The History Of The CornellVerse

North American Wrestling History
Wrestling started becoming a real profession in the US around the 1960s, which is generally known as the "Traditional Era". Prior to this it had been little more than a sideshow attraction, but the 60s saw the emergence of several regional territories, with wrestlers travelling from promotion to promotion. It was hard for wrestlers to become real superstars, as they rarely stayed in one place long enough to really become dominant, but some carved out good reputations for themselves and earned great livings - amongst these were men like Dan Stone and George DeColt, who would later go on to be successful promoters. The major territories at this time included Championship Wrestling from Boston (run by Gene Plumelli), Dick The Devastator's All-American Florida Wrestling, the Tri-State area's American Pro Wrestling Federation, California Pro Wrestling (headed by Preston Holt), and the Texas Wrestling League.

The end of this situation began in around 1978, when a relatively new promotion called Supreme Wrestling Federation, under the leadership of a young promoter called Richard Eisen, began building up an impressive roster by offering long-term contracts to some of the most popular wrestlers, which was unheard of in those days. By 1980, SWF was able to put on wrestling's first pay-per-view event, which marked the beginning of the "Supreme Era". SWF became the national powerhouse, with clever marketing and showmanship making the smaller promotions look amateurish. By the mid 80s, almost all the regional promotions had been put out of business, and SWF was almost entirely dominant, with their headline wrestlers like Sam Strong and Rip Chord being national superstars.

It was over 15 years before another promotion managed to rise and take on the might SWF, and this happened in December 1996 when Hollyweird Grappling Company debuted, kicking off the "Modern Era". With a millionaire funding them, HGC brought in Strong and Chord (who had both left SWF many years ago) on big money contracts to provide star power, and populated the rest of their roster with former SWF stars (like the Vessey Brothers) and the cream of the independent leagues (such as Ricky Dale Johnson and Liberty). The tactic worked, as they were able to go head-to-head with SWF almost immediately, and were accepted as a viable competitor by the fans. The most recent twist happened in late 2004, when HGC were taken over by famous wrestler Tommy Cornell, and renamed Total Championship Wrestling.

Canadian Wrestling History
While the 1960s had several Canadian wrestlers making huge names for themselves in the US, the sport itself in Canada was virtually non-existent. A handful of regional promotions were in business, but they were lucky to draw a hundred people to a show, let alone the thousands that one of the red-hot American promotions could pull in for a big show.

In 1974, the legendary Ed "The Strangler" Henson had finally decided to retire. The Canadian grappler, who had been one of the biggest draws in the States throughout the 50s and 60s, returned to his home in Calgary and tried to capitalise on his popularity by opening the Canadian Wrestling Federation, the first big promotion in the country. After a slow start, the CWF picked up a lot of steam when Henson managed to persuade several other big name Canadian wrestlers to join him. Dan Stone, who was at the peak of his powers as perhaps the greatest heavyweight wrestler in the world, was the jewel in the crown, and the face of the company. Along with Stone, the CWF also welcomed George DeColt, Whipper Spencer Marks, and The Canadian Superstar (Jackson Andrews). All four of these new signings were already major names in the USA, and so provided proven drawing power as well as exceptional wrestling ability. The company went from strength to strength, and between 1975 and 1982 was incredibly popular, to the extent that even the juggernaut that was the Supreme Wrestling Federation in America didn't dare to try and crack the Canadian market.

Business started to tail off after 1982, mainly because of a lack of expansion. While SWF couldn't break into America because of CWF's popularity, the reverse was also true, and the Canadian Wrestling Federation couldn't even consider running shows in the US. They did however continue to make a healthy profit, and their shows were universally praised for their quality. Dan Stone was a fine champion, and the Calgary Wolverines tag team, consisting of George DeColt and Whipper Spencer Marks, was rapidly gaining a reputation as being one of the finest tandems in history.

In 1985, having accomplished all that he possibly could, Dan Stone took the huge decision to leave and set up his own company, North Of The Border Pro Wrestling, buying out the Alberta and Toronto regional territories as a way to begin the new promotion. This was done with Ed Henson's blessing, as a thank you for all of Stone's hard work over the previous decade. The two companies existed in harmony, with a number of wrestlers moving between the companies from time to time as a way to keep their character fresh. Unfortunately, one wrestler who was unable to do that was George DeColt, who was forced into retirement in 1986 with an arm injury. He remained a key part of the CWF though, working as assistant booker to Henson.

Unfortunately, January 3rd 1989 was a black day for Canadian wrestling, as Ed Henson passed away after a short illness. This marked the end of the CWF, and was also the end for two of its biggest names, as both Spencer Marks and The Canadian Superstar decided to call time on their careers. George DeColt headed south, where he worked backstage for the Supreme Wrestling Federation. This proved an important point, as the year he spent with the SWF convinced DeColt that the "sports entertainment" package that Richard Eisen was promoting was the way forward. Returning to Canada, DeColt politely declined Dan Stone's offer of a position with NOTBPW, and instead founded Canadian Golden Combat, a promotion where his vision of "a Canadian SWF" could happen. The Canadian scene has remained like that, with the traditional values of NOTBPW going head-to-head with the entertainment aspects of CGC, ever since.

