Face (professional wrestling)
In professional wrestling, a face is a heroic or a "good guy" wrestler, booked by the promotion with the aim of being cheered by fans. Traditionally, they wrestle within the rules and avoid cheating while behaving positively towards the referee and the audience; such characters are referred to as "blue-eyes" in British wrestling and técnicos in lucha libre. The face character is portrayed as a hero relative to the heel wrestlers, who are analogous to villains. Not everything a face wrestler does must be heroic: faces need only to be cheered by the audience to be effective characters; the vast majority of wrestling storylines involving faces place a face against a heel, although more elaborate set-ups happen as well. In the world of lucha libre wrestling, they are known for using moves requiring technical skill aerial maneuvers and wearing outfits using bright colors with positive associations; this is contrasted with the villainous rudos that are known for being brawlers, using physical moves that emphasize brute strength or size while having outfits akin to demons or other nasty characters.
Traditional faces are classic "good guy" characters who break the rules, follow instructions of those in authority such as the referee, are polite and well-mannered towards the fans and overcome the rule-breaking actions of their heel opponents to cleanly win matches. While many modern faces still fit this model, other versions of the face character are now common. A good example would be Stone Cold Steve Austin, who despite playing a heel early on in his career would start to be seen more of an antihero because of his popularity with the fans. While not championing rule following, nor submission to authority, Austin was still regarded as the face in many of his duels such as his rivalry with World Wrestling Federation owner Mr. McMahon; the portrayal of face wrestlers changed in the 1990s with the birth of Extreme Championship Wrestling, the start of World Championship Wrestling's New World Order storyline, the Attitude Era of the WWF. During this time, wrestlers like Stone Cold Steve Austin and Sting used tactics traditionally associated with heels, but remained popular with the fans.
Conversely, Kurt Angle was introduced to the then-WWF with an American hero gimmick based on his gold medal win at the 1996 Summer Olympics. Angle stressed the need to work hard to realize one's dreams. Although such a personality appears appropriate for a face wrestler, Angle's character was arrogant and reminded people of his Olympic glory, behaving as if he thought he was better than the fans. Angle's character served as a meta-reference to. Although his character was intended to be a heel and behaved accordingly, some commentators speculated that if Angle attempted to get over as a face using a more heroic version of the same character, he would have failed. Unusually, Angle did not use any of these heroic mannerisms when playing a face character, instead acting as somewhat of an antihero with a few elements of the "lovable loser" character archetype. Fans sometimes dislike face wrestlers despite the way; some reasons for this include repetitive in-ring antics, a limited moveset, a lengthy title reign, lack of selling their opponents' moves, or an uninteresting character.
This results in wrestlers who are supposed to be cheered receiving a negative or no reaction from the fans. The majority of the time, faces who are low-carders, or lesser known, are used as jobbers; these wrestlers lose matches against established wrestlers heels that would lose to the top faces. Some face wrestlers would give high fives or give out merchandise to fans while entering the ring before their match, such as T-shirts, sunglasses and masks. Bret Hart was one of the first superstars to make this popular, as he would drape his signature sunglasses on a child in the audience. Rey Mysterio, a face in WWE since his debut, would go to any fan wearing a replica of his mask and touch their head with his head for good luck before wrestling. Other examples include John Cena throwing his shirts and caps in the crowd before entering a match and Big Show giving his hat to a fan when he was a face; some faces, such as Bret Hart and Ricky Steamboat, promoted an image as a "family man" and supported their persona by appearing with their family members before and after matches.
