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    (November 14, 1924-December 15, 1963)
    Birth name is Kim Sin-Nak
    Wrestled, owned and booked for the Japan Pro Wrestling Association (JWA)
    Former NWA International Champion, NWA Tag Team Champion, Japanese Heavyweight Champion, All-Asia Heavyweight Champion and WWA Heavyweight Champion
    His name means 'rugged mountain road' and he got the name during his days as a sumo wrestler.
    He made money off of World War II by having American wrestlers come into his promotion as heels so the fans can watch Rikidozan beat the Americans to exact revenge for leaving Japan in ruins after WW II.
    In his promotion, he mostly pushed himself as the company's biggest star.
    In a match where the JWA would crown their first Japanese heavyweight champion, he and his opponent that night, Masahiko Kimura, agreed that the match would end in a draw but Rikidozan double-crossed him by throwing real kicks and punches and won the match and the title.
    In a match, Fred Blassie bit Rikidozan's head causing his to draw blood. It's said that 98 people watching the match actually had heart attacks during that scene and some even died.
    He was tight with the Japanese mob and they squashed any competing promotions who got into Rikidozan's way.
    His gangland-style stabbing, which led to the peritonitis that went on to kill him, caused wrestling's popularity and reputation in Japan to be at an all-time low.
    Many claim him to be the greatest and most important wrestler in the history of Japanese wrestling.
    Although Korean, he was a cultural icon in Japan.
    He made wrestling popular in Japan and helped popularize television in a country still reeling after World War II.
    Throughout his time wrestling in the United States, he only lost 5 out of 260 matches.
    His booking philosophy, having Americans wrestle as heels in the aftermath of WW II, worked; countless people went out and bought TV's just to watch the JWA.
    His match with Lou Thesz in Japan in 1957 drew an astounding 87.0 rating.
    He's the man who discovered and trained both Antonio Inoki and Giant Baba and established Dick Beyer as a star.
    His rematch with Dick Beyer is recorded as the most watched match in history.
    He's in the Wrestling-Observer Hall of Fame.
    He died of peritonitis at thirty nine.

Credit: Reo Rogerz

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