Antonino Rocca -

Antonino “Argentina” Rocca stands as a paramount figure within the annals of professional wrestling, heralding an era of innovation and spearheading the domain of “high-flying” grapplers. Beyond his groundbreaking wrestling technique, Rocca emerges as an unrivaled box office draw, securing his position as the preeminent attraction of his time. At the pinnacle of his celebrity, “Argentina” Rocca transcends the confines of wrestling to become a universally recognizable sporting icon. Antonino, also acknowledged as Antonio, plays a pivotal role in the surge of wrestling’s popularity spurred by the advent of television, standing as a quintessential figure of the “Golden Age,” inspiring generations of wrestlers.

Real Name: Antonino Biasetton
Stats: 6′ 0″, 224 lbs.
Born: April 13, 1921


Early Life

Born Antonino Biasetton on April 13, 1921, in Treviso, Veneto, Italy, Rocca found himself living in the midst of a post-World War I village in recovery. Years later, his family moved to Rosario, a city in the province of Santa zFe in Argentina. As a young man, he was considered very talented in both soccer and rugby and starred in rugby for Rosario University before graduating in 1949 with a degree in electrical engineering.


He was purportedly trained by the great Polish legend Stanislaus Zbyszko, and because of his athletic prowess, he eventually came to the attention of Karl Nowina, a promoter in Buenos Aires, debuting in 1942. in 1945, nimble, agile, and acrobatic, he came under the eye of wrestler Kola Kwariani who once wrestled against Jim Londos in front of more than 80,000 fans in Greece. While Kwariani would become his booking agent years later, it was Nick Ellitch, a Yugoslavian-born wrestler popular in the 1930s and 1940s, who coaxed Rocca to journey to the United States. He arrived in 1948 under the moniker “Argentina” Rocca and began working in Galveston, Texas, and on August 6, 1948, in Houston, Texas he defeated Dizzy Davis for the NWA Texas Heavyweight Championship. He held the belt for six months and then recaptured it later that year. His regional title put him on the map, and the young wrestler was soon taking on some of the top men in the business, including Kwariani, Angelo Savoldi, and the great Lou Thesz, whom he wrestled several times for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
By now, Kwariani was booking him throughout the Texas area, but the word of his showmanship put him in the focus of Joseph “Toots” Month, the powerful Northeastern promoter who was looking to pack the fabled Madison Square Garden. Mondt became his exclusive promoter but did loan him out to other promoters on occasion. The exposure to performing in New York City caused him to become a national sensation.
Rocca was unlike any performer before him, at least nationally. He demonstrated incredible high-flying maneuvers, from flying dropkicks to victory rolls to a version of the modern-day hurricanrana. Crowds were dazzled and packed auditoriums to see him.
While contemporaries often cast Rocca as a marquee attraction but an average wrestler, he defied the mold. Not just an exhilarating entertainer for his era, Rocca illuminated the prospect that a wrestler can infuse humor while commanding respect. The wrestling world was dominated at the time by brawling tough men or technical wrestlers specializing in submission holds. Rocca, instead, was an aerial specialist, wrestling only in his bare feet. “I was poor,” he once said. “I didn’t have enough money to buy shoes. I wrestled barefoot. By being barefoot, I get a better grip on an opponent and have better balance.” A signature spectacle involved him slapping an opponent’s visage, using bare feet to administer a humiliating flurry instead of hands. Beyond entertainment, this maneuver and his exceptional dropkick epitomized his extraordinary balance and coordination. He also originated the Argentine Backbreaker (similar to a modern-day torture rack). Additionally, Rocca expertly entangled adversaries in “pretzel holds,” eliciting delight from his legions of fans.
Mondt introduced him to Vince McMahon, Sr., who ran the Northeaster territory his Capitol Wrestling Corporation. While arenas in major cities like Washington, DC, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia were major stages for Capitol’s performers, Madison Square Garden was indeed the Mecca of venues. Rocca, with roots in both Italy and Argentina, appealed greatly to the ethnic population in the New York/New Jersey area. “I am their hero,” he once said of the city’s Spanish-speaking population. “Poor people identify with me,” Rocca said. “I wrestle, and I beat a bad, bad man, and they are glad.” He was presented as a blue-collar hero, pitted against heelish opponents such as Buddy Rogers, Gene Stanlee, Dr. Jerry Graham, and Dick the Bruiser. The latter two opponents were so villainous that in a tag-team matchup on November 19th, 1957, Rocca caused the Bruiser to submit while in the Argentina Backbreaker hold. As Rocca and his tag team partner began celebrating in front of the largely Puerto Rican crowd, Graham punched him in the face, causing him to bleed. An infuriated Rocca grabbed the larger man and began bashing his head against the ring post, opening up a cut on Graham’s forehead that turned him into a bloody mess.
Hundreds of fans rushed the ring, and Graham and the Bruiser had to legitimately fight for their lives. Eventually, seeing the dangerous nature of the situation, Rocca and Carpentier had to fend off many of the fans to protect their opponents.  With the crowd having tasted blood, more than 60 members of the New York City police department had to wade into the melee. Finally, Rocca had to get on the public address system and plead for calm before Graham and the Bruiser could be led to safety. The fans lifted Rocca onto their shoulders and carried him through his adoring fans.

Rocca Being Carried by Fans at Madison Square Garden.

So frightening was the riot that had taken place that the four participating wrestlers had to appear at a hearing in front of the New York Athletic Commission, where they were fined $2,600. It was estimated that more than 500 fans had been involved, and the four were suspended until the fine had been paid. In the aftermath, there were calls to ban professional wrestling in the state of New York, but instead, it was decided that children under the age of 14 would be banned from attending matches, a ban which lasted for 20 years.

Antonino Rocca, Eduoard Carpentier, Dick the Bruiser and Jerry Graham Attend the 1957 the New York State Athletic Commission Hearing.

 Notwithstanding his prominence and tenure at its zenith, Rocca gained only a few championships during his career. More than this being an indictment of his capability to carry the title belt, it was more of an indication that his popularity and drawing power were not dependent on a belt. Nonetheless, he carried the belt for several promotions, including the old American Wrestling Association (Ohio) World Heavyweight Championship in 1953 and the Montreal World Heavyweight Champion in 1954. Furthermore, he held belts with his frequent tag team partner, Miguel Perez, including the Capital Sports’ version of the NWA World Tag Team Championship in 1957 and the World Wrestling Council North American Tag Team Championship on September 11, 1976.
His partnership with Perez made for a lucrative run within in the New York market. Perez was Puerto Rican and helped to draw from the strong ethnic fan base that Rocca had already tapped into. From 1957 to 1960, the tandem headlined Madison Square Garden 28 times, battling the likes of The Grahams, the Fabulous Kangaroos, the  Tolos Brothers, and Johnny Valentine and The Sheik.


As a show stopper everywhere he went, Rocca was in high demand from promoters, fans, and other wrestlers. From his earliest days, where he worked in main events with Lou Thesz and Verne Gagne, he would match up against the biggest names in the sport over the years, including Johnny Valentin, “Classy” Freddie Blassie, Jerry Graham, Dick the Bruiser, Buddy Rogers, Karl Gotch, Gorilla Monsoon and  Killer Kowalski.


In late 1959 or early 1 960, promoter Jack Pfefer brought in Kwariani and Rocca to help him run the Madison Square Garden wrestling booking office as McMahon was pushed aside. They met with great early success as Rooca drew a Garden-record 21,950 fans for a singles match against a wrestler named “The Amazing Zuma.” Subsequent matches also drew well, but eventually, business soured as Rocca began to show his age.
McMahon fought his way back in and took control of the MSG wrestling office. He decided to go in a different direction as he featured showman Buddy Rogers as his champion and brought in Pittsburgh strongman Bruno Sammartino as his new ethnic drawing card. Relegated to third in the pecking order, Rocca left Capitol Wrestling and branched out, booking himself in territories through his company, “the World Booking Agency,” and ran a competing promotion based at the Sunnyside Arena in Queens, New York, and supported by Jim Crockett. 
While he succeeded in this endeavor (including booking some acts at the 1964 World’s Fair), Rocca suffered financial losses due to bad investments. Lou Thesz recalled in his autobiography “Hooker” that “The picture crystallized when I unearthed Rocca’s deal with the New York cabal (Vincent J. McMahon, Toots Mondt, and Kola Kwariani), which secured Rocca a 25% stake. Given that the enterprise’s finances pivot primarily on Rocca’s bookings, his partners claim 75% of his earnings.” He was forced to take on some side jobs (often working as a security guard). He still tried to wrestle in the Ohio and upstate New York territories but saw his career wind down until he decided to retire in 1969. But like most wrestlers, he couldn’t stay away from the ring, wrestling in California in June 1972 and a reunion tag team match alongside Miguel Perez in Puerto Rico in October 1976. His final foray in the sport came when he rejoined Capitol Wrestling (now known as the World-Wide Wrestling Federation), working as an announcer for McMahon’s television shows.

Personal Life

Antonino was married twice, the second time to Joyce. He had three children: Natella, Eric, and Antonino Jr.
His popularity extended beyond his work in the ring. He was very active with local charities and was noted for visiting sick children in local New York hospitals. He participated in community events, supported local businesses, and gave speeches to youth groups. His popularity extended beyond New York, however, as he appeared on national tv shows and even appeared on the cover of the August 1962 edition of the Superman comic book, where he through the Man of Steel out of the ring in a charity exhibition match.
At one point, Rocca had his legs insured for $250,000 and earned $100,000 a year for a while. He carried himself as a star and was an impeccable dresser. He often slept more than 12 hours a day and, occasionally, for as much as 30 straight hours before a match. He bragged that he would live to be 100. “And why not,” he once said: “Next to good blood circulation, the secret of life is rest. I expect to live to be at least 100.”


Antonino Rocca -


After experiencing severe abdominal pain, Rocca checked himself into Roosevelt Hospital in New York. He passed away two weeks later due to a urinary infection on March 15, 1977, at the age of 55.

Awards & Titles

Antonini Rocca remains a distinguished member of the WWE Hall of Fame (1995), the Stampede Wrestling Hall of Fame (1995), the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame (1996), and the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum (2003). In recognition of his impact on Latin fans, Rocca was inducted into the Hispanic Heritage Hall of Fame in 2000, cementing his legacy as a true icon of Latin culture.


 Antonino Rocca’s legacy in the world of professional wrestling is a profound one. He was not only one of the most talented wrestlers of his era but also helped redefine the sport itself, pushing the boundaries of what was possible in the ring and inspiring countless wrestlers who came after him. Vincent J. McMahon said of him, “Next to Milton Berle, Rocca sold more TVs in the country than anyone else. He was wrestling on five different TV stations at that time. There was never a more likableand more personable fellow in sports. There was nothing phony about Tony.”


  1. History of Wrestling. “Antonino Rocca.” Available at:
  2. Wikipedia contributors. “Antonino Rocca.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Available at:
  3. Classic Wrestling Articles. “Antonino Rocca Dies At 49.” Available at:
  4. WWE. “Antonino Rocca.” Available at:
  5. CageMatch. “Antonino Rocca.” Available at:
  6. Pro Wrestling Stories. “The Night Wrestling Erupted into a Riot at Madison Square Garden.” Available at:
  7. Project WWF. “Profile: Antonino ‘Argentina’ Rocca.” Posted on April 5, 2021. Available at:

Frequently Asked Questions

Antonino Rocca, also known as “Argentina,” was a transformative figure in the world of professional wrestling. He was acclaimed for his innovative, high-flying wrestling style and was a significant box office draw. Outside of wrestling, he became a universally recognized sports icon.

Born on April 13, 1921, in Treviso, Italy, as Antonino Biasetton, Rocca grew up during the post-WWI era. His family moved to Rosario, Argentina, where he excelled in soccer and rugby. He graduated from Rosario University in 1949 with a degree in electrical engineering.

Rocca was renowned for his high-flying maneuvers and was an aerial specialist. Unlike many of his contemporaries, he wrestled barefoot. He was known for moves like the Argentine Backbreaker and was applauded for his extraordinary balance and coordination.

Yes, he had major matchups against stars like Lou Thesz, Buddy Rogers, Jerry Graham, Dick the Bruiser, and many others.

Rocca retired initially in 1969 but made occasional appearances later on. He finally left the ring and joined Capitol Wrestling (later the World-Wide Wrestling Federation) as an announcer.

Rocca is remembered for redefining wrestling with his unique style. He is inducted into several Halls of Fame, including WWE and the Hispanic Heritage Hall of Fame. Vincent J. McMahon once said that Rocca, along with Milton Berle, sold more TVs than anyone else during his time.

