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KinchStalker

NEW INFO ON EARLY IWE

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NEW INFO ON EARLY IWE

I've finished transcribing the next four chapters of the Pillars bio, and am currently sifting through the material to figure out the best way to distill and arrange it. In the meantime though, Igapro just posted a historical post with a couple new pieces of info on the earliest days of the IWE. I put my IWE history project on indefinite hold when I managed to get a copy of the Pillars book—and after Herr Sitemeister tweeted this, I fear that it may become my brand—but this shit is too good to keep to myself. I plan to eventually incorporate it into a rewrite of the first IWE history post

It looks like Hiro Matsuda had ulterior motives during his short tenure for the IWE. He had been made director of the promotion upon its formation, and on top of making the merger with the flailing Tokyo Pro Wrestling happen due to his connection to Antonio Inoki, Matsuda''s link to Eddie Graham (who wasn't running Championship Wrestling From Florida yet, but was already involved in its booking according to the Hornbaker NWA book) made him an effective booker. (Note that I am using "booker" in the classical puro industry sense; a booker scouts and secures foreign talent to work a tour, while a matchmaker puts the shows together. It's possible that Matsuda was also the matchmaker, but the word "booker" is always used in the former context in these stories.) Graham himself worked on the IWE's first tour, and it was he who allowed the Danny Hodge NWA junior title defense against Matsuda to take place. As it turns out, Graham had Sam Muchnick's approval for all of this.

Like Al Karasick, the Hawaiian promoter who sought to wrest control of the JWA from Rikidozan, Graham's ambition was to take over the IWE. Apparently, Matsuda was in his corner because he was disappointed in how his original plan to break from the sumo-inherited hierarchy of JWA puroresu in favor of an American-style freelance system had been abandoned. Graham applied on Kokusai's behalf for NWA membership, the plan being to become a stockholder and eventually oust Isao Yoshihara. However, the combination of Inoki's departure, TBS's cold feet in going ahead with a broadcast deal, and Kokusai's already large debts due to talent salaries led to Matsuda and Yoshihara's fallout over the handling of said debt, though it is unknown whether Yoshihara was aware that Matsuda had sought to betray him. The JWA would maneuver to acquire NWA membership that year, and whatever Muchnick's reasons for approving them instead, Graham would order Matsuda to withdraw and return to the States when his plans failed.

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