Pro Wrestling Noah (プロレスリングノア Puroresuringu Noa?) is a major Japanese professional wrestling promotion, founded in 2000 by former All Japan Pro Wrestling ace Mitsuharu Misawa.
History In January 1999, All Japan founder and promoter Giant Baba died, leaving the company in the hands of his widow Motoko Baba as owner and Misawa as president. However, disheartened with Motoko Baba's proposed direction for the company, Misawa departed the promotion on May 28, 2000 to form a new promotion called Pro Wrestling Noah. All but two native stars (Masanobu Fuchi and Toshiaki Kawada) and two gaijin (Stan Hansen and Maunakea Mossman) followed Misawa. The promotion's name alludes to the Biblical story of Noah, in which the people and animals in the ark survive the flood and make a new beginning in the world, a story which was seen as a parallel to the wrestlers' departure from All Japan. Noah's promotional symbol, an ark with a dove holding an olive branch, refers to this.
Pro Wrestling Noah is essentially a continuation of All Japan's promotional system in the 1990s, with a slight leeway to allow wrestlers from other promotions to compete, which is something that Giant Baba had forbid. Noah also features a strong junior heavyweight division, which was something that All Japan had been relatively lacking in the 1990s due to lack of pushes for the younger stars (such as Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Kenta and Naomichi Marufuji, who quickly became Noah's junior aces).
A spinoff league called Pro Wrestling Sem was recently launched. Similar to New Japan Pro Wrestling's "Young Lions" system, it will function as a training facility for rookies, with Naomichi Marufuji and Kenta acting as the trainers. Pro Wrestling Sem is also a reference to the Biblical story of Noah, with Sem being Noah's eldest son.
On June 13, 2009, Misawa teamed with Go Shiozaki against Akitoshi Saito and Bison Smith at Hiroshima Green Arena. After taking a belly to back suplex from Saito, Misawa lost consciousness and was taken to a hospital. He was pronounced dead in the hospital at 10:10 p.m. JST due to spinal damage. On June 27, 2009, Akira Taue was named as Misawa's successor, taking over as President of Pro Wrestling Noah. Also in 2009, Noah lost their weekly television show on Nippon TV.
In 2010 Pro Wrestling Noah announced a new 'Global League tournament' comprising twelve of Noah's top heavyweight stars.
The promotion celebrated its 10th anniversary in summer 2010. They had a series of special events planned to commemorate the milestone. In March 2012, it was revealed that Noah management had ties to a Yakuza crime syndicate, which resulted in the promotion demoting General Manager Ryu Nakata and Counselor Haruka Eigen and enforcing new anti-Yakuza protocols.
On December 3, 2012, Noah released Kenta Kobashi from his contract, reportedly leading to Atsushi Aoki, Go Shiozaki, Jun Akiyama, Kotaro Suzuki and Yoshinobu Kanemaru all announcing that they were not going to re-sign with the promotion after their own contracts expired in January 2013. On December 19, Noah confirmed that the five men had indeed refused to re-sign with the promotion and would be wrestling their final matches for the promotion on December 23 and 24. The following month, all five men joined All Japan. Kobashi returned to wrestle his retirement match in a Noah ring on May 11, 2013, after which he left the promotion to take a backstage role with All Japan.
On May 12 at Noah's "New Chapter" show held at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Akira Taue announced the signings of Daisuke Harada, Mikey Nicholls and Shane Haste of The Mighty Don't Kneel (TMDK) as full-time members of the promotion. Taue also announced his retirement from in-ring competition to focus on his duties as the Chairman of the promotion and his retirement match would take place on December 7, 2013 at the Ariake Coliseum. On April 30, 2014, Noah's arguably biggest star and ace Kenta announced his resignation from the promotion.
In early 2015, NJPW wrestler Jado took over as the new head booker of Noah. On April 21, one of Noah's bigger stars, Takeshi Morishima, was forced to retire from professional wrestling due to issues with his blood.
- Global Honored Crown Heavyweight Championship
- Global Honored Crown Junior Heavyweight Championship
- Global Honored Crown Tag Team Championship
- Global Honored Crown Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship
- Global Honored Crown Openweight Hardcore Championship