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Wrestling / Pro Wrestling NOAH

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Pro Wrestling Noah (stylized as Pro Wrestling NOAH) is a Japanese Professional Wrestling promotion. It came into being after All Japan Pro Wrestling owner and promoter, Shohei "Giant" Baba passed away in 1999 and its presidency was passed on to Mitsuharu Misawa, then one of AJPW's biggest stars. However, disputes with Baba's wife over the direction of the company lead to him being ousted from the position a year later. This in turn lead to Misawa leading an exodus of all but two AJPW's native roster and forming their own promotion where they have more freedom to do things they weren't allowed to in AJPW. The new company was established in 2000.

The company would become the No. 2 company in Japan, challenging New Japan Pro-Wrestling for the No. 1 spot through the earlier 2000s. During this time, NOAH built itself with matches with an existing Junior Heavyweight Championship division with the likes of KENTA and Naomichi Marufuji, and several inter-promotional matches with NJPW and later AJPW. The main event was built around the likes of Misawa, Yoshihiro Takayama, Jun Akiyama and Kenta Kobashi, putting on 5 star matches just as they had done in AJPW.

However, as the company progressed, its ageing NOAH stars were slowly starting to break down (Kobashi went out with cancer, Akiyama and Misawa were suffering from back problems), they needed to be replaced with new talent. However, every attempt to push to a new wrestler into the main event (Takeshi Rikio, Naomichi Marufuji, Takeshi Morishima) failed, and the company would soon plunge in popularity, losing their TV deal and their ability to draw huge crowds.

Due to the pressures of his failing company, Misawa would continue push himself beyond his physical capabilities. Despite suffering from several neck pains, and a knee injury that led to him becoming overweight, Misawa kept himself in the spotlight, hoping to get Go Shiozaki over, working the exact same style as the previous 25 years of his career. Sadly, on June 13, 2009 Misawa would push himself too far. During a tag team match between himself and Go Shiozaki against Bison Smith and Akitoshi Saito, after a regulation backdrop from Saito, Misawa lost consciousness. Misawa was taken to the hospital, but it was too late. Misawa was pronounced dead at the hospital. The cause of death was speculated to have been a cervical spinal cord injury, which Misawa had been carrying for the 3 previous years, that caused cardiac arrest.

With the death of Misawa, Pro Wrestling NOAH would be passed into the hands of Akira Taue. However, despite his control, the company would continue its decline, becoming a shadow of itself. It was still considered an important member of the Global Professional Wrestling Alliance despite this, though the GPWA fizzled out. In 2014, one of the faces of the company—KENTA—left for an ill-fated run in WWE.

As of the last few years, despite changing ownership, NOAH has been recovering under the stewardship of Misawa's final protege, Marufuji. Running counter to the old guard of talents like Shiozaki, Takashi Sugiura and Marufuji, a new generation of wrestlers has arisen in Kenoh, Katsuhiko Nakajima, and Kaito Kiyomiya in the heavyweight division, and the RATELS faction of Daisuke Harada, Tadasuke, YO-HEY and HAYATA dominating the junior division.

In 2020, NOAH was purchased by the Japanese digital advertising firm CyberAgent, which had purchased DDT Pro-Wrestling three years earlier. Upon the purchase, DDT executives took over NOAH's operations. Shortly thereafter, CyberAgent established CyberFight as the umbrella brand for its wrestling properties, which continue to maintain their separate identities.

This promotion contains examples of:

