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Pro Wrestling NOAH and Yazuka


The Natural

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Pro Wrestling NOAH just announced that General Manager Ryu Nakata and Counselor Haruka Eigen had ties to the Yakuza from 2003 to 2010, working with them to sell tickets to the company's live events.

 

All of the major Japanese media covered the story, which will give the promotion a bad public image. Virtually every promotion in sports and entertainment in Japan has Yakuza tie-ins, but it's probably best analogized like the steroid issue in sports in the U.S. It's commonplace in every major sport, deep down everyone knows it, but if it comes out that somebody used it publicly, it's a black mark against them. Pride went down largely because of these revelations.

 

Exactly how this will fall out is unknown, but expect fall out very quickly.

 

NOAH was, at least among Japanese sports fans, the most popular promotion in the country for much of the last decade, but fell on hard times in recent years once losing its network television outlet. A financially-strapped NTV, due to the recession, canceled pro wrestling, one of the longest lasting shows in the history of television in any country, dating back more than 50 years. The death of president Mitsuharu Misawa was another gigantic blow. Without strong television, the company was unable to create new stars who could sell tickets like Misawa and the frequently injured and physically destroyed Kenta Kobashi.

 

Credit: f4wonline.com

 

NOAH has struggled in recent years. Will this news be the end of them?

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It would be pretty amazing for them to come through this. Am I right in thinking that since the decline in business, they (and AJPW and NJPW) have been much less uppity about talent-sharing? I imagine that'll have paved the way for most of the roster to be absorbed into the other two promotions, with special attraction mileage in title unifications. Where's everyone likely to end up if they do fold?

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Wasn't NOAH started because Musawa had a falling out with Baba's Wife after she took over following her husbands death.

Now that reads like NOAH is in the shit after Mrs Musawa took over following her husbands death.

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Wasn't NOAH started because Musawa had a falling out with Baba's Wife after she took over following her husbands death.

Now that reads like NOAH is in the shit after Mrs Musawa took over following her husbands death.

 

Yes, NOAH was founded because Misawa fell out with Baba's wife.

NOAH's Yakuza links started way back in 2003, if the links with Nakata were the start of this, so it started under Misawa's watch, so I wouldn't say that there are any parallels in that regard. NOAH's fall since Misawa died has much more to do with losing Misawa's star power and connections then it does about his wife. The parallels are more about Misawa being the glue that held NOAH together, much like Giant Baba was for All Japan.

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Thing with Mitsy was, he seemed compelled to put himself back in the spotlight when the reigns of Akiyama and Marufuji didn't have the expected impact on attendance they would have liked. It wasnt that he hogged the main event spot himself, but that he felt the only star capable of being credible enough to get the next big thing over, was him. There was no one left after Kobashi started really suffering to effectively put someone over as a big deal.

 

The impact of losing Musawa's star power was so great because ultimately since the peak of Kobashi, Akiyama and himself, they failed to really create anyone capable of drawing much money. Arguably they had a shot with Marufuji but his win over Akiyama came off as somewhat of a fluke, and he was only permitted to defeat a fellow junior and a foreigner before losing the belt again, and they've never had the balls to go all the way with KENTA. Sugs really delivered in terms of match quality, but they are still suffering big style at the gate.

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I would agree with the above, in my mind KENTA has more of a star aura, especially when heeling it up and his style is more suited against heavyweights. But Like others have said, they pushed Akiyama originally and he never reached the same level as Misawa or Kobashi - in drawing power and KENTA and Marufuji have the disadvantage of there being no tv product right? Does All japan have a TV product? I only ask because the current situation is similar to what happened when Baba died and AJPW is still going.

I think the young guys in Noah would do best if they left sentimentality aside and looked for work in New Japan

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They seemed to put a lot of time and effort into building up Morishima's first title win, only to lose faith in him fairly quickly. From what I saw of him in ROH he looked business, a real wrecking machine.

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Only New Japan has any kind of mainstream TV at the moment, and even their TV situation is weak and not really airing in a way to create much new fans. As far as yakuza involvement, its always been there in pro-wrestling so this is hardly surprising news. It's just that people don't like the hear it being spoken of, so for it to become official might hurt NOAH. But they've lost most of their value the last 5 years anyway so this news comes probable at the best time because they are almost at rock-bottom and would need to re-build their company and fanbase regardless to survive. It's not like this news is stopping any positive buzz or that people follow NOAH much in mainstream eyes. But f course this doesn't help the company getting back on national television anytime soon.

 

But NOAH main downfall is their terrible booking since their popularity high in 2005. It's been incredibly dull and anti-creative in their conservative ways. They killed off one potential situation after the other. And since they didn't manage to create any stars and have faith in those they pushed in their old fashioned manner, Misawa decided to take responsibility as a wrestler himself in matches he clearly wasn't fit for and as a result died. And his death happened just as they'd lost their lucrative TV deal main-stream TV deal in 2009. And now many behind the scene power struggles and cut-downs they find themself down as the 4th or 5th largest company in Japan after at least NJPW, Dragon Gate and AJPW, but even DDT run bigger annual shows then them now.

 

Among the booking faults was the overly long rise of Morishima who didn't win the belt until after he lost motivation and was way out of shape. Now that he's slimmed down a lot he's probable better fit to be a champion, but I myself haven't seen any Japanese wrestling from after 2010. The Marufuji heavyweight title win was also strange as they'd hardly pushed him as a heavyweight at all before giving him the belt. And having a junior heavyweight as HEAVYWEIGHT never goes over well with Japanese fans. And with the Takeshi Rikio push failing with him losing motivation too along with Kobashi always being sidelined with injury NOAH didn't have anymore heavyweight stars to carry the company. Not to mention NOAH creating less rookies then any other company in Japan to build on later....

 

 

 

--PUNQ--

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