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Vandy! (September 1996)


Beer!  (February 2006)

Issue # 423

Date:  Sunday December 5th, 1999  10:57 am

The Wrestling Booking Sheet

Matsuda very influential in pro wrestling
By Mike Mooneyham
Sunday, December 5, 1999

There are many words that described Hiro

Honest. Honorable. Humble. A wrestling
heel of legendary proportion, but a man
with a heart as big as they come.

Hiro was just as his name sounded. He
was a hero; to his family, his friends,
and the scores of wrestlers who have
him to thank for their right to be
called a professional wrestler.

Hiro Matsuda, whose real name was
Yasuhiro Kojima, passed away Nov. 27
at his Tampa, Fla., home of colon and
liver cancer. He was 62 and left
behind a rich legacy in the wrestling

Matsuda was more than the stereotypical,
salt-throwing, judo-chopping Japanese
heel. He was an accomplished wrestler,
coach, trainer and businessman, all of
which he did with equal aplomb. He
owned part of the Florida Championship
Wrestling promotion, one of the hottest
territories in the business at that time,
and later trained much of the top talent
coming out of that wrestling-rich state,
a lengthy list that included the likes
of Terry Bollea (Hulk Hogan) and Larry
Pfohl (Lex Luger).

At the same time very few in the
industry were as influential as Matsuda
in promoting the growth of wrestling in
Japan and maintaining strong relations
between the wrestling companies in the
two countries.

"He was the ultimate Japanese ambassador
of goodwill who not only promoted the
fitness of the Japanese people but
demonstrated it in his everyday life,"
14-time world champion Ric Flair said of
Matsuda, who was a longtime representative
of the New Japan Wrestling promotion.
"He was also a tremendous amateur
wrestler. He was the consummate gentleman,
a great asset to our business who will
always be held in only the highest regard."

Matsuda, who played baseball in Japan
before coming to the United States in
1961 to pursue a career in pro wrestling,
held a slew of titles, not the least of
which included two reigns as NWA world
junior heavyweight champion, the result of
classic matches with the legendary Danny
Hodge. His style was poetry in motion.

"It was beautiful to watch," recalled
former amateur and pro mat star Don Curtis.
"He was a long, rangy guy, but he was quick
as lighting. When he started going after
you, it was something to watch. We had some
very interesting workouts."

Hiro Matsuda, however, may be remembered
more for his sheer toughness outside the
ring than inside the squared circle, having
been known on many occasions to protect the
business by whatever means necessary.

"He was the franchise wrestling backbone of
the Florida territory as a heel before Jack
Brisco," said former NWA world champion Dory
Funk Jr.

"But he was also the Florida policeman - the
policeman at the gate. If anyone wanted to get
into the business, they had to go through Hiro
Matsuda first. We'd turn them loose with Matty
and find out if they really wanted to be
wrestlers. Consequently we didn't have a lot
of guys come into the business at that time."

Burrhead Jones recalled Matsuda's toughness
when he and strongman Sailor Art Thomas worked
a program in Florida during the early '70s with
Matsuda and Dale Lewis. Jones remembers an
unusually large fan who wanted to get into the
action one night as the heels were pounding the
local favorite, Thomas, who was one of the most
muscular men in the business at that time.

"Here's this guy about 6-7 and 260 who wanted
to fight because Lewis was beating up on Art
Thomas," said Jones, who added that the
promotion later arranged for the fan to have
a personal tryout with Matsuda.

"Matsuda pulled the trigger," Jones laughed.
"That guy left with his clothes in his hands.
We found out about a week later he was still
in the hospital. Hiro stretched him from pillar
to post. Florida back then was a killer
territory. Anyone in that territory could hurt
you - the Briscos, Dale Lewis, Eddie Graham,
Bob Roop - they all knew pro wrestling inside
and out. They knew how to apply a hold and
how to apply the pressure. All of them may
not have looked like good pistols, but they
were. And Hiro was the best."

Matsuda settled in the Tampa Bay area in 1962
and trained aspiring wrestlers at the old
Sportatorium in Tampa, home of the
Championship Wrestling from Florida
television program.

"We referred to it as the dungeon," said
B. Brian Blair, who trained with Matsuda for
two summers 20 years ago. "That's where Hiro
put us through the mill. He taught us

Blair recalled that about 100 wrestlers tried
out under Matsuda those two years. Only Blair,
Bollea (Hogan), Paul Orndorff and Ray Hernandez
(Hercules) stuck it out, he said. Matsuda
wouldn't allow them to enter the ring until
they'd done 1,000 push-ups and 1,000 squats.

