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New Japan

NJPW - New Japan Pro-Wrestling (1972-) 
Antonio Inoki is the king of self-promotion. In the JWA, he was always second to Giant Baba and in 1966, tried to start a company with former JWA president Toyonobori, but it did not last long. During his second run with the JWA, Inoki was the top star of the NET station's new JWA show. In 1971, he grew frustrated again and after a failed coup, Inoki left and his second promotion attempt, New Japan, was a success. Now the Inoki-Baba rivalry was taken to a new level as they became the respective heads of their own companies. NET (which became TV Asahi) cancelled their deal with JWA and started airing New Japan. Throughout the 70s and 80s, Antonio Inoki established himself by battling foreign pro-wrestlers, winning foreign championships and challenging fighters to elevate his legitimacy. Over the next decade, he developed ties with the NWA and the WWF (in the US), the UWA (in Mexico), Stampede (in Canada), the CWA (in Europe) and other companies around the world with the goal of promoting the most global pro-wrestling company. In the late 80s, Inoki began phasing himself out and Tatsumi Fujinami and Riki Choshu tried to shoulder his legacy. Many stars had left due to Inoki. Tiger Mask became a huge star in the early 80s as a groundbreaking junior heavyweight and influenced a generation of young pro-wrestling fans. Akira Maeda left twice to start more realistic pro-wrestling companies. There had never been superstars established to fully take over for Inoki and it took a few years before the next wave of stars took and they saw New Japan through its greatest financial successes in the late 90s. The wave in the new millenium has been met with similar challenges as the pro-wrestling landscape was deluded with numerous companies and rising interest in mixed martial arts and kickboxing. 


AKIRA
Masahiro Chono
Riki Choshu
The Cobra (George Takano) 
"The Dragon" Tatsumi Fujinami
Yoshiaki Fujiwara (Shoot Style
Masakatsu Funaki
Ryuma Go
Tatsutoshi Goto 
Gran Hamada 
The Great Kabuki
The Great Muta
The Great Sasuke
Animal Hamaguchi 
Hiroshi Hase 
Shinya Hashimoto 
Kentaro Hoshino 
Antonio Inoki  
Koji Kanemoto 
Toshiaki Kawada
Killer Khan 
Kengo Kimura  
Rusher Kimura
Kenta Kobashi
Kuniaki Kobayashi
Satoshi Kojima 
Shiro Koshinaka
Masanobu Kurisu
Jushin “Thunder” Liger  
Akira Maeda (Shoot Style)
TAKA Michinoku
Keiji Muto
Kendo Nagasaki 
Yuji Nagata
Naoya Ogawa
Atsushi Onita
Shinjiro Otani
Kenichi Oya
Mr. Pogo 
Masa Saito 
Seiji Sakaguchi 
El Samurai
Naoki Sano
Kensuke Sasaki
Super Delfin
Super Strong Machine (Junji Hirata)
Minoru Suzuki (Shoot Style
Nobuhiko Takada (Shoot Style)
Tatsuhito Takaiwa
George Takano
Yoshihiro Takayama
Genichiro Tenryu 
Hiroyoshi Tenzan
Isamu Teranishi
Tiger Mask (Satoru Sayama)
Toyonobori
Umanosuke Ueda
Ultimo Dragon
Keiichi Yamada (Jushin Liger)
Koetsu Yamamoto
Kazuo Yamazaki
Yoshiaki Yatsu

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