it is a tradition the day before wrestlemania
for the whos who of wrestling to gather and pay tribute to those great who have been inducted into the hall of fame
these inductees are the best of the best
people who will leave their mark on wrestling forever
past inductees include
mean gene okerlund
stone cold steve austin
andre the giant
big john studd
bob orton jr
bobby the brain heanan
captain lou albano
chief jay strongbow
classy freddie blassie
greg the hammer valentine
jerry the king lawler
superfly jimmy snuka
mr wonderful paul orndorf
the iron sheik
vince mcmahon snr
and many more
ok is now time to look at the entries of 2010
Stewart Edward "Stu" Hart, CM (May 3, 1915 – October 16, 2003) was a Canadian amateur wrestler, professional wrestler, promoter and trainer. Hart founded Stampede Wrestling, a promotion based in Calgary, Alberta, and was the father of famous wrestlers Bret and Owen Hart. Along with Bret and Owen, Hart's trainees included future world champions Chris Jericho, Edge, Christian and Chris Benoit
Hart played football for the Edmonton Eskimos in the 1938 and 1939 seasons. Stu Hart began amateur wrestling when he joined the YMCA in Edmonton in 1929. By 1937 he won a gold medal in the welterweight class from the Amateur Athletic Union of Canada. His amateur career peaked in May 1940 when Hart won the dominion Amateur Wrestling Championship in the light heavyweight category. It must have been a bittersweet win for Hart as by that time the Phoney War had ended in Europe, and World War II had erupted. This led to the cancellation of the Olympics ending one of Hart's greatest dreams. Hart did enlist in the Canadian Navy and served as the Director of Athletics.
Hart was trained in catch wrestling as a young boy by a bunch of older boys. They used to 'stretch' him every day, but Stu kept coming back. Stu once said "his head would be blue by the time they let go of him". Stu taught this 'shoot style' to all who trained under him in the 80's & 90's with the thought that teaching his students real submission moves would make their pro wrestling style sharper.
It was during his service that Stu was introduced to professional wrestling. After recovering from a car accident, Stu competed in various exhibition matches to entertain the troops. In 1946, while receiving training from Toots Mondt, Hart debuted in New York and embarked on a long, eventful career, at one point wrestling a tiger and a grizzly bear.
In 1948, Hart established Stampede Wrestling, which was responsible for developing many second generation wrestling superstars. Three years later, he purchased a mansion in Patterson Heights, Calgary. The Hart House is now considered a historical site for the many famous figures that had passed through its doors. Its basement, known as the Dungeon, provided training grounds with an extensive legacy all its own.
A coach and mentor to countless young athletes, and a generous supporter of community life in Calgary, Hart, a loyal benefactor to more than thirty charitable and civic organizations including the Shriners' Hospital for Crippled Children and the Alberta Firefighters Toy Fund was appointed on November 15, 2000 to the Order of Canada. He was investitured on May 31, 2001.
WWE will be officially inducting Stu Hart in the WWE Hall of Fame, class of 2010.
Stu considered family to be his biggest achievement in life. For 53 years he was married to U.S. born Helen Hart ('nee Smith ) (1924 - 2001) and together they raised twelve children in the Hart mansion. Many of his children went on to become wrestlers or were otherwise involved in wrestling. The couple have thirty-three grandchildren and one great-grandchild
Hart was admitted to Rockyview General Hospital on October 3, 2003 for an elbow infection and then developed pneumonia. He also suffered from ailments associated with diabetes and arthritis. He had a stroke and died 13 days later at the age of 88.
In 2005 the City of Saskatoon announced that a street in the city's new Blairmore Suburban Centre development will be named Hart Road in Stu Hart's honor.
Robert George "Bob" Uecker born January 26, 1935) is an American former Major League Baseball player, later a sportscaster, comedian and actor. Uecker was given the title of "Mr. Baseball" by Johnny Carson.
Though he sometimes joked he was born on a colored oleo run to Illinois, Uecker was raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He grew up watching the minor-league Milwaukee Brewers at Borchert Field. He signed a professional contract with his hometown Milwaukee Braves in 1956 and made his major league debut as a catcher with the club in 1962. A mediocre hitter, he finished with a career batting average of .200. He was a sound defensive player and committed very few errors in his Major League career as a catcher, completing his career with a fielding percentage of .981. Uecker also played for the St. Louis Cardinals (and was a member of the 1964 World Champion club) and Philadelphia Phillies before returning to the Braves, who had by then moved to Atlanta. His six-year major league career concluded in 1967.
After retiring as a player, Uecker returned to Milwaukee. In 1971, he began calling play-by-play for the Milwaukee Brewers radio broadcasts, a position he holds to this day. He also served as one of the first color commentators on network television broadcasts in the 1970s (for ABC's Monday Night Baseball) and 1990s (for NBC as he teamed with Bob Costas and Joe Morgan for telecasts). During that time, he was a commentator for League Championship Series and the World Series.
Uecker now works as the Milwaukee Brewers' play-by-play announcer. Games are broadcast on the Brewers Radio Network throughout Wisconsin. The flagship is WTMJ 620 Milwaukee.
Known for his humor, particularly about his undistinguished playing career, Uecker actually became much better known after he retired from playing. He made 64 guest appearances on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show, and appeared in a number of humorous commercials, most notably for Miller Lite beer, as one of the "Miller Lite All-Stars".
Uecker published two books, an autobiography entitled Catcher in the Wry , and Catch 222 .
Uecker also pursued an acting career, playing the part of George Owens on the television sitcom Mr. Belvedere in the 1980s. He played a prominent role in Major League, Major League II, and Major League: Back to the Minors as Harry Doyle, the announcer for the team on which the movie is based, the Cleveland Indians. A phrase from this movie, "Juuuust a bit outside...", referring to a pitch that is several feet outside the strike zone, began appearing in some DirecTV ads in the spring of 2007.
Uecker's sports expertise extends beyond baseball. He hosted two syndicated television shows, Bob Uecker's Wacky World of Sports and Bob Uecker's War of the Stars. The former has since become known as The Lighter Side of Sports (albeit with a different host, Mike Golic) and remains one of the longest-running syndicated sports programs in American television history.
Uecker also appeared in a series of commercials for the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League in the mid-1990s, including one in which he re-designed the team's uniforms to feature a garish plaid reminiscent of the loud sports coats synonymous with Uecker in the 1970s and 1980s. In February 2006, the Admirals commemorated those commercials with a special event in which the players wore the plaid jerseys during a game. The jerseys were then auctioned off to benefit charity
In 1987, Uecker appeared as a ringside announcer at WrestleMania III in Pontiac, Michigan, followed by a return in 1988 at WrestleMania IV as both a ringside announcer and backstage interviewer. One famous WrestleMania segment saw André the Giant choking Uecker.
In the fall of 2006, WWE contacted Uecker to appear at WrestleMania 23 on April 1, 2007 in Detroit, Michigan. It was reported in Dave Meltzer's Wrestling Observer Newsletter that WWE wanted Uecker to be involved in a sketch of some sort with Bobby "The Brain" Heenan.