"He was all class and a wonderful person,"
said Funk. "His word was so good you could
always count on it. But at the same time in
the wrestling ring as a shooter, he was a
tough SOB. There was just nobody any tougher.
His type of guy will be deeply missed in the
wrestling business."

Other performers from that generation echoed
similar sentiments.

"Hiro Matsuda was one of my all-time
favorites," said longtime Florida star Jerry
Brisco, now a front-office employee with the

"He was a role model for me and many other
young athletes coming up during that era. He
was an inspiration to everybody and probably
one of the most well-conditioned athletes to
ever walk the face of the earth. He was a
true athlete in every sense of the word and
a true man in every sense of the word. He
embodied the old-fashioned Japanese morals
and if he was your friend, he was your
friend for life."

The list of grapplers Matsuda trained reads
like a "who's who" of professional wrestling.
Names like Hogan, Luger, Orndorff, Keiji Muto,
Scott Hall, Ted DiBiase, Dick Slater and Mike
Graham are just a few of the many who came
through his training camp.

"He was responsible for many superstars who
developed during the Florida Championship
Wrestling era," said Brisco.

Mike Mooneyham can be reached by phone at
(843)937-5517 or by e-mail at
mooneyham. More wrestling
news with Mike Mooneyham is available every
Monday on The Wrestling Observer Hotline. The
number is 1-900-903-9030. Calls are 99 cents
per minute, and children under 18 must
get parental permission before dialing.
By Brett1227

I saw the McMahon limo drive by outside and
saw Vince and Stephanie in it, Shane and
Linda were probably there also. Also Edge
was announced as injured and he was replaced.

Kurt Angle defeated The Godfather

Fatu beat Shaun Stasiak

The Holly's won an 8 team battle royal

European Champion The British Bulldog defeated Christian
The Posse got involved numerous times.
Rodney nailed Christian with the belt
and Bulldog hit the Powerslam for the

The Hardyz beat Y2J/Too Cool
It was announced Chyna was not cleared
to fight, to a lot of cheers. It was a
handicap match. Y2J cut an interview
saying the quote of the night: "I've
already beat up one woman, so I might
as well beat up another, Hardyz, come
on out here".

The Hardyz came out to boos and "we
want Terri" chants, for obvious reasons.
GREAT match. In the middle Scottie was
jumping on the first rope up and down
and fell off and fell to the floor. It
was funny and Scottie got "a**hole"

Chyna came down and nailed Y2J with
the IC Title. Jeff Hardy hit Scottie
with the Senton Bomb for the win. Y2J
and Too Cool had words and they got
into a brawl, Y2J dominated Rakishi
came down and beat up Y2J and Too Cool
and did their dance to many cheers.

WWF World Heavyweight Champion The Big Show beat HHH
A very, very good match. HHH came down
to a huge pop. He said how he would beat
Vince at Armageddon in front of his sweet
wife, Stephanie. Great interview. HHH
and Big Show fought a very good match.
The referee got knocked out and The
Outlaws came out, only to be cut off by

HHH hit Show with a chair and went for
another hit but Vince came out, only to
receive a punch to his face. HHH turned
around but Show caught him by the neck
and withstood several chair shots before
throwing it away and Chokeslamming HHH
for the win. Vince then beat up HHH
until X-Pac came out and nailed Vince
with a spin kick and HHH beat up Vince
with the chair and Pedigreed him and

Al Snow pinned Val Venis
Venis compared himself to a cup of
coffee from Starbucks (He's hot, he's
creamy but the only difference is that
while the coffee will keep you up all
day, the Big Valboskie will knock you
out all night). This was a very boring
match featuring a lot of pin
combinations, more pins than moves.
Venis missed the Money Shot and Snow
won with a rollup.

X-Pac pinned Test
X-Pac came out to some mixed emotions.
Test came out to loud cheers and he
manhandled X-Pac and X-Pac kept coming
back. Test tried the pumphandle but X-Pac
broke out and tried the X-Factor but
Test threw him to the corner. He started
punching X-Pac but the ref yelled at him,
allowing X-Pac to hit a low blow and the
X-Factor for the win. X-Pac then said
something nobody could understand about
HHH getting married to Stephanie and
tried the Bronco Buster but Test moved
and hit the Pumphandle Slam.

