My favourite style of wrestling is late-80s to mid-90s Kings Road style: Jumbo, Tenryu, Misawa, Kawada stiff, violent, manly, heavy on in-ring story-telling and long-term character development
The best time I have ever had as a wrestling fan was the period from 2009 through 2014, from when I first got settled here in Japan until the sad day when my beloved local indy, Osaka Pro Wrestling, ceased to operate as a regular promotion.
On the surface, Osaka Pro could not be much different from peak-years AJPW. With an emphasis on entertainment, high-flying action, variety, comedy, and nostalgia Osaka Pro drew a small but loyal crowd of men, women, and families from a wide variety of age groups and social backgrounds.
The idea of Gli-San Puroresu is to combine some of the things I love about peak years AJPW with some of the things I loved about the last few years of Osaka Pro.
So, in drafting my roster my hope was that everyone on the card would be capable of working in a believable manner with great stiffness and intensity but also a willingness to bump and sell so that every wrestler in every match has the chance to shine. I also want everyone I drafted to be capable of telling a story in the ring and of working a match that builds to a satisfying conclusion.
I'm also hoping that everyone on the roster can bring their own personal "something extra" to the basic requirements of stiffness, intensity, bumping, selling, and story-telling. For example: John Nord's big bumps, Bam Bam Bigelow's amazing agility for his size, Rusher Kimura's grizzled toughness, or Mayumi Ozaki's eagerness to go toe to toe with much larger and stronger opponents.
I want to de-emphasize the unfortunate trend to do "too much" in the ring and the tendency to take unnecessary risks. In 1988-1992, that wasn't as much of a problem as it would become by the late 1990s, but still...
While I have great respect for the fairly rigid and hierarchical way that Japanese pro wrestling was booked in the 1988-1992 time frame, my hope was that pretty much every wrestler on the Gli-San roster would have a realistic chance to work the main event at a big show, (even if it's as the third member of a three-person tag team).
I loved the many different ways that Osaka Pro used Kyusei Ninja Ranmaru and Apple Miyuki on their shows. That inspired me to include a joshi division in Gli-San.
Its possible that mixing female wrestlers, more egalitarian booking, and some light entertainment and nostalgia aspects into the Kings Road formula might dilute it too much, but my hope is to end up with a fantasy promotion that features the best of both worlds.
Gli-San PuroresuPWO 1988 - 1992 Draft Project
Posted 22 November 2017 - 02:19 AM
Posted 22 November 2017 - 07:48 AM
What does "Gli-San" mean?
I'm glad you asked that question!
Ezaki Glico Co., Ltd. (or more commonly, just "Glico") is one of Japan's larger food companies. Based in Osaka, its many popular products include Glico caramel (which was originally marketed as providing glycogen for increased athletic performance with the slogan "300 Meters in a Single Piece,") Pocky (chocolate-coated pretzel sticks in many flavours) and Pretz (flavoured pretzel sticks without coating). The Glico running man sign is an Iconic Osaka landmark.
Sanrio Co., Ltd. is a very, very, very Japanese company that has made an enormous fortune producing cute (or kawaii) licensed characters, most notably Hello Kitty.
Inspired by the "I swear I am not making this up" fact that New Japan and Sanrio once teamed up for a Hello Kitty/Pro Wrestling merchandising crossover that reportedly led to an actual massive increase in female attendees at New Japan events...
Glico, Sanryo, Fujiko F. Fujio Robotic Cats Manufacturing Concern, and The Shohei and Motoko Baba Business Park have teamed up to create: Gli-San Pro Wrestling.
Gli-San Puroresu represents the ultimate in Only-in-Japan corporate synergy: Snack culture, kawaii culture, and pro wrestling!!
Posted 22 November 2017 - 02:14 PM
I would totally eat potato chips with Togi Makabe's face on the bag.
(Wait, that came out so wrong.)
Posted 23 November 2017 - 07:23 PM
A look at the roster (in the order that they were drafted):
Terry Funk 1989 –
Strengths: Absolutely one of the greatest pro wrestlers of all time. Extremely versatile, can work face or heel in a huge variety of pro wrestling styles. Charming, likeable, and (by pro wrestling standards) almost free of ego. Makes everyone he fights look like a million bucks.
Weakness: Doesn’t have the sheer physical size to work as a monster gaijin heel.
Alignment: Absolutely beloved by the Osaka crowds, Funk is the rare gaijin who can work as a pure good guy in Japan… but he is absolutely capable of flipping the switch whenever necessary.
