On May 16, 2014 in the United States, USA’s second attempt of Japan’s most famous movie monster will be released. Since Godzilla is a famous Japanese Movie Monster, I decide to look at some WWE wrestlers who hail from Japan. While Japan has a huge history in wrestling, I’m only going to look at those who compete in the World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment. While his character was billed from Japan, Yokozuna is actually a Samoan wrestler, so he won’t be on this.
Let’s start off with Yoshihiro Asai better known as the Ultimo Dragon. Ultimo Dragon was born in Nagoya, Aichi, Japan. Ultimo Dragon made his WWE debut in 2003 on Smackdown in a victory against Shannon Moore. He won many championships in his career but never in the WWE. He did participate in the Cruiserweight Open at Wrestlemania 20. Ultimo Dragon started off the match with Shannon Moore, which Ultimo Dragon was victorious. But Ultimo Dragon would be eliminate by the next entrant, Jamie Noble. Chavo Guerrero won the match.
Kaientai was a Japanese faction during the Attitude Era. Consisting of manager, Yamaguchi-san, his wife Mrs. Yamaguchi-san, Dick Togo, Mens Teioh and Funaki. Following a feud with Val Venis, Taka Michinoku, who was an ally of Val Venis, would turn on Val Venis and join Kaientai. Funaki and Taka Michinoku would wrestle as a tag team after the others left the WWE. Taka Michinoku is a former WWF Light Heavyweight Champion. Taka Michinoku was born in Morioka, Iwate (Iwate is the 2nd largest prefecture of Japan). His finishing move the Michinoku driver is not named after him but Masa Michinoku (the Great Sasuke). Funaki is a former WWE Cruiserweight and Hardcore Champion. Funaki was born in Tokyo, Japan. He’s also was known as “Smackdown’s #1 Announcer.”
While making a name for himself in the states in ECW, Tajiri joined the WWE after ECW went out of business. Tajiri was born in Tamana, Kumamoto, Japan. Tajiri was one of the few ECW orignals who did not join the Alliance during the Alliance Angle. He would stay “loyal” to WWF. Tajiri would win the WCW United States Championship in WWF. He is a former WWF Light Heavyweight and a 3-time Cruiserweight Champion. He is also a 2 time WWE Tag Team Champion, winning one with William Regal and the other with Eddie Guerrero. Tajiri is also the innovator of the Tarantula move.
Now let’s talk about Kenzo Suzuki. Kenzo Suzuki was born in Hekinan, Aichi (a prefecture of Japan). He was going to debut as Hirohito, but I guess they realized World War 2 was over. He instead debuted with his real name and his real wife, Hiroko. Hiroko was born in Aichi, Japan. Kenzo Suzuki is a one-time WWE Champion with Rene Dupree.
Current WWE Superstar, Yoshi Tatsu, was born in Gifu, Gifu, Japan. Yoshi Tatsu started out on the ECW Brand in 2009. In 2011, he would be drafted to Smackdown. He currently wrestles mostly on NXT. He’s never won a championship in the WWE. His biggest highlight in his career is probably at Wrestlemania XXVI. He would win the dark match battle royal.
Masashi Ozawa wrestled in WWF in the 1980s. Known as Killer Khan, he was born in Tsubame, Niigata, Japan. His most famous feud was with Andre the Giant. Even “breaking” Andre the Giant’s ankle in a match. This lead to them eventually having a Mongolian Stretcher Match. The first stretcher match in WWE history.
No list would be complete without Antonio Inoki. Antonio Inoki was born in Yokohama, Japan. On November 30, 1979, in Tokushima, Japan, Antonio Inoki defeated Bob Backlund for the WWF Championship (now known as the WWE Championship). A week later, in Tokushima Japan, again, Backlund and Inoki would have a rematch which ended in a no contest. Antonio Inoki would vacate the championship following the match. Bob Backlund won win the title back in a match against Bobby Duncum. Antonio Inoki’s reign is not recognized by the WWE. Antonio Inoki is also a 2-time WWWF World Martial Arts Heavyweight Champion. In 2010, Antonio Inoki would be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Ok, ok now here’s the plan.
I tried to think of WWE wrestlers from Japan.
I wanted to name all that I could.
I hope I didn’t miss someone who was really good.
Did these wrestlers make you say Wow?
Ok, I’m going to go see Godzilla now.