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Andre the Giant -

Andre the Giant -

Embarking on a journey through the wrestling world
, one name stands tall, casting an imposing shadow that few could ever hope to eclipse – Andre the Giant. A titan not only in stature but in impact, Andre’s story is interwoven with the very fabric of professional wrestling lore. From humble beginnings in France to the electrifying arenas of global wrestling, this blog post aims to delve deep into the life, the myth, and the legend that is Andre, painting a portrait of the man who truly became the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” Join us as we step into the ring with a giant.

Real Name: André René Roussimoff
Stats: 6′ 11″ 450 lbs.
Born: April 24, 1916

Early Life

Born in the picturesque village of Molien, France, on May 19, 1946, André René Roussimoff was the third of five siblings in a hardworking farming family. As a child, André’s extraordinary size, a result of a rare condition called acromegaly, quickly distinguished him from his peers. Despite facing ridicule and bullying, he maintained a gentle demeanor and found solace in the rural life, assisting his family on the farm and developing an affinity for the outdoors. Young André’s life took an unexpected turn when a local wrestling promoter discovered him at the age of 18. Enthralled by the world of professional wrestling, André seized the opportunity and embarked on a journey that would eventually lead him to become the legendary André the Giant, a global phenomenon who would capture the hearts of millions.



Recognizing his potential, the promoter introduced him to the world of professional wrestling, where André’s extraordinary size and strength would prove to be valuable assets. Initially wrestling under the name “Géant Ferré” in France, André honed his skills and gained experience in the ring. His impressive performances caught the attention of wrestling promoters across Europe, and he soon started competing in the United Kingdom, Germany, and other European countries. During this period, he adopted the name “Monster Roussimoff” and built a reputation as a formidable and captivating wrestler.

In 1971, André traveled to North America to further his wrestling career. He worked primarily in Canada, wrestling for the Montreal-based Grand Prix Wrestling and the Vancouver-based All-Star Wrestling promotions. During this time, he first used the moniker “André the Giant,” which would become synonymous with his legendary wrestling persona.

André’s remarkable size and his natural athleticism and charisma made him an instant sensation in the wrestling world. In 1973, he signed with the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF), later known as the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), and now WWE. This marked the beginning of his rise to superstardom, as he quickly became one of the most beloved and iconic wrestlers in the history of the company.

André the Giant’s early wrestling career was filled with significant matches that showcased his incredible size, strength, and skill. He worked in France and all over Europe before journeying to the United States. His first significant matches in North America took place in the early 1970s, primarily in Canada. He wrestled for Montreal-based Grand Prix Wrestling and Vancouver-based All-Star Wrestling, where he first used the moniker “André the Giant.” Some of his early feuds in Canada were against notable wrestlers like Don Leo Jonathan, Killer Kowalski, and Gilles “The Fish” Poisson. These wrestlers were considered large for their size at the time, so Andre towering over them, it allowed his size to make up for his lack of experience to the fascinated crowds. 

André the Giant’s debut in the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF) in 1973 marked a pivotal moment in his career. His first match was against Buddy Wolfe, where André showcased his immense size and skill, defeating Wolfe in a dominant performance. He then feuded with Black Gordman and Great Goliath. Because of his inexperience, Andre would be showcased mostly as a novelty in these early years. While his size was a tremendous drawing card for him, it put promoters in a bind because it would seem impossible for regular-sized wrestlers to defeat him. Therefore, the prospect of him reigning as a title-holder became a double-edged sword for each promotion. How could you hope to draw fans expecting a competitive match for the title between an average-sized wrestler and an opponent that weighs almost twice as much as him. As a result, Andre was used mostly as a novelty, never challenging for a title reign. Instead, he often traveled from territory to territory, staying fresh in the eyes of the public, thus not allowing them to become bored by his dominance. Over this period of time, Andre enjoyed a prolonged winning streak (which was estimated at over 15 years).

He toured the world as his own traveling one-man show, boosting sales in each territory his visited. Billed as a giant, he became a favorite of children in each city he visited. He had a great business relationship with Vince McMahon, Sr. and the WWWF for a while served as his home wrestling base. But other wrestling promoters across the United States would often contact McMahon and ask him to loan the Giant to their struggling promotion for a short-term boost in sales. This helped these promotions but also helped McMahon and Andre because it prevented him from becoming stale in the Northeastern United States.

Andre the Giant -

Andre would also take part in tours of other countries where crowds were not used to seeing a man of his massive size competing against their usual wrestlers. In addition to his early tours across Europe and North America, he also toured Japan during his early wrestling career, competing for promotions like New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) and All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW). These tours allowed him to experience Japan’s unique wrestling styles and traditions, further expanding his in-ring abilities and international appeal. He would eventually maintain a continuous worldwide tour, competing in countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, and various countries in Africa and the Middle East. These tours helped solidify André’s status as an international wrestling icon and further increased his fan base.

 In 1984, Andre signed an exclusive contract with the WWF (although he was allowed to wrestle on occasion with NJPW). He began to feud with Big John Studd that year over the claim of who was the “true giant” of professional wrestling. The two would culminate the feud in a match at Wrestlemania I on March 31, 1985, held at Madison Square Garden in New York City. He and Studd engaged in a “Bodyslam Challenge” in which the first man to bodyslam the other would win a $15,000.00 prize. Andre slammed Studd to the audience’s delight and then proceeded to throw the prize money into the crowd until Bobby “the Brain” Heenan snatched the bag of money away.

The following year, Andre began to suffer from the effects of the advancing deterioration from acromegaly, the disease that had spurred his enormous growth. In the midst of a feud with Studd and King Kong Bundy, he requested a leave of absence from the promotion. His absence was explained by his suspension for failing to attend a match. When he eventually returned, he did so under a mask where he wrestled as the “Giant Machine. Eventually, Andre would shed the mask and return as himself. He was thereafter reinstated by the promotion, curiously with the approval of Heenan.

In early 1987, on an episode of Roddy Piper’s “Piper’s Pit,” Hulk Hogan was being honored for holding the WWF World title for three years. Andre was on hand and “heartily” shook Hogan’s hand. A week later, Andre was honored with a smaller trophy for being “the only undefeated wrestler in wrestling history.”. Hogan came to reciprocated and congratulated Andre but big-footed him, drawing the attention to himself. Annoyed, Andre walked off, leaving Hogan standing awkwardly, applauding. A week later, on February 7, 1987, Andre appeared on Piper’s Pit to clear the air with Hogan. When Andre arrived, he was accompanied by his new manager, Bobby Heenan. Andre remained quiet while Heenan accused Hogan of ducking the Giant. A stunned Hogan tried to reason with Hogan, but a challenge was issued to Hogan for a match at Wrestlemania III. To put a personal stamp on his challenge, Andre snatched a crucifix off of Hogan’s neck, drawing blood from his chest.

Andre the Giant -

Andre Facing Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania III.

Wrestlemania III was the most important event in the history of the WWF, and the promotion’s very existence depended on its success. The match between Hogan and Andre was set for the main event. While it was also remembered for the tremendous match between “Macho Man” Randy Savage and Ricky “the Dragon” Steamboat, the event was most remembered for the battle between “the Hulkster” and “the Giant.”

As the promotion was wanted to do, it exaggerated the attendance (93,173, when in reality it was estimated around 78,500) as well as Hogan and Andre’s height and weight (Hogan at 6′ 9″, 302 lbs and Andre at 7′ 4″, 520 lbs.). In a back-and-forth match, dominated by Andre, ogan made his patented comeback, “Hulking Up” and body-slamming the Giant before securing the pinfall. WWF announcers proclaimed this to be the first time that Andre has ever been body-slammed. In reality Andre had been slammed numerous times over the years, notably by Stan Hansen in Japan and even by Hogan himself.

Andre stepped away from the promotion to tend to the pain caused by his disease. He returned, howeever, when the WWF came up with an angle where the “Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase set his sights on obtained the WWF title belt. He hired Andre to win it for him. On the Main Event, to air 5 February 5, 1988 of NBC’s Saturday Night Main Event, Andre defeated Hogan with the help of Earl Hebner (who snuck in to referee the match after his twin brother Earl had been kidnapped by DiBiase). Andre immediately sold the belt to DiBiase, and the title was declared vacant soon thereafter.



Andre continued to wrestle over the years, but his health continued to deteriorate. He wrestled in the United States and Mexico but chose Japan for his final match on  December 4, 1992, where he teamed with Giant Baba and Rusher Kimura to defeat Haruka Eigen, Masanobu Fuchi, and Motoshi Okuma.

Even outside of the squared ring, Andre chose to entertain his fans. His size made him a unique character in Hollywood. Starred as Sasquatch in an episode of the Six Million Dollar Man in 1976, followed by episodes of B.J. and the Bear, the Fall Guy, and the Great American Hero. After appearing as a youth in a french boxing movie, he appeared in the Arnold Scwarzeneggar epic Conan the Destroyer, followed by a role in Harold and Maude. His theatrical highlight, however, was his appearance as Fezzik in the Rob Reiner-directed classic the Princess Bride. He received rave reviews and was heartened by the respectful treatment by the cast and crew.


Andre the Giant is the inaugural inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame in 1993. Additionally, he’s been honored with inductions into the Stampede Wrestling Hall of Fame (1995), Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame (1996), Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum (2002), and the Canadian Wrestling Hall of Fame (2016).


Personal Life

André the Giant’s personal life was marked by both extraordinary experiences and challenges stemming from his immense size and unique position as a global wrestling icon. While much of his life was spent in the public eye, several aspects of his personal life are worth discussing. His extraordinary size resulted from acromegaly, a rare hormonal disorder that causes an overproduction of growth hormones. This condition led to numerous health issues throughout his life, including chronic back and joint pain and difficulties with mobility. Despite the challenges posed by his condition, André maintained a positive attitude and continued to perform in the wrestling ring for many years.

Born into a humble French farming family as the third of five siblings. He maintained a strong connection to his family throughout his life, often returning to France to visit them when he wasn’t touring or competing. Although André never married, he had one daughter, Robin Christensen-Roussimoff, who was born in 1979. The two never had a real relationship as she saw him only five times in his lifetime. 

Despite his immense size, André deeply appreciated fine food and was known to be a connoisseur of French cuisine and wine. His fondness for alcohol was legendary. He was alleged to have once consumed 119 12-US-fluid-ounce  beers in a six-hour period, and he once told TV host David Letterman that he once drank 117 beers. A documentary about his life explained that because of his immense size, doctors struggled to measure the amount of anesthesia to use for his surgery in 1987. Doctors made an educated guess after Andre allegedly told them ““It usually takes two liters of vodka just to make me feel warm inside.”

Andre owned a ranch in Ellerbe, North Carolina, looked after by two of his close friends. When he was not on the road, he loved spending time at the ranch, where he tended to his cattle and played with his dogs.



Andre the Giant died at age 46 of congestive heart failure and an apparent heart attack in his sleep ina hotel rrom in Paris. He was in Paris to attend the funeral of his father. He was cremated and his ashes were scattered on his ranch. He left his estate to his daughter Robin.



In the annals of professional wrestling, Andre the Giant looms larger than life, not only for his astounding physical stature but also for his indelible impact on the sport. An emblematic figure, Andre’s journey from rural France to the pinnacle of wrestling stardom epitomizes the global allure of the squared circle. Dubbed the “Eighth Wonder of the World,” his unmatched in-ring prowess and his innate ability to captivate audiences worldwide solidified his position as a transcendent icon, ensuring that his legacy would forever be etched in the pantheon of wrestling greats.

Frequently Asked Questions

Andre the Giant, also known as André René Roussimoff, was a professional wrestler known for his impressive stature and significant impact on the wrestling world. He was often referred to as the “Eighth Wonder of the World” and is intertwined with the very fabric of professional wrestling lore. He was born on May 19, 1946, in Molien, France.

Born in the picturesque village of Molien, France, André was the third of five siblings in a farming family. He had a rare condition called acromegaly which caused his extraordinary size. Despite facing challenges and bullying, André was kind-hearted and enjoyed rural life. At the age of 18, he was discovered by a local wrestling promoter, marking the start of his legendary wrestling career.

Andre began his career in France under the name “Géant Ferré” and later adopted the name “Monster Roussimoff” while wrestling in Europe. He moved to North America in 1971, eventually adopting the name “André the Giant.” In 1973, he joined the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF), which later became WWF and now WWE. Andre toured worldwide, wrestling in various countries and became an international wrestling icon. One of his most notable matches was against Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania III.

As Andre’s health declined, he chose Japan for his final wrestling match in 1992. Outside of wrestling, Andre was involved in entertainment. He had roles in several TV shows and movies, with his most iconic role being Fezzik in the film “The Princess Bride.” He was also inducted into several Hall of Fames, including the WWE Hall of Fame in 1993.