Jumbo Tsuruta 1989 –
Strengths: Absolutely one of the greatest pro wrestlers of all time. A master storyteller in the ring. Offense is stiff and intense, selling is generous and believable. The best kind of locker-room leader. A true company ace.
Weakness: Can be lazy on house shows, does not always work up to his amazing potential.
Allignment: Tweener, leaning face. Crowd cheers him when he is teaming with Baba, boos him when he is mercilessly beating up younger wrestlers.
Mitsuharu Misawa 1990 –
Strengths: Absolutely one of the greatest pro wrestlers of all time. A worthy successor to Jumbo as the company ace. Also a great locker-room leader. A true crowd favourite. One of the best “hot tag” guys in the business.
Weakness: Takes too many physical risks trying to pop the crowd.
Alignment: Pure baby-face.
Shinya Hashimoto 1991 –
Strengths: Absolutely one of the greatest pro wrestlers of all time. Unparalleled stiffness and intensity. Has a great aura and presence. Can get the crowd behind him or turn the crowd against him whenever he pleases.
Weakness: Smokes, and doesn’t take the best care of himself physically, which can affect his stamina.
Alignment: At the present time he’s being built up as a native Japanese monster heel.
Kenta Kobashi 1991 –
Strengths: Handsome and athletic. Works a very exciting style. An expert at rallying the crowd. Willing to do what is best for the business, without complaint. Arguably one of the greatest...
Weakness: Definitely guilty, sometimes, of trying to do too much in the ring.
Alignment: Pure baby-face.
Terry Gordy 1992 –
Strengths: Great size, great look. Solid, believable offense. Understands when and how to bump and sell. Has all of the tools.Great name.
Weakness: Not always the most exciting guy in the ring.
Alignment: Monster gaijin heel.
Bam Bam Bigelow 1992 –
Strengths: Has the perfect look for his role. Is an amazing athlete for his size. Has some truly impressive offense and is a very good bumper.
Weakness: Can get lazy and sometimes just coasts in there.
Alignment: Gaijin monster heel.
Owen Hart 1991 –
Strengths: Extremely agile and athletic. Does all of the little things very well. Warm and likeable personality in the locker room. Very good “ring general” when he is focused.
Weakness: Sometimes cares more about goofing around and having fun than putting on the best possible match.
Alignment: Tweener, leaning face, but works as a heel when teamed up with Kroffat and Furnas.
Tsuyoshi Kikuchi 1992 –
Strengths: One of the very best “face in peril” workers of all time. Amazing at drawing sympathy heat. Tremendous bumper and seller. Excels at making fired-up comebacks.
Weakness: Physically unimposing.
Alignment: Pure baby-face
Giant Baba 1989 –
Strengths: Beloved, iconic, living legend. Arguably the greatest locker room leader, promoter, and booker in pro wrestling history. Always willing to do what is best for the business. Radiates joy in the ring.
Weakness: Well past his physical prime, and occasionally awkward in the ring.
Alignment: Pure baby-face.
Doug Furnas 1992 –
Strengths: Amazing physical specimen with incredible strength and explosive power. Plays the cocky bully role very well. Very quick and agile for someone of his build.
Weakness: I would have preferred the British Bulldogs for this role, but the Can-Am Express is not a bad consolation prize.
Dan Kroffat 1992 –
Strengths: Fast and agile. Creative on offense. Understands how to structure a compelling tag match.
Weakness: Not the most charismatic guy.
Allignment: Tweener, leaning heel.
Rusher Kimura 1989 –
Strengths: Grizzled vet is the former ace of IWE. Cage match specialist. Still a very capable brawler. Good on the mic.
Weakness: Limited offensive move-set.
Super Strong Machine 1989 –
Strengths: Extremely versatile puzzle piece. Can work face or heel anywhere on the card. Good size and Iconic look. Steady and reliable. Very good tag team worker.
Weakness: Lacks the star quality that sets the very top guys apart from the crowd.
John Nord 1992 –
Strengths: Great size, great look, great intensity, non-stop motor. Willing to commit to a character. Big bumper.
Weakness: Doesn’t have the awe-inspiring presence of the great gaijin heels like Abdullah, Brody, Hansen, and Doc.
Alignment: Gaijin monster heel.
El Samurai 1992 –
Strengths: Iconic masked look. Fast and athletic. Can work face or heel. Makes his opponents look good.
Weakness: He is not Liger. If I’d managed to get Liger, I would have put more emphasis on the juniors division.
Dos Caras 1989 –
Strengths: Very versatile. Can work heel or face, heavy or juniors. A Mexican star who is very familiar with the Japanese style. Can adapt to almost any kind of opponent or match.