Steamboat famously carried his 8 month old son Richard Jr. into the ring with him at WrestleMania IV before his match with Greg "The Hammer" Valentine handing him to his wife Bonnie before the match started. These actions relate to wrestlers promoting charity work or other actions outside the ring, blurring the lines between scripted wrestling and their personal lives. Glossary of professional wrestling terms Foley, Mick. Have A Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks. HarperCollins. P. 511. ISBN 0-06-103101-1
Adolfo Bresciano was an Italian-born Canadian professional wrestler, better known by the ring name Dino Bravo. Bresciano began wrestling in 1970, taking the name "Dino Bravo" from a wrestler from the early 1960s who had teamed with Dominic DeNucci as the Bravo Brothers and Dominic, he was trained by Gino Brito and worked in a tag team with his mentor, billed as Brito's cousin. Bravo worked in a number of other tag teams, partnering with, among others, "Mr. Wrestling" Tim Woods and DeNucci. Bravo held the Jim Crockett Promotions version of the NWA World Tag Team Championship with Woods, winning the title from Gene and Ole Anderson and losing the title to the Andersons. Bravo had a major program with Blackjack Mulligan, pinning Mulligan twice in a televised non-title match to set up a series of matches for Mulligan's United States title. Bravo did not win the U. S. title from Mulligan, but did receive several shots at NWA World Champion Harley Race during his tenure with Crockett. By the late 1970s, Bravo had become a big enough draw to get a singles push in the Montreal territory.
In December 1978, he defeated Gene Kiniski in Toronto to win the new Canadian heavyweight title as recognized in that area. With Dominic DeNucci, Bravo captured the WWF World Tag Team Title in March 1978 from Professor Tanaka and Mr. Fuji. Three months in June, The Yukon Lumberjacks defeated Bravo and DeNucci for the title. In the early 1980s, Bravo and King Tonga formed a tag team for a brief while, but never got much of a push. Bravo was scheduled to headline a card against Hulk Hogan in 1986, but the match was cancelled on short notice, with Bravo leaving the company shortly thereafter. Bravo returned to the WWF in late 1986 with a new look, he was now noticeably more muscular and immediately began bleaching his brown hair blond. He was again a heel and began working as part of Luscious Johnny Valiant's stable with Greg "The Hammer" Valentine and Brutus Beefcake. Beefcake was kicked out of the stable at WrestleMania III and Bravo took his place in The Dream Team tag team with Valentine. Bravo began a strongman gimmick.
In his days of wrestling in Canada, Bravo was known as more of a technical wrestler, but with his strongman gimmick his technical side was pushed into the background and his style changed to using power moves such as bodyslams, clotheslines and kicks, other power holds such as the bearhug, while his finishing move changed from an airplane spin to a sidewalk slam. At the 1988 Royal Rumble, Bravo attempted to bench press what he claimed was 715 pounds, which would have been a world record at that time. Commentator Jesse "The Body" Ventura helped lift the bar at one point, but Bravo played the lift as a success and began billing himself as the "World's Strongest Man." In this gimmick, Bravo feuded with Don Muraco, Ken Patera, Ron Garvin, Jim Duggan. He was managed by Frenchy Martin. In March 1988, Bravo lost in the first round of the WWF Championship tournament at WrestleMania IV against Don Muraco after pulling the referee between himself and Muraco to prevent a hit from the Hawaiian. Before the match to further play on Bravo's "world's strongest man" claim, Jesse Ventura in commentary claimed that during Bravo's "record" lift of 715 pounds, he had only used his "two little pinkies" and had only put two pounds of pressure on the bar.
During a rematch at the inaugural SummerSlam at Madison Square Garden in August, Martin distracted Bravo's opponent Muraco to allow Bravo to get the victory. In October at the King of the Ring, Bravo lost to Jim Duggan in a flag match. At the Royal Rumble in January 1989, accompanied by Martin, teamed with The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers but lost a two out of three falls match against Jim Duggan and The Hart Foundation. At WrestleMania V Bravo defeated fellow Canadian Rugged Ronnie Garvin. After Frenchy Martin's departure, Bravo joined Jimmy Hart's stable and entered a feud with another power wrestler, The Ultimate Warrior, unsuccessfully challenging Warrior for his WWF Intercontinental Championship. Prior to a WrestleMania VI loss to Duggan, Bravo teamed up with Earthquake. Bravo would display his strength by doing push ups while the 460 lb. Earthquake sat on his back; the team of Earthquake and Bravo would go on to have a lengthy feud with Hulk Tugboat. Following a WrestleMania VII loss to Kerry Von Erich, he wrestled less with his next appearance on WWF TV coming in August 1991 as a face, now being billed as the "Canadian Strongman, Dino Bravo" in victories over Louie Spicolli and Shane Douglas.