Kane beat Viscera.
Mideon kept stalking Tori on the outside.
Pretty good match, nothing special, Kane
nailed the Chokeslam for the win and then
Chokeslamed Mideon. By the way, I love
those pyros.

The Rock and Sock Connection defeated WWF
World Tag Team Champions The New Age Outlaws by DQ
Outlaws did there mike work to a huge
pop. Mankind came out with yellow stuff
on his shirt saying "I look a little
sloppy today cause I filmed a commercial
for Chef Boyardee. So I've got two words
for the Outlaws, mmmmm Beefy".

The Rock came out to the loudest pop I have
ever heard. Rock didn't speak, prompting
major boos. Mankind imitated the Road Dogg's
shake rattle and roll. This was a great
match, a basic brawl. Went about 10-15
minutes. Rock hit the Rock Bottom and
went for the pin but Snow broke it up
to boos. He continued to beat up Rock
but Rock fought back and nailed the
People's Elbow to a standing ovation
and then Mankind came back and hit
the People's Elbow on Snow to a loud

The Rock then went to leave to major
boos but came back and took the mike
and did his usual and said: "The Rock
took New York's favorite pie, poon-tang
pie, and he cant shine a pie, so he
baked it for 13.5 seconds, he took
that son of..." it was great. He then
was doing his catch phrase but stopped
and sung the SmackDown hotel and did
the phrase and left to major cheers.

Match of the night: Y2J/Too Cool vs. Hardyz

Top Face Cheers
The Rock
(Tie) Mankind, Vince McMahon & Kane

Top Heel Heat (almost everybody got cheered)
HHH during his interview
Al Snow after attacking Rock
Bulldog and Posse
Below we present Chris Jericho's latest
commentary, direct from


NP:Metallica- S&M

Well it's hard to believe that we've been
in business for two years now! It seems like
yesterday when Webmaster Lee and I set out
to make an honest, eyecatching and most
importantly, FUN fan based website. I think
you'll agree that we did that and much more.
The fact that this site has clocked over
1,600,000 hits backs that point up! Thanks
for continuing to check us out and I once
again praise the strength of all of the
Jerichoholics worldwide!!!

Speaking of which, the Y2J shirts are selling
out in all of the arenas that the WWF are
visiting and there's no end in sight! There's
already plans for three more shirts to come
out in the new millennium as well as a ton
of other stuff. It's also cool to see that
the shirt has been in the WWF Shopzone top
ten hottest selling items, since it first
arrived over two months ago. This week it's
sitting at number 4, the second top selling
T-shirt, only behind that eyebrow guy's
new shirt.

Mark Madden, I just checked out the message
board on our site for the first time and it
was pretty cool. Be sure to check it out
and add your thoughts, opinions and criticisms!

Thanks to the Jerichoholic who sent in the
drawing for the front page. Unfortunately,
I misplaced the person's name, but you know
who you are. Mail me and let me know it's
you and I'll be sure to make up for this
oversight next message.

Many people are wondering what Y2J's plans
are for the upcoming year. Let's just say
that they will be more explosive than

Mark Madden, Let me just say that I think
Justin Credible is the greatest wrestler
of all time and every match he has is an
instant classic.

Don't forget to check out Metal Edge
magazine and read my monthly Metal Is
Jericho column!

The movie of the week is Dogma. This was an
extremely well crafted movie that in my
opinion did a lot more to turn people to
the Lord than it did to turn people away
from him (or her). Kevin Smith has once
again created a very smart and entertaining

Metallica's S&M is a masterpiece. I think
the addition of the symphony on such tracks
as Master Of Puppets, Bleeding Me, One and
Thing That Should Not Be, are genius!

Now the end of the list of my fave matches
from my first 1000. Thanks for sharing
these memories with me!

Nov 29, 1999-CJ and Eddie Guerrerovs
Dean Malenko and Chris Benoit- Knoxville TN-
This was one of the most memorable shows of
my career. Everyone knows the story of Brian
Hildebrand and this night was a special
tribute night for him. The entire deal was
kept a secret from him, due to some
tremendous planning by WCW, Dean and Brian's
wife Pam. The show turned out even better
than imagined. After countless speeches,
accolades and presents were bestowed upon
Brian (including a real WCW title belt
presented by Ric Flair), this match was
the main event. And to be completely honest,
we TORE THAT MUTHA DOWN!!! It was one the
best matches I've ever had and the finish,
where Brian entered the ring to signal for
the bell, was a moment I'll never forget.
God bless your soul, Gerbil!!

