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The Puroresu (Japanese Wrestling) thread

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  • 19-07-2009 6:17pm
    #1
    Closed Accounts Posts: 21,235 ✭✭✭✭


    I've often bemoaned the fact that not many people on here seem that interested in Japanese wrestling. All the time I hear complaints from people that they're tired of WWE, but they never seem to seek out an alternative. Looking at the feedback on the Fergal Devitt thread and the positive response to the matches that were posted over there makes me think that perhaps people aould be interested in looking at other stuff?

    What I was thinking of doing was putting up maybe one match a week that I think people will enjoy. Then you can leave feedback and or criticuims of the matches or the style in general and we might get a bit of aul debate going.I'll try and start off with people that WWE fans wil already be familiar with and introduce the stars of Japanese wrestling from recent years as the weeks go by. If I even got one person interested in what I find an unbelievably rewarding genre of pro wrestling it would be a worthwhie project.

    Of course it may equally be an EPIC FAIL of an idea, in which case, I won't bother my hole for too long.:pac:

    I'll do up the first post in a bit. Would ye be interested or not in the meantime?


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,153 ✭✭✭Jolt2007


    Definitely like this idea. I usually just watch matches here and there, mostly older ones. Should watch it more than I do because I enjoy it when I do. The Hogan/Benoit topic has me watching Hulk's Japanese matches right now :p


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,510 ✭✭✭Tricity Bendix


    The thing that stops me getting into Japanese wrestling is that I have no starting point, and no idea whats going on. I don't know who the stars are, I don't know when the big matches are coming up, and I dont know which of the older matches are worth a look.

    So basically I want to be spoon fed. Which is why I support this thread.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 21,235 ✭✭✭✭flahavaj


    OK so my first match is going to feature possibly the best wrestler in the world at the moment, KENTA. I've chosen him because his all action, stiff striking style is quite easy to get into. Theres no point in throwing stuff like 90's All Japan epics at people straight away as people won't stick with it. So this match is for the most part a balls to the wall, strike fest, simple as. People who saw this guy on the Mania trip last year for the first time were raving about him. His opponent is Low Ki who many will be familar with from TNA and ROH and he's currently in WWE developmental, so its a chance to see a future WWE worker as well.

    Watch out for his finisher Go to Sleep, which CM Puink has nicked in the lst few years. KENTA really hits it properly however!
    KENTA is regarded as the future of Pro Wrestling NOAH, which is one of the biggest wrestling companies in Japan. Hes primarily a Junior wrestler (cruiserweight for all intents and purposes) but regularly takes on the Heavyweights. Indeed wit a severe lack of heavyweight talent coming through in the company, he'll probably end up a big part of that division. NOAH is the wrestling started and run by Mitsuharu Misawa, the Japanese legend that died a few weeks back as many of you may be aware.

    Heres a nice little video to look at before the match to familiarise yourself with his moveset:



    One of the things people complain of a lot is that the Japanese commentary puts them off when watching Puro. So to get over that at the start I've picked a match from ROH, with English commentary. Its also easier to watch Puro when you're starting off with a American audience as the crowd rarely reacts in Japan in the way we have been conditioned to expect from watching US stuff, and the quiet atmosphere can be very offputting.

    A profile on KENTA:http://www.obsessedwithwrestling.com/profiles/k/kenta.php

    Ladies and gentlemen , I give you:

    Low Ki Vs KENTA from Ring of Honour in December 2005, for KENTA's GHC Junior Heavyweight Title.


    Part 2:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5GLv6VqwUk&feature=channel
    Part 3:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AizxXbF1w7g&feature=channel
    Part 4:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGkC68vA1MI&feature=channel


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 22,670 Mod ✭✭✭✭Bounty Hunter


    Great idea Flahavaj (atleast i think it is), I look forward to learning a whole lot about Wrestlers that i usually only hear about how good they are.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 21,235 ✭✭✭✭flahavaj


    The thing that stops me getting into Japanese wrestling is that I have no starting point, and no idea whats going on. I don't know who the stars are, I don't know when the big matches are coming up, and I dont know which of the older matches are worth a look.

    So basically I want to be spoon fed. Which is why I support this thread.
    Sound. Feel free to ask any questions about the matches I put up, about the wrestlers involved, promotions etc. If I know what info people want it'll be easier to know what to post.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 8,594 ✭✭✭Fozzy


    Nice idea, I'll try to chime in if I can. I don't watch a ton of wrestling at the moment but it's mainly New Japan, Dragon Gate and NOAH that I do watch when I get the time


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,972 ✭✭✭orestes


    I fully support this product and service. Fair play flahavaj, great idea, this should be a great thread :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 908 ✭✭✭The Cannibal


    I never did get why the likes of New Japan never made more of an effort to bring in an international audience apart from the occasional cross over with WWE, WCW or TNA. Really in this day and age, you shouldn't have to buy their product from a trader or get a stream on the net, you should be able to get it direct from New Japan with the option of English commentary and subtitles for the promos if you wish.

