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Jumbo Tsuruta vs Shinya Hashimoto

Who is better Jumbo Tsuruta vs Shinya Hashimoto  

22 members have voted

  1. 1. Who is the better GWE Candidate, Jumbo or Hashimoto?

    • Jumbo Tsuruta
      9
    • Shinya Hashimoto
      13


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I'm going with Hash here. I think he had a more consistent career and he peaked earlier and longer than Jumbo (I guess Jumbo would have been amazing throughout the 90s, but we'll never know sadly). The aura Hashimoto has in his matches is also something I don't think Jumbo can compete with, at least pre-1989 Jumbo.

I still love Jumbo, 70s Jumbo is a prodigy and he's definitely good throughout the 80s, very good sometimes, but he didn't "find himself" until the Choshu and Tenryu rivalries. He worked the NWA style and he was good at it, but nothing really special like his late years. You can feel Hashimoto's uniqueness at any point in his career.

In terms of offense, both are great. I believe Hash did more with less, though. 

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Damn, I’m shocked Hashimoto is winning. I love Hashimoto but I just don’t think he has that extra gear to produce MOTYC matches that I saw Jumbo utilize in the 76 Funk match, 1/28/86 tag, 6/5/89, 9/1/90, and 4/20/91. Hashimoto is a top 20 contender for me, Jumbo is top 5. 

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I kind of anticipated Hashimoto winning or at least it being pretty close. I think as time passes the esteem for Hashimoto is really growing and its kind of fading for Jumbo. 

They're sort of similar candidates on the surface: Top Tier Aces, great really early and then stayed great only dropping off with health/death. ~ 20 year run as really relevant performers. I'd push back on Hashimoto lacking MOTYC and especially having an extra gear. If we did a big match list of doom for both guys I suspect it would be pretty close. 

I went with Hashimoto because I really like Hashimoto the performer for his entire career. I will rush to watch a new Hashimoto match from any year against any opponent. There's some new Hashimoto discovery against a no name karate fighter who has never had a match before? I'm fucking in on that! With Jumbo, he has large sections of his career that are more opponent dependent. Like most of us, I'm a huge fan of 86-92 Jumbo. That wrestler is fucking incredible and I'll watch him in any setting against anybody. 72-85 Jumbo I'm not just blindly going to watch the match, I have questions first. This isn't to suggest he's just some shlub who needed to be carried. He was a great young wrestler and then a great wrestler from that time period. I'm just much less enamored with him in that stretch because of how he worked. If I looked and found a newly discovered Jumbo vs Bobby Heenan 15 minute match, I would drop everything and watch it. If it was Jumbo vs Bob Roop, I'm going to find another match. There are some wrestlers that I just want to watch every single available match they're in. People like Terry Funk, Akira Hokuto, Andre, Devil Masami, El Hijo del Santo, Otsuka,  Satanico. Hashimoto is in that group. I'll watch him in any setting against any opponent no matter who/when/where/how long. Jumbo's just not in that group as much as I love 86-92. With things between them being relatively equal if we did any sort of breakdown of traits or their candidacies, that "No questions asked' factor pushes Hashimoto over the top. 

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I recall Elliot also posted this in the GWE forum and while I voted for Hashimoto then and I still have him higher on my list than Jumbo, I might have to reconsider. I've always held Jumbo's pre-86 work against him even if he was super talented whereas I think Hashimoto figured out his style much quicker. I also held Hashimo higher due to getting more out of less. But I still take Jumbo by a solid margin in terms of peaks. I don't think I would consider Hashimoto as best in the world during any of the years he was active while I would probably consider Jumbo for at least a few of the years he was active. They both also similarly thrived in heated slugfests and ass-kickings. So this is tougher than it was the first time I compared them.

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Interested to hear what the MOTYC are for Hashimoto? I have plenty of his matches as great but few at 4.75-5 level and the sentiment seems to equate that from the yearbook viewing, Meltzer year end lists and Greatest Match Ever. The latter had 6 Jumbo matches in the top 100. 

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My favorites are

vs Chono 8/91

vs Tenryu 2/94

vs Hase 11/94

vs Muto 8/95

vs Takada 4/96

vs Choshu 8/96

vs Fujinami 6/98

vs Tenryu 8/98

w/ Iizuka vs Ogawa & Murakami 1/00

There are NJPW/WAR multi man matches that would fit the bill but I'm doing this off the top of my head and am fuzzier on the dates with those.

