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Fujiwara and the WON Hall of Fame


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-Endless career where he was often carrying first ballot hall-of-fame wrestlers to good matches, was versatile, was popular, and headlined some big shows.

-Trained the UWF crew.

-Directly responsible for the promotion that spawned Pancrase and Battlarts, to say nothing of his influence on UWF/UWF2/UWFi, etc.

-Mainstream acting success.

 

Why is Hase in before him? I know why Asai is in (more recent, more time in the US) but he has a far inferior case. The only person from Japan on the 2009 ballot who's got a competitive case is Gran Hamada (who should also be in ahead of Asai). I poked around a little and haven't been able to find how Fujiwara has done in years past. Has he been on the ballot? If so, when did he fall off? Has there been much of an effort made to get him in?

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It would seem like the answer almost every time to the question "why is this obviously qualified guy not in the WON HOF" is simply a lack of people pushing his candidacy. Non US/Canadian guys who aren't main eventers need to get someone to really lobby on their behalf, or else they just don't gain any traction.

 

Also does Dave have any retired Japanese wrestlers voting on the HOF? It would seem that would be a hard thing to overcome if the wrestler voting block has no idea who you are.

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-Endless career where he was often carrying first ballot hall-of-fame wrestlers to good matches, was versatile, was popular, and headlined some big shows.

-Trained the UWF crew.

-Directly responsible for the promotion that spawned Pancrase and Battlarts, to say nothing of his influence on UWF/UWF2/UWFi, etc.

-Mainstream acting success.

Yes, but you forget:

 

-Work has largely been ignored/under-appreciated until the last few years.

 

I remember right around the time Fujiwara was getting rediscovered, Bix shot Meltzer an e-mail asking about his HOF candidacy (I don't think he's ever even been on the ballot). I don't remember exactly what his response was, but it was pretty dismissive.

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I remember right around the time Fujiwara was getting rediscovered, Bix shot Meltzer an e-mail asking about his HOF candidacy (I don't think he's ever even been on the ballot). I don't remember exactly what his response was, but it was pretty dismissive.

I'll ask people in Japan about him. I have dozens of Japanese voters and

not one has ever suggested putting him on and I never saw it,and believe

me, I get hell from Japan about the Hall of Fame regarding how stupid the

american voters are re: Funaki & Sakaguchi who are no brainers there.

Jobber until he was 34 and the Choshu angle. While pushed in UWF big, it

was Maeda who was the real face of the company. Never a draw. Most of

the guys weren't hihg on him for holding the young guys back and not

being that willing to put young guys over. But I'll throw his name out.

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Given the way Dave has passed out ballots, the chances of Fujiwara ever getting in are extremely small.

 

Someone would have to (i) write the perfect bio & analysis of Fujiwara's career, (ii) support it with a tight & focused best of disk, and (iii) use those to convince Dave.

 

Those first two items would have to be created specifically with Dave in mind to convince, rather than say convincing the people here, or at WC, or at the DVDVR or at SC. Without Dave pushing Fujiwara, it's a lost cause. Even with him, it would be a tough cause to overcome the people who vote on Japan.

 

The one thing on his side: there are few Japan Region candidates who are viable. So if there is a bit of a bandwagon that Dave gets behind, he might stand a reasonable chance.

 

 

John

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edit: While I'm on the subject, has Taue ever been on the ballot?

I have no explanation why Akiyama gets talked about and put on the ballot, and Taue doesn't. Neither man is a "draw" in the hall of fame sense, and Taue's match catalogue probably destroys Akiyama. Yeah Akiyama has headlined NOAH, but he's headlined it to nowhere.

 

Taue is one of those guys people have told the "he sucks/he was that guy with Kawada" lie so many times that people fooled themselves into thinking it's true. And it's not even like it's a good lie with a founding in reality. It's a batshit crazy lie.

 

Maybe Taue is the Japanese Backlund. I haven't seen enough of pre-Hogan WWF to draw any conclusions on Bob's work as the closest to prime Backlund I have seen is his first match with Takada (I don't even think I've seen the match/matches against Inoki). but there's clearly been a turnaround on him as well from a portion of the online community. Kind of like how really a few years ago, nobody outside of maybe a *really* select group acknowledged Fujiwara at all (I can't remember his name coming up in a discussion either positive or negative on Zach Arnold's old forums even once in something like 5 years, as an example), but there was a quantifiable shoot fan base that would give you the "Takada as best wrestler of all time" arguement.

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Maybe Taue is the Japanese Backlund. I haven't seen enough of pre-Hogan WWF to draw any conclusions on Bob's work as the closest to prime Backlund I have seen is his first match with Takada (I don't even think I've seen the match/matches against Inoki). but there's clearly been a turnaround on him as well from a portion of the online community.

Backlund had Dave's mild support, with the Sold Out MSG A Lot Of Times push to win over some folks. I suspect the online community only went so far in helping him past the margin. But without Dave and those MSG sellouts, he would have been dead.