It was announced on March 22, 2010, that Uecker will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. He will be inducted into the Celebrity Wing of the WWE Hall of Fame on March 27, 2010, by Dick Ebersol.
George Raymond Wagner (March 24, 1915–December 26, 1963) was an American professional wrestler best known by his ring name Gorgeous George. In the United States, during the First Golden Age of Professional Wrestling in the 1940s-1950s, Gorgeous George gained mainstream popularity and became one of the biggest stars of this period, gaining media attention for his outrageous character, which was described as flamboyant and charismatic. He will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2010.
George Raymond Wagner was born March 24, 1915 in Butte, Nebraska. For a time, he and his parents lived on a farm near the village of Phoenix in Holt County and probably in Seward County before they moved to Waterloo, Iowa and later Sioux City. When George was age seven, his family moved to Houston, Texas, where he associated with kids from a tough neighborhood. As a child, he trained at the local YMCA and often staged matches against his friends. In 1929, Wagner dropped out of Milby High School at age 14, and worked odd jobs to help support his family. At this time, he competed at carnivals, where he could earn 35 cents for a win. By age 17, he was getting booked by the region’s top promoter, Morris Siegel, and in 1938, he won his first title by defeating Buck Lipscomb for Northwest Middleweight crown. Moreover, on May 19, 1939, he captured the Pacific Coast Light Heavyweight Championship.
At 5’9” and 215 pounds, Wagner was not particularly physically imposing by professional wrestling standards, nor was he an exceptionally gifted athlete. Nevertheless, he soon developed a reputation as a solid in-ring worker. In the late 1930s, he met Betty Hanson, whom he would eventually marry in an in-ring ceremony. When the wedding proved a good drawing card, the couple re-enacted it in arenas across the country (which thus enlightened Wagner to the potential entertainment value that was left untapped within the industry). Around this same time, Vanity magazine published a feature article about a pro wrestler named Lord Patrick Lansdowne, who entered the ring accompanied by two valets while wearing a velvet robe and doublet. Wagner was impressed with the bravado of such a character, but he believed that he could take it to a much greater extreme. What he needed was a new persona. As he was walking down the aisle at a new match he overheard a woman in the audience say to a friend: “Oh, he’s gorgeous.” He would be Gorgeous George. As a result, he debuted his new “glamour boy” image on a 1941 card in Eugene, Oregon; and he quickly antagonized the fans with his exaggerated effeminate behavior when the ring announcer introduced him as “Gorgeous George.” Such showmanship was unheard of for the time; and consequently, arena crowds grew in size as fans turned out to ridicule George (who relished the sudden attention).
Gorgeous George was soon recruited to Los Angeles by promoter Johnny Doyle. Known as the "Human Orchid," his persona was created in part by growing his hair long, dyeing it platinum blonde, and putting gold-plated bobby pins in it (which he deemed “Georgie Pins” while distributing them to the audience). Furthermore, he transformed his ring entrance into a bona-fide spectacle that would often take up more time than his actual matches. He was the first wrestler to really use entrance music, as he strolled nobly to the ring to the sounds of "Pomp and Circumstance," followed by his valet and a purple spotlight. Wearing an elegant robe sporting an array of sequins, Gorgeous George was always escorted down a personal red carpet by his ring valet “Jeffries,” who would carry a silver mirror while spreading rose petals at his feet. While George removed his robe, Jeffries would spray the ring with disinfectant (which reportedly consisted of Chanel No. 5 perfume), which George referred to as "Chanel #10" ("Why be half-safe?" he was famous for saying) before he would start wrestling. Moreover, George required that his valets spray the referee’s hands before the official was allowed to check him for any illegal objects, which thus prompted his now-famous outcry “Get your filthy hands off me!” Once the match finally began, he would cheat in every way he could. Gorgeous George was the industry’s first true cowardly villain, and he would cheat at every opportunity, which infuriated the crowd. His credo was "Win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat!" This flamboyant image and his showman's ability to work a crowd were so successful in the early days of television that he became the most famous wrestler of his time, drawing furious heel heat wherever he appeared.
It was with the advent of television, however, that George’s character exploded into the biggest drawing card the industry had ever known. With the networks looking for cheap but effective programming to fill its time slots, pro wrestling’s glorified action became a genuine “hit” with the viewing public, as it was the first program of any kind to draw a real profit. Consequently, it was Gorgeous George who brought the sport into the nation’s living rooms, as his histrionics and melodramatic behavior made him a larger-than-life figure in American pop-culture. His first television appearance took place on November 11, 1947 (an event that was recently named among the top 100 televised acts of the 20th century by Entertainment Weekly) and he immediately became a national celebrity at the same level of Lucille Ball and Bob Hope (who personally donated hundreds of chic robes for George’s collection) while changing the course of the industry forever. No longer was pro wrestling simply about the in-ring action, but George had created a new sense of theatrics and character performance that had not previously existed. Moreover, in a very real sense, it was Gorgeous George who single-handedly established television as a viable entertainment medium that could potentially reach millions of homes across the country (in fact, it is said that George was probably responsible for selling as many TV sets as Milton Berle).
In addition to his grandiose theatrics, Gorgeous George was an accomplished wrestler as well. While many may have considered him a mere gimmick wrestler, he was actually a very competent freestyle wrestler, having started learning the sport in amateur wrestling as a teenager, and he could handle himself quite well if it came to a legitimate contest. The great Lou Thesz, who would take this AWA title away from Wagner, and who was one of the best "legit" wrestlers ever in professional wrestling, displayed some disdain for the gimmick wrestlers. Nevertheless, he admitted that Wagner "could wrestle pretty well," but added that, "he [Wagner] could never draw a fan until he became Gorgeous George."
On March 26, 1947, he defeated Enrique Torres to capture the Los Angeles Heavyweight Championship. Then on February 22, 1949, George was booked as the feature attraction at New York’s Madison Square Garden in what would be pro wrestling’s first return to the building in 12 years. By the 1950’s, Gorgeous George’s starpower was so huge that he was able to command 50% of the gate for his performances, which allowed him to earn over $100,000 a year, thus making him the highest paid athlete in the world. Moreover, on May 26, 1950, Gorgeous George defeated Don Eagle to claim the AWA (Boston) World Heavyweight Championship, which he held for several months. During this reign he was beaten by the National Wrestling Alliance World Champion Lou Thesz in a highly-publicized bout in Chicago. However, perhaps Gorgeous George’s most famous match was against his longtime rival Whipper Billy Watson on March 12, 1959, in which a beaten George had his treasured golden locks shaved bald before 20,000 delighted fans at Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens and millions more on national television.
In one of his final matches, Gorgeous George later faced off against (and lost to) an up-and-coming Bruno Sammartino, though he would lose his precious hair again when he was defeated by the Destroyer in a hair vs. mask match at the Olympic Auditorium on November 7, 1962. This would ultimately be his last match, as advanced age and extended alcohol abuse had taken their toll on his body; and his doctors ordered him to quit wrestling.
On March 27 he will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2010. His 96 year-old former wife, Betty Wagner will accept the honor on his behalf.