Bravo began a short run on Montreal house shows as a face, against The Mountie and The Barbarian. In his final match, televised on Sky Movies, he and Colonel Mustafa lost to The Legion of Doom in Sheffield, England. Bravo left the WWF and retired from wrestling following a European tour in April 1992. After ret
Robert Louis Backlund is an American retired professional wrestler with an in-ring career spanning over 30 years, best known for his tenures in the World Wide Wrestling Federation/World Wrestling Federation, where he is a two-time WWWF/WWF Heavyweight Champion/WWF World Heavyweight Champion, as well as being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013. Backlund was an accomplished amateur wrestler for the North Dakota State University Bison from the late 1960s to early 1970s. In 2000, he unsuccessfully ran for a Connecticut seat in Congress on a Republican ticket. Backlund was born in Princeton, Minnesota, in 1949. During his freshman year, Backlund was an All-American in both football and wrestling while at Waldorf Junior College in Forest City, Iowa. During his sophomore campaign, Backlund focused on wrestling and once again earned All American Honors. Backlund was an amateur wrestler at North Dakota State University, winning the Division II NCAA Championship at 190 pounds in 1971. In 1972 Backlund finished fifth at the NCAA DII Nationals.
He is a graduate of Princeton High School. He graduated from North Dakota State University with a degree in physical education. Backlund was trained for professional wrestling by renowned trainer Eddie Sharkey and made his debut for the American Wrestling Association in 1973. Backlund's clean cut look and technical approach made him a natural face, he got over with the fans. After leaving the AWA, Backlund traveled the United States, working for the National Wrestling Alliance in its various territories. In 1974, Backlund wrestled in Texas, for Dory Funk, Jr. and Terry Funk's Amarillo, Texas-based Western States Sports promotion. In March, he defeated Terry Funk for the NWA Western States Heavyweight Championship. Backlund held it before losing it to Karl Von Steiger in May. In mid-1975, Backlund started working for Georgia Championship Wrestling, he teamed with Jerry Brisco to win the NWA Georgia Tag Team Championship from Toru Tanaka and Mr. Fuji in October 1975, they held the championship belts for two months before losing to Tony Charles.
In 1976, Backlund left Georgia for Championship Wrestling from Florida. Here he teamed with Steve Keirn to defeat Bob Orton, Jr. and Bob Roop for the NWA Florida Tag Team Championship. Backlund and Keirn lost the title to The Hollywood Blonds in October 1976. While working for NWA Florida, Backlund wrestled in St. Louis, for Sam Muchnick's St. Louis Wrestling Club, he defeated Harley Race to win the NWA Missouri Heavyweight Championship on April 23, 1976, he lost the title to Jack Brisco on November 26. In early 1977, Backlund joined Vincent J. McMahon's World Wide Wrestling Federation, he was managed by "The Golden Boy" Arnold Skaaland. Less than four months into his WWWF run, Backlund received his first shot at the WWWF Heavyweight Championship against Superstar Billy Graham, but he lost by countout. Through 1977, Backlund received additional title shots at the champion, his fortunes started to change. On February 20, 1978, at Madison Square Garden, Backlund scored a pinfall victory over Graham and won the title, despite Graham's leg being on the rope during the pinfall.
