“If Baba doesn’t appear, the program will be discontinued!” The “Inoki-Sakaguchi union plan”, which is the cause of the broadcasting rights, has also failed … How did Japan Wrestling collapse from the height of its popularity? –Pro-wrestling –Number Web

This year is a commemorative year for both New Japan Pro-Wrestling and All Japan Pro-Wrestling, a long-established organization in the professional wrestling world, to celebrate their 50th anniversary.

Half a century has passed since Antonio Inoki launched New Japan and Giant Baba launched All Japan in 1972, but some groups disappeared in 1973 due to the establishment of both groups. Japan Wrestling was founded in 1953 by Rikidozan, the father of professional wrestling.

Japan Pro Wrestling (hereinafter referred to as Japan Pro Wrestling) caused a big pro wrestling boom in postwar Japan, and after the death of Rikidozan in 1963, the popularity temporarily declined, but after that, the international champion Baba and UN champion Inoki, who are disciples of Rikidozan, are W ace. The popularity has reignited. Baba & Inoki’s tag team “BI gun” is extremely popular, and the audience rating of “Mitsubishi Diamond Hour Japan Wrestling Broadcast”, which was broadcast on NTV at 8 pm on Friday night, is constantly recorded at 25 to 30%. In the latter half of the 1960s, it caused the second professional wrestling boom.


However, its second climax suddenly ends. For some reason, when the broadcast of NTV was discontinued in May 1972, Japan Wrestling became less popular as if it were rolling down a slope, and then the group collapsed in less than a year.

Why did Japan Wrestling disappear in a blink of an eye after being limited to NTV, which had a honeymoon relationship since the Rikidozan era? Let’s follow up to the destruction of the empire.

The day Inoki became the “Ace of NET”

The first cracking occurred in 1969. At that time, not only NTV’s “Japan Wrestling Broadcast” but also TBS’s “TWWA Wrestling Broadcast” (international wrestling) had a high audience rating. Due to this popularity, TV Asahi’s predecessor NET TV, which had not dealt with professional wrestling until then, also made a name for itself as a broadcast, and told Nihon Pro that “Nippon TV can continue to be broadcast, so I want you to broadcast it as well.” I requested it.

If it is a two-station broadcast, the broadcasting rights fee will simply be doubled. It’s a very delicious story for Japanese professionals. Fortunately, I didn’t have an exclusive contract with NTV, so there is no problem with the contract. However, I thought that it was necessary to pass through the in-law who had formed a combination since the Rikidozan era, and when I asked Nippon Television and sponsor Mitsubishi Electric, I understood that “Ace Giant Baba will not appear on NET”. I succeeded in getting.

After this process, the NET version of the Japanese professional wrestling broadcast “World Pro Wrestling” started broadcasting every Wednesday at 9 pm (promoted to 8 pm on Monday from April of the following year). NET, which could not make Baba appear, inevitably became a program structure centered on Inoki, who was “No. 2”, and Inoki became “NET Ace”.

From here, Japan Pro Wrestling will enter the era of two true ace, NTV’s Baba and NET’s Inoki, but it will later become a source of fire that will lead to the division of groups and the withdrawal of Nippon Television.

Nonetheless, Nihon Pro, which became a two-station broadcast, was making tremendous profits. Inoki not only got the broadcasting rights from the two stations, but also became closer to Baba in terms of popularity, and the audience mobilization increased further.

[Next page]Leakage of some players, soft work … Inoki was betrayed

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