Forgotten Legends51: The Giant Baba
Standing at 6'10'' and billed as the big man of Japan's wrestling scene, The Giant Baba was as popular as the Hulk Hogan in 1984 in Japan. Along with Antonio Inoki, he helped build and popularize wrestling in Japan post Rikidozan.
He with Inoki started to train under Rikidozan and became revered when they won the NWA tag titles from Bill Watts and Tarzan. After that, he had a brief stint with WWWF losing to Buddy Rogers and Bruno Sammartino as the foreign monster heel.
He hit big time in 1972 when JWA declined after Inoki went on to start his promotion and he started his own promotion AJPW backed by Nippon TV. He created history when he became the first Japanese wrestler to hold the NWA world Heavyweight title beating Jack Brisco.
Then he did something rare, something that Hulk Hogans and Gagnes failed to do inspite of being in top position, he phased out himself promoting younger talent like Tenryu and Suruta becoming a curtain jerker voluntarily in his own promotion moving slowly and beating mid card talent losing to the main event guys. He defeated Tiger Mask taking off his mask while pushing Misawa to main event status by letting him pin Suruta cleanly who went on as Tiger Mask II.
He slowly disappeared from the wrestling scene going backstage before coming back for World's strongest Tag team with Stan Hansen before giving over to Misawa and Kobashi in final, which became his final match up succumbing to Cancer.
Having won 30 titles across Japan and US, his contributions to professional wrestling and especially that in Japan deserves legendary status, unfortunately only forgotten in the avalanche of Giant Wrestlers that followed.
Last edited by theidealstranger; 09-13-2012 at 05:22 AM.