Antonio Inoki

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[Antonio Inoki Gallery]

Title History

  •  NWA Texas Heavyweight title defeating Joe Blanchard (June 24, 1964);
  • NWA (Mid America) World Tag Team titles w/ Hiro Matsuda defeating Sam Steamboat and Eddie Graham (January 24, 1966);
  • All Asia Tag Team titles w/ Michiaki Yoshimura defeating Waldo Von Erich and Ike Eakins for vacant titles (May 26, 1967);
  • NWA (JWA) International Tag Team titles w/ Giant Baba defeating Tarzan Tyler and Bill Watts (October 31, 1967);
  • NWA (JWA) International Tag Team titles w/ Giant Baba defeating Bill Miller and Crusher for vacant titles (February 3, 1968);
  • JWA All Asia Tag Team titles w/ Kintaro Ohki defeating Tom Jones and Buster Royd for vacant titles (February 3, 1969);
  • NWA (JWA) International Tag Team titles w/ Giant Baba defeating Danny Hodge and Wilbur Snyder (February 4, 1969);
  • JWA All Asia Tag Team titles w/ Michiaki Yoshimura defeating Al Mahilik and Crusher for vacant titles (August 9, 1969);
  • NWA (JWA) International Tag Team titles w/ Giant Baba defeating Dick the Bruiser and Crusher (August 13, 1969);
  • JWA All Asia Tag Team titles w/ Michiaki Yoshimura defeating Mr. Atomic and Buddy Austin for vacant titles (October 30, 1969);
  • NWA (Los Angeles) United National Heavyweight title defeating John Tolos (March 26, 1971);
  • NWF (National Wrestling Federation) World Heavyweight title defeating Johnny Powers (December 10, 1973);
  • NWA (Los Angeles/Japan) World Tag Team titles w/ Seiji Sakaguchi defeating Karl Von Schotz and Kurt Von Hess (August 16, 1974);
  • NWF (National Wrestling Federation) Heavyweight title defeating Tiger Jeet Singh (June 26, 1975);
  • NWA (Los Angeles/Japan) World Tag Team titles w/ Seiji Sakaguchi defeating Buddy Roberts and Jerry Brown (October 2, 1975);
  • WWF Martial Arts Heavyweight title Awarded (December 18, 1978);
  • NWF (National Wrestling Federation) Heavyweight title defeating Stan Hanson (April 3, 1980);
  • UWA (Mexico) World Heavyweight title defeating Tiger Jeet Singh (April 13, 1980);
  • NWF (National Wrestling Federation) Heavyweight title defeating Stan Hanson for vacant title (April 23, 1981);
  • IWGP Heavyweight title defeating Masa Saito [Tournament] (June 12, 1987);
  • WWF Martial Arts Heavyweight title defeating Shota Chochoshivila (May 25, 1989);

Tournaments Won:

  • JWA 11th Annual League;
  • NWA 1st Tag League w/ Kantaro Hoshino;
  • NWA 2nd Tag League w/ Seiji Sakaguchi;
  • NJPW 1st Annual World League;
  • NJPW 2nd Annual World League;
  • NJPW 1st Annual MSG League;
  • NJPW 2nd Annual MSG League;
  • NJPW 3rd Annual MSG League;
  • NJPW 4th Annual MSG League;
  • NJPW IWGP League 1984;
  • NJPW IWGP League 1986;
  • NJPW Pre-Japanese Championship;
  • NJPW 1st Annual MSG Tag League w/ Bob Backlund;
  • NJPW 3rd Annual MSG Tag League w/ Hulk Hogan;
  • NJPW 4th Annual MSG Tag League w/ Hulk Hogan;
  • NJPW 5th Annual MSG Tag League w/ Tatsumi Fujinami;
  • NJPW Japan Cup Tag Team League 1986 w/ Yoshiaki Fujiwara;
  • NJPW Japan Cup Six Man Elimination Tag League 1988 w/ Riki Choshu and Kantaro Hoshino;

Career Highlights

Antonio Inoki:

  • Kanji Inoki, a japanese emigrant to Brazil, was scouted by Rikidozan in 1960, and brought to Japan to join the JWA.
  • Kanji Inoki changed his name to “Antonio” Inoki.
  • 1966: Antonio Inoki made his first attempt at breaking away from the JWA and forming his own group, Tokyo Pro-Wrestling.
  • 1967: Antonio Inoki suddenly rejoined the JWA and Tokyo Pro folded.
  • 1971: Antonio Inoki was expelled from the JWA when it as discovered that he was planning to take over the promotion.
  • Antonio Inoki subsequently formed his second group, New Japan Pro Wrestling.