    WWE and TNA have even embraced On Demand services. I bet if New Japan teamed up with someone like the Wrestling Observer and got Meltzer and Alvarez to do commentary for a cut of the income, they'd have a steady stream of income from an on demand service of their own. Think of all that lost potential revenue over the years from tape traders and internet respectively.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 178 ✭✭ScumdogV2


    I never did get why the likes of New Japan never made more of an effort to bring in an international audience apart from the occasional cross over with WWE, WCW or TNA. Really in this day and age, you shouldn't have to buy their product from a trader or get a stream on the net, you should be able to get it direct from New Japan with the option of English commentary and subtitles for the promos if you wish.

    Just as an aside here, I've always preferred watching Japanese wrestling with the original commentary. English commentary dubbed over NJPW for instance; I've always detested it. When I first started watching Puroresu, I was fascinated with the commentators screaming at the big moves, not to mention both of them using the word "hai" every two seconds.

    English commentary over Japanese wrestling just doesn't mix.


  • Registered Users Posts: 908 ✭✭✭The Cannibal


    I personally prefer it in Japanese too, although I would like subtitles any time someone grabs a mic. But for the sake of expanding the audience internationally you'd need English commentary to explain everything that's going on and the various histories. Just as long as the commentary blends. I hate when they lay new commentary over the old commentary and the atmospheric sound is drowned out.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 21,235 ✭✭✭✭flahavaj


    LARIAT-OOOOOO!!!!!

    TIGAH DRIVAH!!!!

    I'd be with Scumdog totally on this. I really like the Japanese commentary. there's nothing like watching Misawa and Kawada beating each other into a pulp and hearing the normally reserved commentator freaking out over a big headdrop or lariat. Any English commentary I've ever heard overdubbed onto Japanese wrestling a la New Japan on Eurosport has been atrocious. They had Dean Ayass and Mo Chatra doing the commentary on the NOAH DVD of the Coventry show from last year and it was abysmal. The only semi-decent attempt I've heard was the ROH guys Leonard and Prazak on the US Dragon Gate DVD's. They were OK.

    I chose the ROH match to start off as I've heard people I've tried to show puro to before say the Japanese commentary was offputting to them and I didn't want to turn people off straight away.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 937 ✭✭✭michael.etc...


    This thread's a great idea. I totally support it, and will definitely be posting more thoughts in here in future (bit busy right now). Any assistance required in helping out with this, I'm down for.

    Good choice of first match too. Not the obvious choice, but totally right about the commentary. I think people definitely are interested in this stuff, but sometimes Puro seems completely inpenetrable at first.

    As an aside, and a cheap shill personally, there's a three-page tribute to Misawa in the new issue of FSM if anyone wants to check it out.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 21,235 ✭✭✭✭flahavaj


    This thread's a great idea. I totally support it, and will definitely be posting more thoughts in here in future (bit busy right now). Any assistance required in helping out with this, I'm down for.

    Good choice of first match too. Not the obvious choice, but totally right about the commentary. I think people definitely are interested in this stuff, but sometimes Puro seems completely inpenetrable at first.

    As an aside, and a cheap shill personally, there's a three-page tribute to Misawa in the new issue of FSM if anyone wants to check it out.

    Thanks a million man, the more regular posts in this thread and help on offer the better. Anything to get you to post more around here, you're one of the more well informed posters around here and what you say is invariably well worth listening to.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 178 ✭✭ScumdogV2


    flahavaj wrote: »
    I chose the ROH match to start off as I've heard people I've tried to show puro to before say the Japanese commentary was offputting to them and I didn't want to turn people off straight away.

    They'll learn:mad:

    Now. It's been a few years since I've readily followed any pro wrestling whatsoever so you might be the man to ask on this. What's the current situation with New Japan? Once the most enthralling company in the world, it went into the sh*tter a while back. Wasn't there talk of bankruptcy for a short time? I've heard it's making a comeback of sorts, so I've acquired a few shows but I've yet to watch them. They still in trouble?

    All Japan I've completely lost track of altogether. Dragon Gate was never my thing and when I read about and seen clips of HUSTLE, I wanted to cry. Lost track of NOAH too, it's been three and a half years since I seen a show. I was in Japan two years ago and tried to go to one of their shows, but we got lost en route to the venue. Was ragin', I can tell you.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 937 ✭✭✭michael.etc...


