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 was a Japanese professional wrestler. He made his professional debut on August 21, 1981 for All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW). From 1984 until 1990, Misawa wrestled as the second generation Tiger Mask, as All Japan Pro Wrestling had purchased the rights of the Tiger Mask gimmick from New Japan Pro Wrestling. Following the death of AJPW head booker Giant Baba in 1999, Misawa inherited the position of AJPW president. After being removed as president by a board of executives, Misawa left AJPW in May 2000 to form Pro Wrestling Noah. In 2006, Misawa founded and served as the chairman of the Global Professional Wrestling Alliance (GPWA).


Considered one of the best wrestlers in professional wrestling history, Misawa was a five-time AJPW Triple Crown Heavyweight Champion, three-time GHC Heavyweight Champion and was named Wrestler of the Year by Wrestling Observer Newsletter on three occasions.

Personal life

Misawa was born in Yūbari, Hokkaidōmarker, but soon moved with his family to Koshiyaga, Saitamamarker. He was a fan of professional wrestling, especially the All Japan product, from an early age, and wanted to drop out of school in order to begin his training. However, during an encounter with Jumbo Tsuruta, the latter convinced Misawa to complete at least his high school education, so he did. He attended Ashikaga-kodai High School in Tochigimarker, with future rival Toshiaki Kawada, who was only a year below him.

Apart from this, very little is known of Misawa's personal life. He was said to be private about his home life to the point that wrestlers who had known him for decades had no idea he had children. He left behind at least one older brother, his wife, Mayumi (now the new majority shareholder in Pro Wrestling NOAH), and at least one child, including a daughter named Kaede. He was said to have been an avid video game fan, and at one point revealed to video game magazine Famitsu a list of his favorite video games.

Professional wrestling career

All Japan Pro Wrestling

Misawa was a successful amateur wrestler. Competing in the junior age group, he placed fifth at the 1980 freestyle World Championships. Misawa was trained in professional wrestling by Dick "The Destroyer" Beyer, Shohei Baba, and Dory Funk, Jr.. He made his professional debut on August 21, 1981 for All Japan Pro Wrestling, wrestling agsinst Shiro Koshinaka. From August 1984 to May 1990, Misawa wrestled as the second generation Tiger Mask, succeeding Satoru Sayama, as All Japan Pro Wrestling had purchased the rights of the Tiger Mask gimmick from New Japan Pro Wrestling. In 1986, Misawa graduated to the heavyweight class after five years as a junior heavyweight. Between 1988 and 1989, he had title shots at the AWA and NWA World titles. On April 13, 1990, he wrestled Bret Hart to a time-limit draw at the WWF/AJPW Supershow in the Tokyo Dome. After Genichiro Tenryu's abrupt departure from AJPW later that month, Giant Baba made the decision to turn Misawa into his new rising star. On May 14, 1990, during a tag match against Yoshiaki Yatsu and Samson Fuyuki, he commanded his partner (and future rival) Toshiaki Kawada to unmask him, thus abandoning the Tiger Mask gimmick after six years.

Weeks later, Misawa defeated the legendary Jumbo Tsuruta on June 8 in his first main event at Nippon Budokanmarker. The match is seen as a turning point in the history of All Japan Pro Wrestling, with Misawa being established as a major threat and a new star. Misawa made his first challenge for the AJPW Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship in July, losing to Stan Hansen in a decision match for the vacant titles after Terry Gordy was forced to vacate the belts. After losing to Tsuruta in a rematch on September 1, he teamed with then-regular partner Kawada to place third in the Real World Tag League, beating the team of Tsuruta and Akira Taue on the final day. Misawa again challenged for the Triple Crown in April 1991, but fell to Tsuruta for a second time. Misawa continued his growth throughout 1991, pinning Terry Gordy in successive months in June and July, the second coming in an AJPW World Tag Team Title match, where Misawa and his partner Kawada defeated Gordy and Steve Williams. The pair made their first defence against the team of Tsuruta and Taue on September 30 at Nippon Budokan, with Misawa historically forcing Jumbo to submit to end the match. On August 22, 1992, Misawa defeated Hansen to win the first of what would eventually be five AJPW Triple Crown Heavyweight Championships. The first of these title reigns lasted for almost two years before Misawa dropped the belts to Williams. Misawa went on to dominate All Japan Pro Wrestling throughout the 1990s, with multiple AJPW World Tag Team Title reigns, and feud with Kawada, Kenta Kobashi, Jun Akiyama, Taue, and Williams throughout the rest of the 1990s. In 1996, he became an inaugural member of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame.

