Destroy All Monsters: Takeshi Morishima Unretires, Returning to NOAH

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Takeshi Morishima

Former 3x GHC Heavyweight Champion and Ring of Honor World Champion Takeshi Morishima quietly retired from pro wrestling in 2015 after a near 20 year career that began in 1998. Reportedly for physical health issues (abnormally high glycated hemoglobin and potentially diabetes), he never even got a retirement match before his departure from Pro Wrestling NOAH, where he’s been wrestling since 2000. But in an interview with Yahoo Sports Japan on Tuesday, he stated he was returning to pro wrestling after a three year hiatus, which was made official at Riki Choshu‘s show yesterday where he was announced to return at Pro Wrestling NOAH GENESIS on October 15 at Korakuen Hall.

During his interview with Yahoo Japan, Morishima stated that the physical issues weren’t the reason he retired, but in fact it was more due to with his mental state at the time. “Actually the disease was not the real reason. I was barely in a good mental state as well as a physical one,” he told Yahoo (translation via The NOAH Resource). “I have left a hole, and even now people are concerned about me. After leaving wrestling I worked as a clerk in a pizza store, as a bartender, a security guard for concert venues in Tokyo. I did this for two years away from wrestling. Last summer, I was asked to coach a local indie organization, at that time my dormant passion for pro-wrestling was rekindled.

Photo: NOAH

“While teaching the basics, I thought “What has happened to me”? So after a while, All Japan came to Gifu and I bought a ticket and went to see them. That is when I understood that I was hungry for professional wrestling. I was not in a position to go to the waiting room, and ask to see Jun Akiyama and greet him, but I wanted to thank him. I didn’t need time to think about a return. I trained again, and my weight fell to 110 (from 170) and then went back to 125. I told the backers about my intention to return, and Mr. Yuhiro Takeda (46) of the company who sponsors the Choshu Box Office said, “you want to set up a card suitable for your return with a singles match”. I was given the opportunity to announce it at the Choshu show. I don’t know what the future will bring, it may fall apart with the come back match, afterwards I think the future will be visible for the first time.”

Photo: NOAH

As well as being a 3x GHC Heavyweight Champion (the top singles title in NOAH), he was also a noted tag team specialist, winning the GHC Tag Team titles five times, as well as the AAA World Tag Team titles with Taiji Ishimori in 2010. He also won the World League Wrestling (WLW) Championship on two occasions, with the promotion run by NWA Legend Harley Race in Missouri.

“The Japanese Monster”, who stands 6’3″ and is over 280 lbs, is a student of Japanese icons Mitsuharu Misawa (5x All Japan Triple Crown & 3x GHC Champion) and Akira Taue (Triple Crown Champion, GHC Champion, 7x All Japan Tag Team Champion), and began his career in All Japan in 1998, before heading to NOAH in 2000. In 2007, he started a 2-year run in Ring of Honor, defeating Homicide for the ROH World Championship, which he held for 231 days. He lost it at the end of 2007 to Nigel McGuinness. In 2008, he actually wrestled two matches for the WWE, victories of Jamie Noble and Charlie Haas, but both were dark matches in Illinois prior to episodes of Raw and SmackdownWith NOAH working on an alliance with WWE, it may afford Morishima another WWE opportunity, one that may finally make the air.

Photo: ROH

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