    ScumdogV2 wrote: »
    They'll learn:mad:

    Now. It's been a few years since I've readily followed any pro wrestling whatsoever so you might be the man to ask on this. What's the current situation with New Japan? Once the most enthralling company in the world, it went into the sh*tter a while back. Wasn't there talk of bankruptcy for a short time? I've heard it's making a comeback of sorts, so I've acquired a few shows but I've yet to watch them. They still in trouble?

    I'm not sure on their financial situation, but i'm fairly sure they're doing fine right now- and are streaks ahead of NOAH and AJPW. Artistically, their product has been, by all accounts, easily the best in Japan, for the past year or two. From what I've seen, I'd pretty much agree.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 178 ✭✭ScumdogV2


    As far as the landscape is concerned, am I right in thinking that NOAH is still an indie outfit (albeit a big one) and that NJPW and AJPW are still the big two?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 21,235 ✭✭✭✭flahavaj


    They'll learn:mad:

    Now. It's been a few years since I've readily followed any pro wrestling whatsoever so you might be the man to ask on this. What's the current situation with New Japan? Once the most enthralling company in the world, it went into the sh*tter a while back. Wasn't there talk of bankruptcy for a short time? I've heard it's making a comeback of sorts, so I've acquired a few shows but I've yet to watch them. They still in trouble?

    New Japan have had something of a Renaissance in the last couple of years. Definitely the most enjoyable cards top to bottom out of the big three. Theres a new generation of really good guys in the heavyweight ranks, with Tanahashi, Goto and Nakamura leading the way. Business in general is down in Japan , like it is all over the world. They brought Mutoh back during last year as IWGP champion and it says much about the state of wrestling in the country that business actually picked up bigtime with him at the top. The problem (and this is not jujst in NJPW, its across the board) is that the new generation, while definitely a great bunch of workers, just aren't seen as legit stars as the likes of Muto and Chono.

    Liger is still around and seems determined to tour around teh various promotions putting their top guys over like the ambassador for the sport he truly is. Our own Fergal Devitt is on a massive roll over there lately and got to the finals of the Best of Super Juniors tourny. He could even become IWGP junior champ before the year is out. Tiger Mask IV, who I personally think sucks and Koji Kanemoto (current champ) are the other major names in the junior ranks.

    Top gaijin, is Giant Bernard, good old Albert, who has grown into a fantastic monster foreigner and has taken to the puro style like a fish to water.
    All Japan I've completely lost track of altogether. Toryumon was never my thing and when I read about and seen clips of HUSTLE, I wanted to cry. Lost track of NOAH too, it's been three and a half years since I seen a show. I was in Japan two years ago and tried to go to one of their shows, but we got loas en route to the venue. Was ragin', I can tell you that.
    All Japan have realy dropped off. Sad to see when you think back to how incredibel it was in the 90's. They normally draw a couple of thousand on a good night. Muta is still there fulltime and usually close to the top of the card, though I don't pay hugely close attention as theres little that interests me on their cards. Their shows have a more Sports Entertainment feel than the other more traditionally booked companies, most likely down to Muta's influence.

    NOAH has obviously been shaken to its foundations by Misawa's death. Kobashi also is on his last legs. He was out for over a year in 2006/7 with cancer and isn't up to putting on big singles performances anymore. NOAH are really struggling to produce new heavyweights. The two guys of the future seem to be Morishima, whos like a Japanese Terry Gordy and Go Shiosaki whos the newest champion. Much rests on his young shoulders in the wake of Misawa's passing. They also promote their top juniors KENTA and Marufuji to the heavyweight ranks on and off and thats where they'll probably end up. They're both incredible talents and their on and off feud is the best thing NOAH have produced on a yearly basis. Again, they're having trouble getting the Japanese audience to see their new generation in the same light as the lies of Kobashi and Misawa. NOAH also lost their TV deal a few months back whch was a big blow to them.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 21,235 ✭✭✭✭flahavaj


    ScumdogV2 wrote: »
    As far as the landscape is concerned, am I right in thinking that NOAH is still an indie outfit (albeit a big one) and that NJPW and AJPW are still the big two?

    I'd never have considered NOAH an indy, they're a company in their own right same as New Japan and All Japan.

    In terms of "size" for the want of a better word (interms of the busines they do and star power) I'd rank them in the order New Japan, NOAH and All Japan in that order, NJPW being the biggest.

    More and more, however, we're seeing the big 3 (as well as smaller companies and freelancers like Kensuke Office) co operate and arrange talent trades and running shows together as they realise its hard to draw the big crowds on their own.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 178 ✭✭ScumdogV2


    Bloody hell, I guess things really have changed that much. Must get my arse into gear and watch those NJPW shows.


