Antonio Inoki was best known by the ring name Antonio Inoki, a homage to fellow professional wrestler Antonino Rocca.
55 Facts About Antonio Inoki
Antonio Inoki quickly became one of the most popular stars in the history of Japanese professional wrestling.
In 1995, with Ric Flair, Antonio Inoki headlined two shows in North Korea that drew 165,000 and 190,000 spectators, the highest attendances in professional wrestling history.
Antonio Inoki wrestled his retirement match on April 4,1998 against Don Frye and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2010.
Antonio Inoki began his promoting career in 1972, when he founded New Japan Pro-Wrestling.
Antonio Inoki remained the owner of NJPW until 2005 when he sold his controlling share in the promotion to the Yuke's video game company.
In 2017, Antonio Inoki founded ISM and the following year left IGF.
Antonio Inoki was a co-founder of the karate style Kansui-ryu along with Matsubayashi-ryu master Yukio Mizutani.
In 1989, while still an active wrestler, Antonio Inoki entered politics as he was elected to the Japanese House of Councillors.
Antonio Inoki was born in an affluent family in Yokohama in 1943.
Antonio Inoki was the sixth son and the second-youngest of the seven boys and four girls.
Antonio Inoki was taught karate by an older brother while in 6th grade.
Antonio Inoki later quit and joined a track and field club as a shot putter.
Antonio Inoki eventually won the championship at the Yokohama Junior High School track and field competition.
The family fell on hard times in the post-war years, and in 1957, the 14-year-old Antonio Inoki emigrated to Brazil with his grandfather, mother, and brothers.
Antonio Inoki won regional championships in Brazil in shot put, discus throw, and javelin throw, and finally the All Brazilian championships in the shot put and discus.
Antonio Inoki met Rikidozan at the age of 17 in Brazil and went back to Japan for the Japan Pro Wrestling Alliance as his disciple.
Antonio Inoki trained in the JWA dojo under the renowned Karl Gotch, complementing further his training under amateur wrestler Isao Yoshiwara and kosen judoka Kiyotaka Otsubo.
In July 1969, when NET started broadcasting Japanese professional wrestling, Antonio Inoki was the ace of NET's Japanese professional wrestling broadcasting because Baba's match was monopolized by Nippon TV under the agreement between Japan Pro Wrestling Alliance and Nippon TV.
In 1975 he faced Lou Thesz, with Antonio Inoki taking a vicious Greco-Roman backdrop within the first seconds of the match.
In 1976, Antonio Inoki fought with Pakistani Akram Pahalwan in a special rules match.
In June 1979, Antonio Inoki wrestled Akram's countryman Zubair Jhara Pahalwan, this time in a regular match, and lost the fight in the fifth round.
On November 30,1979, Antonio Inoki defeated WWF Heavyweight Champion Bob Backlund in Tokushima, Japan, to win the championship.
Antonio Inoki refused the title on the same day, and it was declared vacant.
On March 11,2000, at a Rikidozan memorial event, Antonio Inoki was defeated by Japanese actor and singer Hideaki Takizawa; later that year during a New Year's Eve event, he wrestled Brazilian mixed martial artist Renzo Gracie to a time limit draw.
Two years later in 2007, Antonio Inoki founded a new promotion called Antonio Inoki Genome Federation.
On 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.
Antonio Inoki 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, during which he was inducted into the hall by Stan Hansen.
In October 2019, Antonio Inoki appeared at a Pro Wrestling Zero1 event at the Yasukuni Shrine, which is controversial for its relation to World War II.
Antonio Inoki subsequently retained his seat in the 1992 Japanese House of Councillors election.
Antonio Inoki failed to win re-election in the 1995 Japanese House of Councillors election following a number of scandals reported in 1994, and left politics for the next eighteen years.
On June 5,2013, Antonio Inoki announced that he would again run for a seat in the National Diet under the Japan Restoration Party ticket.
Antonio Inoki won the election to return to Japan's Upper House as an MP.
Antonio Inoki had visited on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the armistice in the Korean War, and had met with senior North Korean figure Kim Yong-nam during his visit.
Antonio Inoki was reportedly considering running for governor of Tokyo in 2014 following another visit to North Korea.
Antonio Inoki joined the splinter of the Japanese Restoration Party, Party for Japanese Kokoro, in 2014.
In September 2017, Antonio Inoki re-established his position that Japan should make more of an effort to have co-operative dialogue with North Korea, in the wake of North Korea launching ballistic missiles over Hokkaido.
Antonio Inoki was amongst the group of professional wrestlers who were tutored in the art of hooking and shooting by the professional wrestler Karl Gotch.
Antonio Inoki faced many opponents from all dominant disciplines of combat from various parts of the world, such as boxers, judoka, karateka, kung fu practitioners, sumo wrestlers, and professional wrestlers.
Ali visited a professional wrestling match involving Antonio Inoki and witnessed Antonio Inoki's grappling ability.
Antonio Inoki vs Renzo Gracie was a professional wrestling match that took place at Antonio Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2000.
Antonio Inoki was the ambassador for the International Fight League's Tokyo entry before that promotion's demise.
Antonio Inoki was married to actress Mitsuko Baisho from 1971 to 1987, and together they had a daughter, Hiroko.
In 2014, Antonio Inoki took Haroon Abid, nephew of his Pakistani rival Zubair Jhara Pahalwan, under his guardianship.
Antonio Inoki converted to Shia Islam in 1990 during a pilgrimage to Karbala, the Shiite holy city in Iraq.
Antonio Inoki was in Iraq negotiating for the release of several Japanese hostages.
On October 1,2022, at age 79, Antonio Inoki died from systemic transthyretin amyloidosis.
Antonio Inoki appears in the Japanese manga series Baki the Grappler by Keisuke Itagaki.
Under the names "Kanta Inokuma" and "Armand Inokuma", Antonio Inoki appears in the manga Rasputin the Patriot by Takashi Nagasaki and Junji Ito, a manga heavily based on the book Trap of the State written by ex-diplomat and political writer Masaru Sato.
Antonio Inoki appeared in the film The Bad News Bears Go to Japan as himself.
Gene LeBell, who appears in these scenes as a manager of Antonio Inoki's scheduled opponent, Mean Bones Beaudine, was the referee of Antonio Inoki's match with Ali.
Antonio Inoki had the starring role in the film Acacia directed by Jinsei Tsuji.
Antonio Inoki made an appearance as the guest in 2005 Doraemon episode "The Pitch-Black Pop Stars", where he wrestled Gian after he splashed ink on his face.
Antonio Inoki is the inspiration for the wrestling legend Iron Kiba, from the manga Koukou Tekkenden Tough.
In May 2021, Antonio Inoki appeared on the Vice on TV series Dark Side of the Ring in an episode covering the 1995 Collision in Korea event.