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I am trying to find out more about this influential figure of Puroresu. Shinma worked as a figure head WWF President during the 70s/80s, booked NJ and the Tiger Mask gimmick, helped create original UWF, left for All Japan?, and back again in NJ. I was wondering more about his early 80s WWF Pres. role, and more importantly the circumstance revolving around his departure from NJ, booking complaints?, and position in UWF, then leaving it on its own. If anyone could help me out, I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks!
He was a very influential figure behind the scenes until early 80s. He is said to be the one who finalized the deal with Muhammad Ali. He made a big star out of Hulk Hogan. He made Inoki and Tiger Mask the phenomenons. Hey, he even made a main eventer out of Riki Choshu! One thing I respected him a lot is that he was always at the ringside in his business suit for the important matches to carefully make sure if things are going well in the ring.
When there was a coup within NJ office in '84, Inoki, Sakaguchi, and Shinma were all forced to resign from their positions. Inoki and Sakaguchi stepped down as president and VP respectively, but they ended up staying in the company because they were the top wrestlers of the promotion. So, Shinma took most of the blame.
There was still a possiblity of Inoki getting kicked out of New Japan, so he and Shinma created this ghost promotion called "U.W.F." Inoki's participation as a wrestler wasn't confirmed, but the UWF kicked off anyway. Akira Maeda, Gran Hamada (who still follows where Shinma goes even today), Rusher Kimura, and others jumped to this new promotion, hoping that Inoki would join soon.
(There was even a rumor of having UWF as the commission type of organization that oversees the whole industry including New Japan and All Japan. I guess it wasn't true, but who knows.)
Of course, Inoki didn't leave NJ after all, and things got messy. Shinma, who was unpopular to begin with, left UWF. I don't remember if Shinma officially joined All Japan, but it's obvious that he helped Baba because 1) Gran Hamada wrestled for All Japan, and 2) some UWA wrestlers from Mexico appeared on All Japan.
I don't remember how Kimura and Ryuma Go ended up in All Japan, but by the time those three left, UWF guys were mostly the members of the legendary Fujiwara-gumi in New Japan Dojo. When I say "Fujiwara-gumi", I'm not talking about a wrestling promotion. That's a group of Yoshiaki Fujiwara's trainees in NJ dojo: Sayama, Maeda, Takada, and Yamazaki. Osamu Kido, who was one of the original members of New Japan, also joined UWF. A former IWE wrestler Mach Hayato (original), whose mask design was later used by the Great Sasuke), was still in the promotion but eventually retired.
With a very weak business foundation, UWF didn't last long, and the wrestlers went back to New Japan. The rest is the history.
As the WWF pres, he was only a figurehead just like Jack Tunney. Tunney was actually a Toronto promoter for WWF, but his role as the president was only for the storylines.
Anyway, just like Shinma himself said on this year's January Tokyo Dome card, there used to be three monsters in New Japan: Antonio Inoki in the ring, Kotetsu Yamamoto in the dojo, and Hisashi Shinma in the office. I miss those days.
Forgot to mentioned that Sayama was also unpopular among some wrestlers and left UWF eventually. Maeda, Fujiwara, Takada, Yamazaki, and Kido returned to New Japan in the end of '85.
Takada appeared on the first card of UWF, but he was still a New Japan wrestler. Yamazaki had left New Japan to join Sayama's new Tiger Gym for shooto. When Sayama joined UWF, Yamazaki followed him.
I'm not sure what the relationship of Inoki and Shinma is right now. They did settle a peace last year, and Shinma appeared on the January Tokyo Dome card this year. However, he also published a book that seems to criticize Inoki. I haven't read the book, and I can't tell just from the index of it.
A very interesting puroresu personality to study about.
Somebody asked me on another forum for the Complete Budokan card where Ali battled Inoki. I don't have it in my files. I was wondering if you do.
1. Demonstration/exhibition of an Iranian traditional combat art
2. Demonstration by Master Suzuki of the Gojuryu Karate
3. Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Osamu Kido def Kantaro Hoshino & Takashi (Kengo) Kimura
4. Inoki vs Ali
Not sure about the order.
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