Nov 30, 1999- vs Konnan- Chattanooga, TN-
One of the best nights of my career,
followed by one of my worst. This was
the night the rift between Bischoff and
myself started. To keep a long story
short, we had our problem and he ordered
me to lose the TV title in a huge hissy
fit. I decided to give everyone backstage
and in that arena a wrestling lesson and
I feel I did that. I was beyond
professional that night and I led Konnan
to one of the best matches he's ever
had and I guarantee he'll tell you the

July 21,99- CJ and Eddie G vs Kidman and
Mysterio Jr- Peoria Ill-
This was my last match in WCW and I told
the crowd that if I was pinned, I would
quit WCW. Thanks to Kidman I had to quit's all his fault. This was an awesome
display of teamwork from the best tag team
that never was and Eddie G. The other
two boys were incredible as well and the
crowd let loose with a standing O for yours
truly after it was done. Of course, I
responded by telling the fans that they
sucked... classic Jericho.

Thanks for walking down memory lane with me
and I hope to add many more matches to this
list after the next 1000. BTW, can anyone
please mail me the four commentaries where
I discussed these matches? I unfortunately
haven't saved them.

God bless you guys and be good to one another!

–Chris Jericho
Written by reader: JlBt911
Responding to what JKasmulder said in
Issue #422 about the WWF having "all
heels" and such, he was pretty accurate,
so here is a list of who I THINK are the
top heels and the top faces for the WWF.
They are ranked In order of the amount
of push they deserve to get:

1) HHH or HHM; whichever it is. Helmsley,
or McMahon, he is as good as it gets.
As far as heels go, he is the game.

2) The Undertaker; as great of a face as
he was, his persona screams heel. The
upcoming Helmsley/Undertaker feud will
be a great heel vs. heel war.

3) Chris Jericho; even though he is my
#1 favorite, his only real place is as
the man you love to hate but have to
love. He'll be like the Rock from 2
years ago soon, and then the WWF will
HAVE to turn him either face or super

1) The Rock; if it's not obvious by now,
it never will be.

2) Ken Shamrock; he could go either way,
but he's a great choice for a major push
right now.

3) Kane; he gets a great pop. Keep him
that way.

Paul Wight, Jesse James, Chyna, Billy Gunn,
Val Venis, Kurt Angle, and Edge are all
good enough to go either heel or face and
receive good pushes.

Steve Austin's and Mankind's futures are
too far in jeopardy to be factors. If
Austin heals, then I think Vince needs
to turn him heel to rival the Hogan turn
in WCW years back. Either way, Rock vs.
Shamrock and Jericho vs Gunn would be
ways to go as precursors to HHH vs.
Written by reader: John Violette (JVLB54)
I have been a big fan of D-lo since he
was a bodyguard in the Nation. I was
just thinking that maybe he could start
a stable with Mark Henry, Too Cool and

D-lo could be the leader and I think that
could possibly take him to the next level.
What do you think?
-John Violette
Steve Appy responds:
It would all depend on how the group
was positioned. I could imagine the
group becoming a second-rate DX, which
wouldn't elevate anybody involved.
I like D'lo's current on-air personality and
there's nothing wrong with it that a
focus wouldn't cure.
The staff of The Wrestling Booking Sheet
Editor: Steve Appy
Columnist: Mark George
Columnist: SamJerry
Columnist: Fritz Capp
Columnist: Rick Phelps
Columnist: Cindy Barnes
Columnist: Josh Hewitt
Columnist: Swami
Columnist: Tom Misnik
Columnist: Nate Pelley
Columnist: Robert Troy (Osiris)
Tom Kirkbride
Columnist: Ryan S. Oaks
Columnist: Darren Kramer

Any submissions sent in by readers or columnists become the property of The Wrestling Booking Sheet, and are subject to editing due to grammar, spelling, or content. Any information taken from The Wrestling Booking Sheet must be credited properly, with our E-Mail address listed. We have no problem if you want to use our stuff; just credit it properly.

Copyright- Steve Appy of The Wrestling Booking Sheet ©1998, 1999, 2000


"When you're young and you pick up a guitar, it feels so powerful. It feels like you pulled the sword from the stone. I used to believe that it could save the world. But I don't really believe that anymore." - Bruce Springsteen

"The greatest challenge of adulthood is holding on to your idealism
after you lose your innocence and believing in the power of the human
spirit after you come crashing into the limits of the real adult
world." - Bruce Springsteen


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