Japan Pro Wrestling Alliance

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Do not confuse this promotion with Riki Chōshū's Japan Pro-Wrestling promotion, which was spelled "Japan Puroresu" (ジャパンプロレス) instead of "Nihon Puroresu" (日本プロレス)
Nihon Puroresu Kyōkai
Japan Pro Wrestling Alliance
Acronym JWA
Founded 1953
Defunct April 14, 1973
Headquarters Japan
Founder(s) Rikidōzan

Nihon Puroresu Kyōkai (日本プロレス協会, Japan Pro Wrestling Alliance or Japan[ese] Wrestling Association) was the first professional wrestling promotion to be based in Japan. It operated from 1953 to 1973.

History[edit]

JWA under Rikidōzan (1953–1963)[edit]

Rikidōzan, a former rikishi (sumo wrestling practitioner) who had debuted as a Western-style professional wrestler in 1951, decided in 1953 to establish a territory that would represent the National Wrestling Alliance in Japan.

In those early days, Japanese professional wrestlers came from out of the sumo or judo ranks; former sumotori usually used their shikona (Rikidōzan, Azumafuji, Toyonobori, etc.) while former judokas usually used their real names or modifications of them (Masahiko Kimura, Michiaki Yoshimura, etc.) Rikidōzan pushed himself as the top star of the promotion, first battling other Japanese wrestlers such as Kimura and Toshio Yamaguchi, but found a strong niche in feuds with American wrestlers such as Lou Thesz, The Destroyer and Bobo Brazil. In 1957 he defeated Thesz to win the title that would be the JWA's top title thereafter, the NWA International Heavyweight Championship. As a newly found hero to the war-weary Japanese masses, Rikidōzan expanded into several business ventures. Sadly it would result in his murder at the hands of a gangster in 1963, at the peak of his fame.

JWA after Rikidōzan (1963–1973)[edit]

After Rikidōzan’s death in 1963, the company continued to operate as the nation’s premier (and only male) wrestling circuit until challenged in the late 1960s by International Wrestling Enterprise, which featured the first major World heavyweight championship based in Japan, the IWA title. The JWA's top stars, Giant Baba and Antonio Inoki left to form their own promotions (All Japan Pro Wrestling and New Japan Pro Wrestling, respectively) in 1972. With its top drawing cards gone, the JWA was therefore out of business the following year.

Championships based at JWA[edit]

Annual tournaments[edit]

World Big League[edit]

World Big League, also known as World League was a professional wrestling tournament annually held by Japanese Wrestling Association from 1959 till 1972. The 1973 edition was not held as JWA folded that year.

Wrestlers from all over the world participated in the various editions of the tournament, as it was meant since its beginning to be a world tournament. It had been one of the most important pro-wrestling tournament of its time, because it was one of the very few (and for some years after its creation the only) pro-wrestling tournaments of its time to be considered representative of the entire pro-wrestling world.

In 1970 JWA created a tag team counterpart of the World Big League, known as World Tag League.

Its prestige led Antonio Inoki and Giant Baba to create in their respective promotions, New Japan Pro Wrestling and All Japan Pro Wrestling, tournaments which were presented as the direct followers to the JWA World League. Therefore, respectively, the G1 Climax for the NJPW and the Champion Carnival for the AJPW are the indirect descendant of the original World League.

The following is a list of the winners of each edition:[1]

World Tag League[edit]

"World Tag League" redirects here. For for the New Japan Pro Wrestling promoted World Tag League, see G1 Tag League.

World Tag League, also known as NWA World Tag League was a professional wrestling tournament annually held by Japanese Wrestling Association from 1970 till 1972. The 1973 edition was not held as JWA folded that year. Wrestlers from all over the world participated in the various editions of the tournament, as it was meant to be a world tournament. It was created in 1970 as the tag team counterpart of World Big League.

Its prestige led Antonio Inoki and Giant Baba to create in their respective promotions, New Japan Pro Wrestling and All Japan Pro Wrestling, tournaments which were presented as the direct followers to the JWA World Tag League. Therefore, respectively, the G1 Tag League for the NJPW and the World's Strongest Tag Determination League for the AJPW are the indirect descendant of the original World Tag League. In fact, in 2012, NJPW renamed the G1 Tag League the World Tag League.[2]

The following is a list of the winners of each edition:[3]

Alumni[edit]

This is not an exhaustive list, as the JWA was the only Japanese promotion until 1966 and many wrestlers, both Japanese who competed for a brief time and then retired, or foreigners who came for a single tour, were booked.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]