Pro Wrestling Noah

Following the death of AJPW head booker Giant Baba, Misawa inherited the position of AJPW president. After disagreements with widow Motoko Baba, and his removal by a board of executives in 2000, Misawa left All Japan Pro Wrestling in May 2000; followed by all but two natives (Toshiaki Kawada and Masanobu Fuchi) and two non-natives (Stan Hansen and Maunakea Mossman) to form Pro Wrestling Noah. Noah debuted (billed as "DEPARTURE") on August 5 and August 6, 2000, as the shows featured the 23 other wrestlers that had resigned from All-Japan. On July 18, 2004, Misawa returned to All-Japan and defeated Satoshi Kojima at Battle Banquet; he would return once more on October 31, 2004 for the Keiji Mutoh: Love and Bump pay-per-view event, where he (along with Keiji Mutoh) defeated Hiroshi Hase and Kensuke Sasaki in what was billed as a "Special Dream Tag Match".
In 2005, Misawa and his long time partner Yoshinari Ogawa returned the GHC Tag Team Championship to Noah from the New Japan Pro Wrestling combination of Yuji Nagata and Hiroshi Tanahashi. From then until his death in 2009, Misawa continued to wrestle a full-time schedule, competing mostly in tag team matches. At the Nippon Budokan on December 10, 2006, he defeated Naomichi Marufuji to win his third GHC Heavyweight Championship. Misawa has defended the GHC Heavyweight Championship against former ROH World Champion Takeshi Morishima, Takuma Sano and top gaijin Bison Smith. Misawa retained his title for the fourth time when he pinned Akira Taue after an Emerald Frosion Custom. On August 25, 2007, it was announced that Misawa would be on the November 2 and November 3 Ring of Honor "Glory by Honor" cards in Philadelphiamarker and New York Citymarker respectively.

On October 27, 2007 Misawa successfully defended the GHC Championship against Samoa Joe. The following week, Misawa traveled to the United Statesmarker to appear at Ring of Honor's Glory by Honor VI weekend. The first night, he teamed with KENTA to face Takeshi Morishima and Naomichi Marufuji, wrestling to a thirty minute time-limit draw. The following night, he successfully defended the GHC Championship against KENTA. On March 2, 2008 Misawa was defeated by Takeshi Morishima for the GHC Heavyweight Championship, ending his 16-month championship reign.

Death

On June 13, 2009, Misawa teamed with Go Shiozaki against Akitoshi Saito and Bison Smith at Hiroshima Green Arenamarker. After taking a belly to back suplex from Saito, Misawa lost consciousness and was taken to a hospital. He was pronounced dead in the hospital at 10:10 p.m. JST. The cause of death was later determined to be a cervical spinal cord injury. Misawa's death has caused several wrestling promotions to work toward a stronger approach to regulating professional wrestling in the country.

In wrestling

  • Finishing moves
*Emerald Flowsion, sometimes from the second rope or preceded by a vertical suplex lift or a fireman's carry – innovated
*Tiger Driver, sometimes from the second rope – innovated
*Tiger Driver '91 (Kneeling double underhook ganso bomb)


  • Signature moves
*Discus lariat
*Multiple suplex variations
:*Bridging / Release German
:*Bridging / Release wrist–clutch tiger – innovated
:*Tiger Suplex '85 (Bridging / release three-quarter nelson) – innovated
*Roaring Elbow (Discus elbow smash)
*Suicide dive transitioned into an elbow smash
*Tiger Body Press (Frog splash)


*"The Standard Bearer of Future Generations"


Championships and accomplishments

*AJPW All Asia Tag Team Championship (2 times) – with Kenta Kobashi (1) and Yoshinari Ogawa (1)
*AJPW Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship (5 times)
*AJPW Unified World Tag Team Championship (6 times) – with Toshiaki Kawada (2), Kenta Kobashi (2), Jun Akiyama (1) and Yoshinari Ogawa (1)
*NWA International Junior Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
*PWF World Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Jumbo Tsuruta
*Champion's Carnival (1995, 1998)
*World's Strongest Tag Team League (1992) – with Toshiaki Kawada
*World's Strongest Tag Team League (1993, 1994, 1995) – with Kenta Kobashi


