Follow TV Tropes


YMMV / All Japan Pro Wrestling

Go To

  • Americans Hate Tingle: KENSO is still Kenzo Suzuki to many fans in the USA. Not the Kenzo Suzuki who was a tolerable wrestler, not the one who teamed with Hiroshi Tanahashi, not the one who worked in CMLL, AAA, IWRG, Toryumon or Fighting Opera HUSTLE but the Kenzo Suzuki who stunk up their screen on WWE Smackdown.
  • Creator's Pet: Johnny Ace was Mrs. Baba's favorite wrestler.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Shuji Kondo, initially a random Smash Mook for Voodoo Murders, quickly charmed the critics through many excellent matches and the fans through sheer Evil Is Cool.
    • Advertisement:
    • Despite being a short superheavyweight, typically not the best recipe for success in wrestling, Ryota Hama became probably the hottest rookie in AJPW at the time of his debut thanks to his enthusiasm and dedication. It was his premature championship win what ruined him to their eyes.
  • Heartwarming Moments: Kodo Fuyuki's retirement match happened while he was suffering from cancer and though he had to retire from the ring, he won that match and overcame the cancer.
  • Fandom Rivalry
    • A legendary one with New Japan Pro-Wrestling, given that AJPW and it were the respective feuds of the two main apprentices of Rikidozan, Giant Baba and Antonio Inoki.
    • Another one was against Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling, who was formed by discontent with AJPW Atsushi Onita and featured a style that went against everything AJPW stood for (Giant Baba coined the term "garbage wrestling" for it, in fact).
    • Advertisement:
    • Naturally, with Pro Wrestling NOAH as well, as it was formed by most of AJPW roster in a giant exodus that almost killed All Japan.
    • Though it only lasted two years, Super World Of Sports attracted a lot of criticism for fans "faithful" to All Japan because it was created by Genichiro Tenryu, another All Japan deserter (also because it was backed by an eye glass company that was trying to buy up all the notable pro wrestlers). Wrestle Association R inherited the feud, although it was all turned into Teeth-Clenched Teamwork when Tenryu disbanded WAR and brought its wrestlers to rebuild AJPW after the NOAH exodus.
    • Some friction happened with Dragon Gate fans in mid-2000s after TARU and his Aagan Iisou cronies were brought to AJPW and turned it into a Mob War in the vein of DG. Not only because TARU was still critical towards DG (and because AJPW built connections to El Dorado, a rival to Dragon Gate), but also because some AJPW fans were arguing that, with its roster being fresher and more diverse than the overexploited DG stable system, AJPW was playing DG's own gimmick better than them.
  • Advertisement:
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Steve Williams, Johnny Ace and Stan Hansen are far bigger names in Japan than they ever were in the United States, especially in the latter's case.
  • Growing the Beard: While Shuji Kondo had already stood out as a great wrestler in Toryumon/Dragon Gate, his championship run as part of Voodoo Murders was so well received that many believe he single-handedly resurrected the promotion's junior heavyweight division.
  • Memetic Badass:
    • AJPW itself has a reputation to be capable to recover after the biggest company debacles. Tenryu's "betrayal", Misawa's exodus and Mutoh's departure - none of them managed to kill it. Even Mutoh's more successful WRESTLE-1 offshoot ended up folding down before AJPW.
    • Don Frye couldn't stop Yoshihiro Takayama and neither could a stroke. (Became Harsher in Hindsight when a broken neck could, however.)
  • Narm Charm:
    • Most of Motoko Baba's sponsor-backed events at the 2000s (like Satoshi Kojima's Bape Sta festivals, the AV Cups and AHII World) were generally very wacky and often crossed into pure sports entertainment a la WWE, but it was all part of their charm.
    • The WRESTLE-1 events in 2002 were this. Bob Sapp coming out in pink boas? Random PRIDE and K-1 guys doing ridiculous angles? The Great Muta being The Great Muta? Awesome. Even if the project was a failure, it is no wonder that AJPW later jumped in the bandwagon of Fighting Opera HUSTLE to keep doing similar things (and that Mutoh revived the name for his new promotion).
    • The F-1 comedian championship, particularly whenever they brought in tarentos like RG or Kannazuki who had wrestling experience and could work actual matches.
  • Mis-blamed: Keiji Mutoh has been blamed for running All Japan into the dirt, mostly by traditionalists, despite without his input and new ideas the promotion would have surely closed.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Rabbit Boy and Super Milo, two of Takuya Sugi's stints in the company (not counting AHII World, which was a much longer affair). Three if we count his one night return as SUGI against RONIN.
  • Replacement Scrappy: Poor Mitsuo Momota, son of Rikidozan and nowhere near as charismatic or athletic as his father.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Few liked that Goldberg came to AJPW, squashed some established stars and left without more fuss.
    • Ryota Hama passed from being a Ensemble Dark Horse to a Scrappy in the space of a single match, specifically the one in which he won the Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship. Pundits were so angry with the decision to give the promotion's greatest title to an obese rookie that the latter's career never recovered from the backlash.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Even if Mutoh saved AJPW from bankruptcy by doing it, there are many purists who never forgave him for rebuilding the promotion not as the kingdom of inscrutable power-wrestling natives and evil foreigners that it had previously been (the King's Road), but as a mishmash of luchadores, indy guys, martial artists and wrestling gangsters cobbled together with merchandising and WWE angles (the Puroresu Love era).
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: While it might be difficult to believe today, both critics and fans were delighted with Ryota Hama after he debuted: he proved to be a better wrestler than his physique suggested, had a huge amount of Hot-Blooded charisma, and was improving very fast in all fields. However, when the AJPW management decided to give him a singles championship (one he should have probably never won) before he was ready to win any title, the world turned on him and his momentum was cut short pretty much forever.
  • Unexpected Character: At their day, few expected Akebono (a grand Sumo Wrestling champion and Kickboxing Memetic Loser), Masakatsu Funaki (a retired Mixed Martial Arts fighter who had left pro wrestling behind 16 years earlier), and TARU and friends (lucharesu wrestlers from a very isolationist promotion) to ever show up in AJPW and become regular wrestlers. One could say that surprising the viewer with shocking signups was part of the Puroresu Era AJPW's draw.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: