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Awesome / Mitsuharu Misawa

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  • Misawa's victory over The Ace Jumbo Tsuruta on June 8, 1990, for being an instant classic and for the result being decided mid-show.
    • After unmasking during a match match in mid-May and challenging Jumbo, the AJPW fanbase began to rally around Misawa immediately. By the time of the 6/8 Budokan show (which didn't quite sell out but still drew well above average for the company at the time), this had developed to the point where Giant Baba arrived at the arena several hours before the event to "Misawa" chants from the fans outside. Between this and the sellout of Misawa's merchandise in stock, Baba made the decision to put Misawa over then and there.
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    • After this victory, AJPW sold out every event they held in Tokyo for nearly six years.
  • The ensuing feud between the Super Generation Army (Misawa, Toshiaki Kawada, Kenta Kobashi, and Tsuyoshi Kikuchi) and Tsuruta-gun (Jumbo, Akira Taue, Masanobu Fuchi, and Yoshinari Ogawa), which helped lay the foundation for the classic Four Pillars era. That is not, however, to suggest that this period was a slouch; the best of the six-man tags from this era, especially the fifty-minute April 20, 1991 AJPW Fan Appreciation Day tag with Misawa, Kawada, and Kobashi taking on Jumbo, Taue, and Fuchi, are among the best work any of these men ever did.
  • Mere weeks after injuring his shoulder mid-match (and having to work some dates in a sling, because losing both Misawa and Jumbo, who was out temporarily for what turned out to be his hepatitis, was too much for AJPW to handle), Misawa defeats Stan Hansen, who had beaten him in the finals of that year's Champion Carnival, to win the Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship on August 22, 1992. He goes on to hold it for 705 days, which is the longest reign in the title's history to this day.
    • In fact, only two world championship reigns in a major Japanese promotion have exceeded this in length since: Kobashi's 2003-5 GHC Heavyweight Championship reign (735 days), and Kazuchika Okada's fourth IWGP Heavyweight Championship reign (720 days).
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  • The final successful defense of Misawa's first Triple Crown reign, that against closest ally-turned-greatest rival Kawada on June 3, 1994, may well be the crowning achievement of not only their bodies of work, but of King's Road as a whole.
  • Misawa was ranked #2 on the PWI 500 in 1997, behind only Dean Malenko. This is the highest a Japanese wrestler would place until Okada tied it in 2016, and then topped the list the next year.
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