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The State of Puroresu

Ten years from now,who do you think will be the number one promotion?

  • Shin Nippon Puroresu (New Japan Pro Wrestling)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Zen Nippon Puroresu (All Japan Pro Wrestling)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Pro Wrestling NOAH

    Votes: 8 100.0%
  • Inoki Genome Federation

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    8

jushin lyger

New Member
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2
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0
i think by now everyone that follows the japanese wrestling scene has noticed that it struggled over the last few years.

the two superpowers that were born from the split of jwa (japan pro wrestling alliance) in 1972, namely shin nippon puroresu (njpw) and zen nippon puroresu (ajpw), are not at the top of the helm anymore.ajpw's fight for survival started in 2000 with giant baba's passing and his widow's controversial handling of the company which led to the core of stars (led by misawa mitsuharu and kobashi kenta) defecting and following misawa who founded pro wrestling noah that same year.shortly thereafter, mutoh keiji bought out mrs. baba's shares of the company and installed himself as the president (while still competing).a lot of people consider ajpw to be hardly more than an independant promotion these days.

njpw was still going strong when ajpw started to lose it's footing.though nothing compared to it's heyday of the seventies and the nineties, compared to the floundering rival, njpw was doing good business.the promotion's current recession is to be explained not so much due to internal quarrels (despite the fact those played their part in it as well) but a declining interest in puroresu altogether in japan.it is said that the company has been losing money for several years in a row now and one might be concerned about new japan as a whole as it would be a shame for such a great promotion with such an illustrous history who some say is the greatest of all times to close.

pro wrestling noah is the biggest fish in the puroresu pond right now.with the largest crowds, biggest media and fan interest and a soon to be first (a whole card in a foreign country), noah is making great strides in steadying their position as the top promotion in the far east.kobashi's return from cancer after a year of absence drew great interest both in japan as well as the wrestling media overseas. furthermore, noah had their founder, former tiger mask 2 and living legend wrestle in roh which can only have broadend their fan base.of the big promotions, noah is definately the healthiest.

the indy scene is a wild mix with interpromotional events galore.over the last couple of years there have been mixed cards, with njpw/dragongate, njpw/apache, apache/kaientai dojo, pro wrestling noah/zero-one max being the most prominent.the biggest player on the indies is zero-one max.they upshot to a semi-serious threat to the big ones after their installment in 2001 through their founder and njpw-legend hashimoto shinya.the promotion prospered through it's early years and rode strong on the back of hashimoto.hashimoto injured his shoulder in 2004 that required surgery and sold the promotion in 2005 to ohtani shinjiro, citing financial problems.he died months later from a brain aneurysm.the promotion has been declining slowly but surely ever since.

most of the other indy promotions survive thanks to having found their niche.most notably,michinoku pro is still sporting the great sasuke, who is in some sort of semi-retirement while having an on-off career as a politician.they held what many might consider a junior heavyweight supercard last august 30th with sasuke, jushin thunder liger, tigermask, el samurai and ultimo dragon among it's entrants.

now,having rounded up the puroresu scene's state, i would like to hear what you think. is it just the bottom of a cycle? should the promotions overthink their repective products? is there anything they can do aside from hoping for more fan interest?
 
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Evil Gringo

Not really Evil, but I like Burritos
Messages
17,945
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113
I think that the problem as I have stated is some of my articles is that the promotions keep hold off and run with the talent that was once hot and runs them to death.

Chono, Hashimoto and Muto where headliners for the first time back in 1991. In 2001, a decade later they where still seen as the top stars in Japan with very few of the generation that followed allowed to join them.

You could Sasaki did but is actually near them in age and ring experience, he just got his shot EVEN later.

This meant that Nagata, Tenzan, Kojima, Suzuki, Takayama, Akiyama etc had to wait till they where in their mid-30's to gain a headline footing.

Coupled with shoddy booking and the way titles runs where handled in some cases these have never reached the pinnacle the others have. Plus bar Nagata you can argue they are not really as good as Misawa, Kobashi, Muto, Chono, Hashimoto, Fujinami, Choshu and Inoki where in their prime either which doesn't help.

At the moment it is true Puro is going through tough times but that is because of the promotions not doing enough in the past to prepare for the future and instead feed of the riches of the here and now.

NJPW are trying with Nakamura, Taguchi, Goto, Tanahashi etc to push for the future and NOAH with the pushes of Marufuji and KENTA as well as the reign of Morishima are trying to change peoples ideas about who and what a headline match can consist of.

