comes to Japan’s economy there is no lack of scapegoats. Don’t like “big government”? Japan has sunk untold trillions of yen into infrastructure for the sake of jobs projects as opposed to actual need, and spends heavily propping up elderly-heavy rural areas for the benefit of key politicians. Don’t like “big business”? Corporatism runs rampant, with major companies able to squash competition and dictate regulations. Government policy led to banks propping up certain failed businesses, wasting money and making it harder for newer, better companies to take their place. There are long-running problems with monetary policy, the cost of housing, high fuel costs, and now a dwindling workforce that must support a long-lived and ever-larger elderly population. With all that to deal with, who has 7500 yen lying around to go to a wrestling show? Especially if the promotion regularly gives away free or cheap tickets.


    The bottom line is that it’s not as if there’s one thing or a couple things heading in the wrong direction. It’s that EVERYTHING is heading in the wrong direction, with the exceptions of New Japan being operated competently (as opposed to five years ago) and Dragon Gate appealing to a unique group. Too many promotions compete for a dwindling fanbase, and the fanbase has less disposable income to spend. Too few high-end talents are spread out too widely. A tiny percentage of the population has Samurai TV, which has by far the most wrestling content.

  14. #54
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    Re: Puro Question

    Awesome - that's just the kind of thing I was looking for. Ditch is one of my primary sources for puro info and I was pretty sure he did something like this but couldn't find it amongst his Puro Pulse columns. Thanks!


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    Re: Puro Question

    Just read that New Japan might be looking at doing the Tokyo Dome show elsewhere next year... Guess that says a lot.

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    The Puroresu Primer Thread

    This could be used as a discussion thread for all things Puroresu, but I figured moreso, it would provide a "primer" for those who don't know much abou tthe Japanese pro wrestling scene. Its not intended to be that in-depth and information is gleaned from a lot of sources. I freely admit I am no expert - my understanding of certain things may be skewed or plain wrong.

    Feel free to ask questions, as its one of the easiest and most direct ways to learn.

    What is "Puroresu"?

    Quite simply, it is Japanese professional wrestling. The term "puroresu" is primarily used by English-speaking fans and is formed from the Japanese words for "professional wrestling".

    A key aspect to understand about wrestling in Japan is that it is basically presented as a form of full contact sport. Some fans understand it’s a work, but essentially suspend their disbelief. Other fans accept it as "legit", in part due to the way the "sport" is covered by the media. Realistic-looking strikes are a key part, as are fairly-realistic submissions. Its not uncommon for wrestlers to have a martial arts background (often Judo). A big aspect is "fighting spirit", which often seen in big exchanges of strikes that may be no-sold by one or both wrestlers.

    "Joshi" is Japanese women's wrestling, and it combines the different styles of men's wrestling.

    What Makes Puroresu Different?

    It might be easier to explain what is similar to the American style of pro wrestling. So much is different.

    When it comes to promotions, "messy" is the easiet way to describe things. You have your major promotions and your bigger "indy" promotions. You also have a lot of small groups (such as freelance offices) that run occassional shows. Some of these smaller shows can use bigger names, even some that are attached to the big promotions. Those big promotions often co-promote, though it typically seems to be under the banner of one promotion. The co-promotion matches can be promotion-vs-promotion super-fights, and those may even involve title changes. For example, New Japan's annual Tokyo Dome show from the 4th of January this year featured wrestlers from NOAH, CMLL, TNA, and DDT.

    The way that shows are run by the "regular" promotions in Japan is different, as they run a touring system. It’s a bit like the WWE's house show circuit, with a couple of shows per week but without the TV tapings that the WWE has. Japan as a nation has a limited number of larger (10k plus) venues, so a lot of tour shows only draw a few thousand fans. Those tour shows provide the promotions with the matches they show as part of their regular TV shows, which are just highlight shows. The bigger events take place at bigger venues and may be broadcast via pay per view, but that aspect isn't really a primary revenue source for the promotions, as it is for the WWE. PPV sales in Japan are very limited. House show attendance is more important, and when a promotion is hot, they can sell out major venues for years on end. Some tours are focused around tournaments or leagues (singles or tag) while others are just regular tours.

