Japan Pro-Wrestling Association
- Do not confuse this promotion with Chōshū Riki's Japan Pro-Wrestling promotion, which was spelled "Japan Puroresu" (ジャパン・プロレス) instead of "Nihon Puroresu" (日本プロレス)
Nihon Puroresu Kyōkai (日本プロレス協会, Japan Pro-Wrestling Association), commonly abbreviated as JWA by English-speaking fans, was the first premier puroresu organization. It was founded by Rikidōzan in 1953. Although several other promotions opened between 1954 and 1957, JWA either closed or merged them all by 1958.
After the death of Rikidozan in 1963/12, JWA was continued by a board of four executives: Toyonobori, Yoshinosato, Yoshimura Michiaki, and Endō Kōkichi with Tonobori as the main star. However, other three eventually decided to push Giant Baba as the next top draw. Toyonobori would later be expelled from the organization, and Yoshinosato would take over as the company president.
Toyonobori convinced the young Antonio Inoki, who was jealous with Baba's push, to join him to start a new promotion: Tokyo Pro-Wrestling. Tokyo Pro would not last long and eventually starts co-promoting with another new organization Kokusai Puroresu (IWE) before fading out. Inoki returned to JWA in 1967, and the era of the B-I Cannon (BI砲, Baba & Inoki) started.
JWA joined the National Wrestling Alliance in 1969 after two years as an associate member.
In addition to Nippon Television, which had been broadcasting the JWA cards since the beginning, NET (today's TV Asahi) also started airing a weekly program for JWA in 1969. The three parties reached to an agreement that any match involving Baba would be aired on NTV while the NET show would feature Inoki as the star of the program.
In 1971, Inoki planned a coup with Baba and some other wrestlers to take over the company management. However, Baba and others decided not to join Inoki, who found himself expelled from the company.
Inoki founded New Japan Pro-Wrestling in 1972 with his followers from JWA: Yamamoto Kotetsu, Kido Osamu, Fujinami Tatsumi, etc. Within a year, Baba also left JWA to start All Japan Pro-Wrestling with the help of Nippon Television, which cancelled JWA's weekly show. This left Ōki Kintarō and Sakaguchi Seiji as the top and second stars respectively.
Although Sakaguchi once announced the merge of JWA and New Japan, Ōki decided to keep JWA "alive" and the plan of the merge was dropped. Sakaguchi and his followers left JWA and joined New Japan. This lead NET (today's TV Asahi), which was also airing JWA's weekly show, to start airing New Japan cards instead.
With not-so-popular guys such as Ōki, Takachiho Akihisa (The Great Kabuki), Ueda Umanosuke (Mr. Itō), and Great Kojika as the main eventers but no television station airing the matches, JWA closed in 1973. Most of the wrestlers joined All Japan but some of them, including Ōki, Ueda, and Matsuoka Gentetsu, would eventually leave the company since Baba did not treat former JWA guys equally.
- Japanese Championships
- All Asia Championships - later recognized by All Japan
- NWA Championships - later recognized by All Japan
- ^ "Nihon Puroresu - Showa 45 - World Champion Series (arena program)". Dr. Mick's Showa Puroresu Research Room.