Video Vault – Misawa Transforms!

In this unusual clip we find the cast of NOAH doing a parody of Super Sentai (Power Rangers in Japan). The Evil Ranger, played by Kenta Kobashi, is terrorizing people in the park. It’s up to Mitsuharu Misawa and his band of Pro Wrestling NOAH transforming heroes to save the day. Jun Akiyama, Akira Taue, KENTA, Tamon Honda, and Naomichi Marifuji also star. They are the NOAH Rangers. I don’t know the origin of this clip or why they did it, so don’t ask.

Yeah it’s weird, but it’s JAPAN! Did you expect anything less than pro wrestlers playing power rangers?

Video Vault – Mitsuharu Misawa Career Highlights

Today I thought I’d share some of the late Mitsuharu Misawa’s legendary moments in pro wrestling. I know that a lot of North American readers who read FGB might not be that familiar with Mitsuharu Misawa’s body of work, so this is a good chance to catch up on some of the legend’s great matches and moments. (My apologies to Alan for doing your gimmick lately.)

This first clip is from 1990 during a big tag team match on All Japan Pro Wrestling TV from Budokan Hall. Yoshiaki Yatsu and Samson Fuyuki battled Toshiaki Kawada and Tiger Mask II (aka Misawa). This was the infamous match where Misawa actually unmasked himself (something almost unheard of at the time) during the match. Normally when a masked wrestler unmasks, it is the beginning of the end of that worker (see Mexico). However in this case, this was the rebirth of a career, as unmasking himself was the first step in Misawa becoming the torchbearer for AJPW. After this match he challenged Jumbo Tsuruta to a match.

Yoshiaki Yatsu and Samson Fuyuki vs. Toshiaki Kawada and Tiger Mask II

On June 8th, 1990, Misawa battled Jumbo Tsuruta in Budokan Hall in what would be, to this day, the most legendary encounter of his career. Tsuruta found out mere moments before the opening bell that he would be dropping a fall to Misawa, something that didn’t quite happen very often. You see, in that era, the tippy-top guys never lost. You didn’t see the champions get jobbed out to punks like Randy Orton does on WWE PPVs. Tsuruta losing at Budokan was a big deal as he symbolically passed the torch to the man who would carry All Japan for the rest of the decade and turn the entire company around. Dave Meltzer gave this match 5 Stars and described the atmosphere as being like no other show he’d ever attended. Continue reading

The Legacy of Mitsuharu Misawa

So yesterday as I was preparing for UFC 99, I was told, “Hey did you hear about that Japanese wrestler who died?” I was unable to use the internet for pretty much the entire day so naturally I had not heard about anybody dying. Now there are hundreds of Japanese workers, so I immediately assumed it was a lesser known talent, possibly somebody from Big Japan. The biggest star that popped into my head was Atsushi Onita.

Words cannot describe how horrified I was when I learned that it was Mitsuharu Misawa who died.

Misawa’s final entrance the night he died (courtesy of Alan Counihan):

Of all of the workers in Japan, of every single soul who has ever made a small or a big impact in puroresu, why was Mitsuharu Misawa taken from us? I will admit that it was rather difficult to pay attention to UFC 99 with the lingering thought that I’d never see another Misawa match again. Continue reading

RIP Mitsuharu Misawa

One of the most legendary wrestlers of all time, Mitsuharu Misawa, passed away in Hiroshima just over 2 hours ago.

Misawa went into cardiac arrest after a freak in-ring accident. In a match for the Pro Wrestling NOAH GHC Tag Titles, Akitoshi Saito delivered a routine backdrop suplex and Misawa stayed down. The doctor tried to revive him and he was taken to hospital where he passed away, days before his 47th birthday.

Video Vault – Stan “The Lariat” Hansen

Stan Hansen is an interesting fellow. Considered by many to be one of the best overall workers in the history of the business. His runs in Texas, the AWA, a short sting in WCW, and big runs New Japan and All Japan Pro Wrestling have made him legendary.

Known to have influenced such workers as Barry Windham and John “Bradshaw” Layfield (both of which incorporated the “Lariat” into their arsenal of moves), Hansen seems to be a forgotten legend to most casual fans. I can’t blame them too much though; he was before their time.

He knew how to sell, he knew how to put together a main event caliber match, and he knew how to make everything he did look real. His punches looked like they would knock your head off, and at times they did. It was a well-known fact that Hansen was blind. I mean, not Helen Keller blind, but he couldn’t see very well. So when he’d throw out his arm for a looping right hand or a Lariat, he swung it as hard as could and made sure it connected. He would rather have knocked somebody unconscious and protected the business than have missed completely and made it look fake. This subsequently led to Hansen accidentally knocking Vader’s eye out of it’s socket in a match in Japan.
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Lineup for Sunday’s Huge NOAH Budokan Show

Thanks to for the lineup.

This promises to be one of the best shows of the year. NOAH’s on a roll right now with a change in booking philosophy, and several of it’s wrestlers being on fire.

The top three matches are ridiculously good on paper. The NOAH vs. NJPW tag will look to continue where the Tokyo Dome left off, with Go Shiosaki and Milano stepping in for Misawa and Goto respectively. The two stars of the 1/4 match, Nakamura and Sugiura, are still in place though and will no doubt be fired up every time they cross paths in this match.

Nakajima and KENTA just put on a MOTYC three weeks ago and that will be hard to top, but these crazy S.O.B’s will no doubt try. KENTA is pretty clearly the best wrestler in the world based on form in the last three months. He has never looked better and considering some of his prior years, that’s really saying something.

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