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Dylan Waco

WON HOF 2016

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Where did you get the idea that Tamura was considered the best wrestler in the world in 1998 and 1999? I strongly doubt that was anything close to a consensus opinion at any time.

 

May not be a consensus at the time but the yearbook crew that has plowed through those years has came to the conclusion that he is at least on the short list.

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Where did you get the idea that Tamura was considered the best wrestler in the world in 1998 and 1999? I strongly doubt that was anything close to a consensus opinion at any time.

 

This was what I wrote specifically about Tamura being the best wrestler in the world in 98 & 99.

 

"Regarded is the key word here. Since the late 90s, Tamura has generally been pointed to as the best wrestler in the world during 1998 and 1999. It is possible 1997 would be included in this, but All Japan was still highly regarded in 1997 as were juniors like Liger, Ohtani, Guerrero, Rey Jr and Benoit. Tamura has generally been considered the best wrestler in the world in 98 and 99 by folks who watched a lot of wrestling from all over the world. 1998 and 1999 were interesting years in the wrestling business as All Japan was falling apart, people stopped giving a shit about New Japan Juniors, M-Pro died, AJW died, UWFi died, WCW and WWE were at their lowpoint as far as in ring work, this is pre-indy boom, and lucha guys have never really been able to get any sort of traction as “best in the world” because it is less watched and the booking doesn’t always lend itself to creating best in the world candidates (at least not in the way most wrestling fans view wrestling). HOWEVER, with wrestling quality falling off a cliff in the late 90s, Kiyoshi Tamura was pointed to as the guy still capable of having all time classic matches."

 

I stand by all of that. Wrestling around the world was falling off a cliff except for BattlArts and Kiyoshi Tamura. I was a hardcore fan at the time and remember so that's one thing. This has also been the narrative surrounding Kiyoshi Tamura since 1998 and 1999. When wrestling was falling apart you could still find amazing shit in RINGS.

 

This is hardly some new opinion.

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Meltzer constantly wrote about Tamura being the best wrestler in the world in 1998 and 1999. His subscribers agreed if you look at his finish as best wrestler in 1998. It may have been a follow the leader mentality - that's why the 3/17/00 Atlantis vs. Villano III mask match won the WON MOTY (it deserved to but it won because Dave put it over big time).

 

Great write up Elliot.

 

One thing I would add is despite U-Style not drawing well, there would have been NO U-Style 2002-2004 without Tamura. The 10/6/03 KH show drew 600-700 people as Tamura was not on the card. U-Style cards with Tamura usually came close to filling up KH.

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600-700 people in Korakuen is brutal. Good grief!

 

Tamura was voted 6th Most Outstanding in 1998. I understand someone might look at that and say "OHHHHH see, he's not even #1 how could you say people thought he was #1!"

 

The folks who finished above him were Kanmeoto (winner), Otani, Misawa, Kobashi, and Juventud. Tamura finisehd above Liger, Akiyama, Benoit Kawada, Foley and Austin . I think we can all agree that if you look at:

WWF

WCW

New Japan

All Japan

RINGS

 

RINGS was, by a considerable margin, the least followed promotion and is going to have fewer candidates for the awards simply based on the nature of the voting so Tamura's placement is pretty damn impressive considering he wasn't nearly as watched as the dudes who placed around him. He's literally the only person to place in 1998 who didn't work in one of the 4 biggest company's in the world (WWF/WCW/NJ/AJ).

 

Tim, since anyone considering voting for Tamura is probably going to be considering shoot fighting as part of his case, I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about his place in MMA and whether or not it actually matters on a HOF level. Obviously he's not Sakuraba, Takada, or probably even Takayama in terms of importance. Would he be in the next tier down? If he one of the 15 most influential people behind the rise of MMA in Japan in the early 2000s? I was never under that impression at the time and I feel like the fact that U-Style was barely able to fill KH even with Tamura on the card leads me to believe that he wasn't that important to the rise of MMA.

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Bit of a superfluous post, but I just wished to say what a wonderful resource this thread, as well as yours on Satanico, has been for me. The time and effort you've put in is exceptional.