Backlund's early challengers for the title included Spiros Arion, Mr. Fuji, Ivan Koloff, George "the Animal" Steele, Ken Patera, had his first high-profile title match in Japan, defending against Antonio Inoki, he won a series of rematches against Graham, including an April 1978 steel cage match at Madison Square Garden. Three days after winning the WWWF Heavyweight Championship, Backlund clashed with the NWA World Heavyweight Champion Harley Race in a rare "WWWF vs. NWA" title match. Both titles were on the line, but neither changed hands as the two fought to a 60-minute time limit draw. Defending against other champions became a recurring theme in Backlund's run with the title, he faced the AWA World Heavyweight Champion and two NWA World Heavyweight Champions He defeated the NWA Florida Heavyweight Champion Don Muraco. In 1982, he battled "International Champion". Early in his run and Peter Maivia formed a successful tag team and challenged for the WWWF World Tag Team Championship held by The Yukon Lumberjacks.
During a television taping in October 1978, Maivia attacked him and Skaaland. In the immediate aftermath, fans for the first time got to see another side of Backlund's personality: that of a raving, ranting maniac when angered or pushed hard enough. Backlund won a series of matches against Maivia, including a steel cage match in January 1979 at Madison Square Garden. In 1979, the World Wide Wrestling Federation became the World Wrestling Federation. On November 30, 1979, NWF Heavyweight Champion Antonio Inoki defeated Backlund in Tokushima, Japan to win the WWF title. Backlund won a rematch on December 6. However, WWF president Hisashi Shinma declared the re-match a no contest due to interference from Tiger Jeet Singh, Inoki remained Champion
The Samoan Islands are an archipelago covering 3,030 km2 in the central South Pacific, forming part of Polynesia and the wider region of Oceania. Administratively, the archipelago comprises most of American Samoa; the two Samoan jurisdictions are separated by 64 km of ocean. The population of the Samoan Islands is 250,000, sharing a common language, Samoan, a culture, known as fa'a Samoa and an indigenous form of governance called fa'amatai. Most Samoans are one of the largest Polynesian populations in the world; the oldest evidence of human activity in the Samoan Islands dates to around 1050 BCE. This comes from a Lapita site at Mulifanua wharf on Upolu island. In 1768, the eastern islands were visited by French explorer Bougainville, who named them the Navigator Islands, a name used by missionaries until about 1845 and in official European dispatches until about 1870. Politically the two jurisdictions of the Samoa Islands are. Known as German Samoa and Western Samoa. Capital Apia, currency Samoan tala.
American Samoa, an unincorporated territory of the United States consisting of the islands to the east. Capital Pago Pago, currency US dollar In the late 1800s, rivalry between the United States and the United Kingdom resulted in the Tripartite Convention that formally partitioned the Samoan archipelago into a German colony and a United States territory. Forerunners to the Tripartite Convention of 1899 were the Washington Conference of 1887, the Treaty of Berlin of 1889, the Anglo-German Agreement on Samoa of 1899. New Zealand occupied the German colony through 1920 governed the western islands until independence in 1962 as a League of Nations Class C Mandate and United Nations Trust Territory after 1946; the pro-independence Mau movement across the islands led to the political independence of the western islands from New Zealand in 1962 while the eastern islands, American Samoa, remains a political territory of the United States. Upolu, population 143,418, most populous island in the group.
Savai'i, population 43,142, largest landmass and most western in the group, most recent volcanic eruptions Mt Matavanu. Manono, population 889 Apolima, population 75 Fanuatapu, volcanic tuff ring. Namua, has beach fale accommodation for visitors, viewed from Lalomanu beach. Nu'ulopa, lies in the Apolima Strait between Upolu and Savai'i. Nu'ulua, volcanic tuff ring, land area 25 hectares, conservation habitat for endemic native birdlife. Nu'usafe'e, tiny rocky islet off the south coast of Upolu by the village of Poutasi. Nu'utele, volcanic tuff ring, conservation for native birdlife viewed from popular Lalomanu beach; the islands of Manono, Apolima and Nu'ulopa lie in the Apolima Strait between Savai'i. The four small uninhabited islands Nu'utele, Nu'ulua and Fanuatapu are situated off the east coast of Upolu and comprise the Aleipata Islands. Tutuila, population 55,876, main island in the territory. Aunu'u, population 476, located south east of Tutuila. Ta'ū, population 873, largest island in Manu'a Group Ofu‑Olosega, volcanic doublet encompassing Ofu and Olosega, in the Manu'a Group of islands.