But it will take a few more years and a few more outstanding young talents to emerge (Shiosaki for one in NOAH) to round out the scene and make it more viewable to a mainstream audience. Couple this with the fact that the younger generations don't each have a definite character and aura about them compared to the older generation (which again comes down to booking) and you have a further problem.

Bottom line is NJPW will survive if it cuts its costs when it comes to big shows and NOAH will do very well and remain ahead of them.

Nothing to do with NJPW's match quality, its just down to how they alienated their target audience, upset their faithful with poor title switches and disgraceful booking (Sasaki v Fujita - IWGP Title being the main one) and also how they have just realised it's not 1996 anymore....
 

Frank Botch

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,287
Points
48
That Sasaki finish was ridiculous.Didn't someone from the company have to publicly apologize for that?Anyway ten years is a long time and the top stars of NOAH should be long retired by then altough knowing Misawa he'll still be wrestling.I've been impressed with what I've seen of NJPW lately especially Nakamura but maybe they have alienated their hardcore fans too much(and Inoki's fascination a while back with MMA didn't help)But with Inoki's waning influence the focus seems to be back with wrestling and theres been some great matches this year like Nakamura-Tanahashi and Angle-Nagata.That being said New Japan will probably struggle for the next couple of years and NOAH has a loyal fan base now so I've gone for NOAH.
 

jushin lyger

New Member
Messages
2
Points
0
i agree that the injection of fresh blood has been missing.no doubt about that.yet there just have not been young wrestlers who really hit the nerve of the fans and got over with them.i also think that something that really got to njpw was the fact that both the heavyweight and jr. heavyweight division slowed down at about the same time.mutoh keiji and sasaki kensuke went to ajpw, hashimoto shinya left to start his own promotion (zero-one).great sasuke retired, ultimo dragon left to wrestle for independant promotions as well as in mexico in aaa.the juniors were practically just jushin thunder liger, tiger mask and el samurai. the heavyweights were pretty thin themselves.and there wasn't really anyone that came up to replace these guys.the inoki influence is gone now, he sold his shares two years ago and now has his new promotion IGF.

ten years from now i think noah will lead the way still feeding from the advantage they have these days with a recovering njpw a close second.if you look at some of the guys new japan has,you might want to look into the future optimistically.key for both will be to bring up new guys that cathc on with the fans.while this is not really overly innovative or brilliant,it is simply the way to go.at some point the old guys cannot deliver anymore to the point where they can carry a company.and while i still love liger,kobashi and misawa, these promotions need to boost fresh faces.someone you should not count out is inoki with his inoki genome federation.his financial backing is twice the budget njpw has (believed to be $850.000 compared to 460.000) and so far he lured lesnar,angle as well as some decent japanese talent to wretle for him (knedo ka-shin,for example).who now,maybe he will be a player again.but he better build something soon,because noone will sponsor a promotion that is just sucking up money.right now,they just run bimonthly shows,but they might be force to be reckoned with.
 

Evil Gringo

Not really Evil, but I like Burritos
Messages
17,945
Points
113
Sasaki left because Choshu left and went to form a company called World Japan...

Sasuke was never a NJPW contracted wrestler and hasn't retired, same with Ultimo, he was a WAR wrestler when he was in New Japan and then went to WCW before getting injured and having a botched surgery which forced him to teach rather then wrestle.

Even then until 2001 you had Kanemoto, Otani, Takaiwa, Liger, Samurai plus Shibata and Makabe where also still cruisers back then. Then Tiger Mask IV, Minoru, Gedo and Jado became NJPW contracted stars with outsiders from Mexico like Black Tiger III, Dick Togo etc.

There was plenty of talent in the ranks but a lack of long sight in the booking coupled with the MMA ramblings of Inoki which began to kick in at this time and actually led to KaShin, Kojima, Muto, Choshu, Otani, Hashimoto etc leaving... they where sick of Inoki.

As for Misawa still wrestling in 10 years time, when he will be the grand old age of 54? Not a chance unless it's a light hearted match opening the card and there is no way Misawa's ego will let him do that seen as he is pretty much the most successful wrestler in the history of NOAH and AJPW.

He'll bow out on top of the tag ranks, give the rub to a few people (he owes Marufuji and KENTA wins for a start) and then retire before his legendary status is tarnished.
 

Frank Botch

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,287
Points
48
You're probably right. I just meant that every time he seems to be winding down his career he wins another title.He had said after losing the GHC title to Kobashi that he was done with the title.But I suppose it's not his fault Rikio,Akiyama and Marufuji weren't accepted as champions.Definitely agree that the exodus of the wrestlers you mentioned was down to Inoki.
 

