Jump to content
Pro Wrestling Only
Dylan Waco

Wrestling Culture Episode 48

Recommended Posts

http://www.talkshoe.com/talkshoe/web/talkC...2658&cmd=tc

 

On Episode 48 of The Wrestling Culture Podcast Dave Musgrave and I are joined by wrestler/wrestling historian/lucha smart guy! Kurt Brown to discuss the 2013 Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame Ballot. Dave and I disagree a bit about some Japanese candidates, Kurt gives us the goods on the Lucha candidates, I freak out about the underrated greatness that is Carlos Colon and we all praise Blue Panther for being king of the maestros. Oh and Don Owen. We love Don Owen. So listen, enjoy and wait with baited breathe because part 2 on U.S. and Historical Candidates is coming soon!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With Hamada, I think you'd need to look at the houses he drew at El Toreo and other UWA venues. Jose mentioned the other day that he was a possible draw at Palacio de los Deportes. It's certainly the strongest part of his in-ring resume. In terms of a stylistic influence, I wasn't quite sure why you deemed "lucharesu" as being more significant to shoot style, but I don't think you gave Sayama enough credit for really being the figurehead of that style. Hamada may have been the godfather of the style in terms of promoting it in Japan, but Sayama was the spiritual father. Hamada also had a hand in training the JWP girls along with Onita, though to what extent he's responsible for the development of those girls is unknown.

 

For Mexico, I would have liked to hear Dylan talk a bit more about Atlantis as a worker. I also think people need to decide whether Atlantis was a strong enough draw to be in the HOF.

 

Blue Panther being one of the top 20 workers of all time was a big call. I might go that way if we had more of his UWA footage, but I'm not sure if on the weight of footage that we have that he's that good. Unless you're talking about technique. I don't think he's anywhere near as good as he used to be and Black Terry is the king of maestros, IMO, not for his technique as such but for his overall performing ability (acting and selling and so forth.) I really need to pick up that Caras/Panther match, though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for listening OJ

 

With Hamada, I think you'd need to look at the houses he drew at El Toreo and other UWA venues. Jose mentioned the other day that he was a possible draw at Palacio de los Deportes. It's certainly the strongest part of his in-ring resume.

I don't doubt this at all, but the problem of course is that UWA is one of the ultimate in "was it the brand or the wrestler that drew?" companies or at least that's always been my understanding of it. If you believe Farmer's research Hamada has 28 main events that drew 10k or more and he acknowledges that his research in Mexico is extremely incomplete. Of course the flip of that is that virtually all of those matches are trios (if not all of them) and who knows what he is even constituting as a main event.

 

In terms of a stylistic influence, I wasn't quite sure why you deemed "lucharesu" as being more significant to shoot style,

I kind of cringed when I said that not because I don't believe it but because I suspected it might be something that was honed in on. In any case my point was not well formed or fleshed out enough. One could argue that at it's peak shootstyle was vastly more significant and important then lucharesu, but the flip side of that is that there isn't a successful shootstyle promotion in Japan and hasn't been in years. I'm not a fan of Dragon Gate at all, but one could easily argue that aside from New Japan it's the most successful current Japanese promotion. More to the point one can draw a line from Hamada straight through MPro, to Toryumon, to DG. It's peaks have not been as significant as the peaks of shootstyle whether they be UWFI or RINGS or whatever. But it has been a more lasting niche form and a niche from that I think has in many ways influenced wrestling outside of Japan (I am staying away from the "Pride was pro wrestling" angle because it's a tired debate I have zero interest in hashing out, but I mention it to note that if someone sees shootstyles evolution in Japan as ending with actual shoots and shoots that drew huge I understand that is going to result in a massive difference of opinion here).

 

but I don't think you gave Sayama enough credit for really being the figurehead of that style. Hamada may have been the godfather of the style in terms of promoting it in Japan, but Sayama was the spiritual father.