 

 

On topic, not that I have much to add, but is there much competition for greatest from debut. Riddle gets a lot of praise, and we've had the "great out the gate" thread before, but from the very first match, I can't think of any peers.Tamura had a damn clinic in his second ever match!

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Tamura's MMA run (from his first shoots with RINGS through his career with DEEP, PRIDE, and K-1) was essentially a microcosm of what Sakuraba went through. Tamura was a good fighter, especially at his size, but the Japanese mentality of not having weight divisions (which still exists a little bit in 2016) ended up shortening his career and making him appear to be a much lesser fighter than his piers, even though I would argue he was much better than he was given credit for.

 

Throw out the 1996-1997 potential shoots (4/22 vs Kohsaka, etc).

 

When he fights Frank Shamrock in April 1999, he not only hangs with the best lightweight in the world at the time (Sakuraba wouldn't officially take that title until early 2000) but does it while still having a monthly schedule in RINGS. The April 2000 loss to a much bigger Gilbert Yvel is what lead him to depart RINGS as he was burned out and wasn't going to be able to beat people bigger than him, ala Sakuraba post-Gracies feud. When he goes to PRIDE, he gets Silva as his first fight (again, Silva was technically in the same division but was much larger) and while he puts up a good fight, he falls short and the PRIDE folks decide to give him Bob Sapp two months later. We know how that worked out.

 

It's during this time period that we lose what could have been a FOTDC with prime Sakuraba vs. almost prime Tamura. But for political reasons, that match is never able to be put together until 2008 when both should be retired.

 

I would recommend checking out the 9/7/02 fight vs. Ikuhisa Minowa in DEEP. It's not Sakuraba/White or Sakuraba/Newton like in truly being the bridge between worked UWF style and "real UWF" but it's a fun fight with a lot of heat, a lot of good action, and a glimpse at what Tamura could have been if he was able to fight guys his own size.

 

I also like the 8/10/03 Yoshida PRIDE fight as it has a ton of heat and is the rare example of native vs. native in PRIDE (especially for this era). Some think it is a work (I don't) but work or not, it's really heated and worth watching to see heat that Japanese pro wrestling wasn't able to get outside of Misawa/Kobashi in 2003.

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Hey elliott,

 

The TV Tropes page for Tamura has some interesting tidbits -- http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Wrestling/KiyoshiTamura

 

Lorefice's old news page has some good info about the dying days of RINGS (probably cribbed straight from the Observer) -- http://www.quebrada.net/news/NewsRINGS1.html

 

I still need to read the Lorefice stuff but that TV Tropes page has some really cool stuff. I will only call him "The Aloof Genius" "The Red Baron" and "The Red Pants Wearing Determinator" from now on.

 

I guess I never really talked about whether I see this Aloof Genius as a HOFer, even though reading through the results dump & gordy list it should be pretty clear. I really don't see him as a HOFer, especially on the current ballot. Even in the Japan Region I think he's a worse candidate than:

Akiyama

Fujiwara

Volk

Taue

CIMA

Kimura (at least on the surface he certainly seems more important, but I'd have to look at his career more to be able to get into specifics)

The Sharpe's (Who probably shouldn't be on the Japan list, but even with their short time in Japan are probably still more important than The Red Baron historically, but again I'd have to look more closely at them)

Gordienko (Also probably shouldn't be in Japan from the little I know, seems like a better candidate than Tamura in general, but I don't know nearly as much as I'd like. He seems like my kinda dude though)

 

I'm not sure what to do with Minoru Suzuki and Pancrase. I'm under the impression that he's a better candidate than Tamura based on his freelance run, but not a particularly strong candidate.

 

Is Tamura a better candidate than Takayama who isn't even on the ballot?

 

As an overall candidate he's on that Nagata, Hayabusa, Kojima & Tenzan level.

 

Obviously he has SOME positives. He has the 2 years at the end of the decade where he was generally considered one of, if not the best, wrestler in the world. He is often pointed to, along with Volk Han, as either the best or 2nd best shoot style wrestler. What that means is up to your interpretation. On the one hand, it is an extremely difficult style to master but on the other hand it only existed as a viable promotional style from the mid 80s until 1999 (I love BattlArts, its possibly my favorite promotion, but they were a small indy that folded anyway in 2001/02). We're talking less than 20 years. Its not like being considered the best luchadore of all time which goes back almost a century.