Evil Gringo

Not really Evil, but I like Burritos
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113
See the problem with Rikio's run was again the booking... plus the fact that no one could have followed Kobashi after THAT comeback run.

He was booked against people who could not get him over as they where no where near a threat to him in various ways. Tanahashi was too small and not over a player at that time, Saito is a useless lump who kicks and his match with Misawa was average and the pinfall win (the first time Misawa had been pinned since Kobashi pinned him to the mat) did nothing for him in the end because people had not been given as reason to care about his run.

Marufuji's victory was via a cradle (ergo a fluke in NOAH), he was smaller then most champions in Japanese wrestling history and not many people seem to see the character behind the flashy spots. He is an oppertunist, a crafty wrestler who knows what risks to take and how to cut corners.

But people haven't been made to care about them, not given as reason too where as with KENTA they do. He is the loved underdog, the cool brawler and the kick ass martial artist all in one. He can fly AND throw people onto their heads plus for a little guy he ain't half strong either.

KENTA is the future of NOAH in one way or the other. His potential battle with Mori over that gold should be a stormer.
 

Frank Botch

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,287
Points
48
Good point about Marufuji.The only reason I could think as to why he didn't draw,especially in his defense against Kenta,was his size the japanese being used to guys like Jumbo,Hashimoto and Misawa being on top.But no one wants to see an undeserving or fluke champion which is how he was booked to take the title.As for Rikio I just don't think he had the charisma to carry the company because Kobashi got decent matches out of sub par workers like Bison Smith and actually made them look like a threat.As for Morishima I just recently saw the match with Misawa and even though it got mixed reviews online i thought it was pretty great,that senton on the floor was awsome,but my opinion might be clouded because I'm a huge Misawa mark.It was good to see the positve response the crowd gave and a match with Kenta would be great.Speaking of wrestlers named Kenta maybe a Kobashi-Morishima match before the end of 08?
 

Evil Gringo

Not really Evil, but I like Burritos
Messages
17,945
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113
It depends as Kobashi has been told to slow down his comeback and take sometime off which puts the dates he is booked on during April into doubt.

However he is still expected to be there on the Coventry Dome Show come June 21st which is awesome as I will be there.

As for Morishima v Misawa I also thought it was a good match and the way that Misawa tried like hell to not backdropped put over the move as a killer. Also the way Mori took ALL of Misawa's big moves and won put him over huge.

Should be an incredibly fun time this year in NOAH if they book old Mori the right way.
 

Fidel Cashflow

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63
Marufuji's victory was via a cradle (ergo a fluke in NOAH), he was smaller then most champions in Japanese wrestling history and not many people seem to see the character behind the flashy spots.
See now, Spring of 2006, when Maru beat Taue and had that classy match Kobashi, I was convinced that people fully understood Maru's character. He portrays a genius. The same high-end stuff he did earlier in his career, but now he had the IQ to match it.

After the Akiyama match, though, that isn't the case, and Maru is a bit to blame. He had the typical Star v Star matches against KENTA and Misawa, and that gave off the idea that he was just another puro ac, but one with a flashy style.

He didn't have that same badass cunning he had before he won the title. He tried to portray himself as something that's less than he is. Sadly, he hasn't quite recaptured that.

He should've beaten KENTA by outsmarting him and drawing him into a technical battle, not trading bombs. He's just gone the trading bombs route recently, and that's just not will work for him.
 

Evil Gringo

Not really Evil, but I like Burritos
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He is doing that under orders though as AJPW headliners and then NOAH headliners under Misawa where expected to throw bomb after bomb to get the win.

Taue, Kobashi, Misawa, Kawada, Akiyama, Rikio, Morishima, Takayama and Vader were all GHC or Triple Crown champions that threw big moves and bombs out. Ogawa is the exception as he too played the crafty wrestler who won moves with his smarts and not his brawn.

He too failed as a champion in terms of drawing and belief which I feel has led to Misawa instructing Maru to throw out big moves rather then his previous character trait of using his brain to open up chances for his big moves OR steal the win.

Maru still wrestlers with guile and in a crafty manner as seen by the end of the ShiMaru v Briscoe GHC Tag match with that counter into the Shinarui Kai but if you want to be a headliner in NOAH you have to throw bombs first and foremost and thats the reason for that change.
 

Fidel Cashflow

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Messages
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Points
63
He is doing that under orders though as AJPW headliners and then NOAH headliners under Misawa where expected to throw bomb after bomb to get the win.

