This is basically an about/info page about myself and the site. I’ll update it with more later but first the major items:
This site was created in August 2009. This site is an independent site that IS NOT affiliated with, sponsored by, endorsed by or otherwise associated with any promotion, newspaper/magazine, etc. It also is not affiliated with any other website or network of websites.
This site is in English Only. While I may list wrestlers’ names in Japanese and most if not all videos are in Japanese, all other site content is in English unless otherwise noted.
While every effort is made to ensure all information posted is accurate and up-to-date, there will occasionally be errors and omissions-I do not speak/read Japanese very well and use online translators to translate Japanese into English-of course the free ones aren’t the most accurate (in fact, the results they give me tend to be downright silly). Any errors/omissions noticed are corrected ASAP, I try to fix errors/omissions within 24-48 hours. Unless otherwise noted, all news items and event results come directly from the promotions’ official websites. If you’re looking for a promotion’s website, check the “Puroresu Resources” page or, in the case of independent promotions, the promotion’s page here under the “Indpendents/Others” section. Websites are also linked to from the promotion’s main pages.
Information on this website may be used elsewhere, I just ask you link back to this site or the posts/pages used. But honestly, I really don’t care if you do or not. It’s no big deal to me compared to a lot of other people, I’ve been down this road before elsewhere and I don’t have time to be sticking my nose in other people’s business.
Linking directly to particular posts/pages from outside websites, rather than to the blog’s main page/URL, is permitted.
Commenting on posts is disabled due to spam. (Update: Commenting on posts only has been turned back on as of late May 2011)
Finally, this site is still very much a work in progress and probably always will be, especially in terms of assembling promotion rosters and, more specifically, wrestler profile pages.
About Site Format-The main part of the site are the posts on the main pages, which consist of news, results and videos. The page tabs at the top feature more detailed info about each promotion, wrestler profiles (a picture, brief details about the wrestler’s career, vitals, titles/tournaments/awards won if any, and links to any websites the wrestlers might have if applicable; Sometimes I also indicate other notes about a wrestler as follows: gaijin indicates the wrestler is a foreigner from outside Asia (Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan), usually referring to wrestlers from North America and Europe, Independent/Freelancer indicates the wrestler is not contractually a member of the roster even though they may appear regularly, Inactive indicates the wrestler has been or will be inactive for an extended period of time, Inactive-injured indicates the wrestler is out of action due to injuries, Retired indicates the wrestler is retired from active competition, Deceased indicates the wrestler is no longer alive) and title histories.
I normally post results for all major promotions and most independents with the following exceptions: K-DOJO (unless they’re on the road, it’s a major show or there’s a title match), Osaka Pro (ditto, but I’m doing them more now), Big Japan (they tend to be very slow to put results up) and Michinoku Pro (they do post their results but where I am I can only access results for title matches). Also, I don’t cover every single promotion. Nice idea, but between time and resources it’s just not possible.
About Puroresu-this section below is a brief look at the history of puroresu:
purofesshonaru resuringu, shortened to “puroresu” (プロレス), is the term for Japanese professional wrestling. The term was made popular via Internet postings starting around 1990 by Hisa Tanabe, the webmaster of The Great Hisa’s Puroresu Dojo (a Japanese and English website that can be accessed at puroresu.com). Japanese wrestling is very much like American wrestling with a few notable differences:
Crowd behavior. While American crowds tend to be very loud and vocal (and sometimes rowdy), most Japanese crowds are silent during matches, at least until near the end. This is because they tend to be not only more educated about the sport, but polite/respectful to the performers. Most audiences react to high spots or well-performed sequences with polite applause at certain points but when a match seems to be nearing the end or a high-risk spot is coming they will become more vocal. Also, NEVER tell Japanese fans that wrestling is fake/scripted. Technically it is but they still take the wrestling aspect very seriously.
Streamers. A tradition I don’t yet fully understand myself is that fans often throw streamers into the ring during wrestler introductions. This has been copied by a few US independent promotions at times. This is not disrespectful, negative, etc. towards the wrestlers. Lately (as of early ’10) promotions have begun cracking down on it though.
