Art Vandelay's Pro Wrestling Ground All Japan Pro Wrestling..WTF Happened?

Edited: 29 days ago
7/13/09
Posts: 14998

So when I was a kid and into the 90s I always remembered AJPW as being just as big if not bigger than NJPW. Isn’t that where Muta,Dr Death and Terry Gordy and Vader and Hansen and all that stuff happened? I only knew anything from the apter mags and never really followed Japan that much but it seemed at some point NJPW completely surpassed them.  Looking it up on Wikipedia it reads like a clusterfuck of people leaving to start other promotions like Noah wich I might of seen a match or two from, think that was Hayabusa and death matches... 

 

Anyway the old AJPW ring and Triple crown was badass, seems like it’s now a minor league promotion. Can someone who knows about the Japan stuff explain what happened?

 

29 days ago
1/1/01
Posts: 8329
JJitsu - 

So when I was a kid and into the 90s I always remembered AJPW as being just as big if not bigger than NJPW. Isn’t that where Muta,Dr Death and Terry Gordy and Vader and Hansen and all that stuff happened? I only knew anything from the apter mags and never really followed Japan that much but it seemed at some point NJPW completely surpassed them.  Looking it up on Wikipedia it reads like a clusterfuck of people leaving to start other promotions like Noah wich I might of seen a match or two from, think that was Hayabusa and death matches... 

 

Anyway the old AJPW ring and Triple crown was badass, seems like it’s now a minor league promotion. Can someone who knows about the Japan stuff explain what happened?

 


I don't have the biggest knowledge base, but as I recall it was largely due to a series of things.

1) Baba died. That left Misawa as the company president.

2) About a year and a half later, Misawa was removed as president by the executive board. 6 board members (including Misawa) resigned from the board 2 weeks later. Motoko Baba released a statement accusing Misawa of abandoning his duty.

3) Misawa formed NOAH, and took almost all of the Japanese wrestlers with him a few days after the board resignation.

4) A few days after that, All Japan lost the TV deal they had for almost 30 years. A small part of the ownership of the company was from NTV, and they prevented a new TV deal from happening.

About a year and a half later, Mutoh acquired most of the ownership of All Japan, but the damage was already done, as I understand it. Baba's death set off a series of events that ended up with most of the wrestlers going to NOAH and they never fully recovered.
29 days ago
1/1/01
Posts: 23175

It's complicated, but in a nutshell Giant Baba died and Misawa butted heads with Baba's wife.  Misawa was ousted as President and left All Japan, taking with him 23 of the 25 wrestlers All Japan had under contract. That included nearly every established star AJPW had, like Kobashi, Taue, and Akiyama, plus young trainees like KENTA and Marufuji.  Misawa and the company then formed Pro Wrestling Noah, while AJPW was left to rebuild with only Kawada and Fuchi.  Shortly thereafter, AJPW lost it's TV deal with NTV, and they never really recovered.  They have stretches where their in-ring product is excellent, they're in the midst of one right now actually, but they've never been as big as they were in their heyday

29 days ago
7/13/09
Posts: 15001

OK so basically NOAH is what AJPW would have been in regards to talent. Is NOAH popular over there still? 

29 days ago
1/1/01
Posts: 53652

No where close to what it was in it’s prime.

29 days ago
7/13/09
Posts: 15020

Isn't dragon gate or some other promotion the same deal where they came from another more popular one? Sorry if these are stupid questions, just curious about Japan’s other promotions for some reason. Like wonder if a couple of them could join up and compete against NJPW or anything.

29 days ago
1/1/01
Posts: 23176

Dragon Gate had similar origins. It was originally Toryumon, Ultimo Dragon's training gym. Toryumon was basically a promotion built around Ultimo's students. Eventually, once he started wrestling more regularly after recovering from his arm injury, Ultimo left Japan and went back to Mexico and took the Toryumon name and trademarks with him. The company was rebranded as Dragon Gate and continued on without him 

29 days ago
1/1/01
Posts: 53657

July 21 Ultimo Dragon will be wresting in Dragon Gate for the first time ever. 

29 days ago
1/1/01
Posts: 53658

I have fallen out of watching Dragon Gate the last couple years (just to much other wrestling to watch). But I am going to try really hard to watch that show after it happens. Although it won’t be until a week later as I will be off on vacation in the Pacific northwest/BC that week it happens.