Taue, Kobashi, Misawa, Kawada, Akiyama, Rikio, Morishima, Takayama and Vader were all GHC or Triple Crown champions that threw big moves and bombs out. Ogawa is the exception as he too played the crafty wrestler who won moves with his smarts and not his brawn.

He too failed as a champion in terms of drawing and belief which I feel has led to Misawa instructing Maru to throw out big moves rather then his previous character trait of using his brain to open up chances for his big moves OR steal the win.

Maru still wrestlers with guile and in a crafty manner as seen by the end of the ShiMaru v Briscoe GHC Tag match with that counter into the Shinarui Kai but if you want to be a headliner in NOAH you have to throw bombs first and foremost and thats the reason for that change.
I don't want to see him winning via rollups and what not, but I'd like to see him negate his opponents. Use the Pole Shift to put away the big guns, but only after he's broken down his opponents offense. Him going after Kobashi's knee and having Taue's chokeslams scouted perfectly was what made him awesome to me.
 

Evil Gringo

Not really Evil, but I like Burritos
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Same here I enjoyed that immensely and so it made no sense and was a backward step on the part of those who book and lay out the matches to have him succumb to Misawa in the way he did.

With the KENTA match as the two where evenly matched in weight and size it made sense they would go balls to the wall and Maru was smart in attacking the leg of KETNA however when it came to the closing stretch the selling went out of the window and that lies with KENTA more then anyone.

Then the fact that Maru was not being smart with his offensive choices after become champion by being smart was insane. Not only that with Misawa being a legend whose match winners are well known AND Maru's former mentor in WAVE you would have thought that he would counter more moves bar the unseen Avalanche version of the Tiger Suplex '85 but again the lay out of the match (which Misawa would have done as the booker and veteran) left a lot to be desired.

Maybe these things will be righted as if Maru gets a shot and needs to look a threat then the smart character needs to be you used and well.
 

Frank Botch

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2,287
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Am I the only one who thinks that the champion of a Japanese fed should go out and throw big bombs and stiff the hell out of their opponent? I mean that's why I loved Hashimoto and Misawa in his prime (and even now) and all the others mentioned.I don't want a genius as champ I want a badass.That's not to say I don't rate Marufuji as a worker I just don't think he cuts it on top(I Know that's not very internet fan of me)
 

Evil Gringo

Not really Evil, but I like Burritos
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Depends on the wrestler.

Seen as Misawa was a reasonable size he could throw out bombs, Hashimoto on the other hand didn't, he beat the crap out of people fair enough but he also had a sound submission game as well to back him up.

Marufuji on the other hand is a slightly bulked up junior heavyweight. He needs something else to make it believable that he could beat bigger guys and he had that with this gimmick.

The moment I feel he started to fail on top was when he became like everyone else and that didn't suit him at all.
 

Frank Botch

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2,287
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48
Another thing about Marufuji is that a number of his matches I have seen seem to fall apart towards the finish the, match with KENTA being a prime example.You mentioned the no sell of the leg but there was also numerous head drops and finishing moves.So many in fact that none of them meant anything anymore.I remember seeing a Jumbo-Tenryu match that had people going crazy for a thez press which I think shows a real connection with fans.The funny thing is I never really noticed the lack of selling in his tag matches with KENTA most of which I enjoyed.Maybe thats why Misawa told him to change his style a bit because of fans like me who expect something from title matches apart from big move after big move.Ring psychology is as importent in big matches.
 

Bryp13

New Member
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424
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You should also watch out for Michinoku Pro, they are putting on great stuff.
 

Evil Gringo

Not really Evil, but I like Burritos
Messages
17,945
Points
113
Out of the 'little' promotions in Japan at the moment I just love Dragon Gate. The inter play between the factions and the jumps between them is a bit heavy at the moment, with New Hazard only lasting a year and Muscle Outlaw'z two but the actual in ring action is most of the time stellar.

I honestly think that NJPW needs to stop feuding on a junior level with Zero One (mainly as bar Hidaka they have all been in a NJPW ring before) and start a proper feud with Dragon Gate, in the same vein as they did with NOAH.
 

Frank Botch

Well-Known Member
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2,287
Points
48
Did you catch any of the Dead or Alive PPV?Just got round to watching some of the matches.Doi and KENTA had a hell of a match.Ton of hate,good story and some super stiff offence.

I didn't watch any DG for a while and I'm kinda confused abut all the factions but I'm gonna try to catch it more often.
 
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