King's Road: A 90s AJPW Retrospective Part 1

Episode 35 May 30, 2020 01:07:49
King's Road Pro Wrestling Podcast
King's Road: A 90s AJPW Retrospective Part 1

Show Notes

It's finally here. Any longtime followers of KOPW are aware of my love of 90s AJPW and my desire to chart the decade in podcast form. I have finally taken the plunge and present to you the first part of a series diving deep into the King's Road. In this episode we journey through the beginnings of puroresu, the major players at the genesis of AJPW, and the lead up to the pivotal matches that set the table for the 1990s in All Japan. Names like Rikidozan, Lou Thesz, the Destroyer, Giant Baba, Stan Hansen, and, of course, Jumbo Tsuruta and Genichiro Tenryu. In addition to the prologue we also take a look at three matches: * Tsuruta v Hansen 4/18/89 “The Triple Crown” * Tsuruta v Tenryu 4/20/89 "First Defense" * Tsuruta v Tenryu 6/5/89 "The Blueprint" I hope you will join me for this ride through one of the finest decades in the history of professional wrestling. Missing Pieces - I want to take a moment to discuss some of the pieces left out of the episode. Toyonobori is a name that western audiences may not recognize as much as Rikidozan, but he was a star in the early days of puro - second only to Rikidozan. His team with the JWA founder and battles against him propelled him to the number 2 spot in Japan. After Rikidozan's death, he would lead the promotion as it's top star until a schism that saw him depart to form Tokyo Pro Wrestling. He took along with him one of the hottest young talents of the promotion and promised to make him a star - Antonio Inoki. Within a few years TPW failed and they left for IPW only for Inoki to find his way back to the JWA before forming NJPW. Jumbo Tsuruta was an amateur wrestling talent and even competed in the 1972 Olympics in Greco-Roman wrestling. He did not amass any wins during the Olympic Games. Genichiro Tenryu's sumo background included wrestling for the same stable that Rikidozan had belonged to. He reached the top division of sumo, similar again to Rikidozan, but after friction with his new stablemaster, he left the sport at the relatively young age of 26. Stan Hansen began wrestling in Japan for NJPW in 1977 and became a huge star immediately. His reputation from breaking Bruno's neck preceded him and he was an immediate threat to NJPWs top talent. He abruptly jumped ship to AJPW and it was a jump that had lasting effects on the power dynamics of puroresu. He is considered to be among the most, if not THE most, legendary gaijin of puroresu. Thank so much for taking the time to listen. I don't claim to be perfect or know everything and appreciate any and all comments, criticisms, and dialogue about this fantastic era of pro-wrestling. Thank you to Matt Charlton (@shiningwizardds) & Eddie Kingston (@madking1981) for their inspiration and support on this project - even if they don't know it. Hit me up on Twitter @kopw72 Chapters - 00:00 - Genesis 04:47 - What Is Past... 17:53 - ...Is Prologue 30:24 - The Belts 35:54 - The Triple Crown 43:37 - First Defense 52:46 - The Blueprint 1:01:46 - What's Next?

Episode Transcript

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