Pre-title match rituals/performances. In the US, a major title match is now to the point of a ho-hum affair pre-match. Not in Japan. Some promotions still take them very seriously with elaborate pre-match presentations. In Dragon Gate, for example, their Heavyweight Title matches are often preceded by the playing of the Japanese National Anthem. In Pro Wrestling NOAH, they have a title commissioner who formally introduces each match. In some women’s promotions (and men too), it’s not uncommon for champion and sometimes challenger to be presented with flowers and/or other gifts before the match begins. After the matches the champion is presented with the title belt and sometimes an accompanying trophy/trophies and poses for photos taken by ringside photographers.
Ringside cameramen. This is rather uncommon in American wrestling unless they’re videotaping matches, but in Japan it is very common to see a number of photographers at ringside taking pictures during the matches for the various Japanese newspapers/magazines.
Whle puroresu in Japan dates back to at least the World Wars, it really didn’t become popular until the early 1950s, specifically in 1951 with the debut of former sumo Mitsuhiro Momota, better known as “Rikidozan” (who, it should be noted, was actually Korean-he was born in South Korea). Considered the father of puroresu, Rikidozan made the sport tremendously popular in Japan through his promotion, the Japan Wrestling Association (JWA). His matches in the 1950s and 1960s with the likes of legends such as Lou Thesz, Freddie Blassie and The Destroyer drew what are still among the highest ratings in the history of Japanese television. Rikidozan was murdered in December 1963, rumors are it was in retaliation for when Rikidozan attacked Masahiro Kimura during a wrestling match (ignoring the pre-agreed arrangement and attacking Kimura for real). He was stabbed in a nightclub by a gangster and, after apparently not seeking medical treatment, died a week later. He was only 39.
Puroresu has still thrived since the death of Rikidozan. Although the JWA is no more, the 1970s saw the emergence of what are still puroresu’s top 2 promotions today: New Japan Pro Wrestling, founded by legendary wrestler Antonio Inoki, and All-Japan Pro Wrestling, founded by another of the sport’s all-time greats, Shohei “Giant” Baba. Inoki built New Japan around a style he pioneered called the “Strong Style”, turning wrestling more into simulated combat which often eschewed traditional holds in favor of martial-arts strikes and submission wrestling holds. This style remains the predominant wrestling style today. Baba built All-Japan around what’s called the “King’s Road” style, largely derived from the top American stars in the NWA at the time-a heavy emphasis on working of holds, brawling, and the storytelling elements of professional wrestling.
Throughout the 1990s, three individual styles-shoot style, lucha libre, and hardcore-were the main divisions of independent promotions, but as a result of interpromoting, it is not unusual to see all three styles on the same card. Shoot style, sometimes also called shootfighting or just “shoot”, is basically an unscripted match where the wrestlers do an impromptu match and do whatever moves they come up with as the match goes along. Lucha libre is a high-flying, high-risk style originating in Mexico that has become popular all over the world through it’s death-defying leaps and dives. Hardcore wrestling is more a “no rules” type of style emphasizing brawling, cheating and use of weapons & foreign objects instead of wrestling moves.
The 1990s also saw the expansion of puroresu and promotions. Following the death of Giant Baba, All-Japan went into turmoil as wrestler Mitsuharu Misawa was named president of the promotion, but after repeated clashes with Baba’s widow Motoko, also a high-ranking executive in the promotion, Misawa sent shockwaves through puroresu by taking all but a couple of the promotion’s wrestlers and leaving to form his own promotion-Pro Wrestling NOAH. Further shockwaves were sent when New Japan’s top star at the time-Keiji Muto-was chosen as the replacement and subsequently defected to All-Japan. Independents rose and fell during this time as well, the most notable being Frontier Martial Arts Wrestling (FMW). Considered the forefather of such American promotions as the “old” ECW and Combat Zone Wrestling, FMW and fellow indy promotion Big Japan were the first to pioneer hardcore matches in wrestling, incorporating weapons such as tables, thumbtacks, lighttubes and barbed wire into matches. FMW was also the first men’s promotion to feature a full-fledged women’s division, which was built around Megumi Kudo, who gained a huge cult fan following for her beauty, wrestling ability and taking massive amounts of punishment during matches and still beign able to make a Hulk Hogan-type comeback. FMW folded in the late 1990s but Big Japan lives on today. It should be noted, however, that an FMW revival is being attempted in early 2010.
