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The W - Pro Wrestling - The State of Japanese Pro Wrestling
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John Orquiola
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Since: 28.2.02
From: Boston

Since last post: 84 days
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#1 Posted on
I figured I'd direct this query to some of the more learned people on here. I've been rereading Chris Jericho's A Lion's Tale. Probably a fourth of the book is about Japan and his experiences there in the early to mid-1990's. It occurred to me that we just don't hear as much about Japan and Japanese wrestling as we did in the 1990's.

It used to be so common for American/Canadian wrestlers to go to Japan. We've all read, heard and seen the exploits of the American and Canadian stars in Japan in the 90's. Plus it was just as common for Japanese stars like Muta, Chono, etc. to come to the US, primarily for WCW, but there were also Kaientai in the WWF, Tajiri and Masato Tanaka in ECW, and even Tenryu and Kitao had a cup of coffee in the WWF and helped kill the Undertaker in 1994. Hell, one of my favorite wrestling tapes ever is StrangleMania by the ICP.

Now, it's rare to see Japanese stars in the States. There's Yoshi Tatsu, Hamada is still in TNA, and there were Japanese stars brought in by TNA for that tag team tournament a few years ago. But that's really it, right? Of course, I know that's due to a large part because of Vince McMahon basically monopolizing pro wrestling in the United States. Bischoff "borrowed" the nWo from Japan but he's taken no steps to work with Japan again as part of TNA (likely because TNA doesn't have anywhere near the operating budget WCW once did.) Does ROH bring in Japanese wrestlers?

But how is the pro wrestling industry in Japan doing? I realized it really has been about a decade since I'd heard anything beyond fleeting news about Japanese pro wrestling. Are New Japan and All Japan still operating? WAR? FMW? Are guys like Muta, Chono, and Jushin Liger still wrestling? And who are the big stars in Japan now? I realized I have absolutely no idea.



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thecubsfan
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Since: 10.12.01
From: Aurora, IL

Since last post: 20 hours
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#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 10.00

    Are guys like ... Jushin Liger still wrestling


Well...



Yes. Definitely yes.

I'm actually the wrong person to answer these, but that's why it's so right


    Does ROH bring in Japanese wrestlers?


Yes, though not as often as they used to. They were big in bringing in Dragon Gate, the two had a falling out over the shows ROH did in Japan ($$$), and now Dragon Gate USA is it's own promotion.

Other indies have deals with other promotions. CHIKARA is friends with a lot of similar level indy groups in Japan, and have sent people back and forth with Osaka Pro this year. More relevantly, JAPW randomly just formed a deal with NJPW and will be bringing over Lyger and others next month. Lyger's also working in California in January (and hanging out in Mexico for months at a time, which slightly explains that gif.)

let's see if I can be more concise from here...


    But how is the pro wrestling industry in Japan doing?


Eh. MMA took off, puroresu was hurt since it was about being real, Japanese wrestlers tried MMA and got killed which really hurt, everyone lost their minds for a while, MMA fell apart in Japan, things are getting better for wrestling now.


    Are New Japan and All Japan still operating?


Yes. NJPW was hurt a lot by the MMA stuff and quick fixes (Brock!) but committed to rebuilding and seemed to really have it's house in order this year.

AJPW was gutted by most of it's roster splitting to form NOAH. Eventually, it became the Muto promotion, but it's not near the same level as in the 90s - an indy except for the name.

NOAH itself started off strong, but inability to create new stars has really hurt it, to the point of losing it's main TV show and being on the edge of folding. They're hanging on for now.

The number 2 promotion right now is probably Dragon Gate. I'm sure it's style shortens their careers (only a few guys are left from the era of the wacky Ultimo Dragon trainee who'd randomly show up on Nitro and lose to the Cat) but they've done a good job of creating those new stars.


    WAR?


Gone. I guess the current AJPW is the spiritual successor.


    FMW?


Gone. 'Big Japan Pro Wrestling' seems to have taken this spot.


    Muta


Limited schedule but still going, I think. Lots of knee problems, but have had a couple resurgent years.


    Chono


Retired, if not officially so. Neck issues.


    And who are the big stars in Japan now?


I'm out of answers! Maybe the NJPW guys? Maybe there are no big stars, at least how there were.



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It's False
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Since: 20.6.02
From: I am the Tag Team Champions!

