R.I.P Mitsuharu Misawa 1962 - 2009
Yesterday morning I went to the US NOAH site to check out the results of the June 13th, 09 Southern Navigation show where Global Tag League winners Mitsuharu Misawa & Go Shiozaki were challenging Akitoshi Saito & Bison Smith for the GHC tag titles. I went there instead of the Green Destiny site cause that site on the puroresufan network rarely gets updated anymore. I clicked on the results and it read that the champions successfully retained their titles, with Saito going over Misawa via TKO. I thought to myself, OK, Saito is getting another undeserved rub since the last person to KO Misawa was Saito's tag partner Bison Smith during the tag league a few months back.
So I went over to the Strong Style Forums to see what everyone thought of the results, and on the main forum page I see the topic titled "MITSUHARU MISAWA PASSE...", I couldn't see the whole title cause it didn't fit in the page. I thought maybe it read "Passed Out", as in maybe he blacked out during the match and they had to halt it, leading to the TKO. I click to enter the NOAH forum and BOOM! I see the new banner at the top of the page that says "Mitsuharu Misawa - June 18, 1962 - June 13, 2009", and the full title of the thread read MITSUHARU MISAWA PASSES AWAY!!!".
Needless to say the first thing that jumped in my head was "YOU GOTTA BE F*CKING KIDDING ME!?!?!"
But unfortunately it's true. One of the truly all time great in ring performers has passed away. During the GHC tag title match, Saito gave Misawa a back suplex, which resulted in Misawa unable to respond and he appearantly had a heart attack. Latest reports say it was cervical spinal cord damage. Medics attempted to revive him in the ring, and managed to get a pulse before rushing him to the hospital. Unfortunately, all efforts to save him failed, and he was declared dead at 10:10pm. He was 46, just five days short of his 47th birthday.
It's no exageration to state that Misawa was one of THE greatest pro-wrestlers to ever lace up a pair of boots. Throughout the 90's, he was part of some of the best pro-wrestling matches on the planet, either in singles or tag team, which still win over new fans as well as inspire a new generation of wrestlers. Heck, it was the clips of his matches with Akiyama, Vader, Kawada and Hansen that you could unlock in the Sega Dreamcast Giant Gram 2000 game that made me want to seriously check out Japanese wrestling, and watching Misawa vs Kawada for the first time in the first ever full puro match on the first ever puro tape I ever bought made me a fan for life.
Misawa had been getting a lot of slack lately from many critics, myself included, on the state of Pro Wrestling NOAH as well as his matches in general. No doubt the years of wear and tear had taken a toll on his body, but he still gave all he could in his big matches and it's unfortunate that for most of us who had been following his career that it would take an incident like this to remember and appreciate how good he used to be. I've been watching a lot of his old AJPW and NOAH matches these past few days and I still find it amazing some of the things he put his body through to entertain us.
I will just end this by saying, Misawa-san, Thank you for everything. For making me a fan of Japanese pro-wrestling. For all the great matches you put your body through to entertain us. Thank you. I'm sure your re-united with Jumbo and Baba up there in heaven, and smiling down on the green ring and legacy you've left behind, and giving strength to Kobashi, Shiozaki, and the rest of the NOAH roster to move on. Arigato, and sayonara, Misawa-san.
June 18, 1962 - June 13, 2009
Rest in Peace.