Guide To The Four Pillars of Heaven In AJPW/NOAH

Hamish Woodward

With the Four Pillars of AEW taking over wrestling in the United States, it’s important to look back at the men who inspired the group – All Japan Pro Wrestling’s Four Pillars of Heaven.

The four men in the Four Pillars came up together in All Japan Pro Wrestling, being thrust into the main event and thriving together.

Whether it be teaming together or battling each other in the ring, they always guaranteed a hard-hitting, classic match the epitomized the concept of the “King’s Road” style of pro-wrestling.

Now that each of their career’s has come to an end and inspired future generations, we look back at the incredible Four Pillars of Heaven and the matches that made them the legends they are today.

Four Pillars Of Heaven

The four wrestlers who comprise the Four Pillars of Heaven are:

They were all students of Giant Baba, practicing the King’s Road style of pro-wrestling.

The style features the hard-hitting action of Strong Style, but prefers intense storytelling to realism.

King’s Road Style calls back to previous bouts and builds upon them, rewarding fans for paying attention and following the careers of their stars.

This style was known as being incredibly hard on the wrestlers, and contributed to the death of Mitsuharu Misawa in 2009.

Here is a bio for each of the Four Pillars of Heaven, including their debut, last match date and list of key accomplishments in wrestling

Akira Taue

Debut: January 2nd, 1988

Last Match: December 7th, 2012

The first of the Four Pillars is Akira Taue. The 6 foot 4, 240lb wrestler is the most underrated of the group.

He had incredible psychology in the ring, as well as being an innovator. Akira Taue was an innovator in the ring, creating various versions of The Chokeslam.

He is more known for his tag team matches than singles matches in AJPW.

Taue has been a part of some of the greatest tag team matches in AJPW’s history, with 13 five-star matches under his belt with tag team partner Toshiaki Kawada and Jumbo Tsuruta

Accomplishments:

  • Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship
  • Tag Team Championship (7)
  • Champion Carnival (2006)

Trained By:

  • Dory Funk Jr.
  • Giant Baba
  • Kazuharu Sonoda
  • Masanobu Fuchi

Kenta Kobashi

Debut: February 26, 1988

Last Match: May 11th, 2013

Despite starting his career with a 0-63 losing streak, the fiery fighting spirit of Kenta Kobashi eventually shone through.

Heralded as one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, Kobashi found success alongside Misawa, Kawada and Tsuyoshi Kikuch as a tag team wrestler, before moving into singles competition.

Kenta Kobashi then became a legendary singles star. Innovating moves like the Burning Hammer and Orange Crush, his impact on the world of wrestling is unmatched.

His biggest battle came against cancer, when he defeated the illness in 2007 for one of the most emotional wrestling returns ever.

    Accomplishments:

    • Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship (3)
    • Tag Team Championship (7)
    • GHC Heavyweight Championship

    Trained By:

    • Giant Baba

Mitsuharu Misawa

Debut: August 21, 1981

Last Match: June 13, 2009

Nothing hits better than the crowd exploding when Mitsuharu Misawa’s music blared through the speakers.

He was one of the most popular wrestlers in Japan ever, proving to be a consistent draw from the 1990s through to 2000s.

Not just content being one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, he also led the All Japan excursion and formed Pro Wrestling NOAH.

Sadly, Misawa died in the ring in 2009, passing away during a match. Tributes poured in, and his death remains a warning of the dangers of the King’s Road style of wrestling.

    Accomplishments:

    • Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship (5)
    • Tag Team Championship (6)
    • GHC Heavyweight Championship (3)
    • Founded Pro Wrestling NOAH

    Trained By:

    • Giant Baba
    • Dick Beyer
    • Dory Funk, Jr.

Toshiaki Kawada

Debut: October 4, 1982

Last Match: August 15th, 2010

Toshiaki Kawada is considered by many to be one of the best wrestlers ever (including by Eddie Kingston).

Hi matches against Mitsuharu Misawa, Jun Akiyama, and Kenta Kobashi in the 1990s are argued by many fans and experts in the industry as some of the greatest professional wrestling matches of all time.

With his martial arts-inspired offense and incredible selling, Kawada was ahead of his time and would have excelled in any era of wrestling.

He sadly retired in 2010, losing his love for wrestling following the death of his fellow Four Pillars of Heaven member Mitsuharu Misawa.

    Accomplishments:

    • Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship (5)
    • Tag Team Championship (9)
    • Champions Carnival (1994, 1997)

    Trained By:

    • Giant Baba
    • Genichiro Tenryu

Four Pillars of Heaven Best Matches

Here is a collection of the best matches involving the Four Pillars of Heaven, including links to watching these matches online for free.

What do you think about the Four Pillars of Heaven? Let me know what you think in the comments section below.

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