As his wrestling career wound down, Wagner invested $250,000 in a 195-acre (0.79 km2) turkey ranch built in Beaumont, California, and the wrestler used his showman skills to promote his prized poultry at his wrestling matches and sport shows, popular during his heyday. He raised turkeys and owned a cocktail lounge in Van Nuys, California, which he named "Gorgeous George's Ringside Restaurant".
In 1962, Wagner was diagnosed with a serious liver condition. On advice of his doctors, he retired. This, combined with failed finances (due to bad investments) worsened his health. He suffered a heart attack on December 24, 1963 and died two days later, at age 48.
A plaque at his gravesite reads "Love to our Daddy Gorgeous George".
TED DIBIASE "THE MILLION DOLLAR MAN"
Theodore Marvin "Ted" DiBiase, Sr. (born January 18, 1954) is a retired professional wrestler, manager, and color commentator. DiBiase achieved championship success in a number of wrestling promotions, holding thirty titles during his professional wrestling career. He is arguably best recalled to mainstream audiences for his time in the WWF, where he wrestled as "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase. Among other accolades in the WWF, he was the first North American Heavyweight Champion, a three-time World Tag Team Champion (with Irwin R. Schyster) and the 1988 King of the Ring. DiBiase also created his own championship, the Million Dollar Championship. He was well-known for his cutting-edge heel promos, which were often concluded with his trademark evil laugh. He used his formidable wealth to try to purchase the WWF Championship from Andre the Giant in 1987, and subsequently appeared with the championship belt, but this period is not recognized by WWE as an official title reign. Nonetheless, DiBiase frequently performed in main event matches and has been cited as one of the finest in-ring technicians in history.
He will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on March 27, 2010.
DiBiase is the biological son of wrestler Helen Hild and a man who's identity is not comonly known and the adoptive son of wrestler "Iron" Mike DiBiase. His stepfather died of a heart attack in the ring when Ted was just 15. Seven-time NWA world champion Harley Race rushed to the ring and performed CPR but was unable to save Mike DiBiase's life. In response, his mother fell victim to depression and alcoholism, so Ted was moved to Willcox, Arizona to live with his grandparents. He graduated from Willcox High School to attend West Texas State University on a football scholarship. However, he later dropped out of college to begin a career in professional wrestling
Ted DiBiase was trained by Dory Funk, Jr. and Terry Funk. He made his professional wrestling debut in June 1975 in Mid-South Wrestling where he wrestled for four years.
DiBiase had a short stint with Vince McMahon's World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in 1979. He was awarded the short-lived North American Championship, becoming the title's first champion. On June 19, 1979, he lost the North American Championship to Pat Patterson, who unified the title with the fictional "South American Championship" to become the first ever Intercontinental Champion.
DiBiase also spent time in the Georgia area where he had an early face run frequently tagging with Tommy "Wildfire" Rich. The two then feuded, leading to a loser leaves town match which DiBiase won, but instead of Rich leaving the area, he donned a mask calling himself "Mister R." The feud culminated in a match between Mister R and DiBiase, Tommy Rich appeared from backstage and distracted DiBiase. Mister R then rolled up DiBiase to get the win and unmasked as Brad Armstrong. Both DiBiase and Rich left the territory shortly thereafter.
In the early to mid-1980s, DiBiase participated in angles in various territories with the likes of Dick Murdoch, Ric Flair, the Fabulous Freebirds, Jim Duggan, One Man Gang, and Junkyard Dog. He also held various championships and made frequent trips to All Japan Pro Wrestling until his eventual departure from Mid-South Wrestling (which by this point was now the UWF). Typically, his matches ended with the use of a "loaded" black glove, which he pulled from his tights to "knock out" his opponent when the referee was not looking.
While locked in talks with the National Wrestling Alliance in 1987 after the UWF was acquired by Jim Crockett, DiBiase received an offer from the WWF. DiBiase was eventually convinced by WWF to sign up despite the fact that he would not be told his gimmick until after he agreed, under the promise that it was something that would receive a serious push. WWF official Pat Patterson informed DiBiase that if owner Vince McMahon were to go out to wrestle, it would be the gimmick that he would give himself.
In the WWF, DiBiase was known as "The Million Dollar Man", a millionaire who wore a gold-studded, dollar-sign-covered suit and, in time, a custom-made, diamond-encrusted and self-awarded "Million Dollar Championship Belt". The Million Dollar Man character was based on the type of wrestler that Vince McMahon would want to be. DiBiase had a bodyguard by the name of Virgil, that was also by his side during matches, and all of his vignettes. The idea for the name Virgil was based on then-NWA booker Dusty Rhodes, whose real name is Virgil Runnels. The name of DiBiase's finishing move, the Million Dollar Dream (in which someone is put to sleep), was also meant to be an insult to Dusty Rhodes, who was named the American Dream.
Virgil was often seen performing humiliating tasks, such as rubbing DiBiase's feet. DiBiase claimed "Everybody has a price" demonstrating his "power" through a series of vignettes in which he did things such as bribe the manager of a local swimming pool to close for the day so he could have the pool to himself. Other skits featured DiBiase traveling in limousines, giving $100 tips to waiters, and using $100 bills in convenience stores for small purchases like chewing gum. In reality, DiBiase's road travel was deliberately booked for first-class airplane flights and five-star hotel accommodations, and he was given a stipend of petty cash from the WWF Offices so that he could throw money around in public (i.e. pick up tabs and overtip, buy drinks for entire bars, actually pay for small items with a $100 bill, etc.) in order to make the character seem more real. Other times, DiBiase invited fans (including a young Rob Van Dam to perform humiliating acts (such as kissing his feet) for money. During one skit, he invited a young boy onto a stage and told him if he bounced a ball 15 times in succession, DiBiase would pay him $500. After the 14th bounce, DiBiase kicked the ball away, sending the boy home without pay. He frequently stuffed a $100 bill into the mouth of a wrestler on whom he had used the Million Dollar Dream move.
His first big in-ring angle came in late 1987 on an episode of Superstars of Wrestling, where he announced his plan to buy the WWF Championship from Hulk Hogan. Hogan refused and said that DiBiase would have to defeat him in the ring for the belt. Hogan got the upper hand in a series of matches, and a frustrated DiBiase approached André the Giant to win the belt for him. On the February 5 edition of The Main Event (which aired live on NBC), André defeated Hogan under questionable circumstances for the WWF Championship. Referee Dave Hebner was detained backstage and replaced with a referee DiBiase paid to have plastic surgery (actually Dave's twin brother Earl). He counted the pin for André despite the fact that Hogan's shoulder was up at the count of one; André then announced he was surrendering the belt and handed it to DiBiase. The WWF refused to acknowledge DiBiase as the champion (since titles could not be handed to someone else) and declared the title vacant. André's world title win was always recognized though, and is still considered the shortest world title reign in WWF history. This angle was an amplification of an angle in the old Georgia Championship Wrestling, when Larry Zbyszko paid Killer Tim Brooks $25,000 for his NWA National Heavyweight Championship in 1983.
