The Delco Elbow Drop

Friday, May 9, 2014

Best of the Tubes – Puroresu Edition

I’ve been doing research for another article I’m writing for this blog and have been watching a lot of Japanese wrestling from the 80s and early 90s and I thought it would be cool to showcase some of the matches I’ve come across as I’ve been researching. I’m not as knowledgeable about Japanese wrestling as I am about WWE or the American indies but that’s what’s amazing about pro wrestling – it’s basically a universal language and you can appreciate a great match whether you can understand the commentators or not.

KENTA tries to kick through Mitsuhara Misawa
The term “puroresu” comes from the Japanese pronunciation of “pro wrestling” and there are several fundamental differences between puro and American pro wrestling. For example, Japanese wrestling is known for being much harder hitting than American professional wrestling. The competitors are committed to putting on intense performances and the stiffer strikes and moves performed in Japanese wrestling is often referred to as “strong style.”

In puro, there is less emphasis on storyline driving confrontations between wrestlers, rather the stories told in the matches themselves are the focus. “Shoot” fights are also more common in puro, as Japanese wrestlers like to blur the lines between “professional wrestling” and “real fight.” You’ll also hear the term “fighting spirit” a lot when talking about Japanese wrestling, which is the idea the a fighter can continue to battle on sheer strength of will, even if his body is bruised and battered. 

And with that – on to the wrestling!
(Extra bonus – Andre the Giant commentates some of these matches in Japanese)

Mitsuhara Misawa vs. Jumbo Tsuruta

All Japan Pro Wrestling, 8/6/1990

Stan Hansen vs. Kenta Kobashi
All Japan Pro Wrestling, 8/15/1993

Riki Choshu vs. Big Van Vader
IWGP Heavyweight Championship
New Japan Pro Wrestling, 8/19/1990

I just noticed each of these matches took place in August. That’s a bit odd.
I’m going to showcase one more match – a bit older than the above puro matches but I found it buried among my bookmarks to other matches so I thought I’d throw it in.

Mil Mascaras vs. Dory Funk Jr.
Not sure of the date or promotion (Guess late 70s in AJPW)

Mil Mascaras is the uncle of WWE Superstar Alberto Del Rio while Funk is the older brother of Terry Funk. This match is a little slower paced than the others above with an emphasis on technical, chain wrestling but just as in the other matches above, this battle features the same hard-hitting style that Japanese wrestling became known for later.

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An avid gamer and long-time pro wrestling fan, stay tuned to Grizzly Gaming and the Delco Elbow Drop for game reviews and pro wrestling news.

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