Weakness: Doesn’t have the superstar aura of his brother, Mil Mascaras (but makes up for it by being WAY more giving in the ring)
Gran Hamada 1990 –
Strengths: Has an unbelievable set of tools, with experience in Mexico working for UWA and CMLL, and in shoot style as one of the UWF pioneers. Excels at playing the veteran wrestler putting young punks in their place. Very good tag team worker.
Weakness: Lacks that last little bit of star quality.
Tiger Mask III 1992 –
Strengths: Very good striker, good on the mat, good high flyer.
Weakness: Very green at this point.
Ashura Hara 1988 –
Strengths: Works very stiff. Has a great sense of when, and how much, to sell.
Weakness: At his best working alongside real-life friend Tenryu… but Tenryu is off gallivanting around Russia with Inoki and Flair.
Brazo de Plata 1992 –
Strengths: Unique look, pushing 300 pounds at under 5’7”. Very agile and athletic for a man of his proportions. Can work comedy style or deadly serious style.
Weakness: Brazo de Plata has no weakness.
Alignment; Tweener, leaning sympathetic face.
Isamu “Carpenter” Teranishi 1988 –
Strengths: As indicated by his nickname, is very good at making others look good. Another versatile puzzle piece who can work face or heel, up and down the card.
Weakness: His 1970s working style no longer electrifies the crowd.
Alignment: Tweener, leaning heel.
Kantaro Hoshino 1988 –
Strengths: This tough little veteran really knows how to entertain the crowd.
Weakness: Mainly a nostalgia/comedy act at this point in his long career.
Sakigake Gantetsu 1992 -
Strengths; Will eventually become Dick Togo
Weakness: Is not Dick Togo just yet.
Dynamite Kansai 1992 –
Strengths: Witheringly stiff worker. Great look, with a monster aura and presence in the ring.
Weakness: She’s not Aja Kong. Aja Kong is on the moon.
Alignment: Monster heel, most of the time.
Male wrestler comparison for people who don’t watch Joshi: Hashimoto.
Mayumi Ozaki 1992 –
Strengths: Incredible ring presence. Completely believable as the tough little punk who backs down from no-one. Great at selling. Great facial expressions and acting in the ring.
Weakness: Can be sloppy and will botch a move from time to time.
Alignment: Mostly heel.
Male wrestler comparison for people who don’t watch Joshi: Tenryu for the toughness/sloppiness combo, Stone Cold Steve Austin for the ring presence and acting.
Megumi Kudo 1992 –
Strengths: Great brawler. Pioneer of women’s death match wrestling and mixed tag wrestling in Japan.
Weakness: The rest of her game is not up to the level of her brawling.
Alignment: Tweener, leaning heel.
Male wrestler comparison for people who don’t watch Joshi: Atsuhi Onita. Maybe Foley, if you only watch North American Corporate Wrestling.
Mariko Yoshida, 1991 –
Strengths: Very talented. Gifted, even.
Weakness: Her strongest period was in the late 1990s and beginning of the new century, when she was a Negro Navarro/Volk Han type sublime mat technician. At this stage, she was more of a lucha-influenced high flyer.
Alignment: Tweener, leaning face
Male wrestler comparison for people who don’t watch Joshi: At this stage? A young Bryan Danielson.
Manami Toyota 1991 –
Strengths: An athletic and flashy worker with a non-stop motor. A real crowd-pleaser.
Weakness: Often tries to do too much in the ring.
Male wrestler comparison for people who don’t watch Joshi: Kenta Kobashi. HBK.
Command Bolshoi 1992 –
Strengths: Very good sympathetic babyface worker. Big bumper.
Weakness: She is teeny tiny, even by Japanese female standards.
Alignment: Sympathetic baby-face.
Male wrestler comparison for people who don’t watch Joshi: Kikuchi. Ricky Morton.
Posted 26 November 2017 - 02:43 AM
Gli-San Puroresu Best Bouts on LaserDisc volume XVI: Autumn 1988
8-Man Tag Team Match: Baba, Misawa, Kobashi, and Kikuchi vs Hashimoto, Gordy, Bigelow, and Hara
This was the main event of our big show at the Fukuoka Kokusai Center. It is 20 solid minutes of non-stop clubbering, with Baba and Kikuchi taking turns playing face in peril, and it helps to set up the big Tag Title Match for our upcoming Osaka Super-show.
Mitsuharu Misawa vs Tiger Mask III
We want as many people as possible to see this one, to help build up the Kanemoto iteration of the character. This match built up to a big struggle to be the first to hit the Tiger Suplex. In the end, Misawa won… but he sold a ton for TMIII and after the match he made a big speech about how this new Tiger Mask was a worthy successor.