  • Acrofatic: Takeshi Morishima. Despite being 330lbs, he can bust out moonsaults and missle dropkicks!
  • All-American Face: Big In USA, who are a long way from being big in NOAH
  • The Apprentice: KENTA was this to Kenta Kobashi. Also Taiji Ishimori -at least symbolically, as their styles are not very similar- to KENTA.
  • Ass Kicks You: Takeshi Morishima's puts his in your face, likely after planting your ass in a seat, chair or bottom turnbuckle.
  • Author Avatar: Mitsuharu Misawa obviously. Jun Akiyama, Kenta Kobashi, Mitsuo Momota and Jado as bookers.
  • B Show: Pro Wrestling Sem was a cross between a B show and a spinoff as Naomichi Marufuji and KENTA coached young boys. Misawa said he based if off of the German westside Xtreme wrestling after wrestling there in 2005. The show lost its way and stopped happening when KENTA left.
  • Badass Boast: Shiozaki in his return in 2016 began declaring "I. AM. NOAH!". Come 2020, it's hard to say he didn't earn the right.
  • Bash Brothers: KENTA and Naomichi Marufuji. Later, KENTA and Taiji Ishimori. There was also KENTA and Maybach Taniguchi but the he betrayed KENTA after they lost the GHC Tag Titles and had introduced a new partner in Maybach Taniguchi Jr before then.
  • Bastard Understudy: KENTA to Mohammad Yone when he showed his allegiance to Yone's Disobey stable by giving Go Shiozaki, his own Tag Team partner, a chair shot. KENTA would end up ousting Yone from Disobey and renaming it No Mercy. Maybach Taniguchi to KENTA, who also showed his allegiance by betraying Go Shiozaki and doubled as a mole within No Mercy for CHAOS.
  • Biblical Motifs: Did you think this promotion was called NOAH for no reason? There is a reason they theme events around navigation and have a dove on their logo.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": Pretty much The Killer Elite Squad's Catchphrase.
  • Butt-Monkey: Rookies from the NOAH dojo tend to be, with the exception of Shuhei Taniguchi, who was the first to not lose in his debut.
  • Carry a Big Stick: MAYBACH Taniguchi's curved prong rod
  • Casualty in the Ring: Misawa's tragic in-ring death on June 13th, 2009.
  • Clothes Make the Superman:Shuhei Taniguchi claimed the Maybach ring gear transformed him into a more powerful wrestler anyway.
  • Cool Mask: Naomichi Marufuji, as part of his entrances
  • Crossover
  • Determinator: Misawa wrestled long past the point he should've been in the ring and he paid dearly for it.
  • Disco Dan: The funky afro warrior Mohammad Yone.
  • Double X: Hi 69 and Taiji Ishimori called themselves "XX" when they teamed up for the 2017 Global Tag League, as a sign that this time they were serious. They would successfully go on to win the GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Titles too.
  • Drop the Hammer: Hitoshi Kumano carries a giant mallet, ala Donkey Kong.
  • Easily-Distracted Referee: Subverted by Shuichi Nishinaga, thankfully
  • Engrish: Takeshi Morishima's finishing move, Amaze Impact, for example
  • Evil Foreigner: Team Kaos (Donovan Morgan, Michael Modest, Bison and 2 Cold Scorpio)
  • Fashionable Asymmetry: Dual Force's mask, which supposedly represents light and shadow.
  • Final Battle: For the first decade the year wrapped up with NOAHful Gift, but consistent final shows were no longer a thing in the 2010s.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Masao Inoue, a cowardly under card wrestler, was believed to have no chance against GHC Heavyweight Champion Jun Akiyama and exceeded most people's expectations getting a title shot in the first place.
  • Foreign Wrestling Heel: Samoa Joe during the Ring Of Honor events, though this is a mild case, as Joe loves Japan but Japanese people don't necessarily love him back.
  • Garbage Wrestling: Long after the trend had hit its peak and fizzled in popularity, the GHC sanctioned a hardcore championship belt in 2009. Kenta Kobashi defeated Makoto Hashi at Southern Navigation to win the belt but vacated before the year was up.
  • Gorgeous Gaijin: El Elegido from Mexico, his mask does nothing to diminish his popularity with female fans.
  • Greater-Scope Paragon: The committee that sanctions Global Honored Crown matches, although they rarely take on any disciplinary action, even when Suzuki-gun invaded and took all the GHC title belts, meaning wrestlers like Naomichi Marufuji usually have to get things in order.
  • I Know Kung Fu: It's a Japanese promotion but the Bricoes do.
  • Jerkass: Taichi and Desperado beating up the ring crew member who removes the streamers the fans throw.
  • Jerk Jock: Minoru Suzuki's so much better than you, he thinks he's just going to take his time in your GHC title match.
  • Kappa: Asian Cougar became Kappa Kozou in NOAH, the promotion's recurring water themes were too good to pass up.
  • Kid-Appeal Character: Taiji Ishimori. Besides being absolutely tiny by pro wrestling standards, he also wears lots of bright colors.
  • Licensed Game: NOAH is among the companies whose wrestlers appear in the King Of Colosseum games.
  • Lightning Bruiser: KENTA, Naomichi Marufuji.
  • Masked Luchador: Straight out of AAA, Path Finder is one of the most magnificent examples ever, golden muscle suit, draping red cape and a mask resembling the sun. Bengala also from AAA. MAYBACH Taniguchi and El Desperado are Japanese grown Luchadors.
  • New Year Has Come: And is kicked off by New Year Navigation, naturally
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Shelton Benjamin did a number on Katsuhiko Nakajima at NOAH Great Voyage 2015 but Nakajima did make a few brief comebacks. In the next match, Naomichi Marufuji apparently decided he could do better and absolutely destroyed his former Brave stablemate Atsushi Kotoge for fourteen straight minutes.
  • Old Guard Versus New Blood: Hearkening back to the Super Generation Army's war against Tsuruta-gun in AJPW in the early 1990's, a new generation of NOAH wrestlers declared war against the old guard of NOAH in 2018, bowing to Misawa as a way of asking permission.
  • Ominous Fog: Preceding several wrestler's entrances, especially Misawa's.
  • Retired Badass: Harley Race, who showed up as late as 2014 with a cane
  • Rōnin: In 2010, NOAH introduced a character named RONIN. He was not a samurai bandit, however, but a dark phantom samurai or something.
  • Spiritual Successor: To 90s AJPW.
  • Start My Own: Away from AJPW, though the organizations would later "Go to war" (as in exchange talent so they could beat each other up) with AJPW's traditional rival, NJPW
  • Super Spit: Yuji Nagata's blue justice mist made its 2015 return, though still not as powerful as that of other mist users.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Maybach SUWA, Jr. to SUWA.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Suzuki-gun ended up taking both sets of tag team and both individual Global Honored Crowns in 2015.
  • The Mole: Maybach Taniguchi was the mole in No Mercy for CHAOS when they invaded from New Japan.
  • Tournament Arc: Quite a few, including its own tag team Differ Cup separate from the DDT cross up above.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Seemingly NOAH's view on Chris Hero. He continued time and again to show up for the Global Tag League and continued to fail to win it, though he and Colt Cabana won the "best technique" award two years in a row.