The late 1990s also saw 2 more promotions created today that remain big players-Ultimo Dragon formed the Toryumon, which after a few evolutions & name changes became what is now called Dragon Gate-the first promotion to heavily incorporate lucha libre into puroresu and place an emphasis on fast-paced, high-flying wrestlers as well as more of a WWE-style presentation and feel to events; Also coming onto the scene was Dramatic Dream Team (DDT), which has gained a cult following through it’s WWE-style presentation and heavy emphasis on comedy matches and ridiculous characters & gimmicks.
The 1980s & 1990s also saw many appearances by foreign wrestlers, or gaijin, in puroresu. Many of these were among the most popular and top-ranked wrestlers in America, and they experienced great success in Japan and rabid fan followings-it’s often been said that fans in Japan worship the gaijin, especially the “big man” type given that the majority of Japanese wrestlers are rather small (under 235 pounds, which is usually considered Heavyweight in most of the world, generally Japanese wrestlers over 220 pounds are considered Heavyweight). Top Mexican stars have begun appearing in Japan more frequently over the last decade thanks in large part to Lucha Libre becoming a more integral part of puroresu through the efforts of Ultimo Dragon and others. Today the CMLL promotion has a working agreement with New Japan that allows some of it’s top stars to make occasional appearances in Japan while NOAH has been occasionally working with the AAA promotion and sending some of it’s talent to Mexico. Likewise, Japanese stars sometimes make appearances in the US, Mexico, and occasionally in Europe.
Chad Rowan is Akebono.
Puroresu remains a big draw on Japanese TV, these days often on sports channels, but the global recessions have hurt the sport there as well. Shows now do not air live as frequently as before, often relegated to major shows and PPVs, and in poorer timeslots where viewership is likely to be lower and promotions also don’t have the major TV deals they once had. The major channels that still broadcast puro today are Samurai! TV, which shows broadcasts of virtually every major promotion that puts matches on TV-they also have a partnership with DDT in which each week, usually Sundays, they air a program called “Dramatic Fantasia” that is a WWE Superstars-type show featuring all things DDT; GAORA TV, which on it’s sports channel shows a variety of programs but focuses on Dragon Gate & OZ Academy and also has a variety program called “Puro King” showcasing a variety of men’s and women’s promotions; TV Asahi, which sometimes shows a major New Japan show; J Sports ESPN, which occasionally shows recent and older programs; G+, a network that is the primary broadcaster of NOAH events and also has a weekly program featuring NOAH matches; SXW, which usually airs New Japan, and others. Other major events are available on PPV, usually New Japan and Dragon Gate events. Each year New Japan also puts on a major event on January 4 at the Tokyo Dome-this event, the biggest on the calendar each year, can be considered the WrestleMania of puroresu. It draws the biggest crowds and usually features some of the top talent in puroresu. Some sites make current and classic videos available online on a PPV basis, usually on the video streaming site Players TV (players.tv). New Japan also has it’s own streaming PPV site, njpw.tv. The promotion also launched (or possibly relaunched) a YouTube channel in April 2010 with tons of content including full matches, both classic and recent. Additionally, the small women’s promotion Ice Ribbon began a new project in June 2010 where they stream a match live on the streaming site Ustream, usually one match airs live from their home arena an average of 3 days a week at 7 PM JST (6 AM ET).
Since a lot of people ask, Chad Rowan is Akebono.