Hashimoto, Super Strong Machine, and Rusher Kimura vs Terry Funk, Baba, and Jumbo
The headliner from a house show in Kawasaki, this match is on the LaserDisc in part to promote the Osaka Main Event of Funk vs Hashimoto for the title, and in part to show everyone how crazy and intense our house show matches can get sometimes.
Owen Hart vs Kikuchi
Also from Kawasaki, this helps to set up the Six-Man Title Match in Osaka, and shows off a faster-paced more athletic kind of house show match.
El Samurai, Dynamite Kansai, and Mayumi Ozaki vs TMIII, Mariko Yoshida, and Megumi Kudo
A comedy-style mixed tag match. Basically, Kansai and Oz beat up on Tiger Mask, and El Samurai thinks that is hilarious… but then Yoshida and Kudo beat up on Samurai and that makes him furious. It’s one of about a half-dozen comic formulae that we use and re-use on the mid-card.
Cage Match: Kansai and Oz vs Kudo and Toyota
A much more serious, very hard-hitting, Joshi match. This one headlined our September Furitsutaiikukaikan show, with a Six-Man Title defense as the semi-main.
Jumbo and Baba vs The Can-Am Express (Furnas and Kroffat)
Further hype for the Osaka Six-Man Tag match, as well as a pretty darned good tag match in its own right.
El Brazo de Plata and Hello Spider vs Bolshoi Kitty and Sakigake Gantetsu
The Sanrio Brand Hello Wrestling characters have been an incredible money-maker for our joshi performers. Bolshoi Kitty was the first character we tried out and the test run was so successful that we simply could not make t-shirts, key-holders, pens, plush toys, cat ears, throw blankets, notebooks, shopping bags, and play sets fast enough. Literally everything sold out as fast as we could get it into stores. So, now, All of our joshi wrestlers play at least one Sanrio-type character from time to time. The merchandising money is just too good to pass up. Sanrio section seats (specially-decorated pink chairs on the floor, opposite the hard camera, available only to fan club members) sell out immediately all over Japan (except in Nagoya, for some reason). There is a LOT of fan interaction in this style of match.
Loser Leaves Town Cage Match: Rusher Kimura vs Takeshi Ishikawa
A showcase for Kimura to set up a match down the road; and a chance to say goodbye to Ishikawa, who will mainly be working as a trainer in the dojo for now (though he is cleared to take one-of bookings if any come up). Kimura is brutal and merciless in this one.
Isamu Teranishi, El Samurai, and Gantetsu vs TMIII, Hoshino, and Hamada
Pure spot-fu excitement, with Teranishi working as a very solid base for all the high-flying action.
Funk, Misawa, and Kobashi vs Hashimoto, Gordy, and Bigelow
20 minutes of high level brawling before everything goes bonzo gonzo. Builds up the main event and the semi-main for Osaka.
So, there you have it: Our basic philosophy in putting together these laserdisc sets is to build up for the next big show, and for the future, while giving our fans at least a taste of everything that makes Gli-San Puroresu special. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.
Posted 26 November 2017 - 09:13 AM
The comedy match with the women taking turns beating up on the one man on the opposite team is a funny idea. Then if you look at some of the darker reasons for watching joshi it gets a little more twisted....
Anyway, having Super Porky in a match designed to get the doll characters over seems a little counterproductive. THAT guy can and will steal just about any show. Those first 3 you listed would all be incredible. One thing though, if you're in japan wouldn't you list the names from least prominence to most?
Posted 26 November 2017 - 10:16 AM
If I was gonna book this out over several imaginary years, I'd have the Kawaii Wrestling trend grow out of control and end up at a point where those characters are booked at the top of every card... Only for the trend to dry up suddenly when the schoolgirls age out of it and the next generation move on to something else.
You also make a good point about listing the names from least to most prominent! I'm just personally happier doing it the other way 'round. That's one of the nice things about armchair booking: I get to do it my way ::
Posted 26 November 2017 - 10:49 AM
I love the idea of the characters being main event draws. Imagine the western perception of that as it happened.
Posted 10 December 2017 - 12:53 AM
Osaka Bonenkai Show Lead-in Show
I like to think of the lead-in show as “The Giant” because it is the big show before the big show, if you get my meaning…
Dos Caras, Gran Hamada, and The Man Who Will Be Togo vs El Samurai, TMIII, and Kantaro Hoshino
Your basic all-action card-opening match. The trick is to let the popular veterans do their stuff and pop the crowd without burying the young guys in the process. So, Gantetsu and Kanemoto get to show off their stuff as well, before getting killed. Samurai ends things with a Neckscissors Chickenwing Lock on Sakigake Gantetsu after about 16 minutes of fast-paced exchanges and quick tags.