Japanese Wrestling History
Wrestling had always been a major part of Japanese culture, with professionally-run promotions existing as far back as the 1850s. However, the first officially recognised period of recorded wrestling history is considered to be the "Giant Era", dating from the 1900s until 1933. This was a time when Giant Pro Wrestling was a massive success, with their wrestlers being national heroes. The promotion collapsed in 1933 though, under shady circumstances.

This led to the so-called "Dark Era", which lasted from GPW's demise until 1960. The public's respect for wrestling had been shattered by the way that GPW had gone out of business, and the complete lack of interest meant that no smaller promotion could even begin to think about trying to do business. There are no recorded wrestling events at all from this time period.

The 1960's saw the "Rebirth Era". Golden Canvas Grappling was formed in 1960, and began rebuilding the image of wrestling as a noble sport. Burning Hammer Of The Wrestling Gods followed in 1966, and also presented wrestling as serious and competitive. The public, with the memory of GPW's disgrace having faded, started to come back, and by the end of the decade, wrestling was once again enjoying public admiration.

This admiration was turned into massive popularity in the "Elemental Era" of the 1970s. GCG and BHOTWG ruled Japan, with both enjoying runs as the number one promotion, only for the other to come back. GCG had more big stars, with heavyweight wrestlers like Sadaharu Jimbo, Hanshiro Furusawa, and Yoshinaka Toshusai being very popular with fans, but BHOTWG had the biggest of them all, Master Kitozon, who had gone beyond simply being a wrestler and was now a genuine cultural icon in Japan. However, it was the emergence of Elemental, a masked lightweight wrestler, that gave BHOTWG the edge, as he became the first wrestler to make the leap from wrestling star to mainstream media superstar, and he was able to bring a whole new young audience to the product.

The "Burning Era" took place in the 80s, as BHOTWG (despite the death of their figurehead Master Kitozon) went from strength to strength, while GCG fell from grace, something that many blame on former star Hanshiro Furusawa, who took over the promotion. Some of his business decisions were questionable, and allowed BHOTWG to dominate them; many believe that if it was not for the emergence of Yoshifusa Maeda as a genuine superstar for GCG, the promotion would not have even have survived the decade. BHOTWG on the other hand were enjoying massive popularity, with homegrown talents like Hooded Kudo and Optimus becoming huge stars, while foreign imports like Dread and Sam Keith made big impacts on the Japanese fans.

1996 was a year that saw a bizzare mirror effect between the two big wrestling countries, Japan and USA. From the 1980s onwards, both had been virtually dominated by one promotion. 1996 saw HGC debut in the US to provide some much needed competition, and the same thing also happened in Japan, as the "Pride Era" began; under the leadership of former GCG legend Sadaharu Jimbo, Pride Glory Honour Wrestling was formed, and BHOTWG found themselves with serious competition for the first time since GCG at the tail end of the 1970s. Boasting a pure style, PGHW had new stars like Koryusai Kitoaji, Hito Ichihara, Eisaku Hoshino and Eisaku Kunomasu, and were soon being seen as a genuine contender.

The latest twist in the story happened in 2006. A controversial change in style by BHOTWG triggered a "rebellion", which saw some of their biggest names, led by their figurehead Tadiyuki Kikkawa, walk out to form their own company, INSPIRE. This left BHOTWG with a huge hole in their roster, and the balance of power in the industry shifted. As 2007 begins, many would now say that PGHW, with their incredible roster boasting some of the finest pure wrestlers in the world, like Mito Miwa, Nobuatsu Tatsuko, Yoshimi Mushashibo and Shuji Inukai, are now the number one promotion in Japan. Others would say that BHOTWG are clinging to the top spot, but are on the verge of being ousted. Either way, 2007 looks set to be an exciting time for Japanese wrestling fans.

Mexican Wrestling History
The history of Mexican wrestling goes back a long time, although prior to the 1960s it mainly consisted of lots of small regional promotions (hence being called the "Regional Era") that were usually short-lived. Very few records exist of this time period, although it is certain that the OLLIE promotion was formed in January 1955.

The formation of OLLIE was a key moment, as a few years after their creation, they were rapidly expanding, and by 1965 they were so dominant that every single other promotion had to close, leaving them without any serious competition. This resulted in OLLIE having their choice of virtually every wrestler, and so they were able to assemble the finest roster in Mexican history. This period of dominance, which would last almost two decades, is affectionally known to fans as the "Golden Era", as it was a time of legendary wrestlers, huge crowds, and memorable matches.

In 1975, MPWF were formed. Numerous promotions had been created during the past 10 years to try and capitalise on the popularity of wrestling at the time, but none had managed to survive for more than a few months, as all the talent was already working for OLLIE. MPWF was different, as it was a promotion formed by four of OLLIE's major stars, who had left after a contract dispute. With that star power, MPWF were able to survive the tricky opening months, and through clever tactical moves were able to thrive. This led to the "Challenge Era", which would last from the early 80s until 1998. Throughout this time, MPWF were able to grow at a rapid rate, and were able to challenge OLLIE in direct competition, thanks largely to the emergence on their roster of Mexican legends Luis Montero and the original Mr. Lucha Manuel Prieto, and the young American star Sam Keith.

1998 saw the debut of a third promotion, SOTBPW, who made an instant impact by using their large financial resources to sign up Manuel Prieto from MPWF, as well as several OLLIE stars. Thus began the "Tri-Fed Era", as within a year, Mexico found itself with three large promotions competing against each other, with neither one having a noticeable advantage over the others.