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#3 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.83
    Originally posted by thecubsfan

      And who are the big stars in Japan now?


    I'm out of answers! Maybe the NJPW guys? Maybe there are no big stars, at least how there were.


I always thought that Tajiri could have found new life in Japan. I remember the reports that the roof blew off when he pinned Triple H during the Japan tour. Where did Tajiri end up, anyway?




SchippeWreck
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Since: 26.3.03
From: Glendale, CA

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#4 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.88
    Originally posted by It's False
    I always thought that Tajiri could have found new life in Japan. I remember the reports that the roof blew off when he pinned Triple H during the Japan tour. Where did Tajiri end up, anyway?

He did exactly that. He's currently in NJPW and a new-ish promotion called SMASH, according to the ol' Wikipedia.



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Since: 9.12.01
From: ミネアポリス

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#5 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.37
Wasn't it also a problem with later and later timeslots... followed by timeslots on satellite networks nobody in Japan was subscribed to... followed by no timeslots at all? Not on TV, out of mind and all that.



Leroy
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Since: 7.2.02

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#6 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.21


So, out of curiosity, which promotion did this match (youtube.com)?
CRZ
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#7 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.37
    Originally posted by Leroy


    So, out of curiosity, which promotion did this match (youtube.com)?

The comment (and the watermark!) point to DDT (ddtpro.com).



odessasteps
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Since: 2.1.02
From: MD, USA

Since last post: 95 days
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#8 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.53

Liger is wrestling Mike Quackenbush next month at the Arena for JAPW.

Likely a career highlight for Quack, who used to use Liger's theme back in the late 90s as his entrance music.



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Since: 2.1.02
From: Bournemouth, UK

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#9 Posted on | Instant Rating: 2.00
Whatever happened to HUSTLE? I remember them being a group that tried to incorporate the American sports-entertainment style to Japan and the promotion was based around Takada and his heel group versus the entire babyface roster. I know Tajiri was there for a while, along with quite a few ex-WWE and WCW guys. Are they still operating?



Leroy
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Since: 7.2.02

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#10 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.21
    Originally posted by CRZ
      Originally posted by Leroy


      So, out of curiosity, which promotion did this match (youtube.com)?

    The comment (and the watermark!) point to DDT (ddtpro.com).


I avoid YouTube comments for the sake my fragile, eggshell mind - and I thought the watermark was DDI. My ability to pay attention is, once again, remarkable.

Anyhoo, after reading the Wikipedia page (en.wikipedia.org), that promotion seems like a hoot.
ekedolphin
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Since: 12.1.02
From: Indianapolis, IN; now residing in Suffolk, VA

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#11 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.01
    Originally posted by Leroy
      Originally posted by CRZ
        Originally posted by Leroy


        So, out of curiosity, which promotion did this match (youtube.com)?

      The comment (and the watermark!) point to DDT (ddtpro.com).


    I avoid YouTube comments for the sake my fragile, eggshell mind - and I thought the watermark was DDI. My ability to pay attention is, once again, remarkable.

    Anyhoo, after reading the Wikipedia page (en.wikipedia.org), that promotion seems like a hoot.


Yeah, the Ironman Heavymetalweight Championship, in particular. 700 title changes, including 62 back-and-forth changes between the same two guys in one night! Multiple inanimate objects recognized as champions! And the invisible wrestler, of course.



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Since: 2.1.02
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#12 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.16
DDT is also the source of this (youtube.com).



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Aloiuqro nhoj
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Since: 29.7.10

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#13 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.70
    Originally posted by John Orquiola
    Well it has :26 seconds since I confirmed my smark cred so I am going to post some retarded shit about Japanese wrestling so everyone will remember that no one smarks like me.


Hey asshole - just fucking google it.
thecubsfan
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Since: 10.12.01
From: Aurora, IL

Since last post: 20 hours
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#14 Posted on | Instant Rating: 10.00
    Originally posted by CRZ
    Wasn't it also a problem with later and later timeslots... followed by timeslots on satellite networks nobody in Japan was subscribed to... followed by no timeslots at all? Not on TV, out of mind and all that.


They still are on cable/satellite, but those things are have a lot less penetration in Japan than the US. NOAH definitely lost it's over the air show, but I think NJPW might still be on late at night. Not sure.

    Originally posted by Spank E
    Whatever happened to HUSTLE? Are they still operating?




