The first Pancrase show dropped like an atom bomb on Tokyo’s hardcore wrestling scene. Every other shoot style group, after years of calling out their traditional wrestling rivals and masquerading as the real deal, was suddenly exposed as little more than a collection of charlatans.
Funaki, Suzuki and the rest were tired of waiting their turn in line, pretending to be lesser men, doing business for the likes of Akira Maeda or Yoshiaki Fujiwara for the rest of their prime years. They took destiny into their own hands and turned the entire wrestling business upside down.
We can debate in retrospect whether they should have pushed harder and moved immediately into larger venues. Perhaps that wasn’t a possibility on such short notice and perhaps they didn’t anticipate such overwhelming interest.
Either way, despite the instant interest, the second Pancrase event was held in a more modest venue, the Tsuyuhashi Sports Center in Nagoya, Japan’s third largest metro area.
Beyond that, not much had changed. The same core talent was there and, once again, the action moved at a dizzying pace. The entire event, if you only count the time spent wrestling in the ring, was over in less than 23 minutes, just about the time a Maeda main event would be getting warmed up.