Pro Wrestling NOAH Changes Logo, Retires Green Ring Apron

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Photo: NOAH

Pro Wrestling NOAH has been the silent number three promotion (although DDT Pro may be gaining ground) behind NJPW and All Japan since it was founded in 2000 by former All Japan President, former 5x AJPW Triple Crown winner and Japanese icon Mitsuharu Misawa. He would go on to win three GHC Heavyweight Championships before his tragic death in 2009. After a strong start out of the gate, a scandal over Yakuza ties in 2012 put a damper on NOAH’s momentum, and soon, their top stars began to depart.

Mitsuharu Misawa

First, it was Kenta Kobashi in late 2012, then in 2015, their next Ace, KENTA, headed to the WWE to become Hideo Itami. In 2016, NOAH was sold to Estbee, Co, Ltd. and IT Development company. But through all that turmoil, one thing remained constant – the Pro Wrestling NOAH logo and the green ring apron, a tribute to the green attire worn by founder Misawa.

Photo: NOAH

But as of this week, all that is changed, following a January buyout from LIDET Entertainment, who acquired 75% ownership. LIDET has worked in pro wrestling before, producing events for DDT’s DNA brand, AAA shows in Japan and Riki Choshu’s POWER WALL. Riki Choshu, a former 3x IWGP Heavyweight Champion and NJPW/Japan legend in his own right, is also the Chairman of the Board for LIDET. All NOAH management will be retiring immediately, except for President Yusuke Fawa. And this week we got the first look at the corporate rebranding from LIDET, as they first retired the green apron at this past weekend’s events. NOAH legend Noamichi Marufuji, a NOAH original and 3x GHC Heavyweight Champion, stated on Twitter that “(t)his mat is steeped in a lot of fierce fighting, many memories, everyone’s sweat. But we will create a new future with great scenery. Just like us, everyone should be well-carved in their hearts.” Many others shared their memories of the iconic green ring.

The next, more visible step in rebranding was changing the logo and on Tuesday night (local time, Wednesday morning EST), NOAH unveiled that as well.

The wrestling community was split down the middle. Some applauded it’s more serious approach, while some rejected it outright. Some just found some humor in its simplicity.

While on first glance, the new logo may look a tad boring or too “classic”, some fans have pointed out the subtlety of the O in particular – a red circle inside a red square forming the O – and that it represents a wrestling ring. It’s a squared circle. Either way, it’s got people talking about NOAH again, so now it’s up to the new leadership to make sure by the end of 2019 they’re talking about a rise in NOAH’s prestige on the Japanese and international scene, instead of still moaning about a new logo. They could be getting some extra firepower back, as former star KENTA has departed the WWE after nearly four years and is likely to make a return to his former home promotion.

Photo: NOAH

And while the new logo has been somewhat polarizing, the new poster released is a thing of beauty.

Photo: NOAH

 

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