 

Sayama is already in the Hall of Fame. I thought the brief discussion on him was pretty fair. I don't really disagree with your point here on either end (Hamada as the godfather in terms of promoting and Sayama as the "spiritual father"), but I also don't think it's an either or proposition. I'm not even a Sayama fan (though there are more Sayama matches I like then most people would probably assume) but I think he's an HoF guy and I think I was pretty specific in saying on the show that he is a guy who should be in on influence even though his peak run is probably as short or shorter than anyone else in the HoF. That's not damning him with feint praise, if anything that's given him a fuck ton of credit. Frankly there is no other candidate I can think of offhand who is comparable to Sayama. In any case I am not rock solid on Hamada, I just think he's one of the better candidates on the Japan section of the ballot and I think he has a strongish case on influence.

 

For Mexico, I would have liked to hear Dylan talk a bit more about Atlantis as a worker. I also think people need to decide whether Atlantis was a strong enough draw to be in the HOF.

 

As a worker I am nowhere near as high on Atlantis as some. To me he is hands down the most disappointing of all of the allegedly great Lucha workers. But there is a HUGE caveat here - I've seen very little of his 80's matches. Atlantis is a guy I will be watching closely on the 80's Set, because while I think he is a good worker, I've never really felt he was on the level of the other Lucha greats. A lot of this is probably the fact that he is nowhere near the worker right now that a lot of the other old guard guys are and while I acknowledge it's unfair to expect everyone to be at that level, he is noticeably behind Panther, Casas, Santo, Terry, Solar, Navarro and Villano IV on average over the last few years when I have been a hardcore fan. If peak Atlantis is as good as I've seen you and others say you will see me reverse course on him quickly.

 

As far as drawing power goes I have no clue, but when I read the Atlantis Gordy List next to Villano III write up Jose did, or the discussions I've had with Kurt and others regarding Wagner Sr, or even Sims comments on guys like Park, I'd say Atlantis is probably one of the least of the draws in the Lucha category (I would guess Panther and Garza would be right there with him). Atlantis comes across more as a guy who was effective when pushed on top than a guy with a real record of popping houses. My inclination is toward saying that he is a good candidate, but not a great candidate, but I am still very soft on general Lucha history.

 

Blue Panther being one of the top 20 workers of all time was a big call. I might go that way if we had more of his UWA footage, but I'm not sure if on the weight of footage that we have that he's that good. Unless you're talking about technique. I don't think he's anywhere near as good as he used to be and Black Terry is the king of maestros, IMO, not for his technique as such but for his overall performing ability (acting and selling and so forth.) I really need to pick up that Caras/Panther match, though.

I could see someone arguing Terry or Navarro over Panther as a maestro. I definitely think peak Terry is better, but most of the best matches from that period were brawls or brawl heavy.

 

As far as BP in the top twenty, maybe he'd fall into my top 25 but I can't see him any lower. I like modern Panther a ton more than you though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't doubt this at all, but the problem of course is that UWA is one of the ultimate in "was it the brand or the wrestler that drew?" companies or at least that's always been my understanding of it. If you believe Farmer's research Hamada has 28 main events that drew 10k or more and he acknowledges that his research in Mexico is extremely incomplete. Of course the flip of that is that virtually all of those matches are trios (if not all of them) and who knows what he is even constituting as a main event.

UWA ran a lot of shows and brought in a lot of outside talent. They used to run El Toreo twice a week in their heyday so they needed a stacked roster and plenty of guys they could feed to Canek and other top stars, so in a sense they were loaded like AAA during its early boom, but they created some pretty big stars and they were excellent at packaging trios together and pushing the lighter weight talents and young guys. During the early 80s when the trios boom was in full swing and the Misioneros were pushed to the main event I can see it becoming difficult to decipher who drew, but that's an argument for putting trios in the Hall I suppose. One thing I'll say about Hamada is that if he was main eventing or semi-maining against guys like Aguayo, Fishman or Villano III, there may be a question of who was the real draw, the native star or the match-up. Then again, Hamada was a regular.