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If the Victor Zangiev match happened in 2003 instead of 1989 it'd be a MOTYC :)

I'm also a huge fan of the Ogawa singles matches. I dunno about MOTYC level, but Hash really excels in that sort of setting. Between the early Ogawa matches, the Zangiev match, that Ramzin Shbiev special fight, the famous 4 way Schneider was at back in the day with Corino, Hashimoto really overdelivers against zero experienced or limited experienced wrestlers in a way I can't think anyone else ever has. (Maybe Fujiwara? edit. Duh Lawler)

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Yeah, of that list I agree they are all great and some reach the 4.75 level for me 1/4 tag, 8/98) but certainly not as many as Jumbo and that is where my point was centered toward. Hopefully if the consensus is Hash is better and has as much top end as Jumbo that will be reflected better in future GME lists. 

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I had 2 Jumbo matches and one Hashimoto match on my last top 100 so for me its close. But I also had more Andy Kaufman matches on my list than Jumbo & Hash matches combined, so I'm not arguing on behalf of the consensus. :)

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This thread has fallen into the trap of cyclical repetition of cliche arguments, so I'll try to spice it up. I don't think this thread is going to gain anything if I once again express my opinion on 80s ace Jumbo or how watching more 70s All Japan with a wider context has changed my opinion on rookie Jumbo, or if I say, well-basically anything about Hashimoto at this point (I reserve the right to be provoked into eating my own words later). That's all good and relevant for the debate, but not terribly interesting.

What I think needs to be said instead is that that this whole "where are Hashimoto MOTYCs" is a pretty good reflection of pro wrestling greatness canon. The canon that is very much based in big parts on 90s AJPW, which Jumbo obviously played a big part in making happen. So, in a way, its his house. The case with Hashimoto is much more interesting. You ask what is the best Hashimoto match and you get thrown something like the Mutoh 1995 G1 match. It's a great match. Maybe others rate it higher than me, but to me, it's not a classic. It's a template Hashimoto beatdown match I've seen him have many times, and I can think of several examples where I thought it had been better executed (vs Fujinami 4.4.1994., vs Hase 3.8.1993.), and I don't even think it's the best Hashimoto vs Mutoh match (that would be the 5.6.1997. one).

Compare that to something like the Fujinami 5.9.1998. match, which I think is an obvious classic. That's not a match that had a lot of traction five years ago. In fact, looking at it now it didn't even have a thread until 2017 when Jetlag checked it out on my recommendation/pimping/whatever (I reviewed it in 2016). I haven't seen anyone who has watched that match think it wasn't great, and I certainly think it's a much better representation of what Hashimoto was capable of as a worker-and just plainly what Hashimoto was as a worker. Yet this classic just plain out didn't exist in prowres fandom consciousness five years ago.

There's also just the simple fact Hashimoto was a different kind of worker than Kobashi or Jumbo or Misawa or whomever. You can hate on Inoki the wrestler all you want (and be wrong-that's another case I'm gonna be making sooner or later) but his influence on the way Hashimoto works is pretty self-evident. If, and I use the term reluctantly with a heavy heart, true "strong style" is something you hold dear and feel like you can emerge yourself in completely, it sounds almost unreasonable to me you'd think (booking aside) Hashimoto vs Naoya Ogawa from 11.10.1999. and 7.4.2000. aren't at least great matches, if not more. And that becomes relevant because the question isn't "does Hashimoto have the matches", it's "do I value the matches Hashimoto has as much as I do the champion matches of another style?".

And there's also just the fact the documentation and awareness of Hashimoto epics isn't on the same level as it is for some other great wrestlers. Fore example, to say his 2004 match vs Kawada is a classic is hardly a contrarian or fresh opinion, but it wasn't something people immediately thought of here. Ditto the Yamazaki matches. I think that in itself shows he has a respectably deep catalogue of very high-end matches.

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In the same sentiment, couldn’t the Hashimoto is better argument part of the “changing contrary opinion” canon. That is the trapping I’ve experienced the last few days and why these arguments get very tedious very quickly. Last GWE we had a TON of critique for Flair. He’s certainly not above that but in the end what happened? Flair won the overall vote comfortably. It seems so far this go around we are hearing loud opinions from a few but will that translate out to the finished list? That remains to be seen. 
 

All of that is to say that my original argument is simply that for me, Hashimoto doesn’t have the high end matches Jumbo has. As backing to that I pointed to other data points from three sources that seem to agree. Elliott spelled out his reasoning for Hashimoto above and that’s cool and what I would like to see more of. Stuff becoming a new canon doesn’t just make it correct in a way but an expectation has to be taken into effect that the new discoveries may not translate over the entire voter base. I haven’t seen many deep dive into Dragon Gate and we had open mocking of Alan’s list that was presented at the Torch. Is that what we want this to be representative of? 

