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Forgotten legends58: Antonio Inoki

1459 Views 2 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  Mike Zybyszko
Having met Rikidozan at the age of 17 going on to become his disciple along with Giant Baba, he went on to become a legendary wrestler and promoter in Japan, quite like his Dojo mate.

He initially had to wrestle under the shadow of Giant Baba but eventually defected to TPW becoming it's top star before it folded forcing him to go back to JWA where he teamed successfully with Baba winning NWA tag gold 4 times when once the infamous shoot incident happened allegedly between him an Bruno who overpowered him when Antonio tried to shoot on him.

He tried to take over the promotion back then and was fired for the same reason and he started NJPW taking on none other than Karl Gotch for his first match there. He saw his highest success when he defeated Bob Backlund for the WWF title in Japan trading it back to him in a rematch. This run however is not recognized anymore. He slowly moved out of the mainevent scene subsequently and was inducted into WWE HOF being the first Japanese wrestler to be inducted having a brief MMA career inbetween.

He had won 23 titles and tag tournaments with the likes of Giant Baba, Hogan and Backlund in their primes, starting a promotion other than trying his hand in MMA, all based on his traditional wrestling training from Rikidozan and Karl Gotch and got inducted into WCW, WWF, Wrestling Observer and Pro Wrestling hall of fames; he is a legend, albeit forgotten.
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That site has a great list of Inoki matches. The man wrestled just about everybody in pro wrestling during his time. Very few wrestlers have a winning record head to head against him, and most of those occurred when Inoki was a young jobber paying his dues. Only a few "gaijin" wrestlers have ever beaten him clean in Japan. Hogan, Vader, Thesz, and a few others have, but not many.

Inoki also got robbed that the Ali MMA match was a draw. He clearly out pointed Ali with his crab kicks. Ali had blood clots in his legs afterwards.

Inoki match that turns into a shoot.

Inoki's bitch slap that became a martial arts pop culture sensation in Japan.

MMA match with Inoki. He got criticized for the way he fought this fight, but the rules were so restrictive he really had no other option. It would have been foolish to try and stand toe to toe with Ali, but the rules wouldn't allow takedowns so Inoki's best strategy was to stay on the ground and kick the crap out of Ali's legs.

This is the infamous and legendary match where Hogan beat Inoki for the first IWGP tournament championship via knock out. There are wild conspiracies connected with this match. Some say Hogan accidentally knocked Inoki out, and some say he shot on Inoki. Other conspiracies suggest the finish was scripted by Inoki because he needed to take time off because the Yakuza were uspet with him. Who knows. Probably just a normal scripted match where Inoki was building for himself a credible challenger with Hogan who was the most over gaijin in Japanese wrestling history. Inoki would take back the IWGP crown the following year against Hogan.

Inoki's retirement match vs Don Frye.
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