 

I kind of cringed when I said that not because I don't believe it but because I suspected it might be something that was honed in on. In any case my point was not well formed or fleshed out enough. One could argue that at it's peak shootstyle was vastly more significant and important then lucharesu, but the flip side of that is that there isn't a successful shootstyle promotion in Japan and hasn't been in years. I'm not a fan of Dragon Gate at all, but one could easily argue that aside from New Japan it's the most successful current Japanese promotion. More to the point one can draw a line from Hamada straight through MPro, to Toryumon, to DG. It's peaks have not been as significant as the peaks of shootstyle whether they be UWFI or RINGS or whatever. But it has been a more lasting niche form and a niche from that I think has in many ways influenced wrestling outside of Japan (I am staying away from the "Pride was pro wrestling" angle because it's a tired debate I have zero interest in hashing out, but I mention it to note that if someone sees shootstyles evolution in Japan as ending with actual shoots and shoots that drew huge I understand that is going to result in a massive difference of opinion here).

The reason the shoot style promotions never lasted was usually because of the egos involved and squabbling over money. If they'd been run by a savvy promoter and not wrestler-promoters they may have had a longer lasting presence in the Japanese scene. I suppose MMA killed shoot style and now MMA is all but dead in Japan, and your fans who go to wrestling shows these days are a mix of hardcores and the casuals they bring along and are pro-style fans who want to see pro-style only, but there's still a bit of influence in New Japan isn't there? Don't they ape shoot style a bit? I don't really follow the Japanese scene closely. How long has Dragon Gate been in business and will they last or morph into something else?

 

In any case I am not rock solid on Hamada, I just think he's one of the better candidates on the Japan section of the ballot and I think he has a strongish case on influence.

The influence thing is something I'd like to see fleshed out a bit more, because I don't think he had a big rep as a worker in Japan. Certainly not compared to the rep he had in Mexico. And he didn't really come back from Mexico and become a star like some of the other guys. He was behind the scenes promoting and training. Someone like Ultimo Dragon was much more visible as a lucharesu guy, I think. And promoting and bringing Mexican stars to Japan in the early 90s didn't really work even if it sparked the idea of M-Pro, but I'm not really sure that you can say stylistically that Hamada was the biggest influence on M-Pro since Sasuke had also toured Mexico and worked UWA. I definitely think he had an influence, but more as a figure who worked Mexico and knew it well than the style he actually wrestled.

 

As a worker I am nowhere near as high on Atlantis as some. To me he is hands down the most disappointing of all of the allegedly great Lucha workers. But there is a HUGE caveat here - I've seen very little of his 80's matches. Atlantis is a guy I will be watching closely on the 80's Set, because while I think he is a good worker, I've never really felt he was on the level of the other Lucha greats. A lot of this is probably the fact that he is nowhere near the worker right now that a lot of the other old guard guys are and while I acknowledge it's unfair to expect everyone to be at that level, he is noticeably behind Panther, Casas, Santo, Terry, Solar, Navarro and Villano IV on average over the last few years when I have been a hardcore fan. If peak Atlantis is as good as I've seen you and others say you will see me reverse course on him quickly.

Is there any Atlantis outside of the more recent stuff that has disappointed you? Like any of his 90s stuff?

 

As far as drawing power goes I have no clue, but when I read the Atlantis Gordy List next to Villano III write up Jose did, or the discussions I've had with Kurt and others regarding Wagner Sr, or even Sims comments on guys like Park, I'd say Atlantis is probably one of the least of the draws in the Lucha category (I would guess Panther and Garza would be right there with him). Atlantis comes across more as a guy who was effective when pushed on top than a guy with a real record of popping houses. My inclination is toward saying that he is a good candidate, but not a great candidate, but I am still very soft on general Lucha history.

I think the knock on Atlantis is that he was never directly responsible for any of the really hot CMLL runs despite being near the top of the card, though I think he had some decent drawing successes after the split like the feud with Mano Negra. Nothing earth shattering, though.

 

I could see someone arguing Terry or Navarro over Panther as a maestro. I definitely think peak Terry is better, but most of the best matches from that period were brawls or brawl heavy.

Navarro is the most impressive because he completely remodeled himself as a great mat worker. I think he's been now than he ever was before. But he seems to have slowed down a bit this year.

