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Learning About AJPW

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So due to an out with unemployment, I've finally started to watch all of the AJPW matches I can find. Thanks to a very kind twitter follower, I've gained access to a Google Drive folder than holds a ton of stuff. 

Currently I'm working my way through all of the Triple Crown title changes, which has been a blast. I'm just now into the Gordy/Hansen segment of the early days of the title, but I'm loving all of the matches. 

I guess I posted this for recommendations, but also because I have questions. Were there faces and heels in All-Japan? Was the Triple Crown the focal point or were there other programs that were higher on the card?

Lets say that I want to see the entire history of the Misawa/Jumbo feud, where should I begin?

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Generally, Japanese = good guys, furrners = bad guys in All Japan though top stars like Hansen kind of changed that. The Triple Crown was the be all end all, but the two tag titles had some of the best matches, so just watching Triple Crown matches is going to leave a lot of blanks. Generally, the TC was on the ace of the promotion and his program generally went on last.

It's been ages but I know Misawa as Tiger Mask II had some really fun matches against Jumbo and they teamed together too.

Watching the dynamics of power slowly change over time is what made All Japan so fucking good. Due to their reliance on so few top stars, it was paramount that they did this but watching how things change between Misawa and Jumbo over the years and then Kawada and Misawa is long term, in-ring storytelling that will likely never be matched.

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As far as the Jumbo/Misawa, start at the beginning when Misawa was still Tiger Mask II, but the end will leave you bittersweet.  

 

Far as face/heels go, Baba was never much for the dynamic.  Most of the heels in AJPW ended up being foreigners who didn't play by the "rules" (Early Hansen, Brody, Vader, Bigelow, Singh), but like Oyaji said, Hansen kinda changed that by getting over.  Closest thing in the 90's I can think were "heels" would be Kawada/Taue and Takayama/Omori.  

 

Yeah, like NJPW, if there's a Triple Crown Title match, it's on last, and everything revovles around it.  But you're doing yourself a huge disservice if you skip tag matches, even non-title stuff.  There's a shit ton of great tag matches all over the place.

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Guys like Mil, the Funks and Destroyer were babies in AJPW long before Hansen came around.

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20 minutes ago, Raziel403 said:

Yeah, like NJPW, if there's a Triple Crown Title match, it's on last, and everything revovles around it.  But you're doing yourself a huge disservice if you skip tag matches, even non-title stuff.  There's a shit ton of great tag matches all over the place.

Adding to this, the six man tags between Jumbo and Co. and Misawa and Co. in 90 and 91 were fantastic. Unified Tag title matches were often on par with the TC matches for quality. Enjoy! I'm a huge AJPW mark.

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Honestly, the six man tags may be better than the singles matches. Fuchi torturing young boys is so amazing. 

Edit: and then you get stuff like Fuchi vs. Misawa in singles matches, which are so enjoyable because then Fuchi gets his. Seriously, there aren't a lot of filling time-type televised shows with All Japan during its golden age (Tsuruta/Misawa through Kawada/Misawa). The best way to watch is just going through the TV show and the odd commercial tapes, but that may not be an option for the time being.

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Thanks, everyone. 

I've also watched the tag where Tiger Mask unmasked and became Misawa and also the six man where Misawa and Jumbo's feud went white hot with a bunch of elbows.  

I'm looking to watch a few Funk Brothers tags as well as a Terry Funk v. Stan Hansen match tonight. 

Any specific tags to recommend?

Also, is it me or did the mask coming off of Misawa signal the rocket push he was getting? He is immediately presented as a big deal and you see him watching Triple Crown matches from the wings. 

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Yeah, that was the turning point for Misawa for sure. That it was Kawada who helped him unmask makes it all the better.

The Funks vs. Brody and Snuka with Hansen as their second in a big shocker is a good primer of what was to come. Then of course the Hansen/Brody tags. I remember the long '80 Funks vs. Baba/Jumbo being good despite the dogshit finish.

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8 hours ago, Buy Me a Burrito said:

So due to an out with unemployment, I've finally started to watch all of the AJPW matches I can find. Thanks to a very kind twitter follower, I've gained access to a Google Drive folder than holds a ton of stuff. 

Currently I'm working my way through all of the Triple Crown title changes, which has been a blast. I'm just now into the Gordy/Hansen segment of the early days of the title, but I'm loving all of the matches. 

I guess I posted this for recommendations, but also because I have questions. Were there faces and heels in All-Japan? Was the Triple Crown the focal point or were there other programs that were higher on the card?

Lets say that I want to see the entire history of the Misawa/Jumbo feud, where should I begin?

Dude you are talking about the hero drive aren't you?  I've been tweeting the hell out of that.  So many great Japan gems on that google drive.

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It's not the Hero drive, although the link to the Hero drive is in the tweet. This is just titled AJPW archive. It has old sumo footage of Rikidozan in it. 