Andre’s size was a result of acromegaly, a condition leading to an overproduction of growth hormones. This brought about various health issues, including chronic back and joint pain and mobility problems. Despite these challenges, he maintained a positive spirit. He was also known for his love for French cuisine, wine, and notably, his exceptional alcohol consumption capabilities, once claiming to drink 117 beers in a sitting.

Besides wrestling, Andre ventured into Hollywood. He starred in episodes of various TV shows like “The Six Million Dollar Man,” “B.J. and the Bear,” “The Fall Guy,” and “The Great American Hero.” Additionally, he appeared in films, with his most memorable role being Fezzik in the classic film “The Princess Bride.”

Andre had acromegaly, which caused his significant size and related health issues. He was the third of five siblings in a French farming family. He had a daughter named Robin Christensen-Roussimoff, though they didn’t share a close relationship. Andre was also known for his love of fine food, wine, and his legendary alcohol consumption. He owned a ranch in Ellerbe, North Carolina, where he spent time when not touring.

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Crush Gals -

Crush Gals -


The Crush Gals, consisting of Chigusa Nagayo and Lioness Asuka, achieved tremendous success in the world of professional wrestling, particularly in the 1980s. Their success can be attributed to several factors, including their in-ring ability, charisma, marketability, and the quality of their matches and rivalries.

Both Chigusa Nagayo and Lioness Asuka were incredibly talented wrestlers with distinct in-ring styles. Nagayo was known for her fighting spirit and relentless offense, while Asuka showcased her athleticism and technical prowess. Their complementary styles allowed them to deliver exciting, dynamic matches that captivated audiences.

The Crush Gals possessed a natural charisma that resonated with fans. Their distinctive personalities, looks, and in-ring presence helped them stand out from other tag teams of their era. They connected with fans on a deeper level, becoming role models for young women and gaining a loyal following.

Beyond their in-ring accomplishments, The Crush Gals capitalized on their popularity by branching out into other forms of media. They released pop albums and appeared on television shows, which further enhanced their marketability and broadened their fan base. Their crossover appeal helped elevate the profile of women’s professional wrestling in Japan and beyond.

Crush Gals - wrestlingbiographies.comThe Crush Gals participated in numerous memorable matches and rivalries during their careers, facing off against top teams like The Jumping Bomb Angels and The Glamour Girls. These intense, hard-hitting bouts showcased the best of women’s wrestling and solidified The Crush Gals’ reputation as one of the most formidable tag teams in the history of the sport.

The success of The Crush Gals played a significant role in elevating the status of women’s professional wrestling. Their popularity and influence helped pave the way for future generations of female wrestlers and contributed to the growth of women’s wrestling in Japan and around the world.

The success of The Crush Gals can be attributed to their exceptional in-ring abilities, charisma, marketability, and the high-quality matches and rivalries they participated in. Their impact on the world of women’s wrestling is still felt today, as they inspired countless future wrestlers and contributed to the growth and development of the sport.


  1. “Chigusa Nagayo.” Wikipedia –

  2. “Lioness Asuka.” Wikipedia –

  3. Scott’s Blog of Doom! “Joshi Spotlight: The Crush Gals.” –

  4. Last Word on Sports. “Legends Of AJW: The Crush Gals –

  5. TV Tropes. “Crush Gals.” –

Frequently Asked Questions

The Crush Gals were a legendary tag team in professional wrestling, comprised of Chigusa Nagayo and Lioness Asuka. They achieved immense success, especially during the 1980s.

Several factors contributed to their success. Their exceptional in-ring abilities, charismatic personalities, marketability, and involvement in high-quality matches and rivalries all played a role.

Chigusa Nagayo was known for her fighting spirit and relentless offense, while Lioness Asuka showcased her athleticism and technical prowess. Their distinct styles complemented each other well.

They engaged in memorable matches and rivalries against teams like The Jumping Bomb Angels and The Glamour Girls. These intense bouts showcased their wrestling prowess.

Their influence is still felt today, as they continue to inspire new generations of wrestlers. They played a pivotal role in shaping the world of women’s wrestling.

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Lioness Asuka -

Lioness Asuka

by admin


She was one half of the Crush Gals, perhaps the greatest female tag team of all time, but she is hailed for her individual brilliance and her huge impact on the sport of professional wrestling.

Real Name: Tomoko Kitamura
Stats: 5′ 7″ 170 lbs.
Born: July 28, 1963

Early Life

Lioness Asuka, born as Tomoko Kitamura on July 28, 1963, in Kanagawa, Japan, was drawn to professional wrestling early in her life. Although detailed information about her childhood is limited, it is known that she trained at the All Japan Women’s Pro-Wrestling (AJW) dojo.

Asuka made her professional wrestling debut on June 28, 1980, at just 16 years old, competing against Chigusa Nagayo, who would later become her tag team partner. They formed the highly successful tag team known as The Crush Gals. During her time at the AJW dojo, she was trained by notable wrestlers, including the legendary Jaguar Yokota.

Asuka quickly gained recognition for her high-flying moves, strong strikes, and technical skills, which helped her establish a reputation as one of Japan’s most talented female wrestlers. Throughout her early career, she participated in various singles and tag team matches, accumulating experience and solidifying her status in the wrestling world.

Early Training

Lioness Asuka received her training at the All Japan Women’s Pro-Wrestling (AJW) dojo, which was known for producing many of Japan’s top female wrestlers. The dojo provided a rigorous training environment for aspiring wrestlers to learn the fundamentals, master techniques, and develop their in-ring abilities.

One of Asuka’s most notable trainers during her time at the AJW dojo was the legendary Jaguar Yokota. Yokota was a highly accomplished wrestler in her own right and was renowned for her technical prowess, aerial maneuvers, and innovative moves. As a trainer, Yokota played a significant role in shaping Asuka’s wrestling style and honing her skills.

Under the tutelage of Yokota and other experienced wrestlers at the AJW dojo, Asuka refined her striking abilities, grappling skills, and high-flying moves. This intensive training prepared her for a successful career in the professional wrestling world, ultimately leading to her becoming one of the most talented and respected female wrestlers in Japan.


Lioness Asuka’s early career began when she made her professional wrestling debut on June 28, 1980, at the age of 16. She faced Chigusa Nagayo, who would later become her tag team partner in the iconic duo known as The Crush Gals.

In the early stages of her career, Asuka competed in both singles and tag team matches, rapidly gaining experience and honing her skills. Her athletic ability, high-flying moves, and strong striking skills helped her stand out as a promising talent in the world of Japanese women’s wrestling.

As she continued to develop her skills and reputation, Asuka began to capture titles and accolades. In 1981, she won her first championship, the AJW Junior Championship. This early success marked the beginning of her rise to prominence in the Japanese wrestling scene.

The turning point in her early career came when she formed the tag team The Crush Gals with Chigusa Nagayo. The duo quickly gained popularity due to their charisma, in-ring chemistry, and exceptional wrestling abilities. The Crush Gals became a major draw for the All Japan Women’s Pro-Wrestling promotion throughout the 1980s. They held the WWWA World Tag Team Championship multiple times, engaging in memorable feuds with other prominent tag teams like The Jumping Bomb Angels (Noriyo Tateno and Itsuki Yamazaki) and The Glamour Girls (Leilani Kai and Judy Martin).

Crush Gals -

Asuka abd and Chigusa Nagayo


During her career, Lioness Asuka had several rivalries that helped shape her legacy in professional wrestling. Some of the most notable rivalries include:

The Crush Gals vs. The Jumping Bomb Angels:

The Crush Gals (Lioness Asuka and Chigusa Nagayo) had an intense rivalry with The Jumping Bomb Angels (Noriyo Tateno and Itsuki Yamazaki). The two tag teams faced off in numerous matches throughout the 1980s, competing for the prestigious WWWA World Tag Team Championship. These matches showcased the incredible athleticism and skill of all four wrestlers and helped elevate women’s wrestling in Japan.

The Crush Gals vs. The Glamour Girls:

Another prominent rivalry in Lioness Asuka’s career was against The Glamour Girls (Leilani Kai and Judy Martin). The Glamour Girls, an American tag team, competed against The Crush Gals in the late 1980s for the WWWA World Tag Team Championship. The matches between these two teams featured a clash of styles and cultures, with The Crush Gals representing Japanese wrestling and The Glamour Girls representing American wrestling. This rivalry helped to further solidify Asuka’s status as a top-tier wrestler in the international wrestling scene.

Lioness Asuka vs. Chigusa Nagayo:

Although Lioness Asuka and Chigusa Nagayo were tag team partners as The Crush Gals, they also had a rivalry as singles competitors. The two wrestlers faced each other in several high-profile matches, often competing for singles championships. This friendly rivalry between Asuka and Nagayo added depth to their partnership and showcased their individual abilities as top wrestlers.

These rivalries played a significant role in shaping Lioness Asuka’s career and contributed to her becoming a prominent figure in the world of professional wrestling. The intense matches and memorable feuds with her rivals helped to elevate both Asuka and the entire Japanese women’s wrestling scene.


Private Life

There is limited information available about Lioness Asuka’s personal life, as she has maintained a relatively private life outside the ring. It is known that her real name is Tomoko Kitamura, and she was born on July 28, 1963, in Kanagawa, Japan.

Outside of wrestling, Asuka has occasionally appeared in Japanese media, including television shows and movies. For example, she appeared in the Japanese movie “Kessen! Minami no Shima de Supponpon” (1990) alongside other professional wrestlers.

Awards & Titles

Throughout her illustrious career, Lioness Asuka has won numerous championships and accolades. While it is difficult to list every single achievement, some of her most notable awards and accomplishments include:

AJW Junior Championship:

Asuka won her first championship in 1981 when she captured the AJW Junior Championship, an early indication of her rising success in the world of professional wrestling.

WWWA World Tag Team Championship:

As one half of the iconic tag team The Crush Gals, Lioness Asuka and Chigusa Nagayo won the WWWA World Tag Team Championship multiple times, solidifying their status as one of the most successful and popular tag teams in Japanese women’s wrestling history.

WWWA World Single Championship:

Lioness Asuka also achieved significant success as a singles competitor, winning the prestigious WWWA World Single Championship on several occasions. This title win showcased her prowess and skill as an individual wrestler.

AJW All Pacific Championship:

Asuka captured the AJW All Pacific Championship, further establishing her as one of the top female wrestlers in Japan.

Tag Team of the Year (1985):

As part of The Crush Gals, Lioness Asuka and Chigusa Nagayo were awarded Tag Team of the Year in 1985 by the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. This accolade recognized their impact on the wrestling world and their exceptional in-ring performances.

Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame (Class of 1997):

Lioness Asuka -

In recognition of her contributions to the wrestling industry, Lioness Asuka was inducted into the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame in 1997, cementing her legacy as one of the most influential and accomplished female wrestlers of all time.

These awards and accolades highlight Lioness Asuka’s remarkable career and her impact on the world of professional wrestling.



Lioness Asuka officially retired from professional wrestling on April 29, 2005. She held a retirement ceremony at the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan, where her final match took place. In her retirement match, Asuka teamed up with her longtime partner Chigusa Nagayo as The Crush Gals, facing the team of Aja Kong and Amazing Kong.

The retirement event was a celebration of Asuka’s long and successful career, and it included several notable wrestlers from the Japanese wrestling scene. The match itself was a fitting conclusion to her in-ring career, as she was able to share the ring with her legendary tag team partner one last time.

After retiring from active competition, Asuka remained involved in the wrestling industry, primarily focusing on training and mentoring the next generation of wrestlers. She also made occasional appearances at wrestling events and conventions, engaging with fans and maintaining her connection to the world of professional wrestling.Retirement


  1. Wikipedia :”Lioness Asuka.” –

  2. Wikiwand Editors. “Lioness Asuka.” –

  3. Pro Wrestling Fandom. “Lioness Asuka.”-

  4. CAGEMATCH – The Internet Wrestling Database. “Lioness Asuka.”-

Frequently Asked Questions

Lioness Asuka, whose real name is Tomoko Kitamura, was a renowned professional wrestler from Japan. She gained fame as one half of the legendary tag team “The Crush Gals” and made significant contributions to women’s wrestling both as a tag team wrestler and as a singles competitor.

She began her wrestling journey at a young age, debuting in professional wrestling on June 28, 1980, at just 16 years old. Her debut match was against Chigusa Nagayo, who later became her tag team partner in The Crush Gals.

Lioness Asuka achieved numerous accomplishments, including winning the AJW Junior Championship in 1981, capturing the WWWA World Tag Team Championship multiple times as part of The Crush Gals, and securing the prestigious WWWA World Single Championship on several occasions.

