A mammoth star in Japan, both in terms of success and stature, she competed around the world in the top promotion as a mega-heel.
Real Name: Keiko Nakano
Stats: 5′ 7″, 201 lbs.
Born: January 8, 1968
Bull Nakano, born Keiko Nakano on January 8, 1968, in Kawaguchi, Saitama, Japan, is a retired professional wrestler and professional golfer. She rose to prominence in the late 1980s and 1990s as one of the fiercest and most successful female wrestlers, with a career spanning multiple wrestling promotions in Japan, Mexico, and the United States. Her unique look, characterized by her colorful face paint and spiked hair, made her an unforgettable figure in the world of professional wrestling.
Nakano began her wrestling career at the young age of 15, when she joined the All Japan Women’s Pro-Wrestling (AJW) promotion in 1983. She was initially trained by the legendary female wrestler, Jaguar Yokota. Nakano quickly gained recognition for her powerful and intimidating in-ring presence, as well as her impressive array of wrestling moves.
Throughout the 1980s, Nakano developed an intense rivalry with fellow Japanese wrestler, Dump Matsumoto. Their feud reached its peak in 1985 when the two wrestlers faced off in a hair-vs-hair match, which Nakano won, forcing Matsumoto to shave her head. This victory solidified Nakano’s status as a top female wrestler in Japan and led to a successful run as a singles competitor.
In 1989, Nakano formed a tag team with partner Grizzly Iwamoto, known as “The Bull Pistols.” Together, they captured the AJW Tag Team Championships three times. Nakano’s success as a singles competitor also continued to grow, as she captured the prestigious AJW All Pacific Championship in 1989 and 1990 and the WWWA World Single Championship in 1990 and 1992.
Nakano’s talent and unique style caught the attention of international promotions. In 1991, she made her first foray into the Mexican wrestling scene, joining the Empresa Mexicana de Lucha Libre (EMLL), where she won the CMLL World Women’s Championship. Nakano’s international reputation grew further when she made her debut in the United States, signing with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in 1994.
During her time in the WWF, Nakano feuded with prominent female wrestler Alundra Blayze. The two had a series of intense matches, culminating in a memorable bout at the 1994 SummerSlam pay-per-view event. Nakano defeated Blayze to win the WWF Women’s Championship, holding the title for five months before losing it back to Blayze in early 1995.
Nakano briefly returned to Japan and captured the WWWA World Tag Team Championship alongside Kyoko Inoue in 1995. Later that year, she made her way back to the United States, this time signing with World Championship Wrestling (WCW). Nakano competed in WCW for a short period, engaging in a feud with Madusa Miceli, a rebranded Alundra Blayze, but the rivalry was cut short due to contractual issues.
In 1997, Bull Nakano announced her retirement from professional wrestling at the age of 29. She left an indelible mark on the wrestling world, becoming one of the most respected and accomplished female wrestlers of her time. Her retirement match took place on April 29, 1997, at an AJW event in Tokyo, Japan, where she faced her long-time rival and friend, Aja Kong.
After retiring from professional wrestling in 1997, Bull Nakano decided to pursue a career in professional golf. She dedicated herself to mastering the sport, eventually earning a spot on the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) of Japan Tour.
In 2006, Nakano participated in the qualifying tournaments for the LPGA Tour in the United States, although she did not manage to secure a spot on the tour. Despite this setback, she continued to compete in golf events in Japan and remained active in the sport.
In addition to her golf pursuits, Nakano occasionally made appearances at wrestling events and conventions, reconnecting with fans and former colleagues. Her contributions to the world of professional wrestling were celebrated in 2021 when she was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as part of its Legacy Wing, honoring her significant impact on the industry.
Outside of sports, Nakano has also dabbled in television, hosting a Japanese cooking show called “Bull’s Kitchen.” The show allowed her to share her passion for cooking and entertain viewers with her unique personality and charm.
Throughout her post-wrestling life, Bull Nakano has remained an icon in the wrestling world, inspiring a new generation of female wrestlers with her trailblazing career and demonstrating her versatility and determination by transitioning to a successful career in professional golf.
Frequently Asked Questions
Bull Nakano, originally named Keiko Nakano, is a retired professional wrestler and former professional golfer from Japan. Born on January 8, 1968, she gained prominence in the late 1980s and 1990s as a formidable and successful female wrestler. Nakano’s distinctive appearance, featuring colorful face paint and spiked hair, set her apart in the world of professional wrestling.
Nakano started her wrestling journey at the age of 15 when she joined the All Japan Women’s Pro-Wrestling (AJW) promotion in 1983. She received training from the legendary female wrestler, Jaguar Yokota. Her powerful presence and impressive wrestling moves quickly gained her recognition.
During the 1980s, Bull Nakano engaged in a fierce rivalry with fellow Japanese wrestler, Dump Matsumoto. Their feud culminated in a hair-vs-hair match in 1985, which Nakano won, solidifying her status as a top female wrestler. Her success continued with various championships, including the prestigious AJW All Pacific Championship and the WWWA World Single Championship.
Following her wrestling career, Bull Nakano pursued professional golf and earned a spot on the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) of Japan Tour. Despite not making it to the LPGA Tour in the United States, she remained active in golf events in Japan.
Bull Nakano’s legacy is that of an iconic figure who not only excelled in professional wrestling but also successfully transitioned into professional golf. Her trailblazing career continues to inspire new generations of female wrestlers, showcasing her versatility, determination, and impact on both sports.