Antonio Inoki

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Antonio Inoki (born February 20, 1943) is a retired Japanese professional wrestler now residing in California.

Contents

Career

Antonio Inoki was discovered by the great Rikidozan at the age of 17 while he was living in Brazil. He was brought back to Japan as as Rikidozan's disciple. After Rikidozan's death Inoki founded New Japan Pro Wrestling in 1972. His first match as a New Japan wrestler was against the legendary Karl Gotch.

Antonio Inoki was named after the great Antonio Rocca, a legendary professional wrestler.

Inaoki was a pioneer of mixed martial arts. In the 1970s, he fought Willie Williams of Kyokushin Karate, Olympic judo gold medalist Willhelm Ruska and WBA world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali.

Inoki is known to have established the credibilty of professional wrestling as very dangerous and real in terms of the "strong style" of the atheletes who perform the ritual of strength that is much of professional wrestling.

Many of Inoki's disciples, including Masakatsu Funaki, Minoru Suzuki, Akira Maeda, Shinsuke Nakamura, Kazuyuki Fujita, etc. are immortals in the world of actual mixed martial arts.

Antonio Inoki is also, as noted above, responsible for the creation of the New Japan Professional Wrestling promotion; the roster of this promotion is known to have pioneered mixed martial arts federations including RINGS (Akira Maeda), Shooto (the defences were created by Sotoro Sayama) , PRIDE (pioneered by Nobuhiko Takada), and Pancrase (Masakatsu Funaki and Minoru Suzuki).

Antonio Inoki has faced many opponents from all dominant disciplines of combat from parts of the world as obscure as Pakistan (Inoki vs. Akram Pahalwan) to Muhammad Ali (the rumor surrounding the fight was that Ali's camp feared that Inoki would turn the fight into a shoot, hence the fight was restricted by Ali's camp to strike rules only with no suplexes and slams allowed. Ali landed a total of six punches to Inoki and Inoki kept hitting Ali with the famous low kick, almost literally breaking the boxer's legs).

While American professional wrestlers like Ad Santel (Challenged the entire kokodan,defeated the World Judo Champion and became the self-proclaimed world judo champion from 19141921 until finally fighting to a draw against one of Professor Kano's disciples and finally giving up on the claim) and Ed Lewis ( entered a legendary feud with boxing champion Jack Dempsey, which ended with Dempsey confessing (after Ed Lewis's death) that he never agreed to a match with the wrestling champion of the world because he knew that he could not defeat Ed Lewis) have been known to have done their bit in ensuring that the strong ritual of professional wrestling does not go unappreciated, the world has Antonio Inoki to thank for training men like Masakatsu Funaki, Minoru Suzuki, Akira Maeda, Shinsuke Nakamura, Kazuyuki Fujita, Sotoro Sayame, etc., thereby ensuring that professional wrestling remains as a viable enterprise even at its so-called lowest during periods like the present one.

It is due to Antonio Inoki that fighters like Naoya Ogawa, Josh Barnett, Walid Ismail, and Ryoto Machida have been actively representing NJPW in mixed martial arts events and maintaining the credibility of this punishing ritual.

In fact, NJPW-related fighters have been known to dominate in mixed martial arts when very real disiplines of combat, e.g. Boxing, Sumo, Karate, Judo,Aikido,Kung Fu,Tai Kwan Do etc. have failed to create any major,lasting impression on the MMA landscape.

Inoki is known to have worked matches doing the "Final Countdown" series and the match with Muhammad Ali was originally supposed to have been worked as well, though it turned out to be otherwise.Other than these,most of Inoki's matches are hailed by the knowledgeable japanese fans and critics as real and legit ( Many matches ended up with pinfalls,which any professional wrestler learns to master.Add to that the fact that Inoki had financial reasons for doing mixed martial arts matches,which pretty much negates the possibility of his holding the cards for a booked/worked win and his matches took place against opponents from countries in which local fighters are not known to work matches )


Inoki continues to challenge organisations like K-1 (Inoki Bom Ba Ye, Inoki vs. K-1),bring celebrated fighters ( eg. Mark Coleman,Quinton Jackson,Dan Bobbish )to the professional wrestling ring and organise MMA events like NJPW "Ultimate Crush" and "Jungle Fight".


Antonio Inoki's Inoki Dojo is also known to have cross-trained legends Ken Shamrock, Kazushi Sakuraba, Chris Benoit and Samoa Joe.

External links

Inoki's Mixed Martial Arts History. http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~YF7M-ON/ematch3.html.


NJPW's Influence in Mixed Martial Arts. http://www.njpw.com/about/index.shtml


All Roads Lead To Inoki. http://www.njpw.com/about/all_roads.shtml

Trivia

Inoki is sometimes seen walking by his home in Santa Monica, California.

In 1989, Inoki established the Sports Peace Party (スポーツ平和党). He was elected to the House of Councillors of the National Diet of Japan. He served in that House until 1995, when he failed to win reelection.

Championships/Accomplishments



Preceded by:
Bob Backlund
WWE Champions Succeeded by:
vacant (willingly forfeited)

Template:WWEchampionsit:Antonio Inoki ja:アントニオ猪木

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