A tournament was announced to crown a new WWF Champion. At WrestleMania IV, DiBiase defeated Hacksaw Jim Duggan in the first round and Don Muraco in the quarterfinal before receiving a bye in the semi-finals to advance to the finals of the tournament. DiBiase was defeated by "Macho Man" Randy Savage in the finals. After repeated interference by Andre the Giant, Hulk Hogan got involved to even the odds. DiBiase continued to feud with Savage throughout the summer of 1988, culminating in a tag team match pitting DiBiase and André the Giant vs. Hogan and Savage at the inaugural SummerSlam (in a match billed as "Where The Mega Powers Meet The Mega Bucks"). Although pro-heel commentator Jesse "The Body" Ventura served as the guest referee, Hogan pinned DiBiase to win the match. DiBiase then defeated Brutus Beefcake, Ken Patera, Ron Bass, and Randy Savage to win the 1988 King of the Ring tournament, receiving his first WWF success.
Bobby Heenan sold Hercules' contract to Ted DiBiase for his services as his personal slave. DiBiase claimed that Hercules was his slave but started feuding with him after Hercules turned face. He eliminated Hercules from the main event at Survivor Series.
At the Royal Rumble in 1989, DiBiase purchased the #30 entrance spot from Akeem to become the final entrant in the match. Big John Studd and DiBiase were the final two participants in the match. DiBiase offered Studd a bribe to eliminate himself, but Studd eliminated him to win the match. DiBiase continued to feud with Hercules; the two had a series of matches including a match that DiBiase won on the February 3 edition of The Main Event. He defeated The Blue Blazer on the March 11 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event. After that match, he introduced the WWF Million Dollar Championship, his own championship belt which was not recognized by the WWF. He created this belt because he was unable to buy or win the WWF Championship from Hulk Hogan.
DiBiase fought Brutus Beefcake to a double-countout at WrestleMania V. DiBiase's next big feud was with Jake "The Snake" Roberts. A few weeks after WrestleMania, DiBiase attacked Roberts on WWF Superstars of Wrestling after Roberts defeated Virgil in a match. DiBiase put Roberts out of action for several months with a neck injury. While Roberts recuperated, DiBiase defeated Jimmy "The Superfly" Snuka at SummerSlam by countout. On the October 14 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event, DiBiase faced Hulk Hogan in a match for the WWF Championship where DiBiase had the monster Zeus by his side. DiBiase lost the match when he accidentally hit Zeus and was pinned by Hogan with a small package. At Survivor Series, DiBiase captained a team dubbed the "Million Dollar Team" consisting of himself, the Powers of Pain (Warlord and Barbarian), and Zeus against Hogan's "Hulkamaniacs" consisting of Hogan, Jake Roberts, and Demolition (Ax and Smash). DiBiase eliminated Roberts after pinning him with help from Virgil before being pinned himself by Hogan.
In 1990, he broke the record at the time by lasting 45 minutes in the Royal Rumble match after entering as the #1 entrant (rather than #30 like the previous year). He eliminated eight opponents before he was eliminated by The Ultimate Warrior. He then continued his feud with Jake Roberts, who stole the Million Dollar Belt, leading to a match at WrestleMania VI where Roberts was counted out. Shortly after WrestleMania, he had a brief feud with Big Bossman which dated back to when DiBiase tried to bribe Bossman into retrieving the Million Dollar Belt. Bossman refused DiBiase's bribe and returned the Million Dollar Belt to Roberts. At SummerSlam, DiBiase bought the services of Sapphire, who was the manager of Dusty Rhodes at the time. This led to Rhodes and DiBiase feuding throughout the end of 1990 into the beginning of 1991. On the October 30 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event, he attacked Dusty's son Dustin Rhodes during Dusty's match with Randy Savage. DiBiase and Dusty captained rival teams at Survivor Series, with DiBiase's mystery partner turning out to be the debuting Undertaker. DiBiase wound up eliminating both members of The Hart Foundation and was the sole survivor of the match. He, however, was eliminated in the main event by Hogan. At the Royal Rumble, Ted DiBiase and Virgil defeated Dusty and Dustin Rhodes in a tag team match. After the match, DiBiase ordered Virgil to put the Million Dollar Championship belt around his waist. Virgil instead hit DiBiase with the belt, turning face. At WrestleMania VII, DiBiase lost by countout to Virgil, who had help from 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper. Sensational Sherri, who earlier in the night had turned on a losing Randy Savage, came down midway through the match to help DiBiase and became his full-time valet. On the April 27 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event, DiBiase fought Bret Hart to a double countout.
DiBiase lost the Million Dollar Championship to Virgil at SummerSlam when Virgil smashed his head into an exposed turnbuckle and pinned him to get the victory. DiBiase participated in the King of the Ring tournament drawing with Ricky Steamboat in the first round. DiBiase regained the Million Dollar Championship from Virgil with help from Repo Man on the November 11 edition of Prime Time Wrestling which was dubbed "Survivor Series Showdown". At Survivor Series, he was one of the contestants eliminated from his match. At This Tuesday in Texas, DiBiase and Repo Man defeated Virgil and Tito Santana.
Ted DiBiase officially formed the tag team, Money Incorporated, with Irwin R. Schyster (IRS). The duo, mostly managed by Jimmy Hart, won the WWF Tag Team Championship three times between February 1992 and June 1993. Their first reign came on February 7, 1992 when they defeated The Legion of Doom for the titles. Money Incorporated then feuded with The Natural Disasters (Earthquake and Typhoon). They defended the title against the Natural Disasters at WrestleMania VIII and lost the match by countout, thus retaining the title. On July 20, they lost the title to the Natural Disasters.
After losing a match to the Legion of Doom at SummerSlam, DiBiase and IRS regained the belts on the October 13 edition of Wrestling Challenge from the Natural Disasters. This title change led to a feud with The Nasty Boys, who were originally scheduled for the title shot. On the November 8 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event, they defended their titles against the Ultimate Maniacs (Ultimate Warrior and Randy Savage). DiBiase and IRS lost the match by countout and thus retained the titles once more.
Ted DiBiase participated in the Royal Rumble match, entering at #4 before eventually being eliminated by The Undertaker. Shortly after, DiBiase and IRS became involved in a major angle with the returning Brutus Beefcake. DiBiase faced Beefcake on one of the first episodes of Monday Night Raw. DiBiase and IRS attacked Beefcake after the match and slammed his face (which had been surgically repaired following a windsailing accident) with a briefcase. Money Inc. also attacked their manager Jimmy Hart, who was disgusted by their actions. Beefcake's best friend Hulk Hogan came to Beefcake's defense and challenged Money Inc. to a tag team title match at WrestleMania IX. DiBiase and IRS retained their titles by disqualification after Hogan used Beefcake's protective face mask as a weapon.
Money Inc. dominated the tag team division of the WWF. They feuded with the Steiner Brothers (Rick and Scott) and had a series of title exchanges. DiBiase and IRS were defeated by the Steiners for the WWF Tag Team Championship on the June 14 edition of Monday Night Raw. They would regain the titles on June 16 at a live event but lost them back to the Steiners three days later on June 19 at another live event. DiBiase last wrestled for the WWF in August, bowing out following an angle which saw Razor Ramon turn face and 1-2-3 Kid debut. The Kid had scored an upset pinfall against a cocky Ramon, causing DiBiase to mock Ramon and tell him he would show him how it was done. He then went on to also lose to the Kid, giving Razor a newfound respect for the Kid thus turning Razor face. This included a match at SummerSlam between DiBiase and Ramon which DiBiase lost. After a few months in Japan, he quietly announced his retirement due to accumulated injuries and returned to the USA.