Lioness Asuka had intense rivalries that helped shape her legacy. Notable ones include:

  • The Crush Gals vs. The Jumping Bomb Angels: Intense matches against the Jumping Bomb Angels elevated women’s wrestling in Japan.
  • The Crush Gals vs. The Glamour Girls: The rivalry showcased a clash of styles between Japanese and American wrestling.
  • Lioness Asuka vs. Chigusa Nagayo: Their friendly rivalry as singles competitors added depth to their partnership.

Lioness Asuka’s impact on women’s wrestling was immense. Her technical prowess, high-flying moves, and charismatic presence helped elevate the sport. She played a significant role in popularizing women’s wrestling and leaving a lasting legacy in the industry.

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Jim Londos -

Jim Londos -

He is considered by many the greatest wrestling draw in the history of the sport. His good looks and charisma combined with his technical proficiency, led him to multiple world championships and worldwide acclaim.

Jim Londos
Real Name:
Christos Theofilou
Stats: 5′ 8″ 200 lbs.
Born: 1897


Early Life

Jim Londos, was born Christos Theofilou in 1897 in Argos, Greece, the youngest of 13 children.. Londos immigrated to the United States at the age of 13 and settled in California, where he began working various jobs, including as a bellhop and a strongman in a carnival.

Before Londos began his formal training, he was exposed to wrestling through his job as a strongman in a carnival. This experience likely sparked his interest in pursuing a career in professional wrestling and allowed him to learn the sport’s fundamentals.

Early Training

To hone his skills, Londos sought out training from well-known wrestlers in the early 20th century. Two of his early trainers were Tom Draak and Ad Santel, both experienced grapplers with successful careers in the sport. Under their guidance, Londos developed his wrestling abilities and learned various techniques that would serve him well throughout his career.

Londos’ training primarily focused on catch wrestling and amateur wrestling techniques, which were popular styles during his era. Catch wrestling is a submission-based style emphasizing grappling, while amateur wrestling focuses on takedowns and controlling opponents on the mat. Londos’ training in these styles helped him develop a strong foundation in technical wrestling, which would become one of his trademarks in the ring.

In addition to learning wrestling techniques, Londos’ training also involved rigorous physical conditioning to develop his strength, stamina, and agility. This conditioning was crucial to his success as a wrestler, allowing him to compete at a high level and endure the physical demands of professional wrestling.


He made his professional wrestling debut in 1916, using the ring name “The Wrestling Plasterer” due to his day job as a plasterer. He initially struggled to gain a foothold in the wrestling world, often wrestling in smaller promotions and working his way up the ranks. During the 1920s, he began competing in more prominent wrestling organizations and started to make a name for himself. Londos adopted a clean-cut, All-American persona, which resonated with fans and helped him stand out among his peers.

By the late 1920s and early 1930s, Londos had accumulated an impressive winning streak, defeating several well-known wrestlers of the time. This success boosted his popularity, and he quickly became one of the top draws in the sport.

He won his first recognized World Heavyweight Championship by defeating Dick Shikat for the National Wrestling Association world title on June 6, 1930 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He would hold that title for 1,847 days. This victory cemented Londos’ status as a top wrestler and helped elevate him to superstar status. His in-ring ability and charisma captured the imagination of fans and laid the foundation for his legendary status within the wrestling world.
During his reign, he defended his title against a wide range of challengers, including some of the biggest names in wrestling at the time, such as Ed “Strangler” Lewis, Ray Steele, Bronko Nagurski, Shikat, and Joe Stecher.

Jim Londos - Strangler Lewis -

Londos vs Ed “Strangler” Lewis at Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL

Londos’ championship reigns contributed to his drawing power and influence within the wrestling world. As a reigning champion, Londos became a major box-office attraction, often drawing large crowds to his matches. His popularity helped to increase the overall visibility and popularity of professional wrestling during the 1930s and 1940s. In one appearance in his home country of Greece, Londos was alleged to have drawn a crowd as large as 100,000 people.


As Londos’ career began to wind down in the late 1940s, he gradually started reducing the number of matches he participated in. This allowed him to slowly transition into retirement, providing a smooth exit from the physically demanding world of professional wrestling.

Londos was known for being a private individual when it came to his personal life. In 1939, shortly before his retirement, he married Arva C. Rochwite, an aviatrix from St. Louis, Missouri. At the time of their marriage, Rochwite was described in press reports as a “St. Louis Aviatrix.” The couple had three daughters and would later move to Escondido, California, where they settled on a 10-acre site nestled in an avocado grove.

Londos’ official retirement match took place on November 21, 1951, in a losing effort against Lou Thesz at the Kiel Auditorium in St. Louis, Missouri. This match marked the end of an illustrious wrestling career that spanned over three decades.

Personal Life

After retiring from professional wrestling, Londos settled in California and focused on his family and business interests. He owned a successful restaurant called “The Golden Pheasant” in Escondido, California, which he ran with his family. Londos remained involved in the wrestling community, attending events and mentoring younger wrestlers.

Jim Londos was also known for his philanthropic activities, both during his wrestling career and after his retirement. He was particularly involved in charitable efforts to help his native Greece. Londos donated a significant portion of his earnings to various Greek causes, including relief efforts for victims of World War II and the Greek Civil War. He also contributed to the construction of a hospital in Tripoli, Greece.

Following his retirement from the squared circle in 1953, Londos dedicated the rest of his life to various charitable organizations, including his favorite, Greek War Orphans of World War II. Because of his tireless philanthropic efforts, Londos was honored by United States President Richard Nixon and King Paul of Greece.

Awards & Titles

Over his career, Londos held numerous championships and titles in professional wrestling, including the California State Athletic Commission World Heavyweight Championship (Los Angeles version) (5 times), Maryland State Athletic CommissionWorld Heavyweight Championship (Maryland version) (2 times), Minnesota State Athletic Commission World Heavyweight Championship (Minneapolis version) (2 times), National Wrestling Association NWA World Heavyweight Championship (1 time), New York State Athletic Commission NYSAC World Heavyweight Championship (1 time) and the World Heavyweight Wrestling Championship (original version) (1 time).

Jim Londos - wrestlingbiographies.comLondos received many accolades and honors, including being inducted and honored by the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum – Class of 2002 (Pioneer Era), Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame (Class of 1996) and the WWE Hall of Fame (Class of 2018), Cauliflower Alley Club Posthumous Award (2020), the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame Class of 2015 and the International Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame,
Class of 2022.


Jim Londos passed away on August 19, 1975, at the age of 78. Londos died of a heart attack on August 19, 1975 and is buried at Oak Hill Memorial Park in Escondido, California. His death marked the end of an era in professional wrestling, as he was one of the last remaining stars from the early days of the sport. His passing was a significant loss for the wrestling community, as he had been an influential figure who helped shape the industry during his time.


Throughout his life, Jim Londos was known for his hard work, determination, and commitment to the sport of wrestling. His legacy as a successful wrestler, family man, and philanthropist continues to inspire future generations of wrestlers and fans alike.


  1. “Jim Londos.” Wikipedia –

  2. Kampouris, Nick. “Jim Londos: The Humble Shepherd Who Conquered the Wrestling World.”  –

  3. National Wrestling Hall of Fame. “Jim Londos.” –

  4. History of Wrestling. “Jim Londos”  –

  5. Slagle, Stephen. “Hall of Fame Inductee: Jim Londos”  –

Frequently Asked Questions

Jim Londos, also known by his birth name Christos Theofilou, was a legendary professional wrestler widely regarded as one of the greatest draws in the history of the sport.

He was born in 1897 in Argos, Greece.

Born as the youngest of 13 children, Londos immigrated to the United States at 13. Settling in California, he worked various jobs like a bellhop and strongman in a carnival before being introduced to wrestling.

Londos was trained by renowned wrestlers Tom Draak and Ad Santel. His training emphasized catch wrestling and amateur wrestling techniques.

He made his wrestling debut in 1916, initially using the ring name “The Wrestling Plasterer”.

Londos won his first World Heavyweight Championship in 1930 and defended it against renowned wrestlers like Ed “Strangler” Lewis, Ray Steele, and Joe Stecher. His matches often attracted vast audiences, even drawing a crowd of around 100,000 people in Greece.

In 1939, Londos married Arva C. Rochwite, an aviatrix from St. Louis, Missouri. The couple had three daughters and settled in Escondido, California.

Londos officially retired from professional wrestling on November 21, 1951.

Post-retirement, Londos ran a successful restaurant named “The Golden Pheasant” and continued to be active in philanthropic activities, particularly in support of Greece.

Jim Londos died of a heart attack on August 19, 1975, at the age of 78, and is buried in Oak Hill Memorial Park in Escondido, California.

Londos held numerous titles including World Heavyweight Championships in various versions. He was honored by institutions like the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum, Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame, WWE Hall of Fame, and many others.

Londos is remembered as a trailblazing wrestler, a dedicated family man, and a philanthropist. His influence continues to resonate with modern wrestlers and fans.

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Lou Thesz -

Lou Thesz -

He is considered by most the greatest professional wrestling champion to ever step into the ring, not only because of his technical prowess, but for the dignity and realism that he lent to the sport.

Real Name:Aloysius Martin Thesz
Stats: 6′ 2″ 225 lbs.
Born: April 24, 1916


Early Life

Lou Thesz was born Aloysius Martin Thesz on April 24, 1916, in Banat, Michigan. His early life was marked by his family’s relocation and exposure to wrestling at a young age, which would eventually shape his legendary career.

Thesz was of Hungarian descent, with his parents, Martin and Eva Thesz, immigrating to the United States from Hungary. When Lou was a young child, his family moved from Michigan to St. Louis, Missouri, where Thesz would first become familiar with the world of professional wrestling, as the city had a vibrant wrestling scene during the early 20th century.

Thesz’s father, Martin, was a wrestler and a greco-roman wrestling coach, which played a significant role in Lou’s early interest in the sport. Lou’s fascination with wrestling grew when he started attending wrestling matches at the South Broadway Athletic Club with his father. The exposure to the matches and his father’s guidance fostered a passion for the sport in young man.


Early Training

By the age of 16, Thesz had already begun training to become a professional wrestler under the tutelage of George Tragos, a former Olympic wrestler and renowned catch wrestler. Tragos taught Thesz the fundamentals of catch wrestling, a style focused on submission holds and grappling techniques. Thesz would later train with another legendary wrestler, Ed “Strangler” Lewis, who helped him further develop his skills.

Lou Thesz’s early life set the foundation for a career that would span several decades and earn him a reputation as one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time. His upbringing in St. Louis, his father’s influence, and his training under renowned wrestlers such as George Tragos and Ed “Strangler” Lewis equipped him with the skills and determination necessary to excel in the world of professional wrestling.

Lou Thesz’s training under Ed “Strangler” Lewis played a crucial role in shaping his wrestling style and career. Ed Lewis was a highly respected wrestler and multiple-time World Heavyweight Champion, known for his expertise in catch wrestling and signature submission hold, the headlock.

Lewis took Thesz’s skills to the next level, sharing his vast knowledge and experience in the wrestling business. The mentorship provided by Lewis not only honed Thesz’s technical wrestling skills but also instilled in him a deep respect for the sport’s traditions and values. Under Lewis’s guidance, Thesz refined his grappling techniques and learned the importance of ring psychology and the art of storytelling during a wrestling match. Lewis also taught Thesz about conditioning and the need for a wrestler to maintain peak physical fitness. These lessons would serve Thesz well throughout his illustrious career, helping him become a dominant force in the wrestling world. Lewis also taught Lou the art of hooking (the ability to stretch an opponent into painful positions when needed to ensure compliance in the ring). This would serve Lou throughout his career, ensuring that he would not be double-crossed and that his opponent would go along with hthe plans for the match or face a painful lesson.

Moreover, Lewis introduced Thesz to other influential figures in the wrestling business, such as promoter and manager Billy Sandow, and wrestler Ray Steele. These connections would prove invaluable for Thesz as he embarked on his professional career.



Thesz’s early career began in the 1930s and was marked by a rapid ascent through the ranks, thanks to his exceptional talent, discipline, and the strong foundation laid by his mentors. He made his professional wrestling debut in 1932 at the age of 16, wrestling in regional promotions and carnivals, often facing more experienced opponents. His technical prowess, combined with his strong work ethic, quickly caught the attention of promoters and fellow wrestlers alike.

By the time he turned 21 in1937, Thesz had become one of the hottest stars in the St. Louis territory. He was set to match up against Everett Marshall on December 29 to battle over the American Wrestling Association World Heavyweight Championship. After three grueling hours, These emerged victorious becoming the youngest world heavyweight champion in history, just 21 years of age. Six weeks later he dropped that title to Steve “Crusher” Casey in Boston, but defeated Marshall again to capture the National Wrestling Association World Heavyweight Championship in 1939. Nine years later he captured the same title, defeating Bill Longson.

