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January 7, 2004 Observer Newsletter: Trio of New Years shows in Japan, more

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The scrambling in the days leading up to the shows was incredible, but ultimately, when the dust cleared, the feeling was it was overkill, and all three promotions and networks spent a ton to divide up an audience already small because of the traditional NHK musical show. It was a ton of publicity, but because of the expenses, did at least some companies, if not all, more harm than good in the long run.

The biggest victim, although it was likely of his own doing, was Antonio Inoki. Unfortunately, Inoki has had 35 years as a national celebrity and almost that long as a cultural icon. Even when he does wrong, which is frequently, or looks to be down and out for good, he’s the proverbial cat, who not only lives, but becomes bigger with every resurrection. In his case, and some would argue it’s partially of his own doing, he’s managed to jump off being associated with a struggling pro wrestling business into a thriving new business.

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