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MOTOKO BABA, LONGTIME ALL JAPAN PRO WRESTLING PROMOTER & OWNER, PASSES AWAY

By Mike Johnson & Paul Jordan on 2018-04-23 09:53:00

Yahoo! Japan reported that the former All Japan President and owner, the former wife of the late Shohei "Giant" Baba, Motoko Baba passed away on Saturday. She reportedly had issues with her liver dating back to last year.  Baba was 78 years old at the time of her passing.

From the early 1970s until the passing of Giant Baba in 1999, the two were the promoters and managers of All Japan Pro Wrestling, which many consider the last bastion of the type of old school professional wrestling popularized by the National Wrestling Alliance in the territory era.  The promotion was built around legitimate, clean finishes and hard-hitting wrestling that inspired generations that saw and studied it, opening the door for names like Mitsuharu Misawa, Kenta Kobashi, Toshiaki Kawada, Masa Fuchi, Jun Akiyama and many more to create their own legacy with stellar matches and performances.

While Shohei Baba always maintained a public face in public and was seen as the kindly promoter, his wife was responsible for handling any negative news or any business that might rub talents the wrong way, similar to the role Jim Ross and JJ Dillon held under Vince McMahon, but with far more power.  While her husband was universally loved and respected, Mrs. Baba was very much feared in that talents did not want to be on her bad side because that would easily lead to a diminished role or the end of their run with the company.  If she liked you, you were golden within the company.

After Giant Baba's passing, she continued to run All Japan, even surviving a mass exodus of talent that saw the late Mitsuharu Misawa take 95% of the roster with him when he created Pro Wrestling NOAH.  Baba eventually sold All Japan off in 2002, with Keiji "Great Muta" Mutoh overtaking her as the head of the company.    

On behalf of everyone associated with PWInsider.com, we'd like to express our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Motoko Baba, who leaves behind an incredible legacy as one of the most important women in the history of professional wrestling.

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