It was twenty years ago today, a transition was about to take place. Only some would witness it live not realizing the impact it would have on the future. It was daring, a definite gamble and no one could have predicted that it would start to shape a world that had already been so well defined.
1994 marked many cultural events including Friends, The Lion King, Forrest Gump and Super Metroid. It was the year Nancy Kerrigan was attacked with a tire iron, it was when Kurt Cobain left this earth. Amid all that was an event that was held in Tokyo, Japan. It involved various wrestling companies with a common goal, to highlight the wrestlers of the Junior HeavyWeight division. It was a tournament that would include the future stars of the sport looking to showcase what they could do. Many of the participants would put their first stamp on the business right here at the Super J Cup!
The tournament included young wrestlers from Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling, Wrestle Association R, Michinoku Pro Wrestling, CMLL and the host New Japan Pro Wrestling. The brackets included such names as, Gedo, Great Sasuke, El Samurai, Black Tiger (Eddie Guerrerro), Wild Pegasus (Chris Benoit), Super Delphin, Dean Malenko, Negro Casas, Hayabusa, Taka Michinoku and Jushin Thunder Lyger. Competitors in business, the wrestling promotions came together to create something special, a night of cross promotional dream matches. Lyger verses Hayabusa, Taka vs Black Tiger, El Samurai vs Motegi, Lyger vs Great Sasuke, Wild Pegasus vs Gedo. Although some of the competitors were relatively unknown at the time, everyone cemented their place in the industry on that night. The show proved to the world that the little guy had just as much right to wrestle as the giants that proceeded them. They demonstrated that size did not matter, that wrestling could be an art, again.
The stories told in the matches were full and vivid, yet basic, timeless. Heroes and villains emerged from between the lines, subtly. A novice viewer could easily follow even without commentary in a native tongue. It wasn’t about who won or who lost, it was respect and honor that mattered. Matches were hard hitting and high flying, they involved mat wrestling and submissions chained seamlessly together. Each match on the card held treasures and everyone came out a winner. The future was being shaped with each stage of the tournament.
The Super J Cup’s influence changed a lot in the wrestling industry. It would be the kick start to Lie, Cheat and Steal, 619, Toothless Aggression, Straight Edge and the Yes Movement. It would lead to such World “Heavyweight” Champions as Eddie Guerrerro, Rey Mysterio, Chris Benoit, CM Punk and Daniel Bryan, men who would never have had a chance to be on top before, finally, could ascend to the pinnacle of their profession. It all started, twenty years ago today, in Sumo Hall.
Super J Cup 1994 needs to be in every wrestling fans library, Get it!
- Archie V
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