The world is unique in every way as no two places are the same in terms of culture, language and heritage. It's a diverse planet that we all reside upon and one that is filled with wonders yet to behold with our naked eyes.
Pro-wrestling embodies all those aspects in an international sense as wrestling styles vary as much as anything else in the world. Pro-wrestling in the Untied States is different than pro-wrestling is in Mexico, while that style is different in contrast to the European style.
Let's get right to the point, as I firmly believe that Puroresu is the best pro-wrestling style internationally. I did not come to this decision without grueling hours of research online and searching through my personal library of wrestling biographies.
In order for you to see the why Puroresu is the best style internationally, we must explore some of its prestigious history, then put its rules and customs underneath the proverbial microscope!
Sumo wrestling was what came before Puroresu, and it didn't show up till the nineteenth century. There was a rikishi who went by the name Sorakichi Matsuda, and he is widely considered the first Japanese pro-wrestler, as he went to the US to pursue that path. His colleagues called him The Jap and was a pioneer as his participation in the sport paved the way for other Japanese to pursue this sport.
In 1887 a pro-wrestler by the name Hamada attempted to bring pro-wrestling into Japan with 20 American wrestlers to Kobiki-cho in the Tsukiji district of Tokyo. The first day was sold out in large part due to that it was something new that had never been seen. Sadly, the outcome from that first day was not matched, thus making the first attempt to introduce Japan to the art of pro-wresting a failure.
Puroresu struggled to gain a foothold before WWII, and it wasn't until after the war that Puroresu was able to get a firm but solid grip in the land of the rising sun. Japan Pro Wrestling Alliance opened it doors in 1953, which ran for many years before closing in 1973. It was one man who helped propel Puroresu to the glory it retains today. He's considered one of the most important figures in wrestling and is known as the "Father of Puroresu," and his name is Rikidōzan!
Rikidōzan was the hero that the Japanese needed to emulate, as what he did to the sport is equaled to what Hulk Hogan did for America or Bret Hart did for Canada. For a while he carried the weight of Puroresu upon his shoulder till he passed the critical point where others could carry the weight as a group, making Japan proud.
Rikidōzan's murder in 1963 was an end of an era, but others continued to carry the weight and make Puroresu the success that it is today! Giant Baba, Antonio Inoki, Keiji Mutoh/The Great Muta collectively became icons in Japan and are responsible for Puroresu success!
One of the best things about this style is the atmosphere, and who it's treated in Japan. If the crowd is completely silent during a WWE match it usually means that crowd is dead, but in Japan it's just that the fans respect their wrestlers so much that they remain silent so they can soak in every move, and they will "OHHH" and "AHHH" at the appropriate times.
In Japan they treat Puroresu as a legitimate combat sport. They mix pro-wrestling mores with MMA strikes and kicks, and the awesome part is that they fully hit their opponent with a punch or kick, which actually connects with flesh. MMA moves are routinly used in matches, and it's not uncommon to see MMA matches and Puroresu matches arranged on the same card. This style is routinely called "strong style."
Despite many similarities to its counter part, Puroresu rarely use angles or gimmicks for storytelling as the story is always about the fighting spirit of a wrestler. The matches are routinely wrestling clinic matches.
I've once seen a Canadian destroyer reversed into a piledriver and saw matches where they were moving at the speed of a lucha libre but was mainly stuck to the ground with just a few high-flying moves sprinkled here and there. You'd see this style many times within the promotion called New Japan Pro Wrestling.
Now let's say you want angles on storytelling that is well known in the United States. Well have no fear as All Japan Pro Wrestling, which used the style called "King Road" that uses holds, brawling, and the storytelling elements of professional wrestling, while still using strong style type of moves.
You'd also see shoot style, lucha libre, and hardcore in Japan, but the strong style is one that is seen the most in Japan. The hardcore are fantastically and horrifyingly bloody matches using barb wire as ring ropes, and sometimes there's explosives around the boundaries of the ring. When I say hardcore, I mean to the point where it sometimes makes the classic ECW look tame.
The rules varies from promotion to promotion, but all are similar enough to know that it's Puroresu. They still pin wrestlers to win matches but more likely will make a opponent submit or knocked-out. Countouts are up to twenty, which is do-able considering the American norm is 10. They have disqualifications if a wrestler breaks the rules. These are the common ingredients to Purores.
Other rules really depend on the promotion, such as Universal Wrestling Federation (Japan) not allowing pin-falls, and the only way to win is either by submission or knockouts. This is a more realistic and legitimate style for outcomes. Amazingly, most promotions ban punches, so wrestlers must resort to open handed strikes and stiff forearms.
All this is why Puroresu is the best damn style internationally. It is respected in its home country and is a style that requires one to have talent and skills as it's a style that can be a challenge to learn. But once learned, their skills as a wrestler would be better than even the best in the WWE. Lucha libre may be fast and spectacular to see, but doesn't use the matwork or strikes as it relies on its smaller wrestler to fly around the ring in a flashy style.
Fact of the matter is that lucha libre can't easily adjust or successfully do well in American promotions unless they change their move set to the tune of the American style. Sin Cara is a good example as without others who can perform his high flying style of lucha libre routinely botches moves. Puroresu on the other hand can adjust to the American style as they retain some aspects to where they can wrestle without botching or doing much changes to there move sets.
In my humble opinion that Puroresu has a more successful talent exchange with the US such as Masahiro Chono, The Great Muta and Jushin Liger in WCW and Kenta Kobashi and Go Shiozaki in Ring of Honor. Total Nonstop Action Wrestling had Ayako Hamada a joshi puroresu wrestle for them.
To be honest the only reason the WWE relies on Mexican wrestlers then Japanese is due to the demographics of Hispanic viewers. If the WWE had a large demographic of Japanese viewers then Yoshi Tatsu would be used more prominently.
Controversy Creates Cash by Eric Bischoff goes into details about the it's relationship with GAEA Japan. Also both of Chris Jericho books has him explain his time wrestling in Japan as either for Wrestling and Romance or while as a WWE superstar on one of the tours to Japan. Reading about the experiences of both Eric Bischoff and Chris Jericho shows how amazingly brilliant and magnificent Puroresu really can be.
I strongly believe Puroresu is the best style of pro-wrestling on God's green earth. Hell, I even know it's better then what we got here in America. The research I've done and shared with you in this article strongly strengthen my resolve that it's the best!
Here you can read Chris Mueller's article.
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