Tribute to Mitsuharu Misawa: Pro-Wrestling NOAH
Giant Baba and Mitsuharu Misawa’s genes live on in Pro Wrestling Noah.
Text and photo exclusively by Tokio Tsukada.
Mitsuharu Misawa made his debut in 1981 in All Japan Pro Wrestling and studied under Giant Baba. With his exceptional athleticism and natural instincts, he became the second-generation Tiger Mask champion and rose to the top. Becoming a Triple Crown Champion, he fought to the death against top wrestlers, including: Vader, Stan Hansen, and Terry Gordy, making a name for himself in Japan and the United States.
Later, he left All Japan Pro-Wrestling and launched a new professional wrestling organization, Pro Wrestling Noah, on August 5, 2000. The founder of the organization, Mitsuharu Misawa, became independent from All Japan Pro-Wrestling with many wrestlers and staff members. As the name of the organization suggests, he began his voyage to become the “Ark” of the pro-wrestling world.
Since its launch, the organization has held tournaments at the Tokyo Dome, Nippon Budokan, and other venues, while respecting the wrestling traditions inherited from Nippon Pro Wrestling and All Japan Pro Wrestling. It has excited many people across generations with its fights that project the banner of “freedom and conviction”.
As the president and ace wrestler of Pro Wrestling Noah, he was the newly established GHC Champion and gained enthusiastic support. However, bad luck struck. On June 13, 2009, Misawa died in an accident during a match. Even after Misawa’s passing, Pro Wrestling Noah will carry on his will. In 2020, NOAH became a member of the new Cyber Agent Group. Together with DDT Pro Wrestling, the group is continuing to make new attempts to further develop the organization and the industry by taking advantage of group synergies.
June is Misawa’s memorial month, and many fans have sent their messages of condolences. The fierce battles that were carried on by Baba and Misawa have been continued by the current GHC Champion Jake Lee, Kaito Kinomiya, Takashi Sugiura, Naomichi Marufuji, K-O, and others. On June 10, Jake Lee showed his overwhelming strength in Yokohama. All Japan Pro-Wrestling’s former Triple Crown Champion Kento Miyahara intervened, signaling the start of a new era—all in order to provide the best pro wrestling.