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The Viceland Wrestling Documentaries


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2 hours ago, hammerva said:

I haven't watched it but assuming that Fuyuki booking was one of the things blamed for the downfall of product.  

It would be awesome if they showed one of the greatest tribute with Kanemura I believe holding the urn of Fuyuki willfully leaning into an exploding barbed wire

As a fan of later-era FMW - yes, I'm the guy that liked the sports entertainment era - I was kind of disappointed that they glossed over the later years.  Hayabusa got some coverage, but the post-Onita era mostly got summed up as "they leaned into sports entertainment" with a negative quote from Onita and a couple shorts clips.  Team No Respect deserved better, lol.

They covered FMW history pretty well until Onita left, then pivoted to talking about Arai, the Yakuza, and the financial problems - without saying much about how the financial problems came about beyond blaming Arai for borrowing from the Yakuza.  My guess is that they wanted Onita's cooperation and it's hard to go into the downfall without mentioning Onita periodically returning to loot the piggy bank.  IIRC, someone appealed to him to help the family after Arai's death (the Yakuza came after the family to get their money back and basically took the family''s home and whatever they had) and he refused.

Enjoyed the episode very much.  Haven't been a fan of the "tabloid tv" approach of most episodes this season.  I was a huge FMW fan 15 years ago but I didn't really get into the promotion until the Funk Masters of Wrestling.  Bahu's site was fascinating back in the day.  I probably should look into his Youtube series.  Did think last night's episode was far to kind to Onita, though.

Ricky Fuji looking like like the wizened master in a 70's martial arts movie was something.  Didn't quite expect Fuji to age quite that way.

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Ricky Fuji continuing to look like Ricky Morton as he ages into being a wise master is another element of that whole look. I'll be right back once I finish my screenplay of a Kung Fu movie where Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson run a karate dojo where the heroes defeat evil ninjas with double dropkicks

But yeah, the Team No Respect dance/shuffle popping up with the firecrackers/urination in the "Arai changed things from how Onita did it" was certainly a sequencing choice.

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The yakuza money laundering always seemed under reported to me. They sponsored shows not so much to force people to buy tickets, it was more to claim a 4000 ticket sell out for a crowd of 500 to get all of that money into a legit account. 

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I just spent six weeks writing about FMW for a project that never seems to end and the episode was fun, if slight. The only reaction you can have to Onita is: I love you but FUCK you. Fuyuki's book continues the narrative that Arai was too nice and a bad businessman, but in all honesty he screwed Arai as much as Onita, making the shows all about himself, but without the monetary success of the Onita years. The episode was described as Onita's FMW, though, so I guess they achieved their brief. The story of FMW's final hours, and Arai's mad dash around Tokyo to get the money to pay off the loan sharks, deserved an airing, and the inaccuracy about Arai's suicide made me mad, but I enjoyed the show.

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What did they screw up about the suicide? 

Anyway, from Wiki: 

Quote

On May 16, 2002, an early morning jogger found Arai hanging by his necktie in Tokyo's Mizumoto Park. Arai's suicide resulted in a life insurance payment to his ex-wife and child. However, the life insurance payment did not cover all of Arai's debt. The Arai family continued paying his debt to the Yakuza for years, until his ex-wife's father paid the remaining balance.[3]

Shoichi Arai was buried at Saitama Kawaguchi Memorial Garden. Arai's gravestone includes an engraved FMW logo.

Whoa.

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27 minutes ago, Curt McGirt said:

What did they screw up about the suicide? 

Anyway, from Wiki: 

Whoa.

They said he hung himself in a schoolyard and they showed him throwing a rope noose over a tree. I mean, it’s sad enough as it is.

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with Bruiser Bedlam/Johnny K-9 next week.. I guess it's for the best that he didn't get hired by WCW or else he would have accidentally ignited a massive biker war while in Sturgis for Hog/Road Wild.

Ok, most of a Bedlam WCW run would have involved him driving from Ontario to Orlando shirtless in a jeep to do Worldwide tapings.

But what a season where the Canadian Biker War episode could be one of the more lighthearted episodes.

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On 10/1/2021 at 3:55 PM, Cobra Commander said:

Ricky Fuji continuing to look like Ricky Morton as he ages into being a wise master is another element of that whole look. I'll be right back once I finish my screenplay of a Kung Fu movie where Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson run a karate dojo where the heroes defeat evil ninjas with double dropkicks

But yeah, the Team No Respect dance/shuffle popping up with the firecrackers/urination in the "Arai changed things from how Onita did it" was certainly a sequencing choice.