 

I could frame a better case for Tamura if I was building it solely on my opinion: I think he's the best Japanese wrestler ever, the best wrestler overall from the 90s, the best wrestler in the world from 1994-1999, the best wrestler in the world in 2004, the best shoot stylist, one of the 3 best wrestlers to ever live. But I don't think "BECUZ I LIKES HIM THHHIIIIIISSSSSSSSS MUCH!" is a real building block for a candidate, especially when its such a different perception from what even fans of the guy have. I've watched his entire career at this point (I filled in gaps, i need to write up the rest of the stuff) and thought he was great basically from beginning to end, but still at no point did I think "this guy is a slam dunk hall of famer." Coulda, woulda, shoulda, but didn't. If he had the Daniel Bryan or He Who Shall Not Be Named career of 10+ years being in the best in the world conversation for people in and out of the business, then it'd be a lot easier to go to bat for Tamura as a candidate. Even if I think he has a more impressive work resume' than the work candidates that have/will get in, I get that its a singular opinion and that shouldn''t make him a HOFer. "CUZ I LIKES HIM THHHHHHIIIIIIIIISSSSSS MUCH" just suck as an argument.

 

Honestly, as a worker, I'm the guy's biggest fan and I still don't see how any could vote for The Red Pants Wearing Determinator.

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Tamura should absolutely be in since being "one of the best workers of a generation" is enough according to Meltzer. The real problem is that the WON HOF is a mess and the japanese side is probably the most chaotic one.

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Will be voting for Tamura. I see Tamura's drawing record as equal to JYD's candidacy as a worker. Not really great but adequate and overwhelming in other areas of the ballot. For JYD it is both historical significance and drawing which makes him a slam dunk. Tamura was ranked #9 for me in GWE and ranked in the top 75 overall. Beyond that, his average vote of people that voted for him was 31.11 which is half of his overall ranking. Of the individuals I voted top 20 for WON HOF, he is the only one not currently in the WON HOF. Tamura's historical significance is not something I really am going to push as a huge plus for his candidacy but I do think it actually has grown and you are seeing newer generation of wrestling fans going back to watch the shoot style golden era of the 1990's and coming out with Tamura as the best of the bunch.

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My WOHOF Ballot

 

 

I FOLLOWED THE HISTORICAL PERFORMERS ERA CANDIDATES
Mark Lewin
Enrique Torres
Johnny "Mr. Wrestling II" Walker
Bearcat Wright
I FOLLOWED THE MODERN PERFORMERS IN U.S/CANADA CANDIDATES
Junkyard Dog
Sgt. Slaughter
I FOLLOWED WRESTLING IN JAPAN CANDIDATES
Akira Taue
Mike & Ben Sharpe
Yoshiaki Fujiwara
NON-WRESTLERS
Gary Hart
Jimmy Hart
Howard Finkel
Jerry Jarrett
Stanley Weston

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My Ballot:

 

I FOLLOWED THE HISTORICAL PERFORMERS ERA CANDIDATES X

Bearcat Wright
Johnny "Mr. Wrestling II" Walker

I FOLLOWED THE MODERN PERFORMERS IN U.S/CANADA CANDIDATES X

Junkyard Dog
Bryan Danielson/Daniel Bryan

I FOLLOWED WRESTLING IN JAPAN CANDIDATES X

Yoshiaki Fujiwara

I FOLLOWED WRESTLING IN MEXICO CANDIDATES X

Caristico/Mistico
Cien Caras

I FOLLOWED WRESTLING IN EUROPE/AUSTRALIA/NEW ZEALAND/PACIFIC ISLANDS/AFRICA CANDIDATES X

Big Daddy
Jackie Pallo
Jim Breaks

NON-WRESTLERS X

Gene Okerlund
Jimmy Hart
Howard Finkel
Stanley Weston
Jerry Jarrett

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Happy to see some Mr. Wrestling II & JYD love on the 2 ballots posted so far. I think I am gonna find KrisZ's awesome write up on Mr. Wrestling II and bump it.

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Someone talk to me about Fujiwara. I like him, thrilled he's finally on the ballot because I felt that he at least deserved that recognition, but I'm surprised at the amount of people I've seen that are voting for him. What makes him standout more than Akiyama? Or CIMA? Is he a better candidate than Taue?