      Originally posted by SchippeWreck
      Where did Tajiri end up, anyway?

    He did exactly that. He's currently in NJPW and a new-ish promotion called SMASH, according to the ol' Wikipedia.


HUSTLE pretty much folded. They were tied up with the MMA group Pride, which was tied up with the mafia. When the mafia connection came out, PRIDE lost it's TV deal, and Hustle lost that money to support it. A vastly scaled down version shows up every few months but they're pretty much dead.

SMASH is a Tajiri-led successor that run a show a month. The lineups seem more like a comedy vanity promotion, though still more serious than HUSTLE. (The last show had a main event of an Ohio Valley Wrestling title match, with Mike Mondo.) They have a YouTube channel.

HUSTLE was claiming attendances from 2,000 to 14,000 depending on what building they were running, SMASH is claiming the same 600 every show.

Tajiri has shown up in NJPW and they did do a feud (then partnership) with one of their top guys, but it seemed like their fans rejected him as a top star. I'm not sure if it was all the comedy stuff he'd been doing elsewhere, or if it was a WWE wrestler just not adjusting well to wrestling outside of WWE, but he didn't get over the way you would've figured.

(edited by thecubsfan on 18.11.10 1007)


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John Orquiola
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Since: 28.2.02
From: Boston

Since last post: 84 days
Last activity: 84 days
#15 Posted on
    Originally posted by Aloiuqro nhoj
      Originally posted by John Orquiola
      Well it has :26 seconds since I confirmed my smark cred so I am going to post some retarded shit about Japanese wrestling so everyone will remember that no one smarks like me.


    Hey asshole - just fucking google it.


I only Google David Otunga.

No one has more smark cred than me, a guy who admittedly knew nothing about the last ten years of Japanese wrestling and asked about it.



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Scottyflamingo
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Since: 23.6.10
From: Auburn, AL

Since last post: 429 days
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#16 Posted on | Instant Rating: 2.77
Might not work, but I'd be interested in seeing someone try to broatcast Japanese wrestling with an American announce team on American stations. Pre-made product, you'd just have to dub over it. It would be the way that G4 does Ninja Warrior.
LostInUbe
Linguica








Since: 19.11.02
From: Ube, Japan

Since last post: 3 days
Last activity: 2 hours
#17 Posted on
As far as regular (non-cable or satellite) TV goes, the only show on right now is NJPW's World Pro Wrestling which is all of a half-hour long, including commercials. And it airs at three in the morning.

In my (admittedly small) part of Japan, Tsutaya, which is a video rental chain, carries mainly DDT, Ice Ribbon (women's wrestling) and WWE DVDs.

Not exactly the heyday of pro wrestling in Japan right now.

Oh, and Ice Ribbon, SMASH and NJPW all have UStream channels so if you're lucky, you can catch shows on there:
http://1l2.us/b3F

(edited by LostInUbe on 19.11.10 1032)
Taff
Linguica








Since: 29.7.03
From: Stirling

Since last post: 489 days
Last activity: 255 days
#18 Posted on
Hey there its been a while this website ought to answer all your questions about Japanese wrestling/Puro its got info on current wrestling cards and has got a profile on all the wrestling companies dead or alive
Enjoy!!!

http://representingpuroresu.wordpress.com/



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Taff
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Since: 29.7.03
From: Stirling

Since last post: 489 days
Last activity: 255 days
#19 Posted on
I also know that NJPW has an offical youtube channel
DDT is hilarous and that SMASH is trying to do a wee bit of evrything wrestling, MMA and hardcore matches



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thecubsfan
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Since: 10.12.01
From: Aurora, IL

Since last post: 20 hours
Last activity: 8 hours
#20 Posted on | Instant Rating: 10.00
    Originally posted by Taff
    Hey there its been a while this website ought to answer all your questions about Japanese wrestling/Puro its got info on current wrestling cards and has got a profile on all the wrestling companies dead or alive
    Enjoy!!!

    http://representingpuroresu.wordpress.com/


This is one of the sites I crib info from.

NJPW's YouTube channel is, easily enough, http://www.youtube.com/user/NJPW - they post complete matches from non-TV shows and classic matches along with news and such. NJPW seems pretty tech forward - they've long had a fan club for mobile users to get exclusive matches and info and the like - and I wonder if that's helped retain/gain fans who wouldn't see their satellite shows.



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