    Puroresu does not feature storylines, per se. Not in the way that wrestling fans in North America have come ot expect. There are feuds, and they can be between wrestlers, teams, stables, or even promotions. Some of those feuds can be lengthy and layered, even subtle at times. A fairly standard "young upstart trying to score big win over established star" feud could run years, with numerous singles encounters and tons of tag matches buidling up to the eventual win. Each encounter between them would add another layer. Most promotions do make use of interviews, but in the style of press conferences after the match. These are covered extensively by the Japanese media.

    Most Japanese wrestlers don't use gimmicks, at least in the sense that we know them. The characters are presented are usually an extension of the worker themselves, and they evolve over time. There is a sense of continuity - when a worker moves full-time with one promotion to another, it carries over. It a wrestler had some MMA fight, that would become part of their gimmick, even if they were unsuccessful. In the US, a promotion might use that or it might ignore it (especially if they were successful fights).

    The press coverage of professional wrestling in Japan seems similar to how they cover legit MMA. Which is pretty incredible when you consider it for a moment. I've read stories about how during the early territorial era here in North America, local newspapers would cover wrestling shows like they were any other sport. That is still happening in Japan! Its why you see dozens of photographers around the ring at big events - those are part of the Japanese sporting media.

    Fans are also different in Japan. While they get hot for certain matches and sequences, they are often quiet throughout a match. It’s a sign of respect, and that quiet viewing is part of the reason that Puroresu can build subltly into their matches. The fans in Japan also seem to lack the cynism that has marked North American fans for many years.

    ________________

    The intent to is follow up over the next week or so with more "good to know" information, such as a brief history of puroresu, promotions and names to know, and some links.

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    Re: The Puroresu Primer Thread

    A Brief History of Professional Wrestling in Japan


    Rikidozan was the great star of early pro wrestling in Japan, running his Japan Pro Wrestling Association (JWA) from 1953 until 1963. In 1958, he defeated the great Lou Thesz, helping to make Rikidozan more than just a star in Japan, but a cultural icon. Such "native vs Gaijin (foreigner)" matches made for huge business, and some of his matches are amongst the top-rated TV events in Japan history. Rikidozan also trained both Giant Baba and Antonio Inoki. He died in 1963 of "minor" stab wounds received from a disupte with the Yakuza.

    JWA continued beyond Rikidozan's death. Inoki left briefly in the mid 60s but returned, only to be expelled again in 1971 over a "bid for power". He formed New Japan Pro Wrestling in 1972. Giant Baba left later that year and formed All Japan Pro Wrestling. JWA closed in 1973, but NJPW and AJPW would remain rivals for a long time, even with the occassional crossover. "Japan vs Gajin" matches remained the biggest draws, with just a few "Japan vs Japan" feuds drawing. Inoki became a mega-star through matches with a number of non-wrestlers, including Mohammad Ali. Most were works, but they established Inoki as a "tough fighter", drew well, and created Inoki's obsession that continues to this day.

    The late 70s saw a "Gaijin breakthrough" as the Funks and some others became stars in Japan. So as I know, they were the first foreigners to become heroes in Japan. The WWWF had many ties to NJPW in the 70s, including a short world title reign by Inoki and Fujinami doing well for the WWWF. The 1980s saw a number of developments, including NJPW and AJPW competing to grab the top Gaijin. The emergence of Tiger Mask in New Japan would see it become the home of the top super junior wrestlers, an aspect All Japan would continue to lack for many years. Major star Riki Choshu left New Japan, ended up in All Japan, then back in NJPW. Akira Maeda and some other talent left New Japan to form the UWF, which was the first shoot-style wrestling promotion. It failed, the departed stars returned, only to leave again before long to try it again. New Japan created their primary title, the IWGP world title, in the late 80s by turning the Grand Prix tournament title into an actual title. All Japan had focused on tournaments since the 70s, but they also created a primary title by combining three belts into the Triple Crown. Vader became a huge Gaijin star, pinning Inoki in his debut, ina messy situation that created a riot. Also of note was Fronter Martial Arts Wrestling (FMW) forming, creating a garbage style with some great wrestling, eventually "inspring" a certain Paul Heyman.