New Japan Pro Wrestling:

  • 1972-89: Antonio Inoki was president of New Japan Pro Wrestling between 1972-89.
  • June 25, 1976: Antonio Inoki drew with Mohammad Ali (15 Rounds) in a “wrestler vs boxer” match.
  • ~~~Inoki spend the majority of the time on his back, using the strategy of “He can’t knock me down if I’m not up”.
  • ~~~The bout ended in a draw, 3-3. Ali’s legs took a beating from Inoki’s kicks (shown on Closed Circuit).
  • November 30, 1979: Antonio Inoki defeated Bob Backlund to win the WWWF Heavyweight title, a reign not recognised by the WWF.
  • December 1, 1979: Bob Backlund defeated Antonio Inoki to recapture the title, but not without controversy.
  • ~~~WWF Japan President Hisashi Shinma declared the match a “no-contest” because of interference from Tiger Jeet Singh.
  • ~~~Hisashi Shinma awarded the title back to Antonio Inoki, who refused to accept the championship.
  • Antonio Inoki had many mixed matches with athletes from other sports.
  • ~~~1975: Willem Ruska (judo gold medalist in the Olympic games in Munich);
  • ~~~Muhammed Ali(world boxing champion);
  • ~~~Chuck Wepner (boxer);
  • ~~~Willie Williams (world karate champion);
  • March 7, 1981: Antonio Inoki and Riki Choshu defeated Hulk Hogan and Perro Aguayo in Kisarazu, Japan.
  • June 2, 1983: Hulk Hogan defeated Antonio Inoki in a tournament final for the IWGP Heavyweight title.
  • ~~~Antonio Inoki was booked to win the match, but accidentally knocked himself out, and Hogan covered up.
  • ~~~Years later, a former New Japan referee revealed that the entire incident was staged to help stir up publicity for a rematch.
  • June 14, 1984: Antonio Inoki defeated Hulk Hogan for the IWGP Heavyweight title.
  • October 4, 1987: Antonio Inoki defeated Masa Saito (by TKO) in an “Island Death Match” [Click Here For Details].
  • ~~~Inoki and Saito were dropped on Ganryujima Island and brawled all over the island without any audience for two hours.

Retirement:

  • Antonio Inoki faced Don Frye in the final match of his professional wrestling career.
  • Antonio Inoki’s retirement from professional wrestling matches came with the staging of the “Final Countdown” series between 1994 and 1998. This was a special series in which Inoki re-lived some of his mixed martial arts matches under professional wrestling rules, as well as rematches of some of his most well known wrestling matches.
  • May 21 1995: Antonio Inoki was inducted into the WCW Hall of Fame.
  • May 1996: Antonio Inoki was inducted into the Puroresu Hall of Fame.
  • April 4, 1998: Antonio Inoki’s retirement show at the Tokyo dome had the record breaking attendance of 70,000.Antonio Inoki started the Universal Fighting-arts Organization to keep the tradition of fighting-arts.
  • Antonio Inoki was the first pro-wrestler in the world to be elected as congressman of a country.
  • Antonio Inoki was the first goverment official from western/democractic nations to have a political meeting with Fidel Castro of Cuba.
  • Antonio Inoki met with Saddam Hussein for the release of prisoners from Iraq before the Gulf War.
  • ~~~As is the traditional gift for a visiting head-of-state, Saddam gave Inoki a pair of golden swords.
  • Culminating in 2006, Antonio Inoki’s influence within New Japan declined. An example of this has been the purchase of his image by Yuke’s, who in 2005 purchased his controlling 51.5% stock in New Japan. As a result New Japan is now able to control Inoki’s appearances and the use of his image.
  • Antonio Inoki began a new promotion in 2007 called Inoki Genome Federation that competes with New Japan.
  • February 1, 2010: World Wrestling Entertainment announced on its Japanese website that Antonio Inoki would be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2010.
  • February 9, 2010: WWE held a press conference in Tokyo, Japan to officially announce the induction, making Antonio Inoki the first ever Japanese person to receive the induction.  He was presented with a Hall of Fame certificate by WWE’s Ed Wells and stated that he would be attending the WrestleMania XXVI weekend festivities, which saw him officially inducted by Stan Hansen.