During the late 1930s and early 1940s, Thesz continued to wrestle across the United States, honing his skills and building a reputation as a formidable competitor. He faced a variety of opponents, including both regional and national stars, which further expanded his exposure and experience in the ring. But his opportunity to become one of the greats of the sport came about in 1948.

Pinky George led a group of promoters in creating the National Wrestling Alliance in 1948 with the goal of crowning one unified World champion. Orvilled Brown who held the MidWest World Heavyweight champion was named the inaugural champion, but as part of the agreement behind the creation of the Alliance, Brown was scheduled to meet Thesz in a match for the title. Brown, unfortunately, was severely injured in a devastating automobile accident and was forced to retire from wrestling. His title as the National Wrestling Alliance World champion was then bestowed upon Thesz.

Lou Thesz’s National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) World Heavyweight Championship reigns were an integral part of his storied career and a testament to his skill and dedication as a professional wrestler. Thesz’s association with the NWA title helped to solidify his status as a legendary figure in the sport.

In 1952, Thesz made history by unifying multiple World Heavyweight Championships into the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. He defeated the National Wrestling Association (a separate organization from the NWA) World Heavyweight Champion, Baron Michele Leone, on May 21, 1952, in Los Angeles. Later that year, on July 24, Thesz also defeated the American Wrestling Association (Boston version) World Heavyweight Champion, Gorgeous George, in Chicago. This series of victories led to Thesz being recognized as the undisputed World Heavyweight Champion.

Throughout his career, Lou held the NWA World Heavyweight Championship six times, with his reigns totaling 3,749 days (over 10 years) – a record that still stands today. His connection with the NWA title lasted for nearly two decades, from his first victory in 1948 to his final reign, which ended on January 7, 1966. He had numerous high-profile feuds and matches against some of the top stars of his era. Some of his most famous opponents included Verne Gagne, Buddy Rogers, Rikidozan, Pat O’Connor, and Dick Hutton.

As the NWA World Heavyweight Champion, Thesz traveled extensively across the United States and the world, defending his title and promoting professional wrestling. He was known for his sportsmanship and technical skills, which earned him respect from fans and wrestlers alike.

Lou Thesz’s NWA World Heavyweight Championship runs were a defining aspect of his career, showcasing his dominance and mastery of the sport. His association with the title not only solidified his place in wrestling history but also helped to establish the NWA World Heavyweight Championship as one of the most prestigious titles in professional wrestling.

Lou Thesz -



Throughout his illustrious career, Lou Thesz engaged in numerous memorable rivalries that showcased his exceptional wrestling skills and contributed to his legendary status. Thesz had an intense rivalry with Verne Gagne, another highly skilled wrestler known for his technical prowess. Gagne was a two-time NCAA titleholder at the University of Minnesota and was an alternate for the U.S freestyle wrestling team at the 1948 Olympic Games before being drafter by the Chicago are of the National Football League. Gagne challenged Thesz for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship multiple times in the 1950s, with Thesz retaining the title. Their matches were praised for their high level of athleticism and competitiveness. Gagne’s inability to take the title off of Thesz and have a reign as NWA champion would lead him to establishing the American Wrestling Association promotion, for which he would headline for three decades.

Buddy Rogers, known as the “Original Nature Boy,” had a heated rivalry with Thesz. Their feud was a classic contrast of styles, with Thesz representing the more traditional, technical wrestling approach while Rogers brought a flashy, charismatic persona to the ring. Personal animosity between the two added to the drama that simmered around their matches and In 1961, Thesz defeated Rogers to win his fifth NWA World Heavyweight Championship.

In the 1950s, Thesz had a significant feud with Rikidozan, a Japanese wrestling icon who is considered the father of Japanese professional wrestling. Their series of matches played a crucial role in establishing professional wrestling in Japan, and their encounters are seen as historically important in the wrestling world. Thesz and Rikidozan’s matches were characterized by their hard-hitting, physical style, which endeared Thesz to the Japanese fans.

Pat O’Connor, a wrestler from New Zealand, had a notable rivalry with Lou Thesz during the late 1950s and early 1960s. They faced each other in a series of matches for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, with Thesz emerging victorious in most of their encounters.

Dick Hutton, a former amateur wrestling standout and skilled professional wrestler, feuded with Thesz over the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. On November 14, 1957, Hutton defeated Thesz for the title, ending Thesz’s fourth reign as champion. Their rivalry showcased two highly skilled technical wrestlers, and their matches were lauded for their intensity and grappling prowess.
These rivalries, among others, helped solidify Lou Thesz’s status as one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time. Thesz’s ability to engage with a variety of opponents, both in terms of style and personality, showcased his versatility and contributed to his enduring legacy in the sport.


International Tours

Thesz’s impact on professional wrestling extended far beyond the United States, as he became an international ambassador for the sport during his career. His international excursions and title defenses helped spread the popularity of professional wrestling around the world and contributed to the growth of the sport in several countries.

Thesz wrestled extensively in Canada, where he defended the NWA World Heavyweight Championship against various challengers. He competed in promotions like Maple Leaf Wrestling and Stampede Wrestling, facing notable opponents like Whipper Billy Watson and Gene Kiniski. Thesz’s appearances in Canada helped solidify the popularity of professional wrestling in the country.

Lou Thesz traveled to Europe several times during his career, competing in countries like the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. Thesz’s international presence in Europe aided in the growth and visibility of professional wrestling across the continent. He faced local and international stars, showcasing his technical wrestling abilities and promoting the sport in these regions.

Thesz also made his presence felt in Australia and New Zealand, where he wrestled for various promotions and defended the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. His matches in these countries helped to popularize professional wrestling and expand the reach of the NWA title.

One of Thesz’s most significant international contributions was his role in the development of professional wrestling in Japan. Thesz first traveled to Japan in the early 1950s and competed against Rikidozan, a former sumo wrestler who would go on to become the father of Japanese professional wrestling. Their highly-publicized matches helped establish professional wrestling as a popular form of entertainment in Japan and laid the foundation for the creation of the Japanese wrestling promotions, such as New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) and All Japan Pro-Wrestling (AJPW).

Thesz’s most notable and influential rivalry in Japan was with Rikidozan, a former sumo wrestler who would go on to become the father of Japanese professional wrestling. Their first encounter took place in 1957, with Thesz putting his NWA World Heavyweight Championship on the line. The match ended in a draw, but it was a pivotal moment for Japanese wrestling, as it put Rikidozan on the map and helped to popularize professional wrestling in Japan. They had a rematch in 1958, which again ended in a draw, further fueling interest in professional wrestling in the country.

Thesz’s visits to Japan and his matches against Rikidozan created a surge in the popularity of professional wrestling, leading to the formation of Japanese wrestling promotions. Rikidozan founded the Japan Pro Wrestling Alliance (JWA) in 1953, and Thesz’s influence and collaboration with Rikidozan were instrumental in establishing the promotion. In the following years, more promotions emerged, such as New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) and All Japan Pro-Wrestling (AJPW), which became cornerstones of the Japanese wrestling scene.

Thesz’s impact on Japanese wrestling extended beyond his in-ring performances. He also played a role in mentoring and training several Japanese wrestlers, sharing his knowledge and expertise with the next generation of talent. Thesz’s emphasis on technical wrestling and sportsmanship influenced the Japanese wrestling style, which came to be known for its strong grappling and hard-hitting action.

Even after his rivalry with Rikidozan, Thesz continued to visit Japan and compete in the country throughout his career. He faced numerous Japanese wrestling stars, including Giant Baba, Antonio Inoki, and Jumbo Tsuruta, further solidifying his status as a legend within Japanese wrestling circles.



Lou Thesz’s retirement from professional wrestling was a gradual process rather than a single, definitive event. Despite having an illustrious career spanning several decades, Thesz never announced a formal retirement from in-ring competition. Instead, he slowly stepped away from active competition while continuing to stay involved in the wrestling world.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Thesz transitioned to a more limited wrestling schedule, taking part in select matches and events. During this period, he focused more on his other interests, such as his involvement in real estate and insurance. However, Thesz continued to make occasional appearances in the ring, competing in various promotions worldwide, including the United States, Japan, and Canada.

Lou Thesz’s final professional wrestling match took place on December 26, 1990, when he was 74 years old. Thesz teamed with fellow wrestling legend Antonio Inoki in a tag team match against Masa Saito and Larry Sharpe in Hamamatsu, Japan. This match marked the end of Thesz’s in-ring career, but he remained active within the wrestling community.

Even after his in-ring career came to an end, Thesz maintained a strong connection to professional wrestling. He served as a mentor, trainer, and adviser to younger wrestlers, sharing his wealth of knowledge and experience with the next generation. Thesz also attended various wrestling events, conventions, and award ceremonies, often receiving recognition for his contributions to the sport.

Lou Thesz -



In 1995, Thesz was inducted into the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame, and in 1999, he was inducted into the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame. Lou Thesz passed away on April 28, 2002, at the age of 86, but his legacy and impact on professional wrestling continue to be felt and celebrated to this day.



Lou Thesz passed away on April 28, 2002, at the age of 86. His death was a result of complications following a triple bypass heart surgery that he had undergone earlier in the month. Thesz had been in declining health for some time before his passing.

The wrestling community mourned the loss of one of its most influential and legendary figures. Thesz’s contributions to the sport, as a wrestler, mentor, and ambassador, left an indelible mark on the history of professional wrestling. His emphasis on technical wrestling, sportsmanship, and respect for the sport continue to inspire and influence wrestlers and fans around the world.



Lou Thesz is remembered not only for his numerous accolades, such as his six NWA World Heavyweight Championship reigns, but also for the lasting impact he had on the wrestling industry as a whole. His legacy lives on through the wrestlers he inspired, the promotions he helped to develop, and the countless memorable matches that defined his illustrious career.

Frequently Asked Questions

Lou Thesz, born Aloysius Martin Thesz, is considered by many as the greatest professional wrestling champion ever. He was admired for his technical skills and the realism and dignity he brought to the sport.

He was born on April 24, 1916, in Banat, Michigan.

Lou’s family relocated to St. Louis, Missouri when he was young. There, he was introduced to the world of professional wrestling. His father, Martin Thesz, was a wrestler and greco-roman wrestling coach, which played a significant role in shaping Lou’s interest in the sport.

Thesz began his training under George Tragos, a former Olympic wrestler. Later, he trained with the legendary Ed “Strangler” Lewis, refining his grappling techniques and learning the importance of ring psychology, conditioning, and the art of hooking.

Lou Thesz made his professional debut in 1932 at the age of 16.

By 21, Thesz became the youngest world heavyweight champion in history. He went on to capture the National Wrestling Association World Heavyweight Championship in 1939.

Lou Thesz held the NWA World Heavyweight Championship title six times, with a combined reign of over 10 years – a standing record.

Throughout his career, Thesz faced wrestling legends like Verne Gagne, Buddy Rogers, Rikidozan, Pat O’Connor, and Dick Hutton.

Lou Thesz’s unmatched technical skills, sportsmanship, and respect for the sport made him a revered figure in the world of professional wrestling. His contributions helped elevate the status of the NWA World Heavyweight Championship and set high standards for the wrestling industry.

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Chyna -

Chyna -

She was called the Ninth Wonder of the World, bigger and stronger than other female competitors of her time. She revolutionized the business, but fell victim to many of the pitfalls of the industry before coming to a tragic end.

Real Name: Joan Laurer
Stats: 5′ 10″, 200 lbs.
Born:December 27, 19 69

Early Life

Chyna, born Joan Marie Laurer on December 27, 1969, in Rochester, New York, was a professional wrestler, actress, and bodybuilder. She had a challenging early life, marked by familial issues and personal struggles, but her resilience eventually led her to a groundbreaking career in the world of professional wrestling.

Growing up, Chyna’s home life was unstable, with her parents separating when she was just four years old. As a result, she spent much of her childhood moving between the homes of her mother, father, and various family members. This constant upheaval contributed to her difficulty in building lasting friendships and a sense of belonging.

Chyna was an academically gifted student and developed an interest in sports and fitness from a young age. She participated in various sports, including track and field, gymnastics, and tennis. Despite facing challenges in her personal life, Chyna managed to graduate from high school and began pursuing higher education.

After high school, Chyna enrolled at the University of Tampa in Florida, where she studied Spanish Literature. She graduated in 1992 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. Following her graduation, Chyna joined the Peace Corps and taught English in Costa Rica for a brief period. Upon her return to the United States, Chyna held several jobs, including waitressing and singing in a band.

Her interest in fitness and athletics eventually led Chyna to the world of bodybuilding. She began training and competing in various bodybuilding competitions, developing an impressive physique that would become her trademark in the wrestling industry. Chyna’s dedication to bodybuilding also served as an escape from the difficulties she faced in her personal life, providing her with a sense of accomplishment and purpose.

