Some of you may actually know who he is...
...millions in Japan do. And today they mourn.
In a place where professional wrestling is honored as legitimate sport, one of its most influential figures has passed away. Mitsuharu Misawa, the founder and head booker of NOAH Puroresu, died Saturday night in Japan at the age of 46.
Reports say that Misawa was teaming up with Go Shiozaki against Bison Smith and Akitoshi Saito for the GHC tag team belts when a back suplex in which he landed on his head, left Misawa unconscious in the ring.
He was taken to the hospital shortly thereafter but doctors were unable to revive him as his heart stopped while in the ring.
As a fan of Puroresu, whose forum moniker is taken in part from puroresu, I am deeply saddened. The impact this has on the wrestling community is similar to that of Ric Flair dying in the ring while in Charlotte, North Carolina.
As a friend of a few workers that have had the privilege of working with Misawa, I remain the friend I have always been and vow to help them through this tragedy. No one that I know has ever had a bad thing to say about Misawa, and hold him in the highest regard. Chris was actually working there tonight and cried at his feet as they stretchered him away.
I offer a link...for me, it is still difficult to watch. The crowd...the workers...the somber emotion is unparalleled by any I've witnessed in my 20+ years as a wrestling fan...surpassing Owen's.
...Misawa...was the most decorated wrestler, from a quality of work standpoint, of all time. Of the 65 matches to earn the coveted "five star" rating by the Wrestling Observer since 1983...Misawa was involved in 24 of them.
Rest in Peace, Misawa-san. A community, a country, and a world mourns.