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I FOLLOWED THE HISTORICAL PERFORMERS ERA CANDIDATES

 

Kinji Shibuya

Johnny "Mr. Wrestling II" Walker

 

I FOLLOWED THE MODERN PERFORMERS IN U.S/CANADA CANDIDATES

 

Junkyard Dog

 

I FOLLOWED WRESTLING IN JAPAN CANDIDATES

 

Yoshiaki Fujiwara

Akira Taue

 

I FOLLOWED WRESTLING IN MEXICO CANDIDATES

 

Cien Caras

Blue Panther

Huracan Ramirez

El Signo & El Texano & Negro Navarro

Villano III

 

I FOLLOWED WRESTLING IN EUROPE/AUSTRALIA/PACIFIC ISLANDS/CARIBBEAN/AFRICA CANDIDATES

 

Abstain

 

NON-WRESTLERS

 

Dave Brown

Gary Hart

Jimmy Hart

Gene Okerlund

Don Owen

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Someone talk to me about Fujiwara. I like him, thrilled he's finally on the ballot because I felt that he at least deserved that recognition, but I'm surprised at the amount of people I've seen that are voting for him. What makes him standout more than Akiyama? Or CIMA? Is he a better candidate than Taue?

 

Fujiwara is an interesting candidate because he has his hand in a lot of different pots. He wasn't a substantial draw and his God King Rep as a worker came after the fact and is really the work of a small subgroup of fans. He was a booker/promoter but his company wasn't a major deal all things considered.

 

His biggest positives would be based around influence. He is one of the founding fathers of shoot style wrestling. Not just a member of the original company, but someone who was crucial in helping UWF find itself and define what it was going to be going forward. He also has the additional benefit of training wrestlers. I believe he was the primary trainer for guys like Yuki Ishikawa & Daisuke Ikeda and most of the dudes who would go on to form BattlArts.

 

I'm under the impression the people voting for him are likely doing so because they view him having a big influence as a founding father of shoot style which would alter the Japanese wrestling landscape entirely in addition to being an all time great worker and one of the handful of best workers of his style. .

 

He strikes me as a better candidate than Akiyama & Taue and he's definitely better than Tamura & Han.

 

On the surface, CIMA seems like a similar candidate but I don't know nearly enough about Post 2001 Toryumon and All Dragon Gate to be able to speak to it.

 

Someone should do a Fujiwara Gordy List.

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Don't you think that is more a critique of the formula though. Maybe there are people out there that think Big Daddy was a great worker but I haven't seen that crop up in any discussion of the voter base currently. Dave has always been vague with his three pronged criteria for getting into the HOF, I think devaluing the work criteria as inferior is missing an opportunity for those stronger workers based on newer perceptions to get in. It is probably a benefactor of the people I voted for in Japan but when I first was on the internet wrestling seen, rampant opinions seemed to be made that Taue was clearly the worst pillar, Akiyama was never going to draw or reach his potential as a worker to a degree. I think the study and evaluation made in revisiting these stances has helped increase the HOF case as both with the work rate component being a major factor. I guarantee JYD does so poorly on his percentage based on the fact that people think he is terrible as a worker, otherwise what is really the case. If that can be used as an absolute naysayer to a large degree for keeping someone like JYD out to the voter base, I have no issue using it as an 80-85% argument for me voting yes for Tamura.

 

I do say this as someone that ABSTAINED from historical, lucha, and other categories this year in voting. Had I voted in those three areas, there is not way Slaughter, Han or Tamura would have made my final list.

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After reading Chad's comments, I don't think JYD should get in because there is a level of historiography and self-awareness to the WON HOF and JYD is one of the most, if not the most, ridiculed people in the history of the publication. It's the WON HOF at the end of the day. He may deserve to get in but I don't think he should be in.

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After reading Chad's comments, I don't think JYD should get in because there is a level of historiography and self-awareness to the WON HOF and JYD is one of the most, if not the most, ridiculed people in the history of the publication. It's the WON HOF at the end of the day. He may deserve to get in but I don't think he should be in.

If you were on twitter you'd be blocked right now.

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