By Zach Arnold | July 4, 2009
Today at Differ Ariake in Tokyo, a public memorial was held in tribute to Mitsuharu Misawa who died in Hiroshima on June 13th. The memorial ceremony was styled in a similar fashion to Giant Baba’s memorial ceremony in February of 1999 at Nippon Budokan. A super-large portrait picture of Mitsuharu Misawa wearing the GHC Heavyweight title belt was placed alongside row after row of flower bouquets. The NOAH green ring was set-up in the middle of the arena, surrounded by tables with flowers surrounding the ring. The event was a two-part ceremony (first part for the wrestlers, second part for the fans). Asahi Shimbun reported that fans started lining up for the event yesterday (Friday) at 4 PM. Conservative estimates were that 10,000 fans showed up, but the number being floated around as the day-long memorial service took place was more along the lines of 25,000 fans. An estimated 28,000 fans attendended Giant Baba’s memorial ceremony 10 years ago.
Virtually every big name imaginable in the business showed up to the service to pay their respects. Akebono received the most Japanese media attention. Masa Chono, Yuji Nagata, Kensuke Sasaki & Akira Hokuto, Riki Choshu, Tatsumi Fujinami, and many other wrestlers were in attendance.
Kazuo Tokumitsu handled a lot of the talking at the ceremony. There was a ten-count gong, then Misawa’s “Spartan X” theme song played, then a ring call was done for a final time introducing him coming to the red corner at 250 pounds, then his name announced. (Think back to what was done at the Tokyo Dome in 1999 for Giant Baba’s final ring call.)