DiBiase returned to the WWF at the Royal Rumble as a guest commentator. DiBiase then began working as a commentator and manager for the WWF. Later in 1994, DiBiase purchased the contracts of many wrestlers for his Million Dollar Corporation stable in the WWF, which over time included I.R.S., Bam Bam Bigelow, Nikolai Volkoff, Kama, King Kong Bundy, Sycho Sid, 1-2-3 Kid, and in a swerve, Tatanka. DiBiase also renewed his connection with the Undertaker after the latter's six-month hiatus after the January Royal Rumble. Saying that he had originally brought the Undertaker to the WWF, and he was going to bring him back, DiBiase debuted a new Undertaker under his control. This Undertaker however proved to be an impostor played by Brian Lee, and was subsequently defeated by the real Undertaker at SummerSlam.
DiBiase also had a place in the main event of WrestleMania XI as the manager of Bam Bam Bigelow in his match versus Lawrence Taylor. Surrounding the ring were members of DiBiase's corporation to offset Taylor's entourage of NFL All-Pros on the opposite side. After Taylor defeated Bigelow, DiBiase publicly referred to Bigelow as an embarrassment. This culminated in Bigelow quitting The Corporation after DiBiase fired him following a loss to Diesel in a WWF Championship match. Bigelow aligned himself with Diesel in a feud versus members of DiBiase's corporation.
As a manager, DiBiase also later introduced "The Ringmaster", who eventually became Stone Cold Steve Austin, to the WWF in December 1995. Austin became the Million Dollar Champion and began wearing DiBiase's gold belt that was introduced in 1989. DiBiase's last appearance with the company was at In Your House: Beware of Dog in 1996, where he was kayfabe forced to leave the WWF after Steve Austin lost to Savio Vega. In reality, he left for rival promotion World Championship Wrestling.
In WCW, DiBiase became the fourth member of the nWo (along with Scott Hall, Kevin Nash and former enemy Hollywood Hogan) on August 26, 1996, one month after their formation in July 1996. He claimed to be financing the group (thus playing on his "Million Dollar Man" gimmick that WCW could not legally use outright). He was referred to, instead, as "Trillionaire Ted" (a play on the "Billionaire Ted" nickname of Ted Turner). Less than a year later, on the August 4, 1997, episode of Nitro, he left the nWo and made a face turn, managing The Steiner Brothers against the nWo until Scott turned heel and joined the group. DiBiase also managed one-time WWF rival Ray Traylor for a while as an ally to the Steiners but eventually stopped managing altogether.
In April 2005, DiBiase was hired as a creative consultant and road agent for the SmackDown! brand of World Wrestling Entertainment. On October 3, 2005, at WWE Homecoming, DiBiase appeared with other WWE legends in a ceremony. He eventually led the attack on Rob Conway, who had come down to the ring to insult the legends.
DiBiase at a radio program on July 15, 2006 at the International Wrestling Institute and Museum.DiBiase inducted his former manager Sensational Sherri into the WWE Hall of Fame on April 1, 2006 and made an appearance at WrestleMania 22, offering Eugene $1000 to dribble a basketball 100 times backstage and kicked the ball away at the last second. DiBiase also appeared on Raw on April 17 behind a newspaper doing his famous evil laugh as the camera went off air. DiBiase made an appearance at an IPW show in Newton, Iowa on July 14, 2006, where he watched his sons' tag team match. The following day, he accepted the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame induction for his father, Mike, at the International Wrestling Institute and Museum. He also appeared at the Raw Family Reunion on October 9, 2006 aiding Ric Flair in his match with the Spirit Squad. On October 26, 2006, Ted DiBiase was released from his WWE contract.
DiBiase made his first in ring appearance in over five years at the Raw 15th Anniversary Special on December 10, 2007, by winning a 15-man battle royal, in which he was not even an active participant. Irwin R. Schyster, DiBiase's former tag team partner of Money Incorporated, had won the battle royal. DiBiase came down to ringside and offered Schyster a bribe to eliminate himself. Schyster accepted and hopped over the top rope, making DiBiase the victor. DiBiase then declared that even after fifteen years, everyone still had a price for the "Million Dollar Man."
On the May 19, 2008 edition of Raw, he was seen alongside Mr. McMahon about to "discuss business", in William Regal's office. On the following Raw, DiBiase introduced his son Ted DiBiase, Jr. to WWE as its newest member.
DiBiase is now a Christian minister who runs combined Christian/wrestling events under the promotion, Power Wrestling Alliance. He frequently works with Nikita Koloff, another born-again Christian at these events. In 1999, he founded Heart of David Ministries. Ted is also the author of Every Man Has His Price, a part- autobiography and part-Christian testimony.
On the June 29 episode of Raw, Ted DiBiase, Jr announced in a segment with Cody Rhodes and Randy Orton that DiBiase would appear on Raw the following week as the special guest host, and DiBiase appeared as scheduled on July 6. On the show, DiBiase booked his son to face Randy Orton. After DiBiase Jr. lost the match, he accused his father of setting him up and trying to steal his time, even slapping his father across the face. DiBiase would later come out at the end of the show and sanctioned a triple threat match for Randy Orton's WWE Championship at Night of Champions including John Cena and Triple H in his final act as the guest host. He is also playable character in WWE Legends of Wrestlemania and an unlockable superstar in WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2010. DiBiase was announced as the first inductee of the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2010 on February 8, 2010 during an episode of Raw.
MAD DOG VACHON
Maurice Vachon (born September 14, 1929) is a retired Québécois professional wrestler, best known by his ring name "Mad Dog" Vachon. He is the brother of wrestlers Paul and Vivian Vachon, and the uncle of wrestler Luna Vachon. He was among the AWA's all-time great heels with a career spanning four decades, while also serving as the leader of one of the sport’s most accomplished families. On March 1, 2010 it was anounced Vachon would be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame
Born on September 14, 1929, Maurice Vachon was one of 13 children of Montreal policeman Ferdinand Vachon, and they grew up in the district of Ville-Émard, a working-class borough southwest of Montreal. As a child, he regularly attended wrestling shows at the nearby Montreal Forum, where he grew up idolizing local ring legend Yvon Robert; and at just 12 years old, he had already begun grappling at the area’s YMCA. He entered a wrestling course advertised at the back of a comic book, and he began training under Chief Jim Crowley. He trained hard and even worked in the docks and on the canal to build up his muscle. By age 14, Vachon eventually established himself among Canada’s premier amateur grapplers.
At just 18 years old, he competed in the 1948 Olympic Games in London, where he pinned the Indian champion in 58 seconds and ultimately finished in seventh place at 174 pounds. Moreover, it was at the 1948 Olympics where Vachon first encountered an American Greco-Roman competitor named Verne Gagne. He rebounded to win the gold medal at the 1950 British Empire Games in New Zealand, and he then spent several years working as a bouncer at a Montreal nightclub before he was encouraged to join the pro wrestling circuit in 1954.
