NOAH: Mitsuharu Misawa and the Building of the Ark

Mitsuharu Misawa is one of the most decorated and inspirational wrestlers in pro-wrestling. Some may say only in Japanese wrestling. However, his legacy reaches beyond the land of the rising sun. Miswa stood for hard work, honor, loyalty, love, and creativity. 

Known as one of the AJPW’s Four Pillars of Heaven. Misawa wrestled and was a promoter for All Japan Pro-Wrestling. Providing a significant impact and development of what become known as puroresu or puro wrestling.

He was born in Yūbari, Hokkaidō as a coal miner’s son. His family relocated to Koshigaya, Saitama. Mitsuharu Misawa overcame his hardships through sports activities and pro-wrestling. He gravitated toward Horst Hoffman who influenced him to wear the famous emerald green trunks.

Mitsuharu Misawa: A Brief History

Misawa’s debut was in 1981.

Later in 1984, Satoru Sayama decided to step down as Tiger Mask in New Japan Pro-Wrestling. At the time NJPW sold the rights to AJPW. This is when Misawa claimed the identity of Tiger Mask II. This allowed his star to shine brighter than before and rise to the top of his career at the time.

Mitsuharu wrestled a more unique style that contained more strikes than the first Tiger Mask. He continued as Tiger Mask II and grew in popularity.

After Genichiro Tenryu departed from AJPW. The choice of unmasking Misawa was made. In May 1990, Misawa removed the mask and challenged Jumbo Tsuruta to one of the most legendary matches in all pro-wrestling. Misawa gained the victory in that match as he pinned Tsuruta.

It was reported that Jumbo was to win that match. However, Giant Baba made a choice. The choice being that he would allow Misawa to win as the crowd at All Japan kept chanting for him. This is the moment that began the golden age of Puroresu.

Misawa continued to produce must-see matches. This allowed people that were unfamiliar with Japanese strong style or Japanese wrestling to expand their minds. Allowing them to journey to other visions of wrestling. He gratified audiences with his in-ring style and moveset winning title after title in All Japan. He became known in All Japan as a 5-time Triple Crown Heavyweight Champion.

NOAH Mitsuharu Misawa


Mitusharu Misawa had a dispute with All Japan Pro-Wrestling. Along with 23 other wrestlers they set out on their journey of creating NOAH in 2000. He continued wrestling full-time and would go on to wrestle in America at Ring of Honor, leading the way with other talents from NOAH as well.

NOAH would later have a partnership with Harley Race’s Wrestling Academy.


NOAH Mitsuharu Misawa

Misawa passed away in the ring at the age of 46 on June 13, 2009. He teamed with Shiozaki against Saito and Smith. The match took place at Hiroshima Green Arena. Misawa took a back suplex from Saito causing an atlantoaxial dislocation due to a neck injury.  The tragic event caused the match to end before the scheduled time of 37 minutes. Referee Shuichi Nishinaga stopped the match around 10 minutes after seeing Misawa motionless. EMTs and a doctor attempted to revive him.

However, they were unsuccessful. Misawa passed away before his 47th birthday.

After this unfortunate event. This led to wrestling promotions in Japan to create a greater and brighter approach to regulations in the country.

Pro-wrestling NOAH continues as a promotion that embraces strong style. Displaying to the world the true meaning of the ‘never say die attitude’. Refusing to show defeat in difficult times and battling the hardships throughout the years with honor.

You can watch Pro-Wrestling NOAH and celebrate the company that the late great Mitsuharu Misawa built at Want to Watch more Japanese wrestling but don’t know where to start? Read our top 50 matches here

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