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Gli-San Puroresu

PWO 1988 - 1992 Draft Project

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#1 gordi

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Posted 22 November 2017 - 02:19 AM

Gli-San Puroresu
 
Kayfabe-breaking introduction:
 
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. 



#2 Lee Casebolt

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Posted 22 November 2017 - 07:22 AM

Love the intro. What does "Gli-San" mean?



#3 gordi

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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. 

 

450px-Shop_produced_by_KANEMOTO_Tomonori

 

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.

 

Chaos.jpg

 

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!!

 

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#4 SirEdger

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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.)



#5 gordi

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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.

Alignment: Heel

 

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.

Alignment: Heel

 

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.

Alignment: Tweener

 

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.

Alignment: Twener

 

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)

Alignment: Tweener

 

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.

Alignment: Tweener

 

Tiger Mask III 1992 –

Strengths: Very good striker, good on the mat, good high flyer.

Weakness: Very green at this point.

Alignment: Baby-face 

 

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.

Allignment: Heel

 

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.

Alignment: Face

 

Sakigake Gantetsu 1992 - 

Strengths; Will eventually become Dick Togo

Weakness: Is not Dick Togo just yet.

Alignment: Heel

 

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.

Alignment: Face

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. 



#6 gordi

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Posted 26 November 2017 - 02:43 AM

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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

 

b9ee7325967f4d330f3fbbe3b79504d8--profes

 

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. 



#7 dawho5

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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? :)



#8 gordi

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Posted 26 November 2017 - 10:16 AM

That's a very good point about Brazo being a show-stealer. But... In my imagination the Sanrio collaboration characters are SO popular with their schoolgirl fan base that I could put them in there with Hogan, Andre, Inoki, and Flair... and Hello Spider and Bolshoi Kitty would still get the loudest screams.

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. :lol:

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 ::):

#9 dawho5

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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.



#10 gordi

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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

 

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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.

 

***BREAK***

 

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.

 

***BREAK***

 

Terry Funk, Giant Baba, and Tsuyoshi Kikuchi vs Terry Gordy, Bam Bam Bigelow, and Big John Nord

 

TW6BY2N.jpg

 

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



#11 dawho5

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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.



#12 superkix

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Posted 11 December 2017 - 12:47 PM

That six man tag with Can Am & Owen looks awesome.. 



#13 Lee Casebolt

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Posted 11 December 2017 - 06:47 PM

Who do I have to kill to get tickets for Funk/Hashimoto?



#14 gordi

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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.  :D



#15 gordi

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 09:12 PM

Gli-San Puroresu Super-show

 

I've had this siting around since mid-December  :rolleyes:

 

el Brazo de Plata vs Kantaro Hoshino

 

AjzG0Wp.jpg

 

These are absolutely two of my favourite pro wrestlers of all time, and this is every bit as much a dream match for me as the Hash vs Funk Main Event.

 

Brazo de Plata is about 5’7” and 300 pounds, almost spherical in shape… but he can really move. He’s kind of the Platonic ideal of chubby Kaientai DX-era Dick Togo. He’ll often play the buffoon, but if you get him angry he will headbutt you right in the face.  

 

Kantaro Hoshino is about 5’3” and he often sports a 70s-yakuza-style punch perm. But, this goofy-looking little guy is a total bad-ass. He was a boxer before he became a wrestler. He was often the third man in trios matches with Antonio Inoki and Seiiji Sakaguchi. He will not back down, to anybody. He will go right at Andre the Giant and make you believe it, without in any way making Andre look stupid or weak. He’s in his mid to late 40s here and kinda looks ten years older than that, except that he can still really move.

 

So: This was pure “Joy of Wrestling” from bell to bell. It started out as a pure comedy opening match, but built up to a harrowingly violent climax, then segued back into pure entertainment before el Brazo de Plata put Hoshino away with a Jumping Seated Senton.

 

Ashura Hara and Mayumi Ozaki vs “Carpenter” Teranishi and Dynamite Kansai

 

T0NHRgI.jpg

 

The opener built to a crescendo of violence. This match started out at a point of vicious, withering stiffness and pretty much just stayed in that zone for about 22 minutes. Mostly, it was Ozaki and Kansai trying to murder each other. From time to time, Hara would get to beat up on Teranishi and the Carpenter would get to show off how good he is at bumping and selling. Once in a while Kansai would throw a kick at Hara, or Oz would do the same to Teranishi. Unless you were watching closely and looking specifically for it, you might not have noticed that the men did not actually hit the women in this one… until a “malfunction at the junction” spot where everything was Bonzo Gonzo, and Hara was charging at the Carpenter, and Kansai threw Oz at Teranishi, which knocked Teranishi out of harm’s way and put Ozaki very much in harm’s way, too late for Hara to stop himself. One Splash Mountain and three counts later, Kansai and Ternaishi were celebrating their victory.

 

The purpose of this match was to serve as sharp contrast to the Kawaii Pro Wrestling match later on the card and serve as a sampler of the more serious side of our Joshi division. In my opinion, that purpose was more than served.

 

Dos Caras and Gran Hamada vs Super Strong Machine and El Samurai

 

Speaking of contrasts: This match was all about athleticism and exciting action, with SSM serving as a base while Hamada and Samurai flew around the ring, and Dos Caras providing the crowd-pleasing finish with a bunch of Flying Cross Chops, a Quebradora con Giro, and finally a Flying Cross Body on Samurai for the pin.

