POST IT NOTES
**WH Park and I recorded a bonus edition of POST Puroresu on Sunday discussing the legacy of Antonio Inoki with the highs and lows of his career and the enormous influence he held for over fifty years in the industry.
**Rewind-A-Raw is live at 11 p.m. ET tonight as Wai Ting and I review Raw from St. Paul, discuss coverage of Antonio Inoki’s passing, Daniel Cormier at Extreme Rules, Friday night ratings, and tons more with a big week coming up.
**This Friday, we will have a special free edition of Rewind-A-SmackDown at Midnight ET as Wai Ting and Kate from Montreal cover the season premiere of Friday Night SmackDown, AEW Rampage & Battle of the Belts IV. That same night, I’ll be covering IMPACT’s Bound for Glory with John Siino with a show for POST Wrestling Café members.
**Wrestlenomics from Sunday features a discussion on Antonio Inoki and some of the major gates he was responsible for including his mammoth retirement show in April 1998, the trends involving WWE & AEW at the end of the third quarter, tribalism among pro wrestling fans, and the perception changes at WWE since this past summer’s change in creative leadership.
**Gareth Hodgson is the guest on The Long & Winding Royal Road this month with WH Park to discuss the January 1989 match between The British Bulldogs and Dean & Joe Malenko at Korakuen Hall.
Tonight: Rewind-A-Raw with John Pollock & Wai Ting (11 p.m. ET)
Tuesday: Rewind-A-Wai – WCW Great American Bash 1996 (Patreon)
Tuesday: upNXT with Braden Herrington & Davie Portman
Wednesday: Shot in the Dark with John Siino
Thursday: MCU L8R – She-Hulk Ep. 8 w/ Rich Fann & WH Park (Patreon)
Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown w/ Wai Ting & Kate from Montreal (Midnight ET – Special Free Edition)
Friday: IMPACT Bound for Glory POST Show w/ John Pollock & John Siino (Patreon)
Saturday: WWE Extreme Rules POST Show w/ John & Wai
Sunday: Wrestlenomics Radio w/ Brandon Thurston, Chris Gullo & Jesse Collings
THE DEATH OF ANTONIO INOKI
The death of Antonio Inoki has generated worldwide coverage because of his reach beyond professional wrestling and into a mainstream cultural figure within Japan and many attach him to Muhammad Ali’s legacy from their 1976 fight at Nippon Budokan. Many major outlets have dedicated stories on his passing including a piece in the New York Times that covered the Ali fight, and his political career where he was first elected to the Japanese Diet in 1989.
It is impossible to fathom where the industry would have headed without a figure like Inoki, who was so tied to its growth from his debut in 1960 and rise through the JWA and later forming New Japan Pro Wrestling twelve years later. He will also be linked to Shohei “Giant” Baba as the two dominant promoters of their era that established the mainstream pro wrestling companies for multiple generations. When the two went separate directions after leaving the JWA (Inoki in 1971 and Baba the following year), it was absolutely the best thing long-term for the health of the industry to have two major players rather than Baba and Inoki co-existing in the JWA and one assuming the leadership role over the other. Baba had many advantages through the backing of NTV and the pipeline with the National Wrestling Alliance for a steady stream of foreign stars being available to All Japan. It forced Inoki to create his own stories and stars with Inoki being the biggest and presented as the toughest. It was through that question of “if this was real?” that Inoki brought in fighters with legitimate credentials to lose to Inoki and establish the New Japan star as the strongest. Inoki leaned into the spectacle and while many of these contests don’t hold up today or were aesthetically pleasing, it was the idea of “what will that look like?” and adding an element of real danger with Inoki stepping into the ring with fighters possessing real credentials.
While this formula made Inoki and established New Japan, it was time and place and like all concepts, they have an expiry date. The audience got smarter about real and worked fights and with the advent of MMA and kickboxing being so popular in Japan, the idea of presenting pro wrestlers as “real” was dated by the ‘90s and 2000s and Inoki further leaned in, missing the mark and screwing up the company and several stars along the way. Today, “Inoki-ism” has a negative connotation because the idea brought New Japan to its knees in the 2000s with a lost identity and dismal crowds. Inoki sold his shares in the company to Yukes in 2005 but the company continued to struggle until the purchase by Bushiroad in 2012 and the rise of Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kazuchika Okada, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Tetsuya Naito as the focal stars and worldwide exposure through streaming that made New Japan accessible instantly and viable for U.S. touring when they worked with Ring of Honor.
There are both positive and negative attached to Inoki’s legacy. He was embroiled in various scandals throughout his career including the embezzlement scandal of 1983 that forced Hisashi Shinma to resign as booker and chairman of the board, Inoki underwent another scandal a decade later during his term in the Japanese Diet.
