Mitsuharu Misawa, Japanese professional wrestler, Died at 46

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Dead, Mitsuharu Misawa on June 13, 2009 at the age of 46, he was a Japanese professional wrestler.

Born on June 18, 1962, 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 AJPW had purchased the rights of the Tiger Mask gimmick from New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW). 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 (AJPW), wrestling against Shiro Koshinaka.

He then travelled to Mexico where he wrestled for EMLL while improving his aerial skills under the guidance of La Fiera.

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 competed in championship matches for the AWA and NWA World Heavyweight Championships before a knee injury in March 1989 sidelined him until January 2, 1990.

Misawa made his first challenge for the 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 titles.

After losing to Tsuruta in a rematch on September 1, he teamed with then-regular partner Kawada to place third in the World’s Strongest Tag Determination 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 a World Tag Team Championship 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.

From 1992-1998, Misawa was that top man.

And while certain years allowed members of the All Japan locker room to shine a little brighter than he for various reasons, Misawa was the most consistent and most memorable in that locker room.

Putting aside the memorable rivalry with Kawada, there were the matches with Kobashi that earned the legend status that the Kawada feud did, the matches with Taue that seemed to surprise people every time, the matches with Akiyama that created a new young/veteran rivalry, the matches with
Americans like Vader, Steve Williams, Johnny Ace (whose best matches came against Misawa), Stan Hansen, Terry Gordy, and Gary Albright showed his versatility while never going fully outside his own style against any particular opponent, no matter how much the style clash.

 

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