Date of Birth: 18/06/62
Place of Birth: Koshigaya City, Saitama
Debut: August 21st, 1981 (vs. Shiro Koshinaka)
Signature Moves: Elbow smash, Elbow suicida, Emerald Frosion, Rolling elbow, Tiger Driver, Tiger Driver ’91, Tiger suplex hold, Tiger suplex ’85
- 5x All Japan Triple Crown
- 2x GHC World Title
- 6x All Japan World Tag Title
- 2x All Asian Tag Title
- 1x GHC Tag Team Title
- 1x NWA International Jr Heavyweight Title
- 1x PWF Tag Team Title
- Real World Tag League 1992, 1993 and 1995
- Champion Carnival 1995 and 1998
- GHC World Title Tournement 2001
At the start of his career in All Japan Misawa wrestled as the second generation of Tiger Mask, Tiger Mask II and fought around the globe and in All Japan as a successful continuation of the original gimmick.
All that changed when in a tag team match alongside future rival Toshiaki Kawada he unmasked and showed himself to the world and signalled an intent to move to the top of the heavyweight tree in All Japan.
This led to a feud and a celebrated series of matches with top gun in the company, the Ace if you will at that time Jumbo Tsurta. Jumbo had sealed the big three singles titles in All Japan (PWF, NWA International and NWA United National Heavyweight titles) and had a celebrated feud against Genichiro Tenryu and a run against gajians Stan Hansen and Terry Gordy and was by now a veteran and a 3 time Triple Crown Holder.
Misawa and Tsurta faced off for the gold for the first time in an epic clash on 18/4/91 in a 25 minute festival of All Japan wrestling… Jumbo stopped him though using his trademark backdrop suplex hold.
After this he continued to clash with Tsurta in tags with partner Kawada and fight the gajian heels Hansen and Gordy, gaining much popularity as he did so. Then came his first big push when on the 22nd of August 1992 he was selected to end Stan Hansen’s third Triple Crown reign and did so in a hard hitting match with a Running Elbow Smash.
He went on to hold the gold for nearly two years, beating Kawada in three classics, Akira Taue, Steve Williams and Stan Hansen again twice before dropping it to Williams. If you’re a fan of wrestling get hold off his defence of the Crown against Kawada from 3/6/94 as it was 35mins of pure action! During this time he also finished teaming with Kawada, feuding with him instead and began teaming with promising youngster Kenta Kobashi, the two winning the Real World Tag League and the AJPW Tag Belts as well.
He kept on near the top of the card, his feud with Kawada carrying on and providing another classic as he reclaimed the Triple Crown from Hansen again in 1995 and defended it first against Kawada… he took him out again in another classic then going on to hold it for 8 months… During this time he dropped Kobashi and fought him in an epic whilst taking on Jun Akiyama as his new partner.
After dropping the gold to Taue he concentrated on teaming with Akiyama and carried on his feud with Kawada and Taue in tag team form, taking the gold from them before dropping it shortly after to Williams and Smith.
At this time Kobashi had grabbed himself the Triple Crown and the two were destined to meet again despite their alliance with Akiyama and at the start of 1997 Misawa grabbed himself his third Crown in another hard hitting All Japan classic and then held it for 17 months before he met Kawada his old nemesis one more time at the Tokyo Dome.
In All Japan’s biggest show ever Misawa lost to his long time nemesis, his first loss with a single title on the line. He became consumed with earning back what he felt was his title and his eye fell on Kobashi, the new holder in October of that year. It was a hard fought 43 and a half minute war in which Misawa came out on top again. But Kawada proved the Tokyo Dome wasn’t a fluke in Misawa’s first defence, Brainbustering him and taking his gold once again.
Kawada broke his arm in the match and had to vacate so a match was booked with Vader fighting Taue, Misawa got first go at the winner…
During this period The Giant Baba, owner and founder of AJPW had passed away as had Jumbo Tsurta who had a backstage position… Mrs Baba had placed Misawa in charge of the booking and he had gathered alot of power in the locker room… this was a fact that would come into play two years down the road.
Back in the ring Misawa took out Vader for his fifth Crown holding it for 8 months having another 40 minute plus epic with Kobashi before Vader took the gold from him.
He carried on fighting in the tag division before the widow Baba annoyed him to the point where he and all but two natives went and formed NOAH in the middle of a tour in the summer of 2000. He ran shows only a month after and the focal point fell again on he, Akiyama and Kobashi whilst also pushing old friend Ogawa and the up and coming tag team Takayama and Omori.
He booked himself to be the first holder of the GHC World title after winning a tournament in April 2001 before losing to Akiyama in an effort to push him as the next ace. He won the GHC tag gold from Vader and Scorpio as well with his partner and friend Ogawa and then gaining a second reign in 2002 before Kobashi ended it in their millionth epic in March 2003.
He currently runs NOAH and enjoys a healthy relationship with New Japan running a long inter-promotional feud in which titles are freely exchanged between companies and has resulted in quite a few ‘Dream Matches’ as well. He has also has built some bridges with All Japan which Baba has passed on to Keji Muto.
After many years of working the hard hitting style of AJPW he has seen better days but the man can still go. Perhaps the greatest worker of the 1990’s he now works mostly in the tag team division with Ogawa and the duo held the GHC tag team championship before dropping it to Scorpio and Doug Williams back in January 2005.
Still fighting in the odd dream match and constantly seeking ways to promote new talent such as Yone, Rikio, Morishima, KENTA, Marufuji and Shiosaki, Misawa is perhaps on top of the biggest and best wrestling company in the east right now. Whilst broken down and not earning great reviews for his failed GHC title attempt against Rikio or his dream matches against Tenryu and Kawada. He is at least trying to build for a brighter future, which all the fans hope he succeeds in doing.