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Trivia / Jumbo Tsuruta

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  • Missing Episode: Jumbo and Giant Baba's tag match in Seoul against Kintaro Oki and Kim Duk, in which they dropped the AJPW tag team titles, is the highest-rated wrestling match of all time, drawing an 88.0 rating in South Korea. As with most Korean wrestling from the period, however, no tape has surfaced.
    • A Trial Series of ten singles matches against prominent wrestlers was held from 1976-9. The ninth of these, against Kintaro Oki, surfaced on YouTube in 2020, but the fifth, against Bobo Brazil, is still missing.
  • What Could Have Been
    • NJPW booker Hisashi Shinma, most famous in America as the Kayfabe WWF President before Jack Tunney took the role, attempted to lure Jumbo to New Japan in 1975.
    • Now-forgotten Japanese wrestler Samson Kutsuwada had plans to start a new promotion with Jumbo AND Tatsumi Fujinami as his top stars, a reoccurrence of Toyonobori's attempt to start Tokyo Pro Wrestling in the 1960s with Antonio Inoki. However, when Baba caught wind of this, he not only fired Kutsuwada, but sent messages to his competitors on what Kutsuwada had been planning, completely blacklisting him. As a result, Kutsuwada never wrestled again after 1977.
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    • Jumbo's feud with Riki Choshu arguably never got a conclusive finish, as Choshu returned to NJPW in 1987.
    • The one chance that Jumbo might have gotten to work against Fujinami (they had previously worked alongside each other in a six-man tag for the same 1979 event on which Baba and Inoki reunited for one night only) was the February 1990 NJPW Dome show on which he performed as a guest. However, Fujinami was still out with a hernia he had suffered the previous year.
    • The 1990 departure of Genichiro Tenryu likewise ended their rivalry due to circumstances beyond the control of booking.
    • Finally, the timing of Jumbo's hepatitis also ended his career as a meaningful main-event participant. The logic of All Japan's booking philosophy in this period dictated that there was going to be a singles match in the future wherein Jumbo put Mitsuharu Misawa over clean (no surprise pin, in other words): a match that we never got. Jumbo never got the opportunity to put over Toshiaki Kawada or Kenta Kobashi either. It's plausible that Giant Baba's last big push as a tag wrestler in 1993-4 was an adjustment made to adapt to this, giving AJPW one last Showa-period main eventer to help smooth the transition into the Four Pillars era.

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