 

As far as BP in the top twenty, maybe he'd fall into my top 25 but I can't see him any lower. I like modern Panther a ton more than you though.

I like modern Panther when he works Monterrey and I'm sure I'd like him more if there was footage of him in the indies, I just don't think we see the best of him in CMLL, though credit to him for hanging in there this long and still being used by them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great show! Nice to hear someone being positive on Carlos Colon. The Journeyman Hall of Fame idea is awesome. What exactly is the definition for the Journeyman in this case? Are you taking nominations?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't really get the feeling NJPW apes shoot style all that much, other than Sakuraba. Dragon Gate has been in business for eight or nine years. Prior to NJPW's financial turn around over the last two years, Dragon Gate was almost certainly the most financially viable of all the promotions in Japan from everything I know. On Atlantis I've enjoyed the 90's Atlantis I've seen, but he doesn't have a single match I can recall where his performance completely blew me away. I mean I love the match with Villano III so I guess there is that, but other than that? I just can't think of anything. It's possible I'm just not watching the right matches.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great show! Nice to hear someone being positive on Carlos Colon. The Journeyman Hall of Fame idea is awesome. What exactly is the definition for the Journeyman in this case? Are you taking nominations?

Would be open to journeyman definitions. I would love to have nominations!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Doug Somers!

 

I think a journeyman has to truly be a journeyman. No Greg Valentine post-85 shit, it has to be like a Bob Roop or a Somers or a guy like that plying his trade for many different promotions over a long period. Buzz Sawyer would probably count. Cuban Assassin. Fake Kendo Nagasaki (aka Dragon Master). Jos LeDuc.

 

Guys with really odd things on their CV along the lines of "He had a spell working New Zealand and is a big name in the Dominican Republic". Classic journeyman-type background.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I hear journeyman I think of someone who's been a few places, sometimes could be a more featured guy but not the main man and fulfilled to the best of their abilities their assigned role.

 

I'll toss out a few names that might help define the criteria of journeyman for this:

 

Eddie Gilbert

Eric Embry

Dutch Mantel

Barry Horowitz

Rick Martel

 

My take is that Martel is too successful and high profile for this type of hall. The question is, at what point would someone be either too high profile, successful or not too well travelled for the this type of hall? Conversely, would a Barry Horowitz or other JTTS (or even jobber) be too low on the totem pole to qualify?

 

Just a few names to get the conversation started.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm all for definitions and nominations as well.

 

I can think of three categories:

 

The "Character Actor" Journeyman- The guy who blends into every promotion and who is seen but not noticed. You always think you've seen him somewhere before but aren't sure where. An example is Chick Donovan.

 

The "Patient Zero" Journeyman- The type of guy who went so many places that if he had a communicable disease it would have wiped out the business. An example is Roger Kirby.

 

The "What's Love Got To Do With It"- The type of guy who was just great at everything he did and even if he didn't end up being the guy in the business is still an example of everything that is great about wrestling. A major example is of course Rip Rogers.

 

Obviously, these categories are not mutually exclusive and other suggestions are welcome.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just discovered your podcast guys and will have a listen over the weekend. Subscribed via my podcast catcher app so looks like you have another listener.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just discovered your podcast guys and will have a listen over the weekend. Subscribed via my podcast catcher app so looks like you have another listener.

Awesome!! Please let us know what you think

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think Tomohiro Ishii is a great example of a modern journeyman. From WAR to Michinoku Pro to World Japan to New Japan hitting every little indy in between. Always a workhorse but he's just now getting his due.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A modern day journeyman would be someone like Chad Collyer in my opinion, or Joe.E.Legend. Both of them are constantly touring the world, working dates in the Middle East, Europe, Africa as well as the US.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have no problem saying I felt like an idiot listening to this match but I LOVED IT! Felt like I was getting an introduction to some guys even with being familiar with some. Kinda sad that I don't really have the time or attention span to watch a ton from one person or era and spread myself out more. Its podcasts like this which makes me want to change that. One thing I do know is Mexico is LOADED! From what I've seen of Carlos Colon, he's absolutely awesome. Hansen vs Colon :')

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×