Sunday, June 14, 2009

Legendary pro wrestler dies in ring

Legendary pro wrestler Mitsuharu Misawa, who was regarded as one of the best workers of all-time, was declared dead at 10:10 p.m. Saturday night at a Hiroshima hospital.

Misawa, who would have turned 47 on June 18, died from an apparent heart attack after taking a back suplex in a tag team title match.

Update: According to The Wrestling Observer and YAHOO! Sports' Dave Meltezer, Misawa, was teaming with Go Shiozaki in a match challenging Bison Smith & Akitoshi Saito for the GHC tag team championship in Hiroshima.

Misawa was given the backdrop at about 8:45 p.m. Japanese time and knocked unconscious.

They were about 27 minutes into the match when the referee immediately stopped things. Eye witness reports say Saito's back suplex was "routine" but Misawa never got up.

Attendants attempted to revive Misawa in the ring using CPR but he began turning purple and was rushed to the hospital.

According to Meltzer, Misawa's heart stopped beating in the ring although it is being reported in Japan that he passed at the hospital.

A Japanese high school national wrestling champion at 187 pounds in 1980, Misawa and was recruited by the legendary Shohei "Giant" Baba into All Japan Pro Wrestling. He was Japan's biggest pro wrestling star of the 90s, and was named Wrestler of the Year by The Wrestling Observer in 1995, 1997 and 1999.

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