Early Training

Chyna’s journey into professional wrestling began when she met professional wrestlers while working at a gym. Inspired by their passion for the sport and recognizing the potential her unique physique could bring to wrestling, she decided to pursue a career in the industry. She enrolled in Walter “Killer” Kowalski’s wrestling school in Massachusetts, where she honed her skills and began her journey to becoming one of the most iconic female wrestlers of all time.

Chyna’s early training in professional wrestling began when she enrolled in Walter “Killer” Kowalski’s wrestling school in Malden, Massachusetts. Kowalski was a renowned wrestler and trainer, responsible for grooming some of the industry’s top talents. Chyna’s decision to train under Kowalski was driven by her desire to learn from the best and make a name for herself in the world of professional wrestling.

During her time at Kowalski’s school, Chyna trained diligently, learning the fundamentals of wrestling and developing her in-ring skills. She stood out among her peers not only because of her impressive physique but also due to her determination, work ethic, and commitment to mastering the craft. She quickly gained the respect of her trainers and fellow students.

Kowalski’s rigorous training program focused on technical wrestling, ring psychology, and conditioning. Chyna’s background in bodybuilding and fitness provided her with a strong foundation, allowing her to excel in her training and adapt to the physical demands of professional wrestling.

In addition to her physical training, Chyna also worked on developing her character and persona, embracing the role of a powerful and intimidating female wrestler. She was determined to break the mold of traditional female wrestlers, aiming to compete with male wrestlers on equal footing.


Chyna’s hard work and dedication paid off when she began wrestling on the independent circuit in 1995 under the ring name “Joanie Lee.” She wrestled for various promotions, gaining valuable experience and refining her skills in the ring. It was during this period that she caught the attention of prominent wrestling figures, ultimately leading to her signing with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in 1997.

Chyna made her debut in WWE in February 1997, portraying a bodyguard for Triple H. She soon became a founding member of the influential and controversial stable D-Generation X (DX), alongside Triple H, Shawn Michaels, and later, X-Pac, Road Dogg, and Billy Gunn. Chyna’s intimidating presence, combined with her ability to compete against male wrestlers, made her a standout member of DX.

Chyna achieved several firsts for female wrestlers in WWE. In 1999, she became the first woman to enter the Royal Rumble match, a significant milestone that showcased her ability to compete on equal footing with her male counterparts. Later that year, Chyna also became the first woman to participate in the King of the Ring tournament.

Chyna’s most notable accomplishment came when she defeated Jeff Jarrett at the No Mercy pay-per-view in October 1999 to become the first (and only) female Intercontinental Champion in WWE history. This victory solidified Chyna’s status as a trailblazer for women in wrestling, demonstrating that female performers could hold traditionally male titles.

During her tenure as Intercontinental Champion, Chyna engaged in memorable feuds and alliances with top WWE Superstars, including Chris Jericho and Eddie Guerrero. Her on-screen relationship with Guerrero, in particular, showcased her versatility as a performer, as she displayed her comedic side in various segments and storylines.

Chyna -

Chyna with Eddie Guerrero

Chyna’s appearance in Playboy marked another significant milestone in her career and further solidified her status as a cultural icon. In November 2000, Chyna became the first professional female wrestler to pose nude for the magazine, gracing the cover and being featured in a pictorial spread.

The decision to pose for Playboy was a bold move for Chyna, who had already made a name for herself as a trailblazer in professional wrestling. Her appearance in the magazine broke down barriers and highlighted her fearless approach to challenging societal norms and expectations.

Chyna’s Playboy issue was a commercial success, selling out rapidly and becoming one of the best-selling issues of the magazine at that time. This accomplishment not only boosted Chyna’s mainstream appeal but also further demonstrated her ability to captivate audiences both in and out of the wrestling ring.

Her appearance in Playboy also had an impact on her wrestling career, leading to a storyline feud with the Right to Censor, a conservative and censorship-themed faction in WWE. The faction sought to “clean up” WWE programming and targeted Chyna for her decision to pose nude, leading to a series of matches and segments that culminated in her winning the WWE Women’s Championship from Ivory, a member of the Right to Censor, at WrestleMania X-Seven.

Chyna’s Playboy appearance remains an iconic moment in her career and serves as another example of her groundbreaking approach to challenging traditional boundaries in both wrestling and popular culture.

In addition to her accomplishments in the men’s division, Chyna also competed in the Women’s Division. In 2001, she captured the WWE Women’s Championship by defeating Ivory at WrestleMania X-Seven, further cementing her legacy as one of the most dominant female wrestlers of her time.

Chyna’s relationship with Triple H, born Paul Michael Levesque, began in the late 1990s when they were both rising stars in WWE (formerly WWF). The two first met through their work in the wrestling promotion and quickly formed a close bond, both professionally and personally.

On-screen, Chyna and Triple H were initially paired together, with Chyna serving as Triple H’s bodyguard and enforcer. Their chemistry and dynamic as an on-screen duo helped both performers gain traction and popularity with the audience. Eventually, they became founding members of the influential and controversial stable D-Generation X (DX), alongside Shawn Michaels and later, X-Pac, Road Dogg, and Billy Gunn. Chyna and Triple H’s partnership in DX further solidified their status as top stars in the company.

Off-screen, Chyna and Triple H developed a romantic relationship, becoming a couple outside of the wrestling world. Their relationship was reportedly strong and supportive during its early years, with the two often traveling and working together as part of their WWE commitments.

However, as time went on, their relationship faced challenges. Rumors circulated that Triple H had become romantically involved with Stephanie McMahon, the daughter of WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon. These rumors eventually proved to be true, and Triple H’s relationship with Chyna came to an end.

Chyna’s departure from WWE in 2001 was said to be partly due to her personal issues with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, as well as contract disputes. After leaving WWE, Chyna’s life took a tumultuous turn, with her struggling to find her footing outside of the wrestling industry. Meanwhile, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon’s relationship continued to grow, and they eventually married in 2003, both personally and professionally becoming one of WWE’s most powerful couples.

Chyna’s life after leaving WWF (now WWE) in 2001 was marked by a series of personal struggles and attempts to reinvent herself outside of the wrestling industry. While she experienced some successes, her post-WWF life was often tumultuous.

Chyna pursued an acting career after leaving wrestling, appearing in various television shows and movies. She had guest roles in TV series such as “3rd Rock from the Sun” and “Fear Factor.” Chyna also appeared in several low-budget films, including “Just Another Romantic Wrestling Comedy” and “Illegal Aliens.”

Chyna participated in reality TV shows to maintain her visibility in the entertainment world. In 2005, she appeared on the reality series “The Surreal Life,” where she lived with other celebrities in a shared house. She was also featured on “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew” in 2008, where she sought help for her struggles with addiction.

In 2001, Chyna published her autobiography, “If They Only Knew,” which detailed her life, wrestling career, and personal struggles. The book received mixed reviews but provided fans with a glimpse into her experiences and the challenges she faced.

Chyna -

Facing financial difficulties and seeking new avenues for income, Chyna entered the adult film industry in the late 2000s. She appeared in several adult films, including a few that parodied her wrestling persona. While her adult film career generated some controversy, it also provided her with a temporary source of income and further exposure in the entertainment industry.

Chyna’s life after leaving WWF was fraught with personal struggles, including issues with substance abuse and mental health. Her difficulties were often documented in the media, and her appearances on reality TV showed her attempts to seek help and confront her challenges.

In the mid-2010s, Chyna made some attempts to return to the wrestling world, appearing in independent wrestling promotions and expressing a desire to reconcile with WWE. Unfortunately, these efforts did not lead to a full-fledged comeback or renewed relationship with her former employer.

Death & Legacy

Chyna passed away on April 20, 2016, at the age of 46 due to an overdose of alcohol and prescription medication. Her struggles and accomplishments after leaving WWF serve as a reminder of her resilience and the complexities of life outside of the wrestling spotlight. While her post-WWF life had its share of challenges, Chyna’s legacy as a trailblazer in the wrestling world remains undeniable.


  1. Wikipedia: “Chyna.” Wikipedia –

  2. The Famous People Editors: “Chyna Biography – Facts, Childhood, Family Life & Achievements.”  – –

  3. IMDb. “Chyna.”  –

  4. WWE. “Chyna.” –

  5. LiveAbout. “Biography of WWE Diva Chyna.” –

Frequently Asked Questions

Chyna, whose real name was Joan Marie Laurer, was a professional wrestler, actress, and bodybuilder. She stood at 5′ 10″ and weighed 200 lbs. Born on December 27, 1969, in Rochester, New York, she revolutionized the wrestling business and was known for her exceptional size and strength compared to other female competitors of her time. Her groundbreaking achievements include being the first woman to enter the Royal Rumble match, participating in the King of the Ring tournament, and becoming the first (and only) female Intercontinental Champion in WWE history.

Chyna had a challenging early life, marked by familial issues and personal struggles. Her parents separated when she was four years old, leading to a tumultuous childhood with frequent moves between family members’ homes. Despite these challenges, Chyna excelled academically, participated in various sports, and graduated from high school. She pursued higher education, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish Literature from the University of Tampa.

Chyna’s journey into professional wrestling began when she met professional wrestlers while working at a gym. Inspired by their passion and recognizing the potential her unique physique could bring to wrestling, she trained at Walter “Killer” Kowalski’s wrestling school in Massachusetts. There, she honed her skills and developed her character, becoming one of the most iconic female wrestlers of all time.

Chyna’s career in WWE (formerly WWF) was marked by numerous achievements. She was a founding member of the D-Generation X (DX) stable, known for her intimidating presence and ability to compete against male wrestlers. She entered the Royal Rumble and King of the Ring tournaments, becoming the first female Intercontinental Champion in WWE history by defeating Jeff Jarrett. Chyna also posed for Playboy, breaking down barriers and challenging societal norms.

Chyna’s relationship with Triple H (Paul Michael Levesque) began as an on-screen partnership, with her serving as his bodyguard and enforcer. They later became a real-life couple, developing a strong bond during their rise in WWE. However, their relationship faced challenges, and Triple H’s involvement with Stephanie McMahon led to their breakup. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon eventually married and became one of WWE’s most powerful couples.

After leaving WWE in 2001, Chyna pursued acting, reality TV, and even the adult film industry to sustain her career. She faced personal struggles with addiction, mental health, and financial difficulties. Despite these challenges, she remained resilient, attempting to return to wrestling and reconcile with WWE. However, her efforts were not fully successful.

Chyna’s legacy is that of a trailblazer who shattered boundaries for female wrestlers. Her achievements, including posing for Playboy, winning male-dominated titles, and competing in significant events, showcased her groundbreaking approach to challenging norms. Her resilience in the face of personal struggles also serves as a reminder of the complexities of life outside the wrestling spotlight.

Tragically, Chyna passed away on April 20, 2016, at the age of 46 due to an overdose of alcohol and prescription medication. Her death highlighted the challenges she faced in her post-WWE life and the broader issues of addiction and mental health. Despite her struggles, Chyna’s legacy as a wrestling trailblazer remains an indelible part of the industry’s history.

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Bill Goldberg -

Bill Goldberg -


He was an immediate success, capturing the World Championship within a year of his debut in the sport. He became the biggest name in all of professional wrestling until an injury threatened to cut short his career.

Bill Goldberg
Real Name: William Scott Goldberg
Stats: 6′ 4″ 295 lbs.
Born: December 27, 1966

Early Life

Bill Goldberg followed in the long path of wrestlers who have made the transition from the gridiron to the squared circle and become a wrestling star – he just did so faster and to a greater magnitude than anyone else in history. In only his second year in the business, Goldberg became the biggest name and biggest star in the business.

Goldberg was never a wrestling fan growing up, but instead focused most of his attention on football. Born in Tulsa, Oklahomahe attended Tulsa Edison High School, where he played football as a linebacker and was a talented amateur wrestler. After high school, Goldberg attended the University of Georgia on a football scholarship, where he continued to display his athletic abilities on the field, being named an All-SEC Nose Guard. 

When his career as a Bulldog was over, he eyed stardom in the National Football League. Drafted in the 11th round (301st overall) of the 1990 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams, he spent time with the team as well as with the Sacramento Surge of the World League of American Football. Eventually, he caught on with the Atlanta Falcons in 1992 and played for the team for two years before suffering a torn abdominal muscle, which put him out for the 1994 season. He was signed by the Carolina Panthers in 1995 but could not rebound from the injury sufficiently enough to play. He was thus forced to retire from football.