Vachon initially debuted as a junior heavyweight for Ontario booker Larry Kasaboski; and during his first year as a pro, he won a tournament in Sudbury to claim the North American Junior Heavyweight Title. However, Vachon soon encountered a roadblock when powerful Montreal promoter Eddie Quinn was hesitant to use him for fear that Vachon would use his legitimate wrestling talents to dethrone Yvon Robert, who was still his top drawing card. Consequently, Vachon then took to the road; and in April 1955, he teamed with Pierre LaSalle to capture the NWA Texas Tag Team Titles.
Despite his exceptional grappling ability, Maurice Vachon nonetheless struggled to distinguish himself from the myriad of image-less grapplers during his early years. As a result, he soon took radical measures to differentiate his persona, bulking up to a more plausible 225 pounds while also shaving his head bald and growing a long goatee. In addition, Vachon would frequently buy local TV time prior to a weekend event, which he then used to boldly proclaim his supremacy while also deprecating his opponent. Such acts of bravado were considered revolutionary at the time, though it was successful in that it attracted attention to Vachon’s new character as well as drawing additional fans to the arena. As a result, Vachon subsequently established himself as a major heel while also portraying a wrestling beast inside the ring who would freely stomp, bite, and pound his opponent into submission. Therefore, Portland promoter Don Owen accordingly bestowed Vachon with the nickname of “Mad Dog,” and the fact that he was so much smaller than the majority of his opponents only added to his mystique. Before long, “Mad Dog” Vachon consequently developed a reputation as perhaps the most feared rulebreaker in all of wrestling. Furthermore, Maurice’s younger brother Paul soon debuted himself, as he was ultimately given the nickname of “the Butcher;” and on February 17, 1959 in Edmonton, the Vachon brothers teamed to defeat Chico Garcia & Chet Wallick for the NWA Canadian Tag Team Titles.
Maurice Vachon's tendency to hurt his opponents with foreign objects, filed fingernails, and his signature finishing move, "The Piledriver", made him notorious in the business and caused him to be banned in three U.S. states. But it also made his popularity soar among the fans, including his future wife Kathie Joe, whom he met after spitting a shoe string he had used for choking his opponent at her, as she was sitting in the audience.
In the early 1960s, Mad Dog Vachon was then recruited to the Minnesota-based American Wrestling Association by his old Olympics acquaintance Verne Gagne, who had replaced Tony Stecher as the region’s chief promoter in 1960 and who also served as its centerpiece champion. Upon debuting, Vachon immediately established himself among the promotion’s top box-office draws as fans despised his vicious, mauling tactics; and he thus made the perfect opponent for the All-American Gagne, as the two rivals soon commenced an ongoing battle that would persist on for nearly 20 years. On May 2, 1964, Vachon stunned audiences when he upset Gagne for the AWA World Heavyweight Title, and although Gagne regained the belt just two weeks later, Mad Dog again recaptured the title when he defeated Gagne on October 20 in Minneapolis. Between 1964-67, Mad Dog Vachon would ultimately hold five reigns as the AWA World Champion while taking on all comers within the promotion’s massive territory, including Gagne, Mighty Igor Vodic, as well as the legendary powerhouse duo of Crusher Lisowski & Dick the Bruiser.
Mad Dog Vachon’s final AWA title reign came to an end on February 26, 1967 at the hands of his arch-nemesis Verne Gagne; and he then briefly left the promotion in order to return to his native Montreal territory, where he captured two reigns as the IWA International Heavyweight Champion while feuding against Johnny Rougeau and Hans Schmidt. Moreover, Vachon would also leverage his close friendship with Montreal Canadiens legend Jean Beliveau to convince the authorities of the Montreal Forum to grant him a promoting license (despite the protests of Johnny Rougeau and Bob Langevin, who had taken over the region from Eddie Quinn during the mid-1960s). Nevertheless, Vachon would soon return to the AWA, where he resumed his fierce battles with the The Crusher & Dick the Bruiser, regarded by some as the greatest tag team of all-time, while forming a highly successful and dangerous tandem with his brother Paul “Butcher” Vachon. On August 30, 1969, the Vachon’s defeated Crusher & Bruiser for the AWA World Tag Team Titles; and the following year, the two battled again in a famous steel cage match at Chicago’s Comiskey Park (where the Vachon’s again emerged victorious), as their violent fights ultimately served as the precursor for a new brand of sadistic and vicious brawling that would spawn future mayhem stars like Abdullah the Butcher, Bruiser Brody, Stan Hansen, and others.
Over the next decade, the Vachon family would become one of the AWA’s most dominant stables, with sister Vivian (and later on, niece Luna) dominating the women’s scene, while Maurice and Paul ruled the men’s division. In the early 1970s he even appeared alongside his sister Vivian Vachon in the motion picture Wrestling Queen. But after two decades as one the sport’s most evil characters, the fans suddenly began to rally behind the “Mad Dog” in the late 1970s when he formed an unexpected and odd friendship with ex-archrival Verne Gagne. The unlikely partners made for an impressive tag team, and on June 6, 1979, they beat Pat Patterson & Ray Stevens to capture the AWA tag titles, which they held for over a year before losing to Jesse Ventura & Adrian Adonis. But when the AWA began looking to younger stars like Rick Martel and Curt Hennig, Vachon jumped to the World Wrestling Federation in 1984. While his age and lack of size did not make for a good mix in the emerging "Hulkamania" era, the now-face (fan favorite) Vachon put people in the seats and was usually included at WWF house shows (wrestling cards) in the Midwest and Quebec.
In 1985, he appeared as cornerman for AWA World Champion Rick Martel when Martel was challenged by Boris Zhukov in several title bouts in Canada, getting involved in one match on September 19, 1985 in Winnipeg and fighting off Zhukov and his manager, Chris Markoff, after Markoff interfered and helped Zhukov attack Martel, while in a later rematch between Martel and Zhukov held in a steel cage on November 14, 1985 in the same city, Markoff was neutralized by being handcuffed to Vachon. He received a retirement show in his native Montreal in September 1986, and he left the sport as one its most beloved fan favorites after spending almost his entire career as a sadistic villain. His innovative portrayal of a snarling, bloodthirsty monster would inspire a myriad of future “psychotic” wrestlers, including “Maniac” Mark Lewin, Bruiser Brody, George Steele, and “Mad Dog” Buzz Sawyer.
Upon retiring, Vachon settled in Carter Lake, Iowa, which is adjacent to his wife's home town of Omaha, Nebraska, but tragedy then struck in 1987 when Vachon was struck by a hit-and-run driver, resulting in the forced amputation of his leg. The Vachons moved to Omaha shortly thereafter. He later turned to acting in beer commercials and was a restaurant critic for a Quebec City television station. He said, "I've eaten in almost every gas station restaurant and roadside diner in North America, I'm one Mad Dog who knows his chow."