The popularity of puroresu took a major hit in summer 2009 when Mitsuharu Misawa, the President & CEO of NOAH as well as a still-active wrestler, was killed during a tag team match. Misawa took what appeared to be a somewhat normal spot during a match but did not move or get up like he was supposed to. When the referee asked what was wrong, Misawa said “can’t move” and lost consciousness and feeling in the ring. A very short time later he died from his injuries, which may have been partly due to a brain aneurysm or similar conditions caused from taking the bump as well as the repeated abuse and wear caused from years of stiff matches. Misawa was only 46. His death sent shockwaves throughout the wrestling world and had many wondering if this would be the end of NOAH. The promotion continues on today with new leadership coming from its own talent roster, they dedicated the rest of 2009 to their fallen leader and ran a series of tribute shows in his memory and hung a giant framed picture of their former champion above the entrance ramp at virtually every show. They also coined what would be the slogan for those shows and beyond-Mitsuharu Misawa, Always In Our Hearts.
While puroresu events occur in arenas and gyms throughout Japan today there are a few major arenas that often host events on a frequent basis: The most notable of these is Korakuen Hall (I call it simply Korakuen), a 2350-seat arena in Tokyo that is considered “the mecca of puroresu” in Tokyo. Arenas that also are better known as Sumo Halls (hosts of sumo wrestling tournaments as well as, on occasion, kickboxing and MMA events), such as Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan and Nippon Budokan, are often used as hosts for less frequent major shows and PPVs-these shows usually occur once every 2-3 months depending on the promotion. Also hosting a couple of major shows a year, usually NOAH shows, is Tokyo’s Ariake Colisseum. Ryogoku hosts almost all major promotions while Budokan is used by NOAH. Other notable and popular venues include Tokyo’s Differ Ariake, the Zepps in Nagoya, Osaka and Sendai, Hakata Starlanes in Fukuoka, Nagoya Aichi, Gifu Industrial Hall, the 2 Prefectural Gyms in Osaka (#1 is a large arena that hosts blowout events, #2 is much smaller), Kobe Sambo Hall, Kobe World Hall (host to the biggest Dragon Gate event of the year every summer), the various arenas in Yokohama and several others. Also frequently holding events are smaller arenas including two such venues in Tokyo: Shin-Kiba 1st Ring and Shinjuku Face, which also host MMA events. Some of the smaller promotions and the women’s promotions even have their own arenas they use for their own events. The women’s promotions also run frequently in Tokyo at small arenas like Itabashi Green Hall and other locations like Tokyo Cinema Club and Kitasenju Theater 1010, while Shin-Kiba 1st Ring & Shinjuku Face are the home arenas for, respectively, WAVE & Oz Academy.
Finally, puroresu stars are also popular TV and radio stars. Many of the more popular stars today make regular appearances on Japanese TV shows (sometimes movies! A few stars have made movie appearances over the years and several joshi wrestlers did a wrestling-themed movie, “3 Count”, in late 2009) as well as frequent appearances on Japanese radio. In fact, legendary wrestler Kensuke Sasaki and wife Akira Hokuto (retired joshi wrestler) can be considered the first couple of entertainment in puroresu as they make frequent appearances on Japanese TV and radio. Wrestlers also make semi-regular public appearances for autograph sessions, merchandise sales, fan clubs, etc. Also, several wrestling stars (both men and women) have even crossed over into MMA and vice versa-popular and respected veterans such as Shinsuke Nakamura, Jushin Liger and Yoshihiro Takayama have all tried MMA, and one MMA promotion-Pancrase Hybrid Wrestling-actually was founded by wrestlers: Current All-Japan star Masakatsu Funaki-also considered one of the greatest Japanese MMA fighters ever, and freelancer Minoru Suzuki. More recent MMA fighters who have done wrestling occasionally include popular Japanese fighter Ikuhisa “Minowaman” Minowa, American fighter Bob Sapp-a former NFL player whose size and charisma have made him a major TV star in Japan and garnered him great popularity, and controversial American fighter Josh Barnett, who occasionally appears in the IGF promotion. Another Japanese MMA promotion, Shooto, was also founded by a wrestler-Satoru Sayama, best known to puroresu fans as Tiger Mask 1, aka The First Tiger Mask.
And in case you still didn’t know or missed it earlier, Yes-Chad Rowan is Akebono. It’s perhaps the question that most shows up in searches used to find this site.