Friday, March 1, 2024
Antonio Inoki

Antonio Inoki

Yokohama, Japan
Kanji Inoki
Height & Weight:
224 Ib

Titles Won:

  • IWGP Heavyweight Championship
  • WWWF World Martial Arts Heavyweight Championship (2 times)
  • WWE Hall of Fame (Class of 2010)

He was a Japanese professional wrestling promoter, politician, retired professional wrestler and mixed martial artist best known by the ring name Antonio Inoki. Inoki’s ring name is a homage to wrestler Antonino Rocca. Inoki converted to Islam in 1990 and took the name “Muhammad Hussain Inoki”, something he did not publicly reveal until 2012.

Inoki began his professional wrestling career in 1960, working for the Japanese Wrestling Association and became a wrestling promoter in 1972 when he founded New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) that he remained the owner of until 2005 where he sold his controlling share in the promotion to the Yuke’s video game company.

He later founded the Inoki Genome Federation. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2010. As a professional wrestler he became one of the most respected wrestlers of Japan, bolstered by his mixed martial arts match against boxer Muhammad Ali in 1976. Inoki headlined two shows in North Korea that drew 150,000 and 190,000 spectators respectively, the highest attendance in professional wrestling.

In 1989, while still an active wrestler Inoki entered Japanese politics as he was elected to the Japanese House of Councillors and as part of his first term with the House of Councillors successfully negotiated with Saddam Hussein for the release of Japanese hostages before the outbreak of the Gulf War. His first tenure in the House of Councillors ended in 1995, but he was reelected in 2013.

On October 1, 2022, it was announced that Antonio Inoki had passed away at the age of 79 from systemic transthyretin amyloidosis.

Wrestlers Trained: Akira Maeda, Bad News Allen, Brian Adams, First Tiger Mask, Hartley Jackson, Heddi Karaoui, Hiroshi Hase, Kazuyuki Fujita, Keiji Muto, Kengo Kimura, Masahiro Chono, Masanobu Kurisu, Naoya Ogawa, Nobuhiko Takada, Osamu Kido, Riki Choshu, Rocky Romero, Shinya Hashimoto, Tadao Yasuda, Tatsumi Fujinami, Tatsutoshi Goto, Victor Zangiev, Yoshiaki Fujiwara.

Other Notable Achievements: Lou Thesz Award (2004), NWA International Tag Team Championship (4 times) – with Shohei Baba, All Asia Tag Team Championship (3 times) – with Michiaki Yoshimura (2) and Kintaro Ohki (1), 11th World Big League, 1st and 2nd World Tag League (with Kantaro Hoshino and Seiji Sakaguchi), NWF Heavyweight Championship (4 times), NWA North American Tag Team Championship (Los Angeles/Japan version) – with Seiji Sakaguchi, WWF World Martial Arts Heavyweight Championship, NJPW Real World Championship

NJPW IWGP League (1984, 1986, 1987, 1988), NJPW Japan Cup Tag Team League (1986) with Yoshiaki Fujiwara, MSG League (1978–1981), MSG Tag League (1980) with Bob Backlund, MSG Tag League (1982) with Hulk Hogan, MSG Tag League (1983) with Hulk Hogan, MSG Tag League (1984) with Tatsumi Fujinami, Six Man Tag Team Cup League (1988) with Riki Choshu & Kantaro Hoshino, World League (1974, 1975), Greatest Wrestlers (Class of 2007)

NWA Texas Heavyweight Championship (1 time), NWA World Tag Team Championship (Texas version) – with Duke Keomuka, NWA North American Tag Team Championship (Los Angeles/Japan version) – with Seiji Sakaguchi, NWA United National Championship, NWA World Tag Team Championship (Mid-America version) – with Hiro Matsuda, Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum Class of 2009, Tokyo Sports 30th Anniversary Lifetime Achievement Award (1990), 50th Anniversary Lifetime Achievement Award (2010), Best Tag Team Award (1975) with Seiji Sakaguchi, Best Tag Team Award (1981) with Tatsumi Fujinami, Distinguished Service Award (1979, 1982), Lifetime Achievement Award (1989)

Match of the Year Award (1974) vs. Strong Kobayashi on March 19, Match of the Year Award (1975) vs. Billy Robinson on December 11. Match of the Year Award (1979) with Giant Baba vs. Abdullah the Butcher and Tiger Jeet Singh on August 26, Match of the Year Award (1984) vs. Riki Choshu on August 2, MVP Award (1974, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1981), Special Grand Award (1983, 1987), Technique Award (1985), UWA World Heavyweight Championship, WCW Hall of Fame (Class of 1995)