Long before Mortal Kombat gave us Freddy, Jason, Michael Myers, and Leatherface fighting each other, they were all duking it out in venues across Japan. When people think of W*ing, its monster characters are probably the first thing to come to mind, but the company had a lot more to offer in its three year stretch. Despite only running initially from 1991-1994, people still talk about it today, and its influence can still be felt. In fact, this article is being posted just a few days before ICW No Holds Barred presents a W*ing vs ICW match, so clearly people still care. Today, we're going to look at the company, what it did, and why it still means so much to fans more than twenty-five years after it first shut its doors.
W*ing stands for Wrestling International New Generations, and no, I don't know why there's an asterisk in the name. Kazuyoshi Osako and Kiyoshi "Mickey" Ibaragi founded the company after leaving FMW. FMW certainly has more name recognition, and after W*ing ended many wrestlers ended up going to FMW. The two biggest names that W*ing brought in during its founding though were Mr. Pogo and Victor Quiñones. Pogo was the top heel of FMW, and if you've ever seen 90's Japanese deathmatch than you've seen him. Quiñones was the booker for FMW, and a huge force behind the scenes. He was also born into the business, as his father was Gorilla Monsoon.
W*ing made its debut in the very famous Korueken Hall in 1991, and early on relied on a lot of imported talent. Names like Kevin Sullivan, Dr. Wagner Jr., and even Taz all showed up in W*ing. The company didn't just bring in wrestlers from other countries, they also brought in other Championships. World Wrestling Council from Puerto Rico was a huge partner of W*ing, and would often have it's belt defended on W*ing shows. In addition, CMLL's Light Heavyweight Title was defended at least once.
Of course, W*ing was known for its deathmatches. Have you ever wanted to see Gedo in a Wargames deathmatch? You can in W*ing. There were a lot of bunkhouse matches, cages, barbed wire, and fire. One match I found listed and am still trying to track down is called a Moonlight Darkness Deathmatch which I think is just a lot of lighttubes based on later matches I found but still. W*ing was the main deathmatch alternative to FMW at this time, and competition always breeds innovation. Again, Mr. Pogo wasn't just a random guy W*ing found: he was the top heel in FMW for a reason. Having a renowned deathmatch star to cement their promotion around brought eyes and critical acclaim to the bloody brawls W*ing was producing.
Ultimately though, the first word out of people's mouths when W*ing is brought up isn't cross-promotion or deathmatch: it's monsters. Jason the Terrible, Nightmare Freddie, Leatherface, the Cryptkeeper, all of them were mainstays and main event fighters in w*ing. This is the iconic and enduring image of the company, and the first thing people mention when w*ing is brought up. It's hard to find a single w*ing show without the monsters, and Nightmare Freddie is going to part of the W*ing vs ICW match.
When W*ing ended in 1994, that wasn't the end of the story. Yearly tribute shows began, while over in FMW the W*ing Alliance faction was formed made up of W*ing stars who blamed FMW for the end of the company. There came a point where W*ing Alliance was better known than the company it came from. Mr. Pogo would create World W*ing Spirit, a deathmatch company that lasted from 2001 to his death in 2017. Finally, the most important legacy of W*ing is IWA Japan. Victor Quiñones made IWA Japan the same year that W*ing folded, and of course that would give us Funk vs Cactus Jack. While FMW's importance cannot be overstated, we can trace a direct line from W*ing to ECW and beyond. If a few rebels hadn't formed their own deathmatch company and decided the world had room for more than one, the entire history of deathmatch would be different. So Bravo W*ing, one of the great promotions of yesteryear.