I believe the term is "Anal Bomb".

What continues to spook me out is hearing about Arai's death and the death of Naoto Morishita (the apparent brain behind the success of PRIDE FC) around the same time. Both were suicide by hanging and with the latter, pretty much started up the rumors of PRIDE's connection with the yakuza among the western fans at least. Those rumors would persist for another few years before it came out that they were indeed connected and PRIDE would be out of business and sold not long after.

I very much associate that time (the early to mid 2000s) as probably the most fascinating time in pro wrestling (and MMA especially with the kakutogi boom) for me personally. 

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25 minutes ago, odessasteps said:

Ive always just presumed a yakuza connection to Puro much like the mobs connection to boxing and probably to z lesser extent pro wrestling. 

What's funny is a couple nights ago (before I even made time to watch the FMW DSotR), I was watching a French made documentary about AJW following Bull and Manami Toyota circa 91/92. Not ten minutes in, they spot some yakuza front row at a house show to the point where the yakuza have to cover their faces. 

It's one thing to have ties, but at least make people work to figure it out. 

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24 minutes ago, odessasteps said:

Ive always just presumed a yakuza connection to Puro much like the mobs connection to boxing and probably to z lesser extent pro wrestling. 

What legit evidence is there that organized crime in the US was involved in pro wrestling? I’m sure promoters paid a “tax” in arenas located in mobbed up cities but that was rolled into the price of renting the venue, concert promoters had to deal with it too.

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11 hours ago, Mister TV said:

What legit evidence is there that organized crime in the US was involved in pro wrestling? I’m sure promoters paid a “tax” in arenas located in mobbed up cities but that was rolled into the price of renting the venue, concert promoters had to deal with it too.

It doesn't take too much to make an inference. I mean before the UFC sale, part of the hearsay was the father of the Fertittas (Lorenzo and Frank) was part of the Galveston mafia. By association, that would make Tilman Fertitta (their cousin and owner of the Houston Rockets) part of that as well. So naturally, folks just envision Dana and Lorenzo meeting in the Vegas desert like Joe Pesci and Robert DeNiro in Casino.

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8 hours ago, Eivion said:

This reminds me of the general theory/suspicion that TARU was/is yakuza. 

Along those lines, there was a rumor that Mr. Gannosuke borrowed from the yakuza to keep Wrestling Marvelous Future going.  When WMF closed up shop, Gannosuke "retired" and basically disappeared for six years.  The rumor/suspicion was that he couldn't repay the yakuza and had to go underground for awhile.

No idea if that's true, but it's not implausible.  You'd think he'd learn from Arai's demise, but we say that a lot about wrestlers and are usually wrong.

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I have never even heard of such a rumor. Gannosuke retired because he was 40 and been dealing with many injuries and was tired of not making that much money the last couple of years. If he was hiding, he probably wouldn't have had started two separate bars, continued training for Ice Ribbon, made two movies, been to every FREEDOMS show in Tokyo selling his stuff, promoted his own shows under his own name multiple times a year, and working for the Guts World office until Ishijima convinced him to come out of retirement so that he could help draw their first Korakuen Hall show. If he was "under ground" he did a horrible job at it, because I saw him every year from 2009-2013 I went to Japan while he was retired. 

The Arai situation was much different as FMW was a major company and WMF under Gannosuke the last three years was a promotion that ran one show a month in a 300 seat building. They are night and day different situation, and that's even if Gannosuke even went the route for financial support you're saying. 

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13 minutes ago, BAHU said:

I have never even heard of such a rumor. Gannosuke retired because he was 40 and been dealing with many injuries and was tired of not making that much money the last couple of years. If he was hiding, he probably wouldn't have had started two separate bars, continued training for Ice Ribbon, made two movies, been to every FREEDOMS show in Tokyo selling his stuff, promoted his own shows under his own name multiple times a year, and working for the Guts World office until Ishijima convinced him to come out of retirement so that he could help draw their first Korakuen Hall show. If he was "under ground" he did a horrible job at it, because I saw him every year from 2009-2013 I went to Japan while he was retired. 

The Arai situation was much different as FMW was a major company and WMF under Gannosuke the last three years was a promotion that ran one show a month in a 300 seat building. They are night and day different situation, and that's even if Gannosuke even went the route for financial support you're saying. 

If you've never heard that, I'm going to assume it's just fake news.  I was thinking that story might have come from you, but apparently not.  Definitely head that rumor more than a few times around 2008-10, though.

Glad it's not legit.  Gannosuke was one of my favorites in FMW.

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