Puroresu (プロレス) is the popular term for the predominant style or genre of professional wrestling that has developed in Japan. The term comes from the Japanese pronunciation of “professional wrestling” (プロフェッショナル・レスリング), which is shortened to puroresu (“purofesshonaru resuringu”). The term became popular among English-speaking fans due to Hisaharu Tanabe’s activities in the online Usenet community. Growing out of origins in the traditional American style of wrestling, it has become an entity in itself. Despite the similarity to its American counterpart in that the outcome of the matches remains predetermined, Japanese pro wrestling is distinct in its psychology and presentation of the sport. It is treated as a legitimate fight, with fewer theatrics; the stories told in Japanese matches are about a fighter’s spirit and perseverance. In strong style, the style most typically associated with puroresu, full contact martial arts strikes and shoot submission holds are implemented.
Throughout the years, a number of promotions have opened and closed, but a few have persisted to remain the most popular and thriving companies: New Japan Pro Wrestling is currently considered by many as the top promotion with All Japan Pro Wrestling and Pro Wrestling Noah as viable competition. Japan also has countless shows on what is considered the independent circuit, which still see great success despite their inability to compete with bigger promotions.