Baba established the Pacific Wrestling Federation (PWF) as the governing body for all future titles in All Japan. In the beginning the PWF recognized a world heavyweight championship and several "regional championships" given as billing to foreign stars depending from which region they came from, but after All Japan joined the NWA, the PWF world title was downgraded to a regional championship. The first PWF Chairman, who presented the belts to the winners in title bouts, was Lord James Blears. As a loyal member of the NWA, All Japan enjoyed the ability to bring in foreigners, and the NWA World Heavyweight Championship was frequently defended. When the NWA collapsed in the late 1980s, Baba distanced himself from other promoters at home and abroad, and began a system of promoting talent (both Japanese and foreign) who competed exclusively for his promotion.
With the unification of the titles in All Japan into the Triple Crown and the AJPW Unified World Tag Team Championship, as well as the promotion of talent including Jumbo Tsuruta, Genichiro Tenryu, Akira Taue, Mitsuharu Misawa, Toshiaki Kawada and Kenta Kobashi, the promotion was able to carve a loyal fanbase that lasted during the 1990s. Interpromotional matches were rare, and wrestlers who arrived from other promotions (such as Hiroshi Hase, Shigeo Okumura and Yoshihiro Takayama) were not given pushes. Massive Exodus With the death of Shohei "Giant" Baba in January 1999, top star Mitsuharu Misawa immediately inherited the position of company president. On May 28, 2000, Misawa was removed from his position by a majority vote of the executive board. At a regular All Japan board meeting on June 13, 2000, Misawa, Mitsuo Momota (co-vice president, member of directory), Kenta Kobashi (member of directory), Akira Taue (member of directory, chairman), Kenichi Oyagi (member of directory) and Yoshihiro Momota (member of directory) resigned from their board positions.
A day later (June 14), Motoko Baba released a two-page written statement, which claimed that Misawa "took no responsibility and abandoned his duty." In addition, she hinted that Toshiaki Kawada and Masanobu Fuchi would be the only two native wrestlers to stay with All Japan, as "Kawada and Fuchi have sworn to carry out Baba-san's last wish: to keep All Japan Pro Wrestling alive"; this was confirmed a day later when Kawada and Fuchi both renewed their contracts with All Japan, along with referee Kyohei Wada. On June 16 2000, 24 out of the 26 contracted native wrestlers for All Japan were led by Misawa for a press conference, where it was announced that they would be leaving the promotion; more than 100 reporters and photographers attended, and Misawa expressed his wish for the promotion to debut in August, with the Differ Ariake being the site of the unnamed promotion's debut. When asked what his reason for leaving All Japan is, Misawa claimed that it was so he could do things in a "modern style." A day later, Misawa announced the promotion's name: Pro Wrestling NOAH, which was inspired by the Biblical story where Noah built an ark and put two of every kind of animal in the world in the ark before God destroyed the world (causing it to rain for forty days and forty nights). On June 19, 2000, it was confirmed (at a press conference at All-Japan's dojo held by Toshiaki Kawada and Masanobu Fuchi) that NTV has decided to discontinue broadcasting All Japan after 27 years. However, NTV maintained their 15% stock in All Japan (as Motoko Baba held the remaining 85%), and would prevent All Japan from being put on another network. On June 20, twelve All Japan office employees resigned from their positions with the promotion, with intentions to follow Misawa to NOAH.
NTV also announced that they will carry weekly tapings of Misawa's NOAH promotion, with the title of the program being called "Colosseo." NOAH took All Japan's 30-minute timeslot on Sundays at midnight. Misawa was interviewed in Tokyo on June 21, where he announced that he and the other wrestlers leaving to form NOAH would compete on four of the sixteen shows in All Japan's Summer Action Series 2000 tour, which began on July 1. NTV also aired the final All Japan TV show on the network, which aired for 45 minutes and featured footage from Jumbo Tsuruta's funeral, the NOAH wrestlers' press conference from the 16th, Kawada's press conference from the 19th, highlights of the first ever Kawada vs. Misawa Triple Crown match from October 21, 1992 and Toshiaki Kawada and Akira Taue vs.
Yoshihiro Takayama and Takao Omori for the AJPW Double Cup Tag Team Championship from All Japan's Nippon Budokan show from June 9. On June 28, 2000, Misawa formally announced at a press conference that Pro Wrestling NOAH will debut with two consecutive shows (titled "Departure") in Differ Ariake on August 5 and 6 in Tokyo. On July 2 in the Korakuen Hall, Motoko Baba announced the unfathomable return (as Baba publicly swore that he would never be allowed back in All Japan, following a departure in 1990 to form the SWS) of Genichiro Tenryu, as he would team with Kawada to face Maunnakea Mossman and Stan Hansen on July 23 (at the final tour show). On July 20, 2000, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Takeshi Morishima, Naomichi Marufuji, Kentaro Shiga, Takeshi Rikio, Mitsuo Momota, Rusher Kimura, Haruka Eigen, Tsuyoshi Kikuchi, Kenta Kobayashi, Takao Omori, Yoshihiro Takayama, Jun Izumida, Masao Inoue, Yoshinari Ogawa, Akira Taue, Jun Akiyama and Mitsuharu Misawa competed in their last matches for All Japan Pro Wrestling at the sold-out Hakata Star Lane in Fukuoka. After the show, Steve Williams came out and shook Misawa's hand, and requested one last singles match between the two.
However, Misawa returned to the bus immediately after his match, not staying for the last two matches of the show. Every one of All Japan's titles were vacated due to the departure of the aforementioned wrestlers and title holders. Mrs. Baba appointed Hansen as the new Chairman of All Japan's Pacific Wrestling Federation title governing body, replacing Lord James Blears. Read more on Last.fm.
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