Many people thought pro-wrestling would die when Rikidōzan was killed in December, 1963. It was Giant Baba with whom JWA survived throughout the '60s. After the confilict with the JWA executives, Baba started his own All Japan Pro-Wrestling in '72 with a big support from his friends, such as The Destroyer, Bruno Sammartino, and the Funk Brothers. Baba defeated Jack Brisco on December 2nd, 1974 in Kagoshima, Japan to become the first Asian wrestler to win the NWA World Heavyweight title. Being a strong member of the NWA, All Japan was one of the hottest promotions in the world throughout '70s and '80s.
He was not only a wrestling star but also a mainstream figure in Japan. Besides the weekly wrestling program on Nippon Television Network, he was also on many quiz shows, variety programs, and commercials.
In later years, Baba was not someone who would be rated by American "smart" fans as one of the best wrestlers, but people who appreciate his achievement as both promoter and wrestler just enjoyed to see this legend stepping on the ring against his students. Only by standing on the ring, he could make the fans happy.