Rose Atoll known as Motu o Manu, conservation habitat for native birdlife, marine life, green turtle and endangered hawksbill turtle. Swains Island, population 17, politically administered by American Samoa but culturally part of Tokelau, copra plantation; the islands are 800 km from Fiji, 530 km from Tonga, 2,900 km from New Zealand, 4,000 km from Hawaii, U. S. A; the islands lies between 13° and 14° south latitude and 169° and 173° west longitude, about 480 km from west to east. The larger islands are volcanic in origin and covered in tropical moist forest; some of the smaller islands are coral atolls with black sand beaches. The highest peak is Mt. Silisili, on the island of Savai'i, one of the highest peaks in Polynesia at 1,858 m; the highest point in American Samoa is on Lata Mountain, at 966 m. The two large islands of Upolu and Savai'i in Samoa, are among the largest of Polynesian islands, at 1,718 km2 and 1,125 km2 exceeded in size only by the two main islands of Fiji and the Hawaiian islands of Hawaiʻi and Maui.
The island of Upolu is more populated than Savai'i. The next largest island is Tutuila, where harbor Pago Pago is located. Tutuila is much smaller than Upolu and Savai‘i at 136.2 km2 in area, but it is the largest island in American Samoa. The highest peak on Tutuila is Matafao Peak. Smaller islands in the archipelago include the three islets in the Apolima Strait between Savai'i and Upolu. Aunu'u is a small island off the eastern end of Tutuila. To the east of Tutuila, the Manu'a group comprises Ofu, Ta’u. An uninhabited coral atoll, Rose Atoll, is the southernmost point in the territory of the United States. Another coral atoll, Swains Island, is within t
Terry Gene Bollea, better known by his ring name as Hulk Hogan, is an American retired pro wrestler, television personality and musician. According to IGN, Hogan is "the most recognized wrestling star worldwide and the most popular wrestler of the 1980s", he enjoyed considerable mainstream popularity between 1984 and 1993 as a heroic character in the World Wrestling Federation, which continued during the mid 1990s in World Championship Wrestling. In 1996, he became a villain. Hogan headlined multiple editions of the premier annual events of the WWF and WCW, WrestleMania and Starrcade. Aside from those promotions, he has notably performed for the American Wrestling Association, New Japan Pro-Wrestling and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. Hogan is a thirteen-time world champion: a one-time IWGP Heavyweight Championship in its early version, a six-time WWF World Heavyweight Champion/WWF Champion and a six-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion, his first WCW World Heavyweight Championship reign is the longest in history, while his first WWF Championship reign is the third-longest ever.
Hogan was the first wrestler to win consecutive Royal Rumbles, in 1990 and 1991, was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2005, by Sylvester Stallone. Pro Wrestling Illustrated recognizes Hogan as twelve-time world champion, because it never recognised the IWGP Title as a world championship. Instead, WCW recognized that belt as a world title. During and after wrestling, Hogan had an extensive acting career, beginning with his 1982 antagonist role in Rocky III, he has starred in several movies and three television shows, as well as in Right Guard commercials and the video game, Hulk Hogan's Main Event. He was the frontman for The Wrestling Boot Band, whose sole record, Hulk Rules, reached #12 on the Billboard Top Kid Audio chart in 1995. Terry Eugene Bollea was born in Augusta, Georgia, on August 11, 1953, the son of construction foreman Pietro "Peter" Bollea and homemaker and dance teacher Ruth V. Bollea, he is of French, Italian and Scottish descent. When he was one and a half years old, his family moved to Florida.
