At the peak of his ascent through View Japan, Morio Sumisu has to face four legends from the Showa era of wrestling: Joe Kajiwara, Fighter Yamato, Hurricane Rikimaru and Victory Musashi. After defeating them, he leaves View Japan to challenge the larger world of martial arts. (Showa era: 1926-1989)
Sumisu’s first opponent, Joe Kajiwara, is based on Yoshiaki Fujiwara. He was actually the first graduate of the NJPW dojo, in 1972; at this point in his career, after the collapse of the second UWF, he tried to kickstart his own promotion, the Fujiwara Family, in 1991. However, due to several wrestlers from his promotion splitting into Pancrase in 1993, the promotion ended up folding and Fujiwara went back to fighting as a freelancer in NJPW.
He is known as a heavy drinker, jokingly referring to his alcohol as a “sports drink” as part of his performance. He is also known for his focus on joint techniques.
Shoot wrestling is a more realistic style aiming for realism, rather than precise staging. Its name originated from ‘shoot’ being used as slang for unscripted moves or accidents during a match.
His second opponent is Fighter Yamato, based on Tatsumi Fujinami. He was known as “The Dragon” due to his slender physique, and created the Dragon Sleeper Hold and the Dragon Suplex.
In 1988, he challenged Inoki into giving up his position of Main Event and passing the torch onto the next generation, which he dubbed the Dragon Revolution after the Tenryu Revolution that Genchiro Tenryu started in AJPW the previous year.
In 1989, Fujinami suffered severe back injuries during a match against Big Van Vader. This caused a hernia, which prevented him from fighting for a full year.
At the time, wrestlers who were advertised at the box-office had to pay a penalty if they were not able to attend, and the stress from his financial situation aggravated his hernia further.
Inoki also took advantage of his injury to set back the Dragon Revolution. Fujinami was in so much pain that he could barely sleep, taking his rest how he could when he passed out from the pain. However, he eventually managed to train himself back to shape and return to the ring the following year. His appearance in Champion Road is based on his return to the scene.
The third opponent is Hurricane Rikimaru, based on Riku Choshu. As the game implies, at this point he had been wrestling for about two decades; it also references his six matches against Fujinami whom, despite being his senior, he never managed to defeat.
Sumisu’s final opponent, Victory Musashi is, of course, based on Antonio Inoki. The game mentions his career in the Diet: at the time of the game’s release, Inoki held a seat in the House of Coincillors, after being elected in 1989 as part of the Sports and Peace Party which he founded. It then recounts his victories against Muhammad Ali (Muhammad Alibaba), Willie Williams (Wilson Willy) and Willem “Wim” Ruska (Wilhelm Raska).