*GHC Heavyweight Championship (3 times)
*GHC Tag Team Championship (2 times) – with Yoshinari Ogawa
*Global Tag League (2009) – with Go Shiozaki


*PWI ranked him #2 of the 500 best singles wrestlers of the PWI 500 in 1997


*5 Star Match (1985) vs. Kuniaki Kobayashi on March 9
*5 Star Match (1990) vs. Jumbo Tsuruta on June 8
*5 Star Match (1990) with Toshiaki Kawada and Kenta Kobashi vs. Jumbo Tsuruta, Akira Taue and Masanobu Fuchi on October 19
*5 Star Match (1991) with Toshiaki Kawada and Kenta Kobashi vs. Jumbo Tsuruta, Akira Taue and Masanobu Fuchi on April 20
*5 Star Match (1992) with Kenta Kobashi and Toshiaki Kawada vs. Jumbo Tsuruta, Akira Taue and Masanobu Fuchi on May 22
*5 Star Match (1993) with Kenta Kobashi and Jun Akiyama vs. Toshiaki Kawada, Akira Taue and Yoshinari Ogawa on July 2
*5 Star Match (1993) with Kenta Kobashi vs. Akira Taue and Toshiaki Kawada on December 3
*5 Star Match (1994) with Kenta Kobashi and Giant Baba vs. Masanobu Fuchi, Toshiaki Kawada and Akira Taue on February 13
*5 Star Match (1994) with Kenta Kobashi vs. Akira Taue and Toshiaki Kawada on May 21
*5 Star Match (1994) vs. Toshiaki Kawada on June 3
*5 Star Match (1995) with Kenta Kobashi vs. Akira Taue and Toshiaki Kawada on January 21
*5 Star Match (1995) with Kenta Kobashi vs. Steve Williams and Johnny Ace on March 4
*5 Star Match (1995) vs. Akira Taue on April 15
*5 Star Match (1995) with Kenta Kobashi vs. Akira Taue and Toshiaki Kawada on June 9
*5 Star Match (1995) with Kenta Kobashi and Satoru Asako vs. Toshiaki Kawada, Akira Taue and Tamon Honda on June 30
*5 Star Match (1996) with Jun Akiyama vs. Toshiaki Kawada and Akira Taue on May 23
*5 Star Match (1996) with Jun Akiyama vs. Steve Williams and Johnny Ace on June 7
*5 Star Match (1996) with Jun Akiyama vs. Toshiaki Kawada and Akira Taue on December 6
*5 Star Match (1997) vs. Toshiaki Kawada on June 6
*5 Star Match (1997) with Jun Akiyama vs. Toshiaki Kawada and Akira Taue on December 5
*5 Star Match (1998) vs. Kenta Kobashi on October 31
*5 Star Match (1999) vs. Kenta Kobashi on June 11
*5 Star Match (1999) with Yoshinari Ogawa vs. Kenta Kobashi and Jun Akiyama on October 23
*5 Star Match (2003) vs. Kenta Kobashi on March 1
*Best Flying Wrestler (1985, 1986)
*Best Wrestling Maneuver (1985) Topé con Giro
*Feud of the Year (1990, 1991) vs. Jumbo Tsuruta
*Match of the Year (1985) vs. Kuniaki Kobayashi on June 12, Tokyo, Japan
*Match of the Year (1996) with Jun Akiyama vs. Steve Williams and Johnny Ace on June 7, Tokyo, Japan
*Match of the Year (1998) vs. Kenta Kobashi on October 31, Tokyo, Japan
*Match of the Year (1999) vs. Kenta Kobashi on June 11, Tokyo, Japan
*Match of the Year (2003) vs. Kenta Kobashi on March 1, Tokyo, Japan
*Most Outstanding Wrestler (1997, 1999)
*Most Underrated Wrestler (1988)
*Tag Team of the Year (1991) with Toshiaki Kawada
*Tag Team of the Year (1995) with Kenta Kobashi
*Tag Team of the Year (1996, 1997) with Jun Akiyama
*Wrestler of the Year (1995, 1997, 1999)
*Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame (Class of 1996)


References

External links




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