As a boy, he was a pitcher in Little League Baseball. He attracted scouts from the New York Yankees and the Cincinnati Reds, but an injury ended his baseball career, he began watching professional wrestling at 16 years old. While in high school, he revered Dusty Rhodes, he attended cards at the Tampa Sportatorium, it was at one of those wrestling cards where he first turned his attention towards Superstar Billy Graham and looked to him for inspiration. Hogan was a musician, spending a decade playing fretless bass guitar in several Florida-based rock bands, he went on to study at the University of South Florida. After music gigs began to get in the way of his time in college, Hogan decided to drop out of the University of South Florida before receiving a degree. Hogan and two local musicians formed a band called Ruckus in 1976; the band soon became popular in the Tampa Bay region. During his spare time, Hogan worked out at Hector's Gym in the Tampa Bay area, where he began lifting. Many of the wrestlers who were competing in the Florida region visited the bars where Ruckus was performing.
Among those attending his performances were Jack and Gerald Brisco, two brothers who wrestled together as a tag team in the Florida region. Impressed by Hogan's physical stature, the Brisco brothers asked Hiro Matsuda—the man who trained wrestlers working for Championship Wrestling from Florida —to make him a potential trainee. In 1976, the two brothers asked Hogan to try wrestling. Hogan agreed. At first, Mike Graham, the son of CWF promoter Eddie Graham, refused to put Hogan in the ring. However, after Hogan quit Ruckus and started telling people in town that he was going to be a wrestler, Graham agreed to accept the Brisco Brothers' request. In mid-1977, after training for more than a year with Matsuda, the Brisco brothers dropped by Matsuda's gym to see Hogan. During this visit, Jack Brisco handed Hogan a pair of wrestling boots and informed him that he was scheduled to wrestle his first match the following week. In his professional wrestling debut, Eddie Graham booked him against Brian Blair in Fort Myers, Florida on August 10, 1977 in CWF.
A short time Bollea donned a mask and assumed the persona of "The Super Destroyer", a hooded character first played by Don Jardine and subsequently used by other wrestlers. Hogan could no longer work with Hiro Matsuda, whom he felt was an overbearing trainer, left CWF. After declining an offer to wrestle for the Kansas City circuit, Hogan took a hiatus from wrestling and managed The Anchor club, a private club in Cocoa Beach, for a man named Whitey Bridges. Whitey and Hogan became close friends, decided to open a gym together. Soon after, Hogan's friend Ed Leslie came to Cocoa Beach to help Hogan and Bridges manage both the Anchor Club and the Whitey and Terry's Olympic Gym. On his spare time, he and Leslie worked out in the gym together, eventua
Tatsumi Fujinami is a Japanese professional wrestler, who famously used the nickname "The Dragon". He is credited for inventing the dragon suplex, he is the owner and founder of the Dradition wrestling promotion. Fujinami is most well known for his long tenure with New Japan Pro Wrestling, where he was a six-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion. In 2015, Fujinami was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, while signing on as an ambassador for the company. Bret Hart said of Fujinami: "I always wanted to be the great wrestler that Tatsumi Fujinami was". Fujinami started in the old Japanese Wrestling Association under Antonio Inoki's wing at the age of 17; when Inoki was fired from JWA in 1971, Fujinami and a few others followed him in forming a new promotion, New Japan Pro Wrestling. Inoki, Osamu Kido and Kotetsu Yamamoto are recognized as NJPW's founding fathers. In those early days, he served as opponent for debuting rookies, such as Mr. Pogo, Yoshiaki Fujiwara and Gran Hamada. Fujinami, Fujiwara and three other rookies competed in the 1974 Karl Gotch Cup.
In the late 1970s, Fujinami was sent abroad, to Mexico's Universal Wrestling Association and to Jim Crockett Promotions in the U. S. In the late 1970s he went to the World Wide Wrestling Federation where he first made a name for himself, he won his first title, the WWWF Junior Heavyweight Championship, on January 23, 1978, by defeating José Estrada in Madison Square Garden, brought it to Japan, establishing it as the premier junior heavyweight title in Japan. In 1981, he was moved to the heavyweight division to make room for Tiger Mask in the junior heavyweight division. Fujinami would be the first wrestler to be successful in both the junior heavyweight and heavyweight divisions. 1988 proved to be Fujinami's banner year. On May 8, he defeated Big Van Vader by disqualification. However, within days, the title was held up. In October, he won the NWA Pacific Northwest Heavyweight Championship, he ended the year by winning the WCWA World Heavyweight Championship in December. 1989 proved to be a heartbreaking year for Fujinami.