    The 1990s were a golden period in many ways for Japan. New Japan created the G1 Climax tournament in 1991. The Three Musketeers - Shinya Hashimoto, Masahiro Chono, and Keiji Mutoh - were big stars for New Japan. The junior division had an array that may never be equaled. In 1996, the now Japan was created and things took a turn toward storyline-based drama. At the end of the 90s, New Japan changed it focus again and pursed a more MMA-based product. In All Japan, the Four Pillars of Heaven - Mitsuharu Misawa, Toshiaki Kawada, Akira Taue, and Kenta Kobashi - were handed "the toch" by Giant Baba and Jumbo Tsuruta. The foursome were the core of a period that would see some of the finest wrestling matches ever seen. FMW grew to the point where it could draw huge crowds (upwards of 30k). There were other promotions that opened and then failed, such as Super World Sports, who made a splash by signing Genichiro Tenryu from All Japan. After SWF failed, Tenryu had nowhere to go (Baba would not let him return to All Japan), so he opened WAR. Which also failed.

    Giant Baba died in 1999, and his widow became the owner of All Japan Pro Wrestling. Presidency was given to Mitsuharu Misawa, but the widow Baba and Misawa disagreed on direction, leading to an exodus. Misawa and all but two native Japanese wrestlers left. One of those remaning was Kawada, but All Japan lost their TV deal. They were left in a mess. Mokota Baba convinced Tenryu to return, then entered into a feud with New Japan. The cards featured wrestlers from each promotion facing each other, and included Keiji Mutoh winning the AJPW Triple Crown. He would sign with All Japan in 2002, remaining their "ace" as the promotion moved to a more entertainment-based approach. The fortunes of All Japan have been up and down a bit since, and they remain some distance behind New Japan.

    After leaving All Japan, Misawa formed Pro Wrestling NOAH. He was joined there by Kobashi, Taue, and most of the rest who left All Japan. NOAH continued the "King's Road" approach used by All Japan in the 90s. With some great wrestlers who had strong name value, the promotion succeeded from the start. It peaked with Kenta Kobashi's epic two year title reign, which featured some great matches and huge houses. During the middle part of the 00s, NOAH was probably Japan's biggest and most popular promotion. The problem was the age of the core stars and the damage that they had accumulated through the years. Kobashi was diagnosed with cancer in 2006 and he has not wreslted with significant regularity since, due to that and other injuries. New stars like Rikio and Morishima simply did not draw like the old stars. Attendances declined. In June 2009, Mitsuharu Misawa died after taking a back drop suplex in a match. It was a horrible loss for NOAH, puroresu, and professional wrestling as a whole. Since then NOAH, has recovered somewhat but they remain a long way away from where they were in 2004-2005.

    Antoio Inoki's obsession with worked-shoots lead to New Japan using a significant MMA influence through the early part of the 00s. NJPW wrestlers fought in MMA, and MMA fighters wrestled in NJPW. MMA was huge in Japan at the time, but business declined for New Japan. The approach lead to Inoki being forced out due to that declining business. A focus on their own talent saw Hiroshi Tanahashi become their "ace" and New Japan has taken over the clear top spot again. Inoki runs his own promotion again, the Inoki Genome Federation, which focuses on using MMA fighters - Kimbo Slice will wrestler there in February.

    Throughout the past near-decade, DragonGate has provided top quality wrestling with their "lucha-resu" approach. It is fast-paced and cutting edge, perhaps one of the most accessible styles for North American fans to get used to.

    As for 2011, wrestling in Japan is not in a particular strong posistion in terms of talent. Business remains pretty mediocre, with New Japan drawing well under 20k to the Tokyo Dome for the Wrestle Kingdom show at the start of the month. Promotions continue to have difficulty with their TV deals, which limits their ability to build new stars to draw.

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    Re: The Puroresu Primer Thread

    Styles?


