Forgotten Legends61: Mitsuharu Misawa/Tiger Mask II
The Tiger mask name is usually and always more renowned than his real name, esp. outside of Japan. While some guys are deemed legends for longevity of their careers and others for the championships they have held and in some cases for their abilities, very few guys have managed to be legendary in most if not all of the criteria incl. putting top matches (read 5 star). He is one of those elite few.
Having a amateur background and having been trained by Giant Baba, Dory Funk Jr. and Dick Beyer, he broke out in AJPW as Tiger Mask II when AJPW bought the rights for the character and handed it over to him. After 5 years of Junior heavyweight accomplishments, he ascended to heavyweights where he became legendary. He fought a few matches for AWA/NWA titles before a knee injury took him out. He came back and what a come back it was, he fought Bret Hart for a time limit draw in a AJPW/NJPW/WWF supershow post which Giant Baba starting moving him up the card and made him the superstar of AJPW and he lost the mask pretty quick during a tag match, intentionally.
He then beat Japan's superstar wrestler Tsuruta in AJPW main event which became a turning point for both him and his promotion post which he challenged AJPW triple crown heavyweight champion Stan Hansen going toe to toe before losing to him. He fought for it again but lost it to Tsuruta this time but went on to win world tag titles. In 1992, he got the much eluded Heavyweight title from Hansen which he would go on to win 5 times. He went on to dominate AJPW throughout the 90s becoming a inaugural member of Wrestling Observer HOF.
He left AJPW once Giant Baba was no more and went on to form Pro Wrestling Noah where he won titles and defended them against the likes of Samoa Joe. He is renowned for having a wide variety of moves in his move set, winning over 20 titles in AJPW and PWN and putting over 24(not a typo) 5* matches and 10 match of the year.
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