In April, he vacated the title to be determined in a tournament at New Japan's first Tokyo Dome show. In June, during a match with Vader, Fujinami pulled a hernia, he wouldn't wrestle at all until he returned in September 1990, changing his kanji from "辰巳" to "辰爾". In December 1990, he regained the title, his reign was short-lived. Fujinami rebounded by regaining the title two months later. Within days, Fujinami made history, as he defeated Ric Flair to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, making him the first man to hold the IWGP and NWA World titles simultaneously, his "most remembered" match in the U. S. was when he defended his NWA World Heavyweight title against Ric Flair in a title vs. title re-match at the first WCW SuperBrawl I in Florida after a controversial match in Japan that March. Flair retained his WCW Championship and regained Fujinami's NWA title by a school boy pin with a handful of tights. In 1993, Fujinami won the G1 Climax tournament, defeating Yoshiaki Fujiwara, Osamu Kido, Keiji Mutoh, Hiroshi Hase to win the tournament.
In April 1994, he defeated Shinya Hashimoto to win his fifth IWGP Heavyweight title, but lost it back to Hashimoto three weeks later. In January 1997, he reunited with Kengo Kimura to win the IWGP Tag Team titles from Masahiro Chono and Hiroyoshi Tenzan, they would hold onto the belts for over three months before losing them to Riki Choshu and Kensuke Sasaki. In April 1998, Fujinami won his sixth and final IWGP Heavyweight title by defeating Sasaki, he would hold before losing the title to Chono. In recent years Fujinami has decreased his work load upon being named President of NJPW in 1999, his last title reign in NJPW was an IWGP Tag Team Championship with disciple Osamu Nishimura in October 2001, his last title shot was a Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship bout against Keiji Mutoh in December of the same year. In 2006, after nearly 35 years in the company, Fujinami left NJPW, after giving an ultimatum of either Riki Choshu leave or Fujinami leave. New Japan stuck with Choshu. Another veteran and Fujinami's long-time tag team partner, Kengo Kimura, would follow suit.
He and Nishimura began running their Muga promotion again, focusing on pure catch wrestling which seems to have been relegated by NJPW. In a tag team dream match, along with his close friend Nishimura beat Mitsuharu Misawa and Go Shiozaki in the main event of the first "Muga World" show; the name of Fujinami's new promotion has since been changed to Dradition, after the departure of Nishimura. On August 18, 2012, Fujinami won his first title in eleven years, when he took part in Dramatic Dream Team's 15th anniversary event in Nippon Budokan, during which he and Mikami defeated Kudo and Makoto Oishi for the KO-D Tag Team Championship. Fujinami remains an active competitor at the age of 63 and shows little sign of slowing down. On March 19, 2015, it was announced that Fujinami would be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2015. Fujinami was inducted by Ric Flair at the ceremony, which took place on March 28
World Class Championship Wrestling
World Class Championship Wrestling known as the World Class Wrestling Association, was an American professional wrestling promotion headquartered in Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas. Owned by promoter Ed McLemore, by 1966 it was run by Southwest Sports, Inc. whose president, Jack Adkisson, was better known as wrestler Fritz Von Erich. Beginning as a territory of the National Wrestling Alliance, it went independent in 1986 in a bid to become a major national promotion, but was unsuccessful in its attempts and went out of business in 1990. Rights to the pre-1989 WCCW tape library belong to WWE and select episodes from 1982 to 1988 are available on the WWE Network. World Class Championship Wrestling experienced tremendous success from 1981-1985, shattering attendance records and achieving global exposure through their syndicated television program. Bookers Ken Mantell, David Von Erich, Gary Hart, Bruiser Brody and Kevin Von Erich provided fans with hard hitting action centered on the popular Von Erich brothers and a cast of devious villains.
