The Invisible Web

Your Trip Into the Chapel Perilous

Puroresu on NTV to be Cancelled after 55 Years

Posted by invizweb on December 20, 2008

WikiMedia Commons

courtesy: WikiMedia Commons

After airing Puroresu on NTV for almost 55 years since 1954, Nippon TV, one of Japan’s major television networks,  decided to drop Pro Wretling (NOAH) last from next (which is March in Japan) season’s broadcasting schedule  due to budget cuts (Source: Dave Meltzer, The Wrestling Observer).  NTV which paid for the production of NOAH tapings, sent crews to tape shows, and paid rights fees, decided to cut these costs as they have not broke even for the last few financial periods.  NTV Corp was founded October 28, 1952, and began broadcast Ausgust 28, 1953.   Less than a year after its founding, NTV broadcast the second and third nights of the Japan Pro Wrestling Alliance (JWA)’s first tour (February 20 and 21, 1954).  Rikidozan, “the Father of Puroresu,” and the man who defeated Helio Graice, Masahiko Kimura headlined the shows against opponents such as Mike and Ben Sharpe (not related to Iron Mike).  NTV achieved one of the largest ratings in the history of television broadcast wordlwide when 70 million people tuned in to watch The Destroyer (Dick Beyer) wrestle against Rikidozan to a 60 minute draw on May 24, 1963. When the JWA ceased, NTV put their faith in Rikidozan’s protege, Giant Baba, with their promoting of All-Japan Pro Wrestling on October 21, 1972.   During the height of All-Japan during the 1980s and 1990s when it aired on primetime, Baba, Jumbo Tsuruta, Tenryu, and foreign talents such as: the Funks, Bruiser Brody, and Stan hansen were household names in Japan.  A few years after Giant Baba died, NTV supported Mitsuharu Misawa’s new startup Pro Wrestling NOAH, which they helped to promote with a press conference June 13, 2000, and a teleivision slot, albeit a late one.  Due to the late and inconsistent weekly slots on AM time Sundays, many of NOAH’s top stars did not get over like the stars of the Golden Era had.  Even with the decline of MMA due to the death of PRIDE, the Puroresu promotions of Japan are still not doing as well financially as the days of primetime TV slots.  Before the announcement of the NTV drop, Yomiuri TV, the Osaka based affiliate of the network stopped airing NOAH.  Osaka is NOAH’s second largest market behind Tokyo.

On the NOAH promotional side, President Mitsuharu Misawa and his office decided that not all contracted talent will go on every tour to save on transporation and accomodations; only Misawa, Kobashi, and other “hard workers” will have the priveledge to work.  It is not known when and if cuts to the roster will occur.  NOAH, as of last week, is looking to secure satellite TV timeslots.

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