Japan Pro Wrestling Alliance
Nihon Puroresu Kyōkai (日本プロレス協会, Japan Pro Wrestling Alliance or Japan Wrestling Association) was the first professional wrestling promotion to be based in Japan. It operated from 1953 to 1973. Founded by Rikidōzan when he established a territory that would represent the National Wrestling Alliance in Japan. In those early days, Japanese professional wrestlers came from out of the sumo or judo ranks; former sumotori usually used their shikona (Rikidōzan, Azumafuji, Toyonobori, etc.) while former judokas usually used their real names or modifications of them (Masahiko Kimura, Michiaki Yoshimura, etc.)
After Rikidōzan’s death in 1963, the company continued to operate as the nation’s premier (and only male) wrestling circuit until challenged in the late 1960s by International Wrestling Enterprise, which featured the first major World heavyweight championship based in Japan, the IWA title. The JWA's top stars, Giant Baba and Antonio Inoki left to form their own promotions (All Japan Pro Wrestling and New Japan Pro Wrestling, respectively) in 1972. With its top drawing cards gone, the JWA was therefore out of business the following year.
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