ECW legend Masato Tanaka has returned to Pro Wrestling NOAH following a lengthy absence from the Japanese promotion.
Tanaka returned on NOAH’s first card of the year, New Sunrise 2021, which was a mystery card with no matches announced ahead of time.
The former ECW World Heavyweight Champion appeared in the show’s main event, joining the M’s Alliance stable to battle current GHC Heavyweight champion Go Shiozaki, Kaito Kiyomiya and Hiroshi Hase in a six man tag team match.
Though on the losing side, Tanaka’s return to NOAH will add further weight to the M’s Alliance faction, which also includes Naomichi Marafuji and Keiji Mutoh, the latter of whom will be challenging for Shiozaki’s title in February, at the promotion’s return to Budokan Hall.
However, Tanaka’s new choice of friendship group is likely to rub his former tag team partner, and leader of the rival Suguira-Gun faction, Takashi Suguira, the wrong way.
The pair, who together had previously held the GHC Tag Team Championships and won the company’s Global Tag League on two separate occasions, will likely find themselves on opposite sides of a NOAH ring in the not too distant future.
— 田中将斗(Masato Tanaka)2022年4月10日両国国技館大会 (@masato_dangan01) January 4, 2021
Tanaka, for his part, had an incredible 2020, winning DDT Pro Wrestling’s K-OD Openweight Title in March and posting a series of sterling title defences before dropping the belt to current champion Tetsuya Endo in June.
Now 47 years of age, the legendary grappler most famous for his chaotic brawls with Mike Awesome, split the latter half of the year between All Japan Pro Wrestling and Pro Wrestling ZERO1.