Here is a list of the best promotions of Japanese pro wrestling (Puroresu):
1. ALL JAPAN PRO WRESTLING
The promotion was founded in August 1972 by the great Giant Baba.
All Japan Pro Wrestling experienced its greatest success in the 1990s where it was regarded as one of the best wrestling promotions at the time.
The promotion features some of the greatest Japanese wrestlers to grace the squared circle like:
- Akira Taue
- Kenta Kobashi
- Mitsuharu Misawa
- Toshiaki Kawada
These four wrestlers were known as the four pillars of heaven.
After Giant Baba passed away in the early 2000s his heir Matoko Baba would take over the promotion.
There was a misunderstanding that cleared 24 out of the 26 wrestlers in the promotion which led to some tumultuous times for the promotion, but it would later stabilize after new investors came into the promotion.
2. PRO WRESTLING NOAH
Founded in 2000 by former All Japan pro wrestling fighter Mitsuharu Misawa after leading the mass exodus at the All-Japan pro wrestling promotion that left it with only 2 wrestlers after his move.
Ironically named “NOAH”, adopting the biblical reference to what happened at the All japan pro wrestling; NOAH would become quite popular in the mid-2000s and would adopt the structure of the inter-promotional challenges that would allow wrestlers from other promotions to be licensed to perform on the NOAH stage.
Some of the staple wrestlers in the promotion were:
- Taiji Ishimori
- Naomichi Marufuji
3. DRAGON GATE PRO WRESTLING
Also known as Toryumon Japan, it is a launchpad for most of the graduates from the Dragon Gate Dojo, and it has been regarded as one of the best Japanese promotions due to the western talent that has been produced from the dojo and also at a promotional level.
Some of those names include Ricochet, Apollo crews, and a host of other talents.
The Dragon gate pro wrestling promotion was funded on July 5th 2004 by Takashi Okumura – the promotion adopted a creative mix of Puroresu and Lucha Libre making the matches lightning-fast and the moves riskier and more interesting for the wrestling audience.
4. GATOH MOVE PRO WRESTLING
A very unorthodox promotion that went away from the traditional ring and ropes to a more inclusive approach, the promotion was founded in 2012 by Emi Sakura after she departed from the Ice ribbon.
Gatoh move matches take place in small tight spaces, and they are usually surrounded by fans which makes it quite fun for some, but not so much to wrestling fans used to the concept of the squared circle.
5. WORLD WONDER RING STARDOM
World wonder ring stardom is an amazing Joshi Puroresu promotion that has gained a lot of recognition of late, so much that it has been acquired by Bushiroad who is the parent company of the NJPW.
The promotion has gained international recognition with the caliber of wrestlers that it has provided over time like NXTs Toni Storm, Io Shirai, and Kairi Sane.
6. DDT PRO WRESTLING
If you’re looking out for some odd wrestling matches with a bit of humor and downright mind-boggling gimmicks and parodies, then DDT pro wrestling is the promotion for you.
DDT pro wrestling became famous for some not-so-wrestling reasons, like a wrestler fighting a doll and some unusual wrestling matches.
7. NEW JAPAN PRO WRESTLING
Founded by Antonio Inoki in January 1972 after breaking away from the Japanese wrestling alliance, the promotion held its first show at the Ota Ward Gymnasium and never looked backed after that.
NJPW would sign a television deal with NET TV at the time and would later go on to become of the largest Japanese Puroresu promotions with connections across several other promotions both Japanese and western