He appeared at the WWF pay-per-view In Your House 7, that was held in Omaha. He was sitting in the front row near ringside, when wrestler Diesel ripped Vachon's artificial leg off and it was later used as a weapon in his match by Shawn Michaels. In addition, he and longtime rival The Crusher made an appearance at the 1998 Over the Edge pay-per-view, in a segment where the two legends were mocked by Jerry "The King" Lawler, including Lawler trying to steal the artificial leg. Crusher and Mad Dog then punched Lawler out of the ring and shook hands.
As of 2006, Mad Dog Vachon continues to make appearances at legends reunions and independent promotions.
He had knee surgery in 2008, which, according to his brother, Paul, was successful.
March 1, 2010, he was named as one of the 2010 Hall of Famers of the WWE
Wendi Richter was trained at The Fabulous Moolah's Lillian Ellison School of Professional Wrestling and made her professional debut in 1979. In early 1982, Richter tag teamed with Moolah against Velvet McIntyre and Princess Victoria for three matches for the World Wide Wrestling Federation.Richter was later paired with Joyce Grable, with whom she also trained for six weeks, to form a tag team called The Texas Cowgirls. In late 1982, they wrestled in a series of matches in Canada's Stampede Wrestling against Velvet McIntyre and Judy Martin. She continued her feud with McIntyre in Bill Watts' Mid-South Wrestling Association, where she was defeated twice. Richter and Grable continued their rivalry with McIntyre and Martin into April 1983 in Verne Gagne's American Wrestling Association. In May, the team reformed in Stampede Wrestling in matches against McIntyre and Penny Mitchell. The team also won the NWA Women's World Tag Team Championship twice.
Richter returned stateside signing with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in late 1983. In April 1984, Richter teamed with Peggy Lee for a series of matches with old rivals Velvet McIntyre and Princess Victoria. WWF owner Vince McMahon brought in Cyndi Lauper for a feud with Lou Albano (who had appeared in one of Lauper's videos). As a result, in a match, Albano seconded WWF Women's Champion Fabulous Moolah, while Lauper was in the corner of Wendi Richter. Richter defeated Moolah at MTV's The Brawl to End it All for the Women's Championship on July 23, 1984. With the win, she ended what was billed as the longest championship reign in professional wrestling history (Moolah's 28-year reign as recognized by the WWF; in reality she had lost the title several times between 1956 and 1978, and Richter's win had in reality only ended a nearly seven-year reign by Moolah as champion). The broadcast of the women's match earned MTV its largest ratings in history up to that point. This match was also the beginning of the "Rock 'n' Wrestling Connection", an era that combined both music and professional wrestling. Richter faced Moolah's protégé, Leilani Kai, who defeated Richter for the title, in early 1985 at The War to Settle the Score. She regained the title at the first WrestleMania one month later. While wrestling for the WWF, Richter referred to herself as "150 pounds of twisted steel and sex appeal". Richter was also animated for a CBS Saturday morning cartoon, Hulk Hogan's Rock 'n' Wrestling. In addition, she appeared in Lauper's music video for "She Bop".
In 1985, after losing and then regaining the title from rival Leilani Kai at the inaugural WrestleMania, Richter was scheduled to defend her women's title at Madison Square Garden on November 25 of that same year against a mysterious masked opponent known only as The Spider Lady. Moments into the match, The Spider Lady broke from the pre-scripted events and pinned Richter's shoulders to the mat. The referee—who was in on the plan—delivered a swift three count, despite Richter kicking out after a count of one. Richter ignored the bell and continued to attack the Spider, unmasking the new champion to reveal that it was The Fabulous Moolah in disguise.
It was reported that the plan to rid Richter of the title was concocted by WWF Chairman Vince McMahon, who brought in Moolah after Richter refused to sign a new contract with the WWF. Richter, however, claims she was still under her original five year contract, but that she regularly had disagreements with McMahon about her compensation. She also claims that when she arrived at the arena that day, she was surprised to find Moolah backstage, as she never showed up to events for which she was not scheduled to wrestle. After the match, an infuriated Richter left the arena in her wrestling gear, took a cab to the airport, and booked herself on a flight out of New York. Afterward, she never spoke to either McMahon or Moolah again
Upon leaving the WWF, Richter wrestled in Puerto Rico, Japan, and throughout the United States in independent promotions. In Puerto Rico's World Wrestling Council, she traded the WWC Women's Championship with Monster Ripper, holding the belt twice: once in May 1987 and once in July 1987.
Richter surfaced in the American Wrestling Association (AWA) in 1987 to challenge champion Madusa Miceli for the AWA Women's Championship, winning the title in December 1987. On December 13, 1988, she participated in a mixed tag team match at SuperClash III with partners The Top Guns (Ricky Rice and Derrick Dukes) against Badd Company (Paul Diamond and Pat Tanaka) and Madusa Miceli. Richter's team won the match when she pinned Miceli.
On January 29, 2005, Richter appeared at WrestleReunion in an eight-woman tag team match (teaming with Bambi, Malia Hosaka, and Jenny Taylor wrestling against Sherri Martel, Peggy Lee Leather, Krissy Vaine, and Amber O'Neal. In August of that same year, Richter appeared at the second WrestleReunion event, WrestleReunion 2, in a six-person tag team match.
In February 2009, WWE contacted Richter to participate in a Divas battle royal to determine "Miss WrestleMania" at WrestleMania XXV, but Richter declined the offer. The following year, WWE announced that Richter would be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2010 by Roddy Piper.
Wendi Richter grew up in Dallas, Texas, and before she entered the world of professional wrestling, she worked on her family's ranch and took part in rodeo competitions. She attended Bossier High School, where she participated in volleyball, track, and cross-country.She later majored in computer programming at Dallas's Draughon's Business College. In the 1980s, she moved to Crystal River, Florida.
After leaving the business, Richter worked as a real estate agent. She also returned to school for thirteen years, earning a degree in physical therapy and a Master's degree in occupational therapy. Aside from therapy, Richter competes in dog shows, including the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.She was once married to Hugo Savinovich, an announcer for the WWF.
Antonio Inoki (born Kanji Inoki (猪木寛至, on February 20, 1943) is a Japanese professional wrestling promoter and retired professional wrestler and mixed martial artist who now resides between New York City and Tokyo. He was also the founder and former owner of New Japan Pro Wrestling before selling his controlling share in the promotion to Yukes
Inoki was born in an affluent family in Yokohama in 1943. He was the sixth son and the second youngest of the seven boys and four girls. His father, Sajiro Inoki, a businessman and politician, died when Kanji was five years old. Inoki entered the Higashidai Grade School. Inoki was taught karate by an older brother while in 6th grade. By the time he was in 7th grade at Terao Junior High School, he was 180 centimeters tall and joined the basketball team. He later quit and joined a track and field club as a shot putter. He eventually won the championship at the Yokohama Junior High School track and field competition.
The family fell on hard times in the post-war years, and in 1957, the 14 year-old Inoki immigrated to Brazil with his grandfather, mother and brothers. His grandfather died during the journey to Brazil. Inoki won regional championships in Brazil in the shot put, discus throw, and javelin throw, and finally the All Brazilian championships in the shot put and discus.