El Bazo de Plata vs Owen Hart
There’s about ten minutes of the pure joy of pro wrestling to start out, as these two athletic goofballs try to one-up each other in the ring. We are forced to interrupt that to build up for the Bonenkai show, though, as The Can-Am Express come down to ringside in order to interfere on Owen’s behalf, only to get run off by Baba and Jumbo. We then ge two more minutes of pure joy, ending when Owen rolls out of the way of a Senton then heads up top for a Big Splash to finish things.
Super Strong Machine vs Shinya Hashimoto (#1 Contender Match)
Back and forth fairly stiff action, with an intense struggle to be the first to hit a clean DDT providing the spine for the match. Hash wins the struggle, and the title shot. Terry Funk comes down to ringside to make it official, and he congratulates “the kid” on his big win and wishes him the best of luck. Hashimoto takes Funk’s encouragement as a sign of condescension, and responds with a furious attack on the champ.
Jumbo, Kobashi, and Misawa vs Rusher Kimura, Ashura Hara, and Isamu Teranishi
Just some straight-up, high-level clubbering. Misawa gets to play FIP, and Kobashi gets a big win with a Lariat on Teranishi after Teranishi and Hara have a Malfunction at the Junction.
Hello Oz, Hello Kudo, and Hello Spider vs Kansai Kitty, Tokyo Sweetheart, and Bolshoi Kitty
The stip in this match is that the loser has to have their ears and whiskers cut off. The basic storyline is that Kansai Kitty is the “big sister” protecting Tokyo Sweetheart and Bolshoi Kitty from the bullies. The finish is Ozaki just kicking Bolshoi in the head and pinning her. The aftermath is kind of a poor man’s (Poor schoolgirl’s?) version of the Dump vs Chiggy hair match, with absolute mayhem in the Sanrio Superfan section as Bolshoi Kitty gets mutilated.
Terry Funk, Giant Baba, and Tsuyoshi Kikuchi vs Terry Gordy, Bam Bam Bigelow, and Big John Nord
A showcase for Kikuchi’s bumping and selling, of course. Bam Bam Bam Bam get built up as monsters… but the good guys get the win when Baba nails Nord with a big boot and then Funk puts him away with a Sleeper Hold.
After the match, Hashimoto runs in to continue his attack on Funk, and the Can-Ams approach the ring in menacing fashion, forcing Misawa and Kobashi to come down to even the odds.
Card for the Gli-San Pro Osaka Bonenkai Show:
Terry Funk vs Shinya Hashimoto - GASP Title Match
Misawa and Kobashi vs Bam Bam Bam Bam - GASP Tag Title Match
Baba, Jumbo, and Kikuchi vs The Can Am Express and Owen Hart - GASP 6-Man Title Match
*** BREAK ***
Rusher Kimura vs Big John Nord - #1 Contender Match
Hello Spider, Hello Kudo, and Gantetsu vs Tokyo Sweetheart, Bolshoi Kitty, and TMIII
Dos Caras and Gran Hamada vs Super Strong Machine and El Samurai
Hara and Oz vs Teranishi and Kansai
el Brazo de Plata vs Kantaro Hoshino
Posted 10 December 2017 - 08:14 PM
Brazo de Plata vs. Owen would have stolen the show for me. Great opener and Hash vs. SSM seems like it would have worked really well. Hash attacking Funk will have...consequences. Main looked like a lot of fun but it would have been one of the lesser attractions on the card for me.
Posted 11 December 2017 - 06:47 PM
Who do I have to kill to get tickets for Funk/Hashimoto?
Posted 11 December 2017 - 09:17 PM
Brazo de Plata vs. Owen would have stolen the show for me.
Getting Brazo de Plata was a huge highlight of the draft for me. Osaka Pro is, of course, known for its comedy style matches... and I feel like having Brazo, Owen, Hoshino, and Baby Togo on my roster gives me a chance to add elements of that into Gli-San Pro. Those are four of my favourite wrestlers, and four guys I feel can work silly, work deep, and work a whole range of styles in between. I am really enjoying being able to match those four guys up in various combos.
That six man tag with Can Am & Owen looks awesome..
Thanks! I am looking forward to writing that one up. I hope I can do it justice.
Who do I have to kill to get tickets for Funk/Hashimoto?
As it happens, the match will be presented right here ** for free ** some time between now and the end of the year.
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