"Wrestling All Star Battle" ~ Major promotions agree with Motoko's will to commemorate Giant Baba's 20th anniversary memorial.
17th October 2018
The last "All Star Battle" of the Heisei era* has been implemented.
The late Giant Baba (died aged 61), who built the period as the "16 Renowned Kicks*", will have his "20 year memorial produce event" held at Sumo Hall in Tokyo on February 19th next year, this was revealed on the 15th (October) by this newspaper.
The promotions of New Japan, Noah and All Japan, which was created by Baba, have all gathered together.
This spectacular box off will be the last of the Heisei era.
Giant Baba died on January 31st 1999, and next year (2019), will be twenty years after his death. Giant Baba's wife, Mokoto (78), who passed away on April 14th, said that she would like to honor her husband by holding an event, no matter how small, in the 20th year of his passing. In other words, Mokoto's "will" will be realized.
The opportunity arose at Mokoto's "Farewell Party", which was held in Tokyo on July 18th. At the meeting, Mr. Kunitoshi Ogata (31), who has inherited the rights to use the likeness of Baba, said at the gathering "We will be holding a meeting, and so we hope to get the support of everyone." As more than fifty athletes and old boys representing the wrestling world were present, ideas flowed from each one, one after the other.
The executive committee, consisting of Seiji Sakaguchi (76, consultant of New Japan), Genichiro Tenryu (68, known as "Mr. Pro Wrestling"), and Jun Akiyama (president of All Japan, 49), met in August and decided to hold it at Sumo Hall.
The committee is expected to officially announce the event as early as this week.
Mr. Ogata said, "We are really grateful for your co-operation. We will officially announce it in the near future".
All the major promotions have endorsed this plan.
New Japan president, Naoki Sugabayashi (54), said "because he was devoted to the development of the industry, I will co-operate with respect".
The current IWGP Heavyweight Champion, Kenny Omega (35), has had no contact with Mr. Baba, but there are many wrestlers who have had a relationship, such as Hiroshi Tanahashi (41), the G1 champion who participated in the era of Mokoto's presidency, and Satoshi Kojima (48), the former three crown heavyweight champion. More than anything, if when it comes to the event, the participation of the leaders of the industry, is indispensable.
President Jun Akiyama, of All Japan, who has inherited the continuation of Baba said, "Immediately after the event there is a big match (Yokohama on February 24th), but we must co-operate, and want wrestlers to participate, including myself".
President Masayuki Uchida of Noah (56) also said, "Because the inheritance of Mr. Baba has been handed down to Noah, there is no problem", and he gave the quick "Go" sign.
Naomichi Marufuji (39), said "I am Baba's last pupil. I will come out for the company I left behind" (rough translation as it didn't translate well)
Keiji Mutoh (55), the president of W-1, who was the president of All Japan from 2002 until 2011, has a special feeling and said "because Mokoto passed the torch to me, I have many memories. I have decided officially I will send my wrestlers".
Participation of the old boy army (aka veterans) is also expected. Eiji Tosaka, President of Big Japan (47) said, "Our chairman, The Great Kojika (76) has pride in being an All-Japan Old Boy, although he has had an indiscreet way of saying that if he is alive in February next year, he will come without having to be asked".
Taiyō Kea (42), who is living in Hawaii, and was the treasured child of the Baba's, quickly put his name forward as, "I belong too" (rough translation).
Evil Ways, Atsushi Onita (60), who has not been silent, will return as a volunteer wrestler.
This is the fourth "All Star Event", and there is a high possibility that it will be the last to bear Baba's name, and the last "All Star" event will end the era.
There have been three other events in the past, two of which were sponsored by Tokyo Sports Newspaper company.
The first was held on August 26th 1979 to mark the 20th anniversary of Tokyo Sports. At the time all three promotions attended, the main event was the B1 Guns, Giant Baba and Antonio Inoki, who had tagged together for the first time in about eight years which bought enthusiastic crowds.
The second, "ALL TOGETHER" was held on August 27th 2011 at the Nippon Budokan to raise funds for the earthquake disaster recovery charity. In the main event, the three champions from each promotion, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Suwama and Go Shiozaki, fulfilled dreams by aligning, whilst the team of Shinsuke Nakamura, and Takashi Sugiura clashed with the KENSO group. 58,732,560 yen was raised for the affected areas through The Japanese Red Cross.
On February 19th 2012, the "AT" was sponsored by New Japan, Noah and All Japan and was held at the Sun Plaza in Sendai.
This time, what kind of dream cards will happen, to draw attention?
Link to original article from Yahoo Japan (in Japanese)
*The Heisei period will likely end on 30 April 2019, the date on which Emperor Akihito is expected to abdicate
* Rough translation of his finisher
* "Farewell Party" is a small party held after a funeral for those who are more business acquaintances like stakeholders etc who were familiar with the deceased, and did not attend the more family and friends orientated funeral and wake.