Inoki met Rikidōzan at the age of 17. He went back to Japan for the Japanese Wrestling Association (JWA) as Rikidōzan's disciple. One of his dojo classmates was Giant Baba. After Rikidozan's death, Inoki worked under the taller Baba's shadow until he joined the original Tokyo Pro Wrestling in 1966.
After wrestling a long excursion in the United States, Inoki found a new home in Tokyo Pro Wrestling. While there, Inoki became their biggest star. Unfortunately, the company folded in 1967, due to turmoil behind the scenes.
Returning to JWA in late 1967, he was made Baba's partner and the two dominated the tag team ranks as the "B-I Cannon", winning the NWA International tag team belts four times. Wrestling legend Bruno Sammartino tells a story about Inoki trying to "shoot" on him during a tag match in Osaka to build his reputation against the then-world champ. Bruno powered out of the hold, pounded Inoki unmercilessly and threw him out of the ring. Inoki refused to re-enter the ring with Sammartino and tagged in Baba to finish the match.
 New Japan Pro Wrestling (1972–1994)
Fired from JWA in late 1971 for planning a takeover of the promotion, Inoki founded New Japan Pro Wrestling in 1972. His first match as a New Japan wrestler was against Karl Gotch. In 1995 the Japanese and Korean governments came together to hold a two-day wrestling festival for peace in Pyongyang, North Korea. The event drew 150,000 and 190,000 fans respectively to May Day Stadium. The main event saw the only match between Inoki and Ric Flair with Inoki coming out on top. Days before this event, Inoki and the Korean press went to the grave and birthplace of Rikidōzan and paid tribute to him.
On November 30, 1979, Inoki defeated WWF Champion Bob Backlund in Tokushima, Japan to win the title. Backlund then won a re-match on December 6. However, WWF president Hisashi Shinma declared the re-match a no-contest due to interference from Tiger Jeet Singh, and Inoki remained Champion. Inoki refused the title on the same day and it was declared vacant. Backlund later defeated Bobby Duncum in a Texas Death match to regain the title on December 12. As Inoki refused the title his reign is not included nor is it recognized by WWE in its official history and Backlund is recognized as having one reign from 1978–1983.
Inoki's retirement from professional wrestling matches came with the staging of the "Final Countdown" series between 1994 and 1998. This was a special series in which Inoki re-lived some of his mixed martial arts matches under professional wrestling rules, as well as rematches of some of his most well known wrestling matches. Inoki faced Don Frye in the final match of his professional wrestling career.
Culminating in 2006, Inoki's influence within New Japan declined. An example of this has been the purchase of his image by YUKE's, who in 2005 purchased his controlling 51.5% stock in New Japan. As a result New Japan is now able to control Inoki's appearances and the use of his image. Inoki began a new promotion in 2007 called Inoki Genome Federation that competes with New Japan.
On February 1, 2010, World Wrestling Entertainment announced on its Japanese website that Inoki would be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2010. On February 9, WWE held a press conference in Tokyo, Japan to officially announce the induction, making him the first ever Japanese person to receive the induction. Inoki was presented with a Hall of Fame certificate by WWE's Ed Wells and stated that he will be attending the WrestleMania XXVI weekend festivities, which will see him officially inducted.
Inoki was amongst the group of professional wrestlers who were tutored in the art of hooking and shooting by the professional wrestler Karl Gotch. Inoki then went on to stage a series of mixed martial arts matches against champions from numerous other disciplines of martial arts. Inoki named his method of fighting "strong style". This method of wrestling (which was taught to Inoki by Gotch) borrowed heavily from professional wrestling's original catch wrestling roots. It is one of the most important influences of modern shoot wrestling.
Inoki was a pioneer of mixed martial arts and faced many opponents from all dominant disciplines of combat from various parts of the world, such as Akram Pahalwan in Pakistan, Willie Williams of Kyokushin Karate, Olympic judo gold medalist Willem Ruska and WBA and WBC World Heavyweight Champion Muhammad Ali.
Though many of Inoki's matches were dismissed by the skeptics as worked, there has been little or no proof at all to suggest the validity of the worked theory and Inoki's mixed martial arts opponents have never stated that the matches were "fake". Most of the skepticism arose from the fact that Inoki was a professional wrestler, which automatically led to an assumption that the matches might have been worked.
The worked theory also arises from Inoki's June 26, 1976 match in Tokyo with Muhammad Ali. Inoki initially promised Ali a worked match to get him to fight in Japan, but when the deal materialized Ali's camp feared that Inoki would turn the fight into a shoot, which many believe was Inoki's intention. Ali visited a professional wrestling match involving Inoki and witnessed Inoki's grappling ability. The rules of the match were announced several months in advance. Two days before the match, however, several new rules were added which severely limited the moves that each man could perform. A rule change that had a major outcome on this match was that Inoki could only throw a kick if one of his knees was on the ground. In the match, Ali landed a total of six punches to Inoki, and Inoki kept to his back in a defensive position almost the full duration of the match of 15 rounds, hitting Ali with a low kick repeatedly.The bout ended in a draw, 3-3. Ali left without a press conference and suffered damage to his legs as a result of Inoki's repeated leg kicks.
Inoki organizes Mixed Martial Arts events like "NJPW Ultimate Crush" and "Jungle Fight", showing traditional professional wrestling matches and mixed martial arts matches on the same card. Some of the major attractions of these events involve the best of NJPW against world renowned fighters in mixed martial arts matches. Inoki vs Renzo Gracie was a professional wrestling match that took place at Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2000 against mixed martial artist Renzo Gracie. Inoki was the ambassador for the International Fight League's Tokyo entry before that promotion's demise. Inoki is one of the founders of Kansuiryu Karate.
Inoki was married to actress Mitsuko Baisho from 1971 to 1987. Initially the wedding was going to be paid by JWA, but JWA fired him in late 1971, so Inoki had to form NJPW to keep feeding his new family. Inoki and Baisho have a daughter, Hiroko (who uses her father's surname). Hiroko is married to Simon Inoki, who in 2005 was named President of NJPW. They are divorced now.
Inoki appeared in the movie, The Bad News Bears Go To Japan, as a wrestler. He had the starring role in the film Acacia directed by Jinsei Tsuji.
During one visit to a school in the 1980s, Inoki was punched twice by a student. Inoki slapped the student across the face. The student, who later turned out to be an Inoki fan, then thanked Inoki for the slap. The incident became very famous as the then live clip of the binta (slap in the face) was shown many times on Japanese television. Now various celebrities and even common people in Japan ask Inoki to slap them to install courage or even as some sort of strange blessing. The slap's name is the "Fighting Spirit (or Tōkon) Slap."
In 1989, Inoki established the Sports and Peace Party He was elected to the House of Councillors of the National Diet of Japan. He continued to wrestle and promote while serving as a legislator. He served in the Diet until 1995, when he failed to win re-election, after accusations of Yakuza involvement and bribery lead to a decline in his popularity. Inoki met with Saddam Hussein for the release of prisoners from Iraq before the Gulf War. As is the traditional gift for a visiting head-of-state, Saddam gave Inoki a pair of golden swords