  • Registered Users Posts: 908 ✭✭✭The Cannibal


    I love those Japanese matches that have like a zillion false finishes. You never know when the end is coming unlike everywhere else in the world where you can call the finish pretty much exactly before it happens.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 937 ✭✭✭michael.etc...


    I love those Japanese matches that have like a zillion false finishes. You never know when the end is coming unlike everywhere else in the world where you can call the finish pretty much exactly before it happens.

    Alot of people criticise that, especially when American Indy guys try and replicate the style. But what they forget, is that in the Puro bouts, it works because each different spot is over as a legitimate finisher, and the fans accept that any one of them can end it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,594 ✭✭✭Fozzy


    Alot of people criticise that, especially when American Indy guys try and replicate the style. But what they forget, is that in the Puro bouts, it works because each different spot is over as a legitimate finisher, and the fans accept that any one of them can end it.

    First time viewers may underestimate how big a deal a clothesline or backdrop is seen as in Japan as well


  • Registered Users Posts: 908 ✭✭✭The Cannibal


    The fact the crowd goes "Owaaaaahh!" when it hits helps get it over for me.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,153 ✭✭✭Jolt2007


    I should hate a lot of this since two things that grind my gears for some reason is chops and weak selling, but, especially when watching something with Kobashi/Misawa/Kawada etc by the end I just think "Wow, that was great". I don't know when that thought happens, because for the first 20 minutes I just think "It's not bad but I don't see how this is the greatest thing ever". It's witchcraft, I tells ya.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 21,235 ✭✭✭✭flahavaj


    Jolt2007 wrote: »
    I should hate a lot of this since two things that grind my gears for some reason is chops and weak selling, but, especially when watching something with Kobashi/Misawa/Kawada etc by the end I just think "Wow, that was great". I don't know when that thought happens, because for the first 20 minutes I just think "It's not bad but I don't see how this is the greatest thing ever". It's witchcraft, I tells ya.

    I think with All Japan in the 90's anyway, it was those epic finishing sequences that were so so great. You really got the sense of two guys hitting each pother with big bombs until they literaly couldn't take the punishment anymore. In some of thsoe matches it was unbelievable how early in the match they'd suck you into almost believing the nearfall and then the entire match flies by in a series of nearfalls. Great stuff.

    The selling issue as well is something that would be a bit differnet in Japanese to US wrestling. A lot of Puro relies on the concept of "fighting spirirt" whan a wrestler may have been worked over for an extended period only to get a second wind and fight back. Guys like Kobashi were masters at conveying this and timing these comebacks to really get the crowd into the match.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 937 ✭✭✭michael.etc...


    flahavaj wrote: »
    Guys like Kobashi were masters at conveying this and timing these comebacks to really get the crowd into the match.

    For me, Kobashi's ability to connect with the crowd, and generate sympathy is almost completely unparalleled. He's an awesome babyface, always full of fire and intensity.

    Jolt's post was interesting, because those are the things that Bret Hart really hated (crap selling, and chops), but otherwise alot of Puro relies on the slow-building storyline, with meaningful spots that Bret would have loved.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 21,235 ✭✭✭✭flahavaj


    For me, Kobashi's ability to connect with the crowd, and generate sympathy is almost completely unparalleled. He's an awesome babyface, always full of fire and intensity.

    Just unreal. Greatest babyface in japanese history and most charasmatic as well. The facial expresions were always brilliant. That charisma comes across outside the ring as well. When I met him in Coventry, he seemed such genuinely nice human being, totally contented in himself and just having a blast meeting fans, despite the language barrier.

    Jolt's post was interesting, because those are the things that Bret Hart really hated (crap selling, and chops), but otherwise alot of Puro relies on the slow-building storyline, with meaningful spots that Bret would have loved.
    Interesting yes, especially when a guy like Dynamite, with whom he had so amny similarities, always spoke so highly of the Japanese style. Theres a 15 minute draw floating around out there between Hart and Misawa (wrestling as Tiger Mask II), but its apparently extremely underwhelming and not worth the hassle of tracking down.


  • Registered Users Posts: 908 ✭✭✭The Cannibal


    Hart had nothing but praise for the first Tiger Mask in his book. I think he actually said Misawa didn't have a patch on him.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 21,235 ✭✭✭✭flahavaj


    Hart had nothing but praise for the first Tiger Mask in his book. I think he actually said Misawa didn't have a patch on him.

    Dynamite said the same. In fairness to Misawa, no one would ever be able to equal Sayama, the first Tiger Mask, in that particular role. Once he shed the mask and wrestled under his own name, however, he surpassed anything Sayama ever did. In fact he surpassed pretty much everyone else in history.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 908 ✭✭✭The Cannibal


    I think he holds the record for most 5 star matches awarded by Meltzer. He has 24 or something.


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