EVOLVE head booker Gabe Sapolsky just announced on Twitter that retired Japanese legend Munenori Sawa, who came out of retirement in December 2016, was returning to EVOLVE for the WWN SuperShow, Mercury Rising, held over WrestleMania weekend in New Orleans. It marks the first time Sawa has appeared on US soil since wrestling Daniel Bryan (Bryan Danielson) at EVOLVE 5 in September of 2010.
JUST ANNOUNCED!!! Munenori Sawa is back for a US only return at EVOLVE and WWN Supershow in New Orleans during Wrestlemania week! https://t.co/8yDYPx7uCX for info.
— Gabe Sapolsky (@BookItGabe) January 15, 2018
Munenori Sawa was a product of Yuki Ishikawa‘s Battlearts promotion, trained in 2002 by Ishikawa himself and debuting shortly after. Battlearts followed earlier Japanese promotions like Pancrase and Frontier Martial-arts Wrestling (FNW) in adopting more of a shoot-style MMA presentation and Sawa, like many Battlearts trainees, was also trained in MMA. Sawa wouldn’t become a full time professional wrestler until 2005, having attended UWF Snakepit Japan to further his grappling and MMA skills.
Upon devoting his full attention to professional wrestling, Sawa would split his time with Battlearts, Pro Wrestling ZERO-1 and DDT Pro, as well as exhibition matches with the likes of NJPW, Dragon Gate and All-Japan. He would travel to the United States in 2010 to work with EVOLVE, appearing on their inaugural card, EVOLVE 1, against current WWE Superstar TJ Perkins, followed by his match versus Bryan Danielson at EVOLVE 5. When Battlearts closed its doors in November of 2011, Sawa retired from professional wrestling at the age of 33.
He first got the taste of returning in early 2016, when he came out of retirement to take part in Kenji Takeshima‘s retirement night, facing Takeshima himself. That December, he would also take part in Fumihiko Uwai‘s retirement night as well. A third retirement gathering, this time for Ikuto Hidaka in ZERO-1, lead to him returning in a limited capacity, appearing several times in 2017 for DDT Pro, including DDT Pro’s 20th Anniversary Extra Edition in a Campsite Brawl.
Munenori Sawa marks the second Japanese veteran announced for the WWN SuperShow in New Orleans, following November’s announcement that Big Japan great Daisuke Sekimoto would also be appearing at the event. Also a veteran of Pro Wrestling ZERO-1, All-Japan and Pro Wrestling NOAH, this will mark Sekimoto’s first trip to the US since appearing for Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW) back in the spring of 2011.