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How Pro Wrestling gained popularity in Japan

Professional wrestling is a familiar fighting sport in Japan. It had its heyday in the 1960s and 1970s, but it is still extensively popular today. Let’s take a look at the history of this popular profession.

After World War II, professional wrestling began in Japan. It didn’t take off until Rikidozan came. Rikidozan was a sumo wrestler of Korean descent. He founded the Japan Pro Wrestling Alliance, or JWA, in 1951. It was modeled after professional wrestling organizations in the United States. Rikidozan dominated the first ten years of progress. He was instrumental in the establishment of nearly the entire professional wrestling industry. He was the first to compete on a global stage, and he began bringing international professional wrestlers to Japan to compete. Furthermore, he essentially put Japan on the professional wrestling map (much like レオベガスカジノ is attempting to do in a slightly different industry).

Rikidozan died in 1963, at the age of 39. Despite the fact that he’d done a lot for professional wrestling in the last ten years of his life, he sadly left many projects unfinished. The JWA  decided to continue with all the new talent that had emerged.

Rival Camps

There were many famous professional wrestling stars in Japan in the 1970s, including Giant Baba and Antonio Inoki. The JWA’s unity was beginning to splinter at this point. Baba and Inoki both founded their own wrestling organizations and competed fiercely with one another. Giant Baba began All Japan Professional Wrestling, while Antonio Inoki began New Japan Professional Wrestling. JWA went down the following year.

Japan’s professional wrestling has always been less gimmicky than America’s professional wrestling. And Antonio Inoki has worked hard to elevate its status to that of a true fighting form. Throughout the 1970s, he attempted to legitimize the sport by fighting boxers, judo fighters, and karate fighters. He battled the great Muhammad Ali in a fight that was heavily popular but not good fought in 1976. It became a farce with all the limitations on what the fighters could and couldn’t do.

Women in the Ring

Women have always participated in wrestling in Japan. In 1955, the All Japan Women’s Professional Wrestling Association was founded. Women’s wrestling in Japan, however, really took off in 1967, with the formation of the Japan Women’s Professional Wrestling Association. To promote the fights, Japanese professional wrestlers would fight wrestlers from different countries in the early days of the AJW. Mach Fumiake won the World Wide Wrestling Alliance Championship in 1975, and only two women who are not Japanese wrestlers have won it since then.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Japan produced a number of outstanding professional wrestlers. Jushin Liger, Manami Toyota, Lioness Asuka, and Akira Hokuto are among those involved. Women wrestlers have taken center stage since the dissolution of the major men’s wrestling federations. In Japan today, women’s wrestling is far more popular than men’s wrestling. While men’s wrestlers have generally branched out into other fighting styles, women’s wrestlers tend to stick to professional wrestling.

Professional Wrestling Today

As K-1 and other assorted martial arts obtain popularity in Japan, professional wrestling’s popularity is dwindling. This was also due to the gradual disintegration of Baba’s AJPW following his death, as well as the decline of the NJPW. Although professional wrestling is not as popular in Japan as it once was, it continues to draw large crowds. It has lost some of its purity as it has been mixed with other sports in the new hybrid fighting styles, but it remains popular.

We’ve come to the end of the story of how Japanese professional wrestling came to be. How it became popular in the country (and around the world), and who the key players were in its success.

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