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As much as I love 90's AJPW (and that love is deep and filthy) I get just as much joy out of the 70's and 80's. 70's AJPW has the great NWA champs (Race, Brisco, the Funks) working with the top guys and participating in the tag league and Champions Carnival. The the 80's give you the rise of Hansen and Jumbo, the Choshu invasion, etc. Just rock solid stuff across the board.

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AJPW was great. WTH happened to it??!! seriously,can anyone explain to me why it is almost dead?its situation seems as bad as WCW in 2000 :(

 

also,you guys know about the google drive folder that has all ROH shows,right? :)

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1 hour ago, Matt D said:

Baba died?

i know that lol. i meant what actually happened,in a bit more detail than that

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4 hours ago, FFTHEWINNER said:

AJPW was great. WTH happened to it??!! seriously,can anyone explain to me why it is almost dead?its situation seems as bad as WCW in 2000 :(

 

also,you guys know about the google drive folder that has all ROH shows,right? :)

No what is it? I would love the ROH one just for 2016 shows that I don't have.

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1 hour ago, paintedbynumbers said:

No what is it? I would love the ROH one just for 2016 shows that I don't have.

...f%%%. just went to it again,only to find that google deleted it :(

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5 hours ago, FFTHEWINNER said:

i know that lol. i meant what actually happened,in a bit more detail than that

90% of the roster left en masse and formed NOAH?

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7 hours ago, username said:

90% of the roster left en masse and formed NOAH?

That was the beginning of it. That was the FIRST mass departure. AJPW has sustained a thousand cuts on it's way to be a "super indy" in Japan as opposed to the strong #2 company in the country.

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1 hour ago, Ramsey said:

That was the beginning of it. That was the FIRST mass departure. AJPW has sustained a thousand cuts on it's way to be a "super indy" in Japan as opposed to the strong #2 company in the country.

ok. a few more details please?i am legit curious. AJPW and NJPW were like WWF VS WCW. sometimes AJPW was on top,sometimes NJPW was. what happened to make AJPW fall off the radar so much? to my knowledge,they didnt hire russo lol XD

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Ok, in 1999 Giant Baba passed away and Mitusharu Misawa (the ace of the company at the time) took over as President. He and Mrs. Baba classed almost immediately. She wanted to keep the company old school as her husband had while Misawa wanted to modernize the look and the booking style. Things got worse and worse until finally, after many political battles between the two, Misawa announced he was leaving the company to form Pro Wrestling NOAH and taking nearly the entire roster with him. The next day (or somewhere close) the office staff of AJPW also left. Basically the company was left with senior referee Kyohei Wada, Masanobu Fuchi and Toshiaki Kawada. The kicker was that the tv deal that AJPW had since its inception in 1972 followed NOAH leaving them nearly dead.

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What kept All Japan from going under was the return of Genichiro Tenryu, who Baba had sworn never to use again after he took a big money deal from SWS in 1990, and an interpromotional feud with New Japan, which in turn led to Keiji Mutoh jumping to All Japan and becoming its president. He was forced to step down after one wrestler (TARU) had a locker room fight with another (Super Hate) and put him in a coma, and he left a few years ago to form Wrestle-1. All Japan's current president is Jun Akiyama, who was one of the guys who left to form NOAH but came back to All Japan after NOAH fired Kenta Kobashi because they couldn't afford his contract anymore. Man, a lot of 21st century puroresu is depressing as shit.

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I think Nintendo Logic and I nailed the Cliff's notes version of the fall of the company from the national power they were at their height.

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thanks for the replies! a few questions:

1:didnt baba's wife own AJPW after he died?how come she didnt simply say"i own the damn company. you follow my orders. end of discussion"like any other wrestling company owner(heck,any company owner in general)?or simply replace him as booker with whomever was booker during baba's days?also,does she still own it?

2:How much were the nelson ratings for AJPW around the time Baba died?and how much are they now?

3:how can the tv deal follow him?first,those tv deals are binding for many years. the station cant simply randomly decide to leave. second,what reason would the station have to leave a company that was giving them INCREDIBLE ratings for more that a third of a decade just because some top guys left?by that logic wwe in 1995 would have been off the air,as literally all their big names were taken by wcw.

4:how did NJPW agree to an inter-promotional feud with their hated rival?and how was it booked?did the AJPW guys get squashed like the invasion?doubt it,as that storyline apparently helped them,but somehow i cant see the winning company(NJPW,WWF)helping the losing company(AJPW,WCW)or making their guys look strong in anyway :/

5:with AJPW's great reputation and ratings,How come no rich billionaire bought it and helped it back to its feet?or the channel its self ALA Ted Turner with WCW?

6:i really dont get the"muta stepping down"bit. locker room fights are as normal as breathing in wrestling. putting someone in a coma is a bit extreme,but a suspension or a firing of the guy who did would have been more than enough. why would muta step down over something that was in no way his fault,and was actually not unusual?

7:how could a backstabber become president of the company?

 

sorry for the many questions,and thanks again guys :)

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