 

Fujiwara is starting at 0.

 

He doesn't even have a base that someone like Backlund would have for the old "A Big Star For A Long Time" which always gets a pulse vote.

 

I also suspect that even more ballots have been handed out since the time Backlund got in, and Michaels was firewalled against for several years. It's possible that Backlund wouldn't get in now, and that someone like Shawn (pretending the lions share of the Comeback hadn't happened) would have gotten in fairly easy. When you look at how easy Trip and Angle went in, one has to realize that getting someone like Fujiwara from a 0 starting point is extremely hard.

 

Can't be done without Dave banging the drum for it.

 

John

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I really don't get the "they want Funaki and Sakaguchi" notion. Can anybody help me? I know their basic careers, but don't know why they should be rated above guys like Fujiwara or Hamada. Looking at the weekly pro show in 1995 I might even get the blasphemous thought that Ryuma Go might have as good as a career as Funaki. LOL Aliens I guess

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Funaki was huge in the early days of MMA, not that far behind Saku. Sakaguchi was Jumbo to Inoki's Baba, and even though he wrestled like Baba without the intelligence he was still a big name for a long time. Certainly more of a star than Fujiwara and Taue. But then also a bigger star than Hase...

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Funaki's the pioneer. To Japanese fans he revolutionized the business by promoting shoot matches as a new from of professional wrestling. It shouldn't be forgotten that such a promotion was a dream of Karl Gotch, the so called "God of professional wrestling" in Japan and Funaki was the one to realize it, not Takada, not Maeda and not Fujiwara.

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Okay so this is mixing poisons (wikipedia and sherdog and without a citation) but...

 

"According to Sherdog.com's ratings, he was one of the top four mixed martial artists in the world from 1993 to 1998 (being the top-rated mixed martial artist in 1996) and is currently rated as the second most successful Japanese fighter of all-time behind Kazushi Sakuraba"

 

Headlined a dome show: http://www.prowrestlinghistory.com/superca...shoot/pwfg.html

 

And headlined several big Pancrase shows. His case is the same as Sakuraba's, with minor variations: he was an established pro wrestler who did well in MMA.

 

edit: kjh says it best from the Japanese standpoint.

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I always enjoy that Pancrase was out drawn by not only UWFi, but also Rings. From a "pro wrestling" standpoint, Pancrase wasn't a success.

 

From an MMA standpoint, it was a success. To a degree.

 

But in terms of impact:

 

Takada vs Gracie > Pancrase

 

The mention of Sakuraba is pretty funny. You'd think he was Funaki's protege in Pancrase rather than... well, probably best to ignore that for people who push Funaki. :)

 

 

John

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I'm on the "why is Funaki in but not ____" camp, but the support from Japan does seem to indicate that he was more important than mere tickets sold. Also, saying that Takada > Pancrase doesn't prove much since Takada was a 1st class Hall of Famer. "Does Funaki deserve to be the 30th (or 31st or 32nd) Japanese person in the Hall", and I'd say the case is reasonable for that when you also consider that his fight with Saku was such a huge deal despite neither being in their prime anymore. Funaki is a superstar.

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To make it clear:

 

#1 - Funaki isn't a Pro Wrestling Hall Of Famer to me

 

#2 - I don't care whether he's an MMA Hall Of Famer

 

People tend to get confused and think that Pancrase led to Pride.

 

It didn't.

 

UFC led to Pride. The path largely went through UWFi and UWFi wrestlers rather than Pancrase fighters.

 

John

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Oh totally, Pancrase is from the Fujiwara offshoot and PRIDE is from Takada's. I don't buy Sakuraba in the Hall of Fame either, and he's got an even stronger case. I'm playing devil's advocate.

 

The Japanese (like Meltzer) see his MMA accomplishments as pro wrestling accomplishments because he's a pro wrestler. Funaki's case isn't based on making MMA big, but rather based on helping the Japanese overcome their post-war inferiority complex... which was *the entire point of pro wrestling in Japan*. If you were to do a hall of fame in Japan, Saku and Funaki would be in on the first ballot. Aja Kong, Manami Toyota, Hase and a couple others wouldn't. To the extent that someone should be judged a success based on the standards of where they worked, Funaki deserves it.

 

Me, I'd rather have a set of standards that would preclude Lesnar from getting in (assuming he doesn't go back to pro wrestling). And you know Lesnar will get in.

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Funaki's case isn't based on making MMA big, but rather based on helping the Japanese overcome their post-war inferiority complex... which was *the entire point of pro wrestling in Japan*.

Funaki didn't come along until 40 years after the war. Frankly he came along at a time when Native vs Native did more money than Native vs Evil Nasty Gaijin. Funaki vs Takada or Funaki vs Maeda in a Pancrase vs UWFi or Pancrase vs Rings match up would have outdrawn Gracie against any of those guys.

 

Funaki's biggest "pro wrestling" matches, along with his biggest MMA/Pancrase matches, didn't really have anything to do with the old inferiority complex.

 

John

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