Puro Power - The History Of The IWE

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2w Nov 18, 2021

Some notes that a user by the name of Cameren Lee informed me of that didn't get in.

  1. After Matsuda's departure, the IWE tried to make the Great Kusatsu their ace, but this blew up in their face spectacularly. On January 3, 1968, they counterprogrammed the JWA's Baba-Crusher rematch in the Kuramae Kokugikan by booking the nearby Nippon University Auditorium, headed by a televised title match between Kusatsu and none other than Lou Thesz. Thesz was involved in the company at this point because he was being led along by the Great Togo, who was booking at the time and had ambitions of making a coup. Anyway, Kusatsu was humiliated on live television when, after Thesz hit his Greco-Roman backdrop to win the first fall, his opponent appeared to have suffered a legitimate concussion, and referee Fred Atkins awarded the gaijin the victory by forfeit.

  2. Shortly after this, Togo (and Thesz) left over his failure to take over the company, and thus the IWE had no way of getting around their lack of NWA membership. It was actually Ichiro Hatta, the man who had built a foothold for amateur wrestling in Japan, who supported the IWE by forging a connection with the European wrestling scene. (Hatta was supportive of professional wrestling because he saw it as an opportunity to promote his sport by association. If you've heard his name, it's likely either because he was the man who encouraged Jumbo Tsuruta to go professional, or because he was the one responsible for connecting Muhammad Ali with Antonio Inoki.)

  3. Strong Kobayashi was actually going to be IWE's ace, not Rusher Kimura, but the embittered Kusatsu, who had power over him since he was the booker, harassed Kobayashi so severely (in one alleged instance, he forced him to drink his own piss) that in 1974, he jumped to New Japan.

  4. The IWE formed something of an alliance with AJPW early on out of necessity. Right around the time All Japan was formed, the IWE had had their television timeslot halved due to the same having happened to advertising rates. (I can't confirm that this is what caused it, but the big thing in world economics that could have affected something like this was the Nixon shocks in 1971, in which the US president introduced a series of measures to combat domestic inflation. The Japanese national bank, in response, was forced to engage in heavy speculation to keep the yen from inflating.)

  5. TBS cancelled their IWE program outright in 1974. They received another television deal fairly soon after, but apparently it wasn't as good as the original. The IWE also terminated their affiliation with the AWA in 1975, as they could no longer afford their fees.

  6. In 1978, the IWE switched allegiances from All to New Japan. As I understand it, this was in response to the results of their February 1978 events with AJPW, wherein Baba went over Kimura and damaged the promotion's reputation. The IWE were, naturally, frustrated with NJPW grabbing their talent over the years, and even petitioned the Tokyo District Court to try to suspend Ryuma Go from signing with them. However, Yoshihara forged an unlikely alliance with NJPW business head Hisashi Shinma shortly after this. This led to the Okami Gundan interpromotional angle, and is also why the IWE's big native stars (barring Hara, who was apparently bitter about the Fujinami match in 1980, as well as Mighty Inoue) went to New Japan after the promotion closed.

  7. One year before the IWE closed, they lost their dojo when a cab ran into the building and destroyed it in the explosion.

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