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Hashimoto's body of work is deeper than people gave him credit for in the past. If you pimp any of those matches as a MOTYC then clearly they're going to be an unconventional choice for MOTY, as I don't think a Hashimoto match was ever given serious MOTY consideration in real time. The 1998 Hashimoto/Tenryu match may have gotten MOTYC buzz, I don't remember. I do think it's important to keep re-evaluating and adding to the canon. I despise the idea of a canon that is set in stone. And, yes, that sort of attitude creates a bias towards things that are new and shiny, and not old hat, but if people have a problem with that, I think they should find something new to say about a Jumbo or Flair. There's not a lot of discourse going on these threads just sides. I know no-one wants to have page after page of arguing, but what's going to happen in 5 years is that the folks who think Hashimoto is cooler than Jumbo will vote Hashimoto higher, and the folks who think Jumbo is untouchable will set him on a pedestal, and we won't have advanced the discourse because both sides will ignore each other. 

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I do think there's more room to deepen the case for Hash than there is for Jumbo, who's been picked over to an extraordinary degree on this forum and in other projects. We're still finding consensus on overlooked gems from '90s NJPW (with the '98 Hash-Fujinami as a prime example), and early Zero-One remains undiscovered country for a lot of folks.  But I also wonder if we're hitting the point where it's hard to push the discourse forward on a lot of these GWE stalwarts. I mean, I voted for Hash, because at this point in my fandom, he strikes close to the heart of why I still watch this shit. He stirs something in me. But that's not very good fodder for debate.  

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33 minutes ago, Childs said:

I do think there's more room to deepen the case for Hash than there is for Jumbo, who's been picked over to an extraordinary degree on this forum and in other projects. We're still finding consensus on overlooked gems from '90s NJPW (with the '98 Hash-Fujinami as a prime example), and early Zero-One remains undiscovered country for a lot of folks.  But I also wonder if we're hitting the point where it's hard to push the discourse forward on a lot of these GWE stalwarts. I mean, I voted for Hash, because at this point in my fandom, he strikes close to the heart of why I still watch this shit. He stirs something in me. But that's not very good fodder for debate.  

That was what I had in mind when I was pushing Grimmas to make a subforum for these comparison threads. I don't really have anything to say about Jerry Lawler or Yoshiaki Fujiwara individually. But Jerry Lawler vs Yoshiaki Fujiwara is something I have to think about because I see them both as top 5 candidates. 

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I was a bit dubious at how this subforum would add value to the project but I've come around to the idea that these comparisons can be a valuable exercise. And I'm saying this as a person who thinks Jumbo is a strong #1 candidate and views Hash as really good but am unsure where to place. I need to reexamine my assumptions about the latter and perhaps this thread will help me do that.

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Is there something to be said for NJPW's surge in popularity having a bit of an effect on something like this and public opinion on the whole? Even now and last year there are self-proclaimed "Inokism followers" who would rant and rave about how great Fujita staring at Go for 30 minutes straight was and it was high art. If something like that happened 10 years ago I'm almost certain it would have been rightfully mocked and put down heavily by everyone here. Someone like Hashimoto has grown in stature with the unearthing of new matches being found and also a NJPW-centric view of Japanese wrestling among English speakers, whereas AJPW classics are becoming closer and closer to a relic of the past for many fans as there really is no lineage or thread to follow up to today, even though modern NJPW is obviously a lot different than the version Hashimoto was in. On top of that he also has his son who wrestles as well and had a run as top champion of a company, though the impact of BJW is worlds apart from NJPW, I think there's much more interest in Hashimoto in the modern era than Jumbo, whose career effectively ended 30 years ago and has no modern wrestler or promotion that leads back to him.

 

Hash was great. Certainly worthy of being ranked on everyone's list. But Jumbo to me would be my active number one and I don't think there's any way, short of CMLL actually putting effort in and somehow Negro Casas had a strong next 5 years that I could see that changing so even debating on this holds little interest for others as I think Jumbo is quite clearly one of the elite tier wrestlers in history. Hash is great too and the stylistic difference in what Childs said makes sense to me, but there isn't much room for interesting discussion on my end either.

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I feel like in our little circle, the renewed interest in New Japan goes back farther than the resurgence of the modern product. All Japan was regarded as the king coming off the '90s run with NOAH as an extension of that. But I saw the tide shift even with the two DVDVR sets we did, where the NJPW one seemed to generate more interest for a lot of people because of the variety. That flowed naturally into a desire to take fresh looks at '90s NJPW, which had been so much less acclaimed. 

I'm not dismissing the impact of NJPW's recent pre-eminence for a lot of fans. That's an interesting theory; I have to remind myself that for a lot of people, the '90s are ancient history.

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