Early Training

While in a bar a year later, Goldberg met Diamond Dallas Page. Page was impressed with his size and look and recommended that he look at a professional wrestling career. Later, Goldberg was working out in a gym owned by Lex Luger and Sting and was further convinced by Sting to take a chance in the squared circle. After months of training in the WCW Power Plant, Goldberg appeared in a nationally televised fight against Roddy Piper. Months later, he made his official professional debut in World Championship Wrestling against Hugh Morrus, pinning the 300-pound wrestler. The next year and a half would be one of the most remarkable in professional wrestling history.


Goldberg began quickly mowing down his opponents with his patented spear and jackhammer combination. Eventually, he got his chance at the gold when he wrestled Raven for the WCW United States title. Showing little nervousness in his first title match, he quickly overpowered Raven and pinned him for the title belt. With his reputation and winning streak growing, everyone looked forward to a showdown between Goldberg and Hollywood Hulk Hogan for the WCW World Heavyweight championship. In front of a red-hot crowd in Atlanta, Georgia, on July 6, 1998, Goldberg speared Hogan and then hit the Jackhammer to obtain the pinfall. With the championship belt around his waist, he was now the biggest name in the sport and finished the year as the PWI Rookie of the Year. Goldberg’s meteoric rise in WCW was unprecedented, as he went on a legendary winning streak of 173 consecutive victories without a single loss.

Bill Goldberg -

Over the next year, Goldberg found himself battling members of the NWO and other wrestlers, striving for his title. Finally, Kevin Nash, after interference from Scott Hall (who used a tazer on Goldberg), was able to pin the champion. Goldberg subsequently placed himself in a hunt to reclaim his gold, often taking on various factions of the NWO. During one of these confrontations, Goldberg ran out into the parking lot of an arena and punched his fist through the windshield of a car. In doing so, he suffered a cut to his arm that took almost 190 stitches to close and which almost hit a nerve, seriously placing his career in jeopardy. For almost six months, he was forced to the sidelines and relegated to making publicity appearances and participating in supporting charities.  Finally, after a lot of speculation that he might not be able to return to the ring, he did so in June 2000 to a great ovation from his fans.

In 2001, WCW was purchased by WWE, and Goldberg eventually made his WWE debut in 2003. He had a memorable run with the company, capturing the World Heavyweight Championship and engaging in memorable feuds with some of the biggest names in the industry, including The Rock, Triple H, and Brock Lesnar.

Goldberg left WWE in 2004, taking a hiatus from professional wrestling to pursue other interests, including acting. He appeared in several films and television shows, such as “The Longest Yard,” “Universal Soldier: The Return,” and the reality TV show “Bullrun.”


Personal Life

Goldberg married Wanda Ferraton, a stuntwoman, in 2005. The couple has one son, Gage, who was born in 2006. Goldberg’s devotion to his family has been a driving force in his life, and he often cites them as his primary motivation for returning to the ring.

During his time away from wrestling, Goldberg also became an advocate for animal welfare and environmental causes. He worked with organizations such as the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and the Humane Society, using his fame to bring attention to the plight of animals in need.

In 2016, Goldberg made a triumphant return to WWE, embarking on a series of high-profile matches and capturing the WWE Universal Championship. This final run in the company further cemented his legacy as one of the most dominant and beloved figures in professional wrestling history.

Bill Goldberg -


Throughout his career, Goldberg has been widely respected for his work ethic, intensity, and dedication to his craft. He has received numerous awards and accolades, including multiple championships and a 2018 induction into the WWE Hall of Fame. However, his career was not without controversy. Many wrestlers soured with his immaturity and failure to recognize that his success was largely due to the large push he was given by WCW management and the willingness of his fellow wrestlers to put him over despite his limitations in the ring. He got into numerous backstage scrapes (including famously with Chris Jericho) and was seen as sloppy and careless in the ring. In a match at Starrcade 1990, Goldberg kicked Bret Hart so hard in the head that Hart suffered a concussion so severe that it effectively ended his career. He was also very outspoken politically, which turned off numerous fans. However, most people who knew him described him as very nice and genuine.

Bill Goldberg’s journey from professional football to wrestling superstardom was atypical for a professional wrestler. He became the biggest name in the sport and was able to parlay that into an entertainment career beyond wrestling. But he is often remembered as a wrestler who was able to expand beyond his technical and verbal limitations in the short term but was unable to extend his popularity over the long run of his career.

Heading Title

  1. Wikipedia Contributors. “Bill Goldberg.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.

  2. The Famous People Editors. “Bill Goldberg Biography.”

  3. Goombastomp Staff. “WWE’s Look at Goldberg is One of the Best Wrestling Documentaries.” July 14, 2022.

  4. Pro Wrestling Fandom. “Bill Goldberg.”

Frequently Asked Questions

After an injury ended his football career, Goldberg was spotted by wrestlers Diamond Dallas Page and Sting who were impressed with his physique and athletic ability. They encouraged him to pursue a career in professional wrestling, leading to his training at the WCW Power Plant and eventual debut.

Goldberg made an immediate impact in professional wrestling, quickly becoming a major star. Within just a year of his debut, he captured the World Championship, and his reputation soared due to his powerful in-ring style and winning streak.

Key highlights of Goldberg’s wrestling career include winning the WCW World Heavyweight Championship, the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, and the WWE Universal Championship. He is also known for his legendary winning streak of 173 consecutive victories in WCW.

Goldberg suffered a significant injury when he punched through a car windshield, requiring nearly 190 stitches and almost ending his career. This injury sidelined him for six months, during which he focused on rehabilitation and public appearances.

Outside the ring, Goldberg has been involved in acting, appearing in films like “The Longest Yard” and “Universal Soldier: The Return,” and television shows such as “Bullrun.” He’s also a dedicated advocate for animal welfare and environmental causes, working with organizations like the ASPCA and the Humane Society. Additionally, Goldberg is known for his podcast and has authored a biography titled “I’m Next: The Strange Journey of America’s Most Unlikely Superhero.”

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Konnan -

Konnan -

He is one of the most popular, Mexican wrestlers to ever set foot in the ring but is known North of the border as one of the most outspoken, straightforward stars in the sport.

Real Name: Carlos Ashenoff
Stats: 5′ 10″ 245 lbs.
Born: June 6, 1964

While he is considered by many a mid-level star in the United States, Carlos Ashenoff was the most popular wrestler of the 1990’s in Mexico. Throughout the 1990’s he was such a popular gate attraction that he was mentioned in the breaths as Mexican legends such as El Santo, Mil Mascaras and Perro Aguayo and he was able to crossover into musical and television success.

Carlos Ashenoff was born in Cuba in 1965 and moved to Miami as a young child. After high school, he enrolled in the United States Navy where he became an outstanding boxer and was named to the U.S. Navy Boxing Team. His time spent in the ring helped him to gain a great deal of notoriety and attention from members of the sports and entertainment community and he was approached about pursuing a career in professional wrestling. In 1987 a Mexican wrestling promoter discovered him in San Diego, California and brought him down to Tijuana, Mexico to began his training. Training alongside currents stars like Rey Mysterio and Psychosis, Charles was schooled in the art of high-flying Lucha Libre.

At 5′ 10, 245 lbs., Konnan was much larger than his counterparts but possessed great speed, quickness and athleticism. As such, he was able to compete on their levels but completely outclassed them with his brute strength. Working up and down Northern Mexico and Southern California he gained early experience and refined his skills. Finally he moved on to the number two promotion in Mexico, the Universal Wrestling Alliance. Donning a mask, he took the name Konnan, based on Arnold Schwartzennegar movie character Conan the Barbarian. Soon thereafter he moved over to EMLL promotion where he wrestled alongside Mexicans greats, including Rey Mysterio, Sr. (with whom he teamed in the 1990 Starcade pay-per-view event.) His career continued its upward flight as he faced Perro Aguayo in their famous mask vs. hair match. Aguayo won the match, and Konnan was forced to give up his mask.

Without his mask, Konnan wrestled briefly in the CMLL promotion and then traveled to the United States where he performed as Max Moon. He also made stops in several Japanese promotions (FMW and New Japan Pro Wrestling) before returning back to Mexico. He soon ventured over to the AAA promotion where he engaged in a bitter feud with Cien Caras. In the biggest match of the year in front of almost 50,000 fans in the Plaze de Toros stadium in Mexico City, Caras defeated Konnan when Jake the Snake Roberts interfered with the match. Although the stimulation for the match was that the loser must retire, Konnan refused to do so because of Roberts interference. In 1994 he came back to face Roberts in a hair vs. hair match in Tijuana, Mexico. Having become friend and tag team partner with Aguayo, Konnan shocked AAA fans when he turned on him and joined with the infamous Los Gringos Locos, a group composed of Art Barr, Eddy Guerrero and Louie Spicolli. The group bragged about the imminence of the United States and degraded the Mexican fans about their country. This created the biggest sensation in Mexican wrestling in years. It climaxed during AAA’s first pay-per-view event, “When Worlds Collide” which took place in Los Angeles on November 6, 1994. In the main event of the pay-per-view, Konnan was battered and bloodied in a cage match against Aguayo and came out of the match the loser.

During his career in Mexico, Konnan was a media star, featured in a television soap opera as well as promoting a rap album he performed on. Frenzied crowds flocked to see him wherever he was and his popularity was rivaled that of American sports and music stars. His loss to Aguayo, however, signaled a turning point in his career as he left Mexico and entered Extreme Championship Wrestling. Although he gained a following in ECW as he battled against the Sandman, he soon moved on to World Championship Wrestling where many believed he would gain stardom and on January 29, 1996, he defeated the One Man Gang to win the WCW United States Heavyweight championship (which he ultimately lost six months later to Ric Flair at the Bash at the Beach pay-per-view in Daytona Beach, Florida). Over the next few years there were numerous changes in the lineup in WCW and Konnan was often on the wrong end of the backstage politics, thus limiting his opportunity to excel in WCW. He did, however, capture the WCW World Television title (defeating Chris Jericho in Chattanooga, Tennessee on November 30, 1998) and later teamed with Rey Mysterio Jr. to take the WCW Tag Team belts from Harlem Heat. He also was a member of the New World Order group that threatened to take over WCW and his influence with hip-hop lingo carried over to almost everyone in the company. Unfortunately, he suffered numerous setbacks from injuries and personality conflicts with WCW management and his pushes seemed to get derailed. He remains very popular with fans and is now receiving credit for his influence behind the scenes and is poised to continue his success in the future.

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Antonio Inoki -

Antonio Inoki -


He was so beloved by his fans that they elected him to the Japanese parliament after he retired from the ring. What he did inside of the ring made him a respected statesman and a great champion for professional wrestling.

Real Name: Kanji Inoki
Stats: 6′ 1″ 240 lbs.
Born: February 20, 1943

Antonio Inoki is one of wrestling’s all-time greatest competitors, teachers, and promoters, as well as serving as wrestling’s Ambassador to the World. The noble and refined inoki has made it his career-long goal to bring respect to, and acceptance of, puroresu (Japanese pro wrestling) in the mainstream. Although some accuse Inoki of having the biggest ego in wrestling, eclipsing even the Hulkster…those people could not be further from the truth. The reality is, Inoki is a man with a vision…and, oftentimes, if you want something done right, you do it yourself. Inoki has done more to help wrestling than nearly anyone in the history of the sport. He loves pro wrestling deeply…and even used the slogans “King of Sports” and “Civil Rights For Puroresu” as the mottos of New Japan Pro Wrestling when he started the federation in 1972.

Early Life

Antonio Inoki, born as Kanji Inoki on February 20, 1943, spent his early years in Yokohama, Japan. His family faced financial difficulties during his childhood, and Inoki also had to deal with bullying due to his mixed Japanese and Brazilian ancestry. Despite these challenges, Inoki was determined to rise above his circumstances and find success.

Inoki’s dedication and talent paid off, as he made his professional wrestling debut later that same year against Kintaro Oki. He quickly established himself as a formidable competitor, and his reputation grew within the wrestling community. In the years that followed, Inoki would go on to build an illustrious career as a professional wrestler, promoter, and innovator, leaving a lasting impact on the sport in Japan and around the world.

Inoki’s interest in professional wrestling was sparked by Rikidōzan, who is widely considered the father of Japanese professional wrestling. Rikidōzan’s impact on the sport in Japan inspired Inoki to pursue a career in wrestling, setting him on the path that would ultimately lead to his legendary status in the industry.

Antonio Inoki - Rikidozan -

Inoki and Rikidozan

Early Training

In 1960, at the age of 17, he began training under the tutelage of Toyonobori, a former sumo wrestler, and Karl Gotch, a European wrestling expert. Gotch, who was renowned for his technical wrestling skills and knowledge, helped Inoki hone his in-ring abilities, particularly in catch wrestling and submission techniques. This training laid the foundation for Inoki’s innovative “strong style” that later came to define his wrestling career and impact Japanese professional wrestling as a whole.Their guidance helped Inoki develop his wrestling skills, including his technical prowess and mastery of submission techniques.