    It doesn't take a lot of viewing to realize that stylistically, professional wrestling in Japan is fairly differrent from what WWE/TNA fans would be used to.

    Your basic "strong style" is what New Japan featured in its heavyweight division through the early 90s and again today. It’s a relatively realistic approach, using realistic-looking strikes and realism-based submissions. The matches are rarely epic length (the 30 minute barrier). You still see "fighting spirit" sequences resulting in no-selling, epic comebacks, and such.

    The "King's Road" approach is (to me, at least) more of an off-shoot of strong style than a true different style. It is a deeper, more layered approach. The realism of strong style is mostly eschewed in favor of deeper storytelling. The storytelling goes beyond that individual match, building up on previous encounters and other matches. Jumbo Tsuruta is apparently the "godfather" of the style, with All Japan throughout the 1990s utilizing it, contining with NOAH after the 2000 exodus. The style uses longer matches (often well past the 30 minute mark) and tag matches can be just as important to the intertwined stories as singles matches. The easiest (I think) way to understand it is that each wrestler has tiered offense, including different finishers. The tier of offense used at a given point in a match indicates the level of opponent. And it builds over time. The primary issue with the style is that a continual build becomes difficult to sustain, and under Misawa, some of the subtlty gave way to emphasis on big moves. Back drops and head drops of increasing nastiness, which caused greater wear and tear on the wrestlers, etc.

    The Super Junior style features junior heavyweights, obviously. Call them cruiserweights, if you prefer. It takes the realism inherent to strong style - strikes and submissions - and it mixes it with a high-flying approach and faster-pace. Its a luchalibre influence, and its not uncommon for super juniors to spend some time in Mexico learning while they are still relatively young.

    Lucha-resu is the trademark of DragonGate, though I believe there are other promotions that use it (DDT???). Once again, it seems more like an extension of another style (super junior) that something that evolved completely separate. Lucha-resu has a heavier luchalibre influence than the super junior style. While there may still be some stiff strikes and kicks, the submissions and moves as a whole lose their "realistic" edge. I find it interesting that Lucha-resu basic strong style and luchalibre are essentially contradictory styles, not complimentary - strong style looks for realism in strikes and submissions, whereas luchalibre (that I have seen, at least) goes for fast pace and exciting, with moves and submissions that are acrobatic and cool but not at all realistic. Lucha-resu tends to be fast-paced and innovative, and pretty amazing to watch at a high level.

    Shoot-style is super-realistic. Promotions like UWF, UWF-I, and RINGS were built around it, though other promotions have used it to some extent at various times. It seems like RINGS moved into legit fighting at some pointj, so shoot-style can be really close to actual fighting simply with worked results (early Pancrase might qualify under this).

    You also have "garbage wrestling". Call is "hardcore" or "death match" wrestling... If it’s a Exploding Barbed wire Cage Death Match, it fits. Weapons, barbed wire, light tubes, things that explode, and buckets of blood… From FMW through the 90s to Big Japan today, some of the most extreme stuff done in a ring is done in Japan. Including the use animals - pirahanas, crocodiles, take your pick. Of note is that FMW had a lot of non-hardcore wrestling and some of it was fantastic quality - especially the stuff I've seen from Hayabusa.

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    Re: The Puroresu Primer Thread

    DDT isn't really lucharesu much. The best description I've seen of DDT is "Chikara on crack" and most of their stuff is either comedy, traditional "strong style" stuff or sometimes vaguely shoot-ish. Lucharesu pretty much piqued with 90's MPro.

    Good write-ups so far.

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    Re: The Puroresu Primer Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by King Steventon View Post
    DDT isn't really lucharesu much. The best description I've seen of DDT is "Chikara on crack" and most of their stuff is either comedy, traditional "strong style" stuff or sometimes vaguely shoot-ish. Lucharesu pretty much piqued with 90's MPro.

    Good write-ups so far.
    Thanks. Part of the reason I'm no expert - I haven't seen too much of DDT beyond the comedy matches with inanimate objects and a few Kota Ibushi matches. I'm only starting to get into get into MPro and Toryumon stuff.

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