 

Hello Spider, Hello Kudo, and Gantetsu vs Tokyo Sweetheart, Bolshoi Kitty, and TMIII

 

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What the schoolgirls in the Sanrio Superfan Seats were hoping for was to see Bolshoi Kitty get her revenge on Hello Kudo and Hello Spider for the humiliation they bestowed on her at the lead-in show… but it’s way too early for that. So, Bolshoi and Sweetheart just sold and sold and sold with the odd hope spot tossed in here and there. Togo and Kanemoto got a nice little highflying showcase about ten minutes in, but otherwise were mostly there to break up pins. Eventually, Kudo kicked Bolshoi in the head and pinned her.

 

This stuff is what pays the bills. Well… this stuff and the snack food sponsorships.

 

Rusher Kimura vs Big John Nord - #1 Contender Match

 

And… it’s time for some straight-up clubbering. Big John bumped big for the grizzled vet. At one point, Nord picked Rusher up and just dropped him over the top rope down to ringside, but he only got, like, a four-count out of it. Eventually Rusher wore the young big man down with a series of nasty Headbutts and European Uppercuts, before putting him away with the Rushing Lariat.

 

Afterward, he got on the mic and challenged the winner of tonight’s main event to face him in a steel cage for the title.

 

***BREAK***

 

Baba, Jumbo, and Kikuchi vs The Can Am Express and Owen Hart – G&SP 6-Man Title Match

 

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Bolshoi Kitty and Carpenter Teranishi are two of the absolute best in the world at bumping and selling and getting sympathy heat… but even they have to bow down before the ultimate king of FiP: Tsuyoshi Kikuchi. The first 15 minutes of this match were almost all based around Kikuchi doing what he does best, as the gaijin heels ran through their athletic offense, power spots, and double-team manoeuvres. After several near-falls, a hot tag was made to Giant Baba and for a couple of crowd-pleasing minutes he knocked the bad guys around with Overhead Chops and 16-bun Kicks. Then, he got cut off and played the almost-unique role of “Giant in Peril” until the crowd were screaming for Jumbo.

 

That hot tag blew the roof of of the place, and Jumbo got a very long shine segment where he almost put each member of the heel team away, more than once. Backdrop Drivers, Swinging Neckbreakers, Jumbo Lariats, Jumping Knees, and Powerbombs were all thrown, but the pinfalls kept getting broken up at the last possible second. Finally, exhausted, Jumbo tagged Kikuchi back in, and he got a nice little shine segment of his own, getting some measure of revenge with Elbow Smashes and  Zero-Sen Kicks. Eventually, inevitably, the heels regained control.

 

The moment they did, they sprang into action. Owen and Furnas charged across the ring, knocking Baba and Jumbo to the floor, while Kroffat picked Kikuchi up onto his shoulders. Then, as Owen climbed to the top turnbuckle, Furnas lifted Kroffat (and Kikuchi) up onto his shoulders… and Owen came off the ropes with a monster Flying Body Press on Kikuchi.

 

With Kikuchi crashing to the mat from such a height, the three-count was pretty much a formality.

 

Misawa and Kobashi vs Bam Bam Bam Bam – G&SP Tag Title Match

 

Rusher Kimura vs Big John Nord was some pretty good clubbering, but this match was clubbering elevated to an art form. We got about 20 minutes of these Picassos and van Goghs of the form throwing chops, elbows, punches, and forearms before we moved into the big bomb section of the match, and for once the big bomb section was kept relatively short.

 

Gordy nailed Kobashi with a Piledriver. He tagged in Bigelow, who went up for the Rolling Moonsault, but Kobashi rolled out of the way and tagged Misawa. Misawa knocked Gordy to the floor with a sick Running Elbow Smash, and then planted Bigelow with a Tiger Suplex followed by a Tiger Driver. Misawa tagged Kobashi, Kobashi went for a Moonsault of his own, and Bam Bam Bigelow did not roll out of the way.

 

The ceremony where Misawa and Kobashi were awarded the G&SP Tag Title belts was very nice, if maybe a little long.

 

Terry Funk vs Shinya Hashimoto – G&SP Title Match

 

Funk got an early advantage, but Hash came back strong. Funk had a few encouraging words for Hashimoto, but once again the younger wrestler took that as a sign of disrespect and condescension. It’s hard to know if Funk failed to learn his lesson from the build-up show, or if he was hoping to goad Hashimoto into making a mistake… but either way Terry Funk ended up on the receiving end of twenty minutes of punishment at the hands of an enraged Shinya Hashimoto.

 

The kicks flew, harder and harder each time. Funk did his bandy-legged wobbly selling, but he refused to stay down. Hash nailed him with a Jumping Spie DDT, but Funk kicked out at 2.999. Hashimoto planted the champ with a Vertical Drop Brainbuster, but he was too close to the ropes and Funk managed to get his leg up to prevent the 3-count. Frustrated, Hashimoto threw the champ outside, to deal out more punishment. Hash pushed Funk into the ring post and lined up a High Roundhouse Kick, but at the last minute, Funk ducked out of the way and Hashimoto ended up smashing his shin into the ring post at full power.

 

Funk immediately seized the moment and went after Hashimoto’s injured leg with a vengeance. He picked the 280-pounder up and smashed his leg into the barricade and into the ringpost once again. Funk dragged Hashimoto into the ring and attacked the leg with elbows and knees. For good measure he dropped another knee on Hashimoto’s head, and punched him right in the face a few times. Then Terry Funk stood up and applied the Spinning Toe Hold.

 

Shinya Hashimoto is a tough man, but even tough men have their limits.

 

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Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: PWO 1988 - 1992 Draft Project

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