From the July 12, 1993, edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter:
After the business break-up of Inoki and long-time business manager Hisashi Shinma and the firing by Inoki of a political press secretary and confidante who was close to Shinma, the secretary went public in a major magazine with an eight-part story specifying allegations of illegal activities and misuse of funds by Inoki.
Inoki claimed everything written in the media about him was false and refused to resign from office, which political writers in the major newspapers had been suggesting and demanding as the stories by his former secretary continued to break. The main claims, besides ten years of tax fraud and tax evasion were a claim that Inoki received a huge payoff a few years back when he dropped out of the race for mayor of Tokyo and many instances listed where Inoki continually used public money or political sponsorship money in an attempt to put himself over as a babyface in tense world political situations where he had no actual involvement in but pretended he was a key player in. An example was getting the Japanese hostages out of Iraq during the Gulf War, which happened and he took credit for but he actually had no involvement in.
Over the weekend, there were ten-bell salutes at both New Japan’s show in London and the Stardom event on Saturday (both under the Bushiroad banner). New Japan runs its next card in the country next Monday with the Declaration of Power card at Sumo Hall, the company’s home arena, and one would assume some type of ceremony to honor Inoki. Inoki has been a controversial figure in New Japan’s history as he is both the founder of the company and its most celebrated figure yet also left many disenfranchised over his handling of their careers and how he nearly killed the company. It was a stunning moment in January 2020 when Inoki sent a video message for the Jushin Thunder Liger retirement ceremony at Ota Ward Gymnasium (the site of the first New Japan card in 1972 headlined by Inoki and Karl Gotch). Throughout this anniversary year, there had been a public push by Kazuchika Okada to have Inoki appear, but it was evident his health was poor, although did make one appearance over the summer on a Japanese telecast and it was sad to see the state Inoki was in and the damage the disease had on his body.
Of the largest figures in the history of professional wrestling, Inoki is among the shortlist of the most influential. Culturally, he was below Rikidozan in Japan but would rank above everyone else and kept his name front-and-center for decades up until recent years.
**WWE Raw takes place from the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minneapolis tonight with WrestleTix reporting that over 6,600 tickets have been distributed for the show (the last time they ran the arena was Raw on December 13, 2021, and had 6,079 tickets out). It’s the go-home edition of Raw before Extreme Rules and will be airing against the L.A. Rams vs. San Francisco 49ers game. The following have been announced for tonight’s show:
*Braun Strowman vs. Chad Gable
*Johnny Gargano vs. Otis
*Rey Mysterio & AJ Styles vs. Finn Balor & Damian Priest
*Dakota Kai vs. Candice LeRae
*Face-to-face segment between Seth Rollins and Matt Riddle
*Contract signing between Bianca Belair and Bayley
**TSN in Canada is listing AEW’s Battle of the Belts IV for this Saturday at 11 p.m. ET on TSN 5. Both Rampage and Battle of the Belts IV are set to stream on TSN Direct live this Friday night, according to TSN’s schedule. TSN will also be airing the 10/14 edition of Rampage (the episode taped in Toronto) at the normal 10 p.m. ET slot on Friday night on streaming, and then will air on TSN 2 at 11 p.m. that night. TSN tells POST Wrestling that the 10/14 episode is a one-off airing on television.
**Daniel Cormier has been added to this Saturday’s Extreme Rules event as the special referee for the Fight Pit match between Seth Rollins and Matt Riddle. The 43-year-old UFC Hall of Famer has been a big fan since childhood growing up on Mid-South Wrestling and made an appearance in TNA prior to the 2004 Olympics in Athens. The most intriguing question is whether this is a one-off or designed for something further with the natural assumption that Cormier and Brock Lesnar would be the pairing if a deal was struck. Lesnar has exhausted his series of matches with Roman Reigns and in theory, needs big programs for Saudi Arabia and WrestleMania. Cormier and Lesnar, for lack of a better term, shot an angle in July 2018 moments after Cormier won the UFC heavyweight title from Stipe Miocic with the belief that the UFC would be putting that fight together but never secured Lesnar, and the fight never happened. They also have the backstory of Lesnar’s history with Cormier’s teammate Cain Velasquez, so the story is an easy one to tell if Cormier were on board.
**NXT returns with a live episode on Tuesday night after two weeks of taped programs. Tuesday’s episode is advertising Von Wagner vs. Andre Chase with the winner added to the ladder match at Halloween Havoc on 10/22 and a six-woman tag with Toxic Attraction taking on Alba Fyre, Nikkita Lyons & Zoey Stark.