Inoki’s dedication and talent paid off, as he made his professional wrestling debut later that same year against Kintaro Oki. He quickly established himself as a formidable competitor, and his reputation grew within the wrestling community. In the years that followed, Inoki would go on to build an illustrious career as a professional wrestler, promoter, and innovator, leaving a lasting impact on the sport in Japan and around the world.


On September 30, 1960 he made his pro wrestling debut, losing to Kintaro Ohki. The name “Antonio” is said to have been given to him by his mentor and hero Rikidozan, after the legendary Antonio Rocca. Before forming N.J.P.W., Inoki wrestled for the N.W.A.’s Japan Wrestling Association (J.W.A.). During those years, he gained valuable experience and learned great deal about the sport. But in 1966, he decided to try wrestling for Tokyo Pro, a rival of the JWA. Inoki’s relationship with Tokyo Pro didn’t last long, though, and by 1967 he was back with the JWA until he left to create New Japan Pro Wrestling.

Inoki founded New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) in 1972, a promotion that would go on to become one of the most successful and influential organizations in professional wrestling. Inoki’s vision for NJPW was to create a platform for showcasing the best wrestling talent in Japan and from around the world, with a unique style that would set it apart from other promotions.

Inoki’s experience as a wrestler and his training under Karl Gotch and Toyonobori greatly influenced the style of wrestling he wanted to promote in NJPW. He emphasized the “strong style,” which combined elements of martial arts, catch wrestling, and traditional professional wrestling. This innovative approach was characterized by hard-hitting strikes, submission holds, and a focus on realism, setting NJPW apart from other wrestling organizations of the time.

Under Inoki’s leadership, NJPW quickly gained popularity and began attracting top talent both domestically and internationally. The promotion forged relationships with other major wrestling organizations, such as the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) and the World Wrestling Federation (now WWE), which enabled NJPW to feature high-profile matches and cross-promotional events.

Throughout the years, NJPW has been home to many legendary wrestlers, including Tatsumi Fujinami, Riki Choshu, Shinya Hashimoto, Keiji Mutoh, and Hiroshi Tanahashi. The promotion has also been a breeding ground for the development of new stars, such as Kazuchika Okada, Tetsuya Naito, and Kota Ibushi.

The founding of NJPW not only provided an opportunity for Japanese wrestlers to compete at the highest level, but it also allowed the unique strong style to gain worldwide recognition. NJPW’s continued success and influence are a testament to Inoki’s vision and dedication to elevating the sport of professional wrestling.


Although Inoki was often linked as a rival of Baba,  he engaged in numerous high profile programs with other wrestlers that were considered some of the rivalries in Japanese wrestling history. Inoki’s feud with Indian-Canadian wrestler Tiger Jeet Singh during the 1970s was an intense and heated rivalry. Their matches were known for their brutal, no-holds-barred style, with both competitors using weapons and engaging in bloody battles. His rivalry with American wrestler Stan Hansen in the late 1970s and early 1980s was marked by hard-hitting and physical matches. The intense battles between these two warriors showcased the strong style that Inoki helped popularize in Japan, and their matches were highly regarded by fans and critics alike. In the 1980s, Inoki had an intense feud with Riki Choshu, another top star in Japanese wrestling. Their rivalry saw them clashing over various titles, including the NWF Heavyweight Championship, and their matches featured a blend of technical wrestling and brawling. This feud helped solidify both wrestlers’ legacies as icons of Japanese professional wrestling. Finally, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Inoki engaged in a rivalry with Tatsumi Fujinami, one of NJPW’s rising stars. Their matches showcased the best of Japanese professional wrestling, with a focus on technical ability and hard-hitting action. This feud helped establish Fujinami as a top wrestler and further cemented Inoki’s legacy as a living legend.

These rivalries, among others, contributed to Inoki’s status as a trailblazer in the world of professional wrestling. They allowed him to showcase his unique “strong style” and helped popularize the sport in Japan and around the globe.

Awards & Titles

During his long and successful career, Inoki won numerous titles…the NWA Texas Heavyweight title (under the somewhat insulting name of Tokyo Tom) in 1964, the NWA (Texas) World Tag Team title in 1965, the NWA (Tenn.) World Tag Team title (w/Hiro Matsuda), 4 All-Asian Tag Team titles (w/Michiak Yoshimura), 4 NWA International Tag Team titles (w/Giant Baba), and the NWA United National title in 1971. He also went on to win the National Wrestling Federation (N.W.F.) World Heavyweight title 4 different times between 1973-1981 as well as the N.W.A. North American Tag Team title twice, the U.W.A. (Mexico) World Heavyweight title, and also the I.W.G.P. Heavyweight championship, among others.

Many times throughout his career he has faced champions of other sports (Judo Gold Medal winner Willem Ruska, World Karate champion Willie Wlliams, and boxer Chuck Wepner) in an effort to bring credibility to the sport of wrestling. In 1976 he fought his famous (although somewhat disappointing) “Boxer vs. Wrestler” match with World Boxing champion Muhammed Ali. Although the match was fairly uneventful, it did give pro wrestling an aura of legitimacy.

Antonio Inoki - Muhammad Ali -

Inoki vs. Muhammad Ali

As a promoter, Inoki is a genuine trailblazer — bringing pro wrestling to countries like Russia, China, Korea, and Taiwan that had never had a pro wrestling event in their country, or even seen the sport on TV. The two cards he promoted in Korea drew crowds (with a little help from the Korean gov’t.) of 150,000 and 190,000! Talk about bringing wrestling to the world…

In 1979, Inoki was involved in a very controversial title switch involving Bob Backlund and the WWF Heavyweight title. On November 30, 1979 in Tokushima, Japan, Backlund was pinned by Inoki for the WWF title. The next day, the two wrestlers had a rematch, and this time Backlund regained the title. However, the WWF President Hisashi Shinma declared the match a “no-contest” because of interference from Tiger Jeet Signh. Shinma awarded the title back to Inoki, who refused to accept the championship. A match between Backlund and “Big, Bad” Bobby Duncum (of all people) on December 12, 1979 in New York City took place to decide the winner of the “held up” WWF title, with Backlund winning.

Ironically, American fans never knew of the controversy in Japan, and thought the Backlund/Duncum match was just a regular monthly title defense for Backlund. The WWF has never acknowledged the title switch, and to this day does not count Inoki as a former WWF Heavyweight champion.

The “Collision in Korea” was a historic professional wrestling event held over two days, April 28 and 29, 1995, in Pyongyang, North Korea. Organized by Antonio Inoki, the event was a joint production between his New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) and the American promotion World Championship Wrestling (WCW). The event was officially titled “International Sports and Cultural Festival for Peace” and aimed to promote peace and diplomacy through sports, particularly professional wrestling.

The event took place at the May Day Stadium, drawing a massive crowd, reportedly over 150,000 people on each day, making it one of the largest audiences ever recorded for a professional wrestling event. Many top stars from both NJPW and WCW participated in the event, including Ric Flair, Scott Norton, Shinya Hashimoto, and Kensuke Sasaki, among others.

One of the most notable matches of the event was the main event on the second day, where Antonio Inoki faced Ric Flair. This match was significant not only due to the high-profile nature of the two competitors but also because it symbolized the collaboration between Japanese and American wrestling promotions. Inoki emerged victorious in the match, further solidifying his status as a legend in the wrestling world.

The Collision in Korea event was a unique and ambitious effort to use professional wrestling as a means to bring people together and promote peace. The event’s success and historic nature have left a lasting impact on the world of professional wrestling, and it remains a testament to Inoki’s vision and influence in the industry.

In the early 1980s, Antonio Inoki was involved in a scandal related to his professional wrestling promotion, New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW). The scandal was centered around Inoki’s alleged connections with the infamous Japanese yakuza (organized crime syndicates). It was claimed that Inoki had sought financial support from yakuza members to help fund NJPW events and maintain the promotion’s operations.

The scandal came to light in 1981 when the tabloid magazine Shukan Gendai published an article accusing Inoki of having ties with the yakuza. The accusations had a significant impact on Inoki’s reputation and the public perception of NJPW at the time.

In response to the allegations, Inoki held a press conference in which he denied any involvement with the yakuza. Although no concrete evidence was produced to prove Inoki’s direct connections with the criminal underworld, the scandal tarnished his image and cast a shadow over his otherwise impressive career.

Despite the controversy, Inoki managed to overcome the scandal, and NJPW continued to grow and thrive in the years that followed.


Inoki transitioned from professional wrestling to politics in the early 21st century, leveraging his fame and popularity to enter the world of Japanese politics. In 1989, Inoki founded the Sports and Peace Party and ran for a seat in the Japanese House of Councillors but was unsuccessful in his bid. However, his political aspirations did not end there.

In 1995, Inoki ran again, this time as an independent candidate, and was elected to the House of Councillors, serving as a member of Japan’s National Diet for a six-year term. During his tenure in office, Inoki focused on issues related to sports, culture, and diplomacy, continuing the themes that had defined his wrestling career.

In addition to the “Collision in Korea” event, Inoki made numerous trips to North Korea as part of his diplomatic efforts. He also established the Antonio Inoki Peace Foundation, an organization dedicated to fostering peace through sports and cultural exchanges.

Though Inoki did not seek re-election after completing his term in the House of Councillors, his political career demonstrated his commitment to using his influence to promote peace and diplomacy, particularly through the medium of professional wrestling and sports in general.

Personal Life

Inoki was married twice and has children from both marriages. Inoki’s first marriage was to a woman named Tazuko, with whom he had two children: a daughter named Hiroko and a son named Hiroaki. Hiroaki, who was born in 1972, followed in his father’s footsteps and pursued a career in professional wrestling under the ring name “Kendo Kashin.” Hiroaki gained success in the wrestling world, winning several championships in different promotions throughout his career.

In 2000, Inoki married his second wife, Mitsuko Baisho, a Japanese actress known for her work in both film and television. The couple has a daughter together named Maria Inoki, who was born in 2001. Despite the high-profile nature of Inoki’s career, his family has generally maintained a private life away from the spotlight.

Antonio Inoki -

In addition to his immediate family, Antonio Inoki has a brother named Simon Inoki (real name: Kenji Inoki), who also had a career in professional wrestling and later became an executive in the wrestling industry. Simon Inoki played a significant role in the operation of NJPW Antonio sold the promotion in 2005.

Inoki converted to Shia Islam in 1990 during a pilgrimage to Karbala, the Shiite holy city in Iraq. Hdescribed himself as both a Muslim convert and a Buddhist

Antonio Inoki died on On October 1, 2022, at age 79, Inoki died from systemic transthyretin amyloidosis.

Frequently Asked Questions

Antonio Inoki, born Kanji Inoki, was a legendary figure in professional wrestling, known for his roles as a competitor, teacher, and promoter. He was instrumental in popularizing puroresu (Japanese pro wrestling) globally and was known as the sport’s Ambassador to the World. He founded New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) in 1972, significantly impacting the sport’s history.

Inoki was born on February 20, 1943, in Yokohama, Japan. Despite facing financial challenges and bullying due to his mixed Japanese and Brazilian ancestry, he was inspired by Rikidōzan, the father of Japanese professional wrestling. He began training at 17 under Toyonobori and Karl Gotch, making his professional debut in 1960 against Kintaro Oki.

Inoki was known for his “strong style” in wrestling, a blend of martial arts, catch wrestling, and professional wrestling. This style, characterized by hard-hitting strikes and realism, became the hallmark of NJPW under his leadership. His promotion brought together top talent from Japan and abroad, forging important international relationships.

Inoki had several high-profile rivalries, including with Tiger Jeet Singh, known for their intense, no-holds-barred matches, and with Stan Hansen, showcasing the strong style. He also had significant feuds with Riki Choshu and Tatsumi Fujinami, contributing greatly to the legacy of Japanese professional wrestling.

Inoki also ventured into politics, founding the Sports and Peace Party and serving in Japan’s House of Councillors. He was involved in diplomatic efforts, notably organizing the “Collision in Korea” event in 1995, promoting peace through sports. He was married twice and had children, including Hiroaki, who also became a professional wrestler. Inoki converted to Islam in 1990 but also identified as a Buddhist.


  1. Wikipedia Contributors. “Antonio Inoki.”

  2. History of Wrestling. “Antonio Inoki.”
  3. Inoki Genki Factory. “Biography of Antonio Inoki.” Inoki Genki Factory,

  4. Bosack, Michael MacArthur. “A man larger than life: Remembering Antonio Inoki.” The Japan Times, October 2, 2022. businessman, and politician.

  5. “Antonio Inoki Obituary: Japanese Combat Sports Pioneer Dies at 79.”, October 1, 2022.

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