Storylines during this time followed a consistent theme of friendship and betrayal, with many of the top villains being first presented as friends to the Von Erich Family, only to betray them months or years later. Talent deals and exchanges helped WCCW bring in future stars such as Chris Adams, The Fabulous Freebirds, Jake Roberts, Mick Foley, a young Shawn Michaels, Gino Hernandez and Iceman King Parsons, others. World Class Championship Wrestling was a member of the NWA and was known as Big Time Wrestling until 1982, when Adkisson decided that the name of his federation needed to be changed. Mickey Grant, who headed the production of its telecasts, suggested the name World Class. WCCW operated its enterprise in Dallas and held wrestling events at the Reunion Arena, at the famed Sportatorium, located just south of Downtown Dallas, a well-known boxing and wrestling arena as well as the one-time home to the famous Big D Jamboree. WCCW was known as Big Time Wrestling and, until the late 1970s, was dominated by its owner, Fritz Von Erich.
In 1966, Von Erich and Ed McLemore-owner of the Dallas Sportatorium- bought out the Dallas/Fort Worth Wrestling Office, breaking away from Houston Wrestling Office, managed by Paul Boesch. In 1969, Von Erich took sole control over the Office after McLemore died from a heart attack, gained ownership of the Dallas Sportatorium. Playing his longtime role of a snarling, goose-stepping Nazi monster heel and sometimes teaming with "brother" Waldo, Fritz turned babyface in late 1966 and began feuding with Gary Hart and his stable of wrestlers. Fritz's other classic rivalries during this early period were with such stars as Johnny Valentine, Stan Stasiak, Professor Toru Tanaka, Lord Alfred Hayes, The Sheik, Bruiser Brody and The Great Kabuki. Babyface wrestlers playing secondary roles in the promotion at various times included Wahoo McDaniel, Pepper Gomez, Red Bastien, Jose Lothario and Lonnie "Moondog" Mayne. Many of these wrestlers were regular mainstays of the Grand Olympic Auditorium wrestling promotion in Los Angeles, who would compete in Dallas as did Fritz and several Texas-based wrestlers doing the same for Gene and Mike LeBell's promotion in L.
A. As his sons began to launch wrestling careers of their own in the mid-to-late 1970s, Fritz cut back on his in-ring appearances and concentrated on promoting retiring from the ring altogether after a 1982 NWA American Title win over King Kong Bundy at Texas Stadium in Irving. By the promotion had switched to the World Class name and was centered on Fritz's sons, David and Mike Von Erich. Developed and booked by manager and behind-the-scenes booker Gary Hart, World Class' most storied feud was the legendary and long-running battle between the Von Erichs and the Freebirds, which began on December 25, 1982 during an NWA World title match between Kerry Von Erich and champion Ric Flair at Reunion Arena in Dallas. After several of Flair's title defenses against Kerry ended in controversy with the champion retaining the belt by various illegal means, the promotion had booked a rematch between the two in a steel cage to prevent any interference, announced a write-in poll in which fans could vote for the wrestler they wanted to serve as special referee for the match.
Freebird Michael Hayes, whose popularity in WCCW at that point was second only to the Von Erichs themselves, was selected to officiate, his tag team partner Terry Gordy was at ringside to guard the cage door. However, when Kerry refused to pin Flair following unwanted interference on his behalf by Hayes, the Freebirds turned on Von Erich, with Gordy slamming the door on Kerry's head. Backup referee David Manning banished Hayes and Gordy to the dressing room, the match ended shortly thereafter, with Flair retaining the title yet again as Manning stopped the match due to Kerry's inability to continue the match. Shortly after, Gary Hart left WCCW, due to money issues with Von Erich. A year Gordy would have his head slammed by the cage door from Fritz Von Erich, in retaliation; the Freebird-Von Erich rivalry was one of the most violent feuds in modern-day wrestling history, continued off-and-on for much of the decade.