**The lineup for tonight’s edition of AEW Dark Elevation streaming at 7 p.m. ET from last week’s tapings in Philadelphia:
*ROH Six-Man Tag Championships: Dalton Castle & The Boys (champions) vs. Primal Fear
*Lucha Brothers vs. Dante Martin & Tony Deppen
*Trish Adora vs. Skye Blue
*Abadon vs. Abby Jane
*QT Marshall, Aaron Solo, Nick Comoroto & Cole Karter vs. Best Friends, Rocky Romero & Danhausen
*Brian Cage vs. Tracy Williams
*Kip Sabian & Penelope Ford vs. LSG & Gia Scott
*Lance Archer vs. Cheeseburger
**Mike Johnson at PWinsider.com reports that Biff Busick/Oney Lorcan is at the WWE Performance Center this week as a guest coach.
**The WWE stock increased nearly three percent on Monday and closed at $72.11.
**Vice TV launches Tales from the Territories on Tuesday night at 10 p.m. ET with an episode dedicated to Memphis featuring Jerry Lawler, Jeff & Jerry Jarrett, Dutch Mantel, and Jimmy Hart on the panel. WWE is participating in the series due to its connection with Seven Bucks Productions and allowing the likes of Lawler, Michael Hayes, and others to participate throughout the season. The second half of season three of Dark Side of the Ring last year averaged 147,000 viewers for the initial airings and 0.06 in 18-49 and has been the most successful series in the history of the network. Those episodes aired on Thursdays and this series will air immediately after NXT but is a very different tone than Dark Side. While the re-enactments associated with Dark Side are utilized in Tales from the Territories, this series is less about dark stories and scandals and more about guys reminiscing about old war stories that are likely greatly embellished at times given the nature of some of the characters involved. Co-creators Evan Husney and Jason Eisener have stated that Dark Side of the Ring is returning and that this was an idea they pitched back in 2019 after getting together with Seven Bucks Productions following a tweet by Dwayne Johnson, who was a fan of Dark Side. It will be interesting to see if WWE promotes the series at all on their social channels or even on television. WWE produced a similar series called Legends of Wrestling from 2006-12 that aired on its Classics on Demand service and was distributed on DVD with various roundtables moderated by Jim Ross and Gene Okerlund.
**New Japan World has posted the Ganryujima Deathmatch between Antonio Inoki and Masa Saito from October 4, 1987, for free. The bizarre concept saw both men fight for two hours on an island in one of the stranger match concepts that New Japan presented.
**NXT’s Vic Joseph and McKenzie Mitchell were married over the weekend with a ceremony in Italy.
**The TripleMania XXX card on 10/15 will be available live on both FITE TV and Pro Wrestling TV, although the Fite version is listed for $22.99 U.S., and Pro Wrestling TV is listing its stream for $19.99 U.S. The card will feature the finals of the Ruleta de la Muerte tournament between Pentagon Jr. and Villano IV with the loser being unmasked and Hijo del Vikingo defending the AAA Mega Championship against Rey Fenix among the top matches.
**C*4 Wrestling has announced a four-way match for the Underground Championship on 10/21 in Ottawa with Joshua Bishop vs. Marcus Mathers vs. Mance Warner vs. LuFisto at the Preston Event Centre. The card will also feature Stu Grayson taking on former Dark Order stablemate Alan Angels.
**All Japan Pro Wrestling’s next major card is 10/22 in Sanjo with Takao Omori celebrating his 30th anniversary (he debuted on October 16, 1992) challenging Kento Miyahara for the Triple Crown in the main event. There will also be a special six-man tag as part of the promotion’s 50th anniversary with Masa Fuchi, Atsushi Onita & Yuma Anzai (who just made his pro debut with singles matches against Yuji Nagata and Minoru Suzuki) taking on Jinsei Shinzaki, Masao Inoue & Ryo Inoue.
**Stardom held a press conference on Monday to announce the blocks for its annual Goddess of Stardom Tag League tournament that begins on 10/23. They also announced the card for 11/3 in Hiroshima that will feature Syuri defending the World of Stardom title against Maika, Saka Kamitani defending the Wonder of Stardom title against Mina Shirakawa, Natsupoi & Tam Nakano defending the Goddesses of Stardom tag titles against Black Desire, Mayu Iwatani vs. Alpha Female, Utami Hayashishita vs. Natsuko Tora, MIRAI teams with Konami & Ami Sohrei against Giulia, Mai Sakurai & Thekla, a gauntlet match, and Himeka vs. Yuna Mizumori.
**Pro Wrestling NOAH’s next tour will see the promotion host shows on 10/7 and 10/8 at Korakuen Hall, 10/14 in Kumamoto, 10/15 in Kagoshima, Demolition Stage on 10/16 in Fukuoka, and 10/30 at the Ariake Coliseum.
**NOAH and Dragon Gate will hold a co-promoted event on 11/11 at Korakuen Hall and have announced NOSAWA Rongai, Genki Horiguchi & Ryo Saito against YO-HEY, KZY & Jacky “Funky” Kamei in a six-man tag for the show.
**DEFY Wrestling will debut on FITE TV with its Kingdom Come card on 10/29 from Washington Hall in Seattle featuring Minoru Suzuki. The card includes Ultimo Dragon & Nick Wayne taking on La Estrella & Gringo Loco.
**Bellator 286 was headlined by Patricio “Pitbull” Freire retaining the featherweight championship with a strong decision win against Adam Borics in the main event. Pitbull won on scores of 50-45 by judge Derek Cleary, 49-46 for Chris Crail (scored Round 4 for Borics), and 48-47 by Marcel Varel (Rounds 4 and 5 for Borics). It was Pitbull’s first title defense since regaining the championship earlier this year when he avenged his loss to A.J. McKee. McKee also competed on Saturday’s card where he moved up to lightweight and beat Spike Carlyle by unanimous decision after a wild fight. Carlyle came out of the gate wild and tried to overwhelm McKee and made for a terrific round that was Carlyle’s best of the three. McKee won the next two rounds including two judges scoring the second round a 10-8 for McKee. McKee indicated he would be interested in competing in next year’s Lightweight Grand Prix after winning the featherweight version last year and going for another $1 million prize. The other notable fight was Jeremy Kennedy defeating Aaron Pico after Pico’s shoulder went out in the first round and his corner attempted to pop it back into place and looked extremely troublesome. Pico could not continue after the first round and the fight was called off. It was determined that Pico suffered a separated shoulder after initial concerns that he broke his clavicle. Scott Coker stated at the press conference afterward that Pico wants a rematch, but Kennedy may want to move on.
**There is no UFC or Bellator card this weekend with the UFC returning on 10/15 with another Fight Night card at the Apex headlined by Alexa Grasso vs. Viviane Araujo. Bellator returns on 10/29 with a card in Milan, Italy headlined by a lightweight fight between Adam Piccolotti and Mansour (not the Maximum Male Model) Barnaoui.
ON THIS DATE
One of the most interesting head-to-head battles occurred in 2005 with WWE presenting its “Homecoming” edition of Raw with the program returning to the USA Network after five years on Spike TV. Conversely, Spike aired a UFC Ultimate Fight Night card to counterprogram Raw that nearly resulted in WWE snatching away Mike Goldberg from the UFC. WWE loaded the deck bringing in as many legends as they could contact including Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan, and Mick Foley (the show took place in Dallas and Kevin Von Erich received a monstrous reception), and threw out John Cena vs. Eric Bischoff, Matt Hardy vs. Edge in a loser leaves Raw match and an Ironman match between Shawn Michaels and Kurt Angle. The UFC card was headlined by David Loiseau stopping Evan Tanner in the main event and TUF 1 rivals Chris Leben and Josh Koscheck in separate fights just months after the conclusion of the first season.
POST PURORESU: The Legacy of Antonio Inoki (1943-2022)
John Pollock is joined by WH Park for a special edition of POST Puroresu to discuss the life and legacy of Antonio Inoki.
WRESTLENOMICS: Antonio Inoki, Q3 2022 trends for WWE and AEW
We discuss Antonio Inoki’s contributions to the wrestling industry. Plus, how momentum continues to shift for WWE and AEW. We look at ticket sales, cagematch.net reception, and other measures to get an idea of fan sentiment.
THE LONG & WINDING ROYAL ROAD
WH Park welcomes the creator of the Grappl App, Gareth Hodgson to discuss The British Bulldogs vs Joe & Dean Malenko from January 28th, 1989.
REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN: Antonio Inoki Passes Away, SmackDown & Rampage reviews
John Pollock & Wai Ting review Friday Night SmackDown from Winnipeg & AEW Rampage from Philadelphia and discuss the passing of Antonio Inoki.
MCU L8R: She-Hulk Ep. 7 Review
This week, WH Park & Rich Fann welcome Matt McEwen to talk about She-Hulk Episode 7 and his experiences as a lawyer watching the show.
John Pollock & Wai Ting are back to review AEW Dynamite from Philadelphia with a Title Eliminator between Jon Moxley and Juice Robinson.
SHOT IN THE DARK
John Siino reviews this week’s editions of AEW Dark, AEW Dark: Elevation, IMPACT Wrestling, Women of Wrestling, NXT Level Up, NJPW Strong, NWA USA, NWA Powerrr, and WWE Main Event in under 15 minutes on Shot In The Dark.
ASK-A-WAI: Ask Us Anything!
John Pollock and Wai Ting answer their